What to Look for in a Defensive Spray for Women

Recently my best friend asked me for a recommendation on a pepper spray. She had one before, but the expiration date had come and gone so it was of little to no use.

I asked her if she had any preferences, and the only thing that she said was that she liked the grip of her previous defensive spray. So we sat down and talked about some of the features of pepper sprays that are important and will ultimately help her decide which model to get.

Let me just say that there are thousands of choices out there. There are differences between them. Some are subtle, some are not-so-subtle. But here are some suggestions on what to look for in a defensive spray for women.

The most important criteria in my estimation for a pepper spray is the hotness of the spray.

Anyone who has ever handled chili peppers and then mistakenly touched your hands to your face knows the burning sensation that capsaicin can cause. The main ingredient in some topical analgesics for sore muscles is capsaicin. That is what makes products hot.

The best way to measure the hotness of anything is with the Scoville heat unit (SHU), which is a common measurement of the relative hotness of any given product. Many pepper sprays are in the 2 million SHU range. some go as high as 5.3 million SHUs. Those are products that are used by law enforcement agencies but are available to civilians. Pure capsaicin is 15 million SHUs by comparison. A regular bell pepper is about 5000 SHU just to give you a sense of the relative hotness of some products. So find a pepper spray that has as many SHUs in it as possible.

Then look for a spray that has a decent range. Some pepper sprays have ranges of 5 to 10 feet. I would recommend a range much further than five or 10 feet. That way it can be used on dogs as well, in a dog attack.

Next we discussed the disbursement method. There are several to choose from including a stream, mist, gel and foam. Some streams are so powerful that they will not be affected by even a slight breeze. You want a stream that has no blowback.

In our discussion we finally got around to the style of pepper spray that she wanted. She wanted something that was disguised and immediately told me she had heard about a lipstick pepper spray. That is one of many disguised pepper sprays on the market today. Others include a pen, a perfume dispenser and a small baton. I recommended one that was on a keychain attachment because it had a greater likelihood of being with you at all times. And since it’s attached to your keys it would make it easier to find in one of those deep, dark purses that women seem to carry.

The Sabre Hard Case is a potent inexpensive defensive spray.

The Jogger Defensive Spray is our recommendation for women who love the outdoors.

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