Self-Defense – What To Look For In Defensive Sprays
Defensive sprays commonly called pepper sprays are used by law enforcement, military and civilians throughout the world. They are the most common nonlethal self-defense products used for female self-defense and personal security. Not all of them are created equally.
Once you sift through all the marketing hype that any manufacturer wishes to tell you here are some things that are really meaningful that you should look for when shopping for defensive sprays.
Law enforcement sprays are different from civilian pepper sprays. The reasons for this are simple. Law enforcement officers have different reasons for carrying defensive sprays and have other means at their disposal for subduing suspects. A civilian on the other hand, may have no other alternative than a defensive spray. Law enforcement officers may be concerned about crowd control-a subject of no interest to civilians.
There is some question in the industry about the best way to measure the effectiveness of defensive sprays. It used to be that the main measure was called Scoville heat units, a standard measurement of hotness in the world. But over the years it has been discovered that this is not the best measure of hotness. The real measure of hotness is called major capsaicinoids (MC). Of the “five major capsaicinoids responsible for hotness of a pepper spray, capsaicin is the strongest or most important.”
So it is the percentage of MC’s that determines the hotness of a pepper spray. “Bear sprays range from 1% to 2% MC while civilian and law enforcement sprays range from.18% up to 1.33% MC’s.”
The law enforcement pepper sprays have an ingredient called CS gas. The CS stands for the first letters of the last names of the two individuals who invented it back in 1928, Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton. It is an aerosol of a volatile solvent that dissolves with other active substances. It is the main component of teargas used by the military and law enforcement. It is also in several civilian pepper spray products. It is the “main irritant intended to cause profuse tearing of the eyes and intense burning sensation to the skin.”
CS teargas is more potent but less toxic than CN teargas, it takes effect more quickly and it is extremely effective even in low concentrations.
Many manufacturers of civilian pepper sprays don’t do any testing. Look for documentation of independent testing for hotness ratings or internal product testing for quality control purposes. This will ensure the highest quality product you can get.
Most pepper sprays have an expiration date of 2 to 3 years. Some go as high as four years. The aerosol that propels the spray loses its potency after this time so pay attention to the date and obviously, the longer the expiration date the more potential use you’ll have for the product.
So when you’re shopping for a pepper spray look for the MC percentage-the higher the better-and for a product that has CS gas included. Look for a long shelf life and for any testing documentation done on the product. If you follow these tips they will help ensure that you get a quality long-lasting product.
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