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Self Defense Items – A Consumer’s Guide

Self-defense products have provided a nonlethal alternative to deadly force since man was created. The right to self-defense has been around forever. Yes man has created deadly ways to defend himself but many people like a nonlethal alternative for personal security and personal safety. Sticks and stones were around a lot earlier than handguns.

If you trace the history of pepper spray, for example, the origins go back thousands of years. Even the history of stun devices is hundreds of years old. Tasers, on the other hand, are relatively new. In this article we will describe four popular self-defense products and discuss their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision as to which one you might want to have.

Pepper Spray

We’ll start with the most widely used nonlethal product for self defense-pepper sprays. They use the resin of a very hot pepper as the basis for the main ingredient, oleoresin capsicum. The usual concentration is 10%, but some manufacturers use as much as 18% concentration. The main way that defensive sprays are judged is in the measure of hotness or Scoville heat units or SHU’s.

Most have Scoville heat units in the 2 million range. Wildfire brand claims to have 3 million Scoville heat units. The type of pepper spray used by a lot of police agencies is the Fox brand and it has 5.3 million SHU’s making it the hottest in the marketplace. A haberno pepper, one of the hottest in the world, by comparison, has approximately 200,000 SHU’s.

What makes pepper spray so effective as a self-defense item for personal security and personal safety, is the fact that it can disable an assailant for up to 45 minutes by creating, first of all intense pain, then tearing of the eyes so badly that they may end up shutting. Then there’s difficulty breathing, coughing and choking. These symptoms go away eventually but if you can’t see and you can’t breathe, assaulting someone becomes problematic.

Law enforcement agencies and military units have used pepper sprays for decades for crowd control and criminal apprehension. They are widely recognized as one of the most effective deterrents against dog attacks and bear attacks. The USPS started issuing pepper sprays to their letter carriers over 30 years ago to defend against dog attacks. The FBI started using pepper sprays for their SWAT teams in the 1990s.

Most pepper sprays have a range of 6 to 12 feet. Pepper gels, because they hold up better in wind conditions, have a longer range of up to 18 to 20 feet. The Mace pepper gun has a range of up to 25 feet. Some bear pepper sprays have a range up to 30 feet.

The main negative of pepper sprays is that when they are used outside they are subject to wind conditions and even a 10 mile an hour wind can blow a spray off course. Pepper sprays come in different disbursement methods, the most common being a spray. But there is also a gel, foam and a pepper ball which shoots out of a gun. Some police agencies such as SWAT teams even have pepper grenades that they use for special situations.

Defensive sprays can be disguised as different products. The most common of which is a lipstick dispenser, but there is also a popular perfume dispenser that has a pepper spray inside.

They are an inexpensive and effective first-line defense for civilians’ personal security and personal safety. Pepper sprays can range in price from as little as $5.95 up to $30 for a bear pepper spray. Pepper sprays are, on average, close to 90% effective. Some cities and states have restrictions on pepper sprays

Stun Devices

Stun devices were first created shortly after the battery was patented. Farmers developed the cattle prod to move their cattle along without harming them. It was only a matter of time before the military and law enforcement saw the potential as a nonlethal way to control suspects.

Stun devices use an electrical charge that comes from probes on one end of the device. The electricity from the charge causes the muscles to over work very rapidly depleting the body of all blood sugars that are needed for energy. Stun devices use high voltage and low amperage to disable an assailant for up to 10 minutes. The electrical charge also disrupts neurological impulses that control muscle movement causing the assailant to lose his balance.

Stun devices vary in price from around $20 up to as high as $80 depending on the voltage and the features. They are, on average, close to 90% effective. Some cities and states have restrictions on stun

devices. A disadvantage to a stun device that many don’t like is the fact that ist has to be physically applied to an assailant.

Another type of stun device is the taser. It is used by well over 12,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States and in at least eight foreign countries. It is nearly 100% effective with more stopping power than a 9 mm handgun. Civilian models can stop an assailant up to 15 feet away Tasers use low voltage and high amperage to override the central nervous system. Tasers start at $400 and require a police background check before the product can be activated.

Panic Alarms

Panic alarms, or personal alarms as some call them, are small hand-held devices that emit a loud sound when activated. They are inexpensive and very effective at drawing attention to your situation and have the potential of scaring an assailant away because of the loud noise. The 120 db Keychain Panic Alarm is a great example of one. Some panic alarms are five dollars or less.


Batons are used by law enforcement officers for criminal apprehension purposes. In the hands of a trained professional a baton can be a very effective self-defense tool. The most common type available for civilians is the telescoping or expandable steel baton that goes from as little as 8 inches up to as much as 26 inches. A well-placed strike with a steel baton can break bones or as at absolute minimum inflict a great deal of pain. A steel baton can cost in the neighborhood of $20-$30.

When it comes to self-defense products for personal safety and personal security, consumers have many choices. These are four of the most common and popular products used for nonlethal self-defense.

Fox Lab’s Pepper Spray is what most law enforcement agencies use. It is 5.3 Million SHU’s-hottest in the marketplace!

 The Home Security Superstore is one of the oldest and largest independent distributors of high quality home security, surveillance, spy, self-defense, survival and safety products. We carry a wide range of self-defense products including tasers, stun guns, pepper sprays and other nonlethal weapons that can save your life in the event of an attack.

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