Pepper Spray 101

Self-defense Pepper Spray: Why Use It

My response to inquiries is always, “Who would be using the pepper spray and why?” Most of the replies are the expected ones, like “For self-protection when out in public,” or I work late at night and I’m scared to walk to my car,” or “I have an ex-something who is stalking me and I want to defend myself.” In these examples, the intended uses vary from general to specific use.

In my experience, the majority of persons who inquire about carrying a self-defense device don’t have a specific need or purpose in mind. Their basis for wanting such a device stems from a general fear of assault.

These persons will carry pepper spray for a week or two until the novelty wears off and then it will find its way to the bottom of a purse, a glove compartment, or dresser drawer. Many casual users end up accidentally spraying themselves or their pets or when their children get into it they discard it.

Self-defense Pepper Spray: How to Use It

Persons wanting to carry pepper spray for protection should take a training course before purchasing it or at least check out one of the pepper spray “how to” videos on . Tear gas ideally should be carried in the same place every day. A belt holster or loose outer coat pocket is best. A purse or key chain is a poor location because the canister is not always accessible.

If you must walk into a dark parking lot or some isolated place you should have the pepper spray canister in your hand and finger on the trigger. Surprise assaults happen very quickly and usually without warning. If the canister is not in your hand you simply won’t have time to retrieve it.

The effective range of most spray canisters is approximately 3-10 feet depending on whether the canister emits a mist or stream. In my experience, when a person properly carries pepper spray they become hyper-vigilant. Most people soon realize they will never need the spray because of their heightened awareness of their surroundings.

When alert, it is difficult for an assailant to surprise you. It is better to think of alternatives to avoid a confrontation in the first place like relocating your car, changing your work schedule, or setting up a buddy system when walking in secluded urban areas.

Self-defense Pepper Spray: When to Use It

Pepper Spray is for personal self-defense only to fight off an attacker. It is not to be used offensively to protect property or on someone you merely dislike. When used by surprise, pepper spray is an excellent distraction, allowing you time to get away.

Contrary to media advertising, pepper spray does not guarantee stopping-power or cause paralysis. An assailant can still grab you, punch you, stab you, or shoot you and will definitely be angrier after being sprayed. Also, pepper spray may not be as effective on the insane, drug addicts, intoxicated, or hysterical persons unless it is pepper spray that effects the respiratory system that restricts breathing.

Pepper spray should be directed at the assailant’s face at close range either in a stream, spray, or mist and never sprayed wildly at a crowd in congested areas.

Most pepper spray victims instinctively fall immediately to their knees and start rubbing their eyes (which makes it worse). The pain has been described as two red-hot pieces of steel being pushed into your eyes and a blow-torch applied to your face.

Be aware that pepper spray has a blinding effect…so make sure your victim does not accidentally fall down stairs, walk into the street, or operate a motor vehicle. Pepper spray causes the eyes to shut very quickly and you sometimes have to use your fingers to pry them open. Be wary of spray backsplash or blown-back from the wind.

Try to avoid contact with the assailant as the oily spray can transfer to you and cause you distress. Once you use the spray, get out of there and call the police. If pepper spray gets on you, rinse the affected area repeatedly with cold water.

Tearless baby shampoo sometimes works to cut the oily resin from your face and hair. Wash your hands several times with soap and water and wash your clothes separately for other items.

Self-defense Pepper Spray: Liability Issues

Using pepper spray irresponsibly can incur criminal or civil liability. Spraying an innocent victim in the face can be a crime. Much like a punch in the face, it would be charged with assault or battery in most jurisdictions.

The justification for using chemical sprays must either be self-defense from personal injury or an arrest situation, and the force must be reasonable under the circumstances. For example, you can’t lawfully spray someone in the face for using obscene language or because you are simply afraid because of their appearance.

Self-defense Pepper Spray: Important Tips

  • Examine your reasons for wanting pepper spray
  • Take a training course from a professional before buying
  • Use pepper spray for self-defense or during an arrest
  • Don’t let children get access to pepper spray
  • Don’t ever use tear gas it in a moving vehicle
  • Try to avoid isolated or dangerous areas
  • Tear gas canister must be readily accessible
  • Use only in a dire emergency to aid in escape.
  • Spray directly into the assailant’s face
  • Avoid contact with the person sprayed
  • Create distance, move away, and call the police
  • Rinse your eyes repeatedly with cold water, if affected
  • Use tearless baby shampoo to cut the oil resin

Protect yourself by arming yourself with non lethal self defense such as pepper sprays, stun guns, tactical batons, tactical flashlights.

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