What Qualities Does An Effective Pepper Spray Have?

There are literally thousands of websites in the United States which sell pepper sprays. Most of them are owned by individual independent distributors who also sell other self-defense items such as stun guns personal alarms and other products for home security. Most of what they tell you on their websites is marketing, information that is geared to make you buy the product.

Pepper sprays, also known as defensive sprays, are the most widely used nonlethal self-defense product in the world. Here’s why! They are legal just about everywhere, are inexpensive, small enough to carry in your pocket or on a keychain and are close to 90% effective. What is not to like about these qualities?

Each one of those websites offers a multitude of products from many different manufacturers who make dozens of products each. All pepper sprays do pretty much the same thing. In essence, it can disable an assailant for as long as 45 minutes by causing excessive tearing of the eyes, extreme pain and making breathing very difficult.

For a broader explanation of what they can do, take a look at our article on everything you need to know about pepper spray.

With so many choices available to you how do you know which one to get? When you go looking for a good pepper spray here are some of the characteristics that you should consider.

  1. The distance the product will shoot. One of the most important characteristics for you to consider.
  2. The capacity of the canister. How many ounces does it hold? How many shots at the maximum distance?
  3. The expiration date in terms of the month and year. This is important to know so you don’t buy an expired product. This information should be stamped on the bottom of the canister.
  4. Safety features. All pepper sprays have at least one safety feature built-in to prevent accidental discharge. Some sprays even have two.
  5. Scoville heat units or SHUs are a relative measure of hotness of the spray. Most pepper sprays have at least 2 million SHUs.
  6. Product testing is important for quality control. Mace brand pepper sprays is one of the few manufacturers that test their products for leakage before packaging.
  7. I remember the old expression “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight.” It is important that you bear in mind what you are going to use the pepper spray for before you purchase it. A regular self-defense pepper spray is absolutely no good to you in a bear attack. A pepper spray that has a range of 8 feet, is totally ineffective when your target is 10 to 12 feet away.
  8. Cost is the least important consideration, we think, but as a practical matter is important to just about everyone.
  9. And perhaps, at least in our opinion, the most important consideration is the true measure of hotness of any pepper spray-the percentage of major capsaicinoids. Most pepper sprays contain only a .18% concentration, some are as high as 1.33%. The higher the percentage of major capsaicinoids, the more potent the spray. This Sabre Red Soft Case Keychain has a 1.33% CRC.
    Fox Labs Mean Green
    Fox Labs Mean Green
  10. Some manufacturers include other components in their pepper spray to make it more effective. Examples are a CS tear gas component and an ultraviolet invisible marking dye that is useful in identifying assailants after an attack. Some manufacturers even color the UV marking dye for an added “embarrassment” factor.

Those are ten factors you should take into consideration when shopping for a pepper spray. Remember that most of what you read in packaging and on websites is promotional material-marketing geared to get you to buy! Take an objective look and consider these ten factors.

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