Advantages of pepper spray: better safe than sorry

Of the 3 basic chemical compounds used in self-defense sprays, there is one that is the most effective and the most innovative, which is the one that I am going to expand on in this article.

The natural chemical compound used in defense sprays is called Oleoresin Capsicum, or OC. It is not a skin irritant like the other 2 man-made chemicals are.

The term “pepper spray” comes from the fact that Oleoresin Capsicum is made from vegetable oils from hot peppers. “Oleoresin” is a term meaning a mixture of a partially solid substance obtained from the sap of specific plants and trees. “Capsicum” is Latin for fruit of the hot pepper plant. OC is not harmful to the skin or any internal tissue, while the other 2 man-made chemical compounds can be toxic and harmful to human tissue.

As an inflammatory agent, OC pepper spray has an immediate effect upon contact with the aggressor being sprayed. Temporary blindness occurs when the capillaries in the eyes dilate and the terrible burning sensation from the pepper spray causes the eyes to close uncontrollably. The immediate swelling of the lungs and throat will bring the assailant to their knees in a gasping attempt to inhale more air than their swollen respiratory tissues will allow. You will only be able to get enough oxygen to keep from passing out and you may also experience nausea and vomiting.

These conditions are only temporary, but very overwhelming for the person sprayed, giving the victim plenty of time to escape. It takes 20-45 minutes for the effects of the OC pepper spray to wear off and the assailant makes a full recovery, hopefully in jail.

The other 2 chemical compound defense sprays will not have a stopping effect on someone who is high on drugs or in an intense state of high adrenaline from some forms of psychosis, nor will they have stopping power against an animal attack. OC pepper spray IS effective in all of these situations.

OC pepper sprays come in jet, cone, and mist releases.

1. The OC jet sprayer has a throw range of approximately 15 to 20 feet. Wind is less likely to blow it back into the face of the person applying the spray. If the user lands a direct blow to the assailant’s face, the pepper spray will break into small droplets, stopping the attacker and bringing them to their knees from the inflammatory effects. The downside to this jet-type pepper spray is that it doesn’t release OC as successfully as the cone or mist.

2. Pepper spray with a spray pattern wider than the stream is the cone spray. Creates a barrier of mist at its finer density and has a more immediate stopping effect on the attacker than the current. The barrier of mist that the cone emits is effective against multiple assailants and gives the user time to escape. There are a couple of drawbacks with the cone sprayer, one of which is the fact that it is uncontrollable in a strong breeze, so the user must be aware of the need to escape the vicinity immediately after spraying. The other drawback is that the smaller canisters usually only have a 6-8 foot range. Larger canisters that are 3 or 4 ounces can have a firing range of 12 to 15 feet.

3. The fogger pepper spray unit releases a high-pressure jet of a fine mist that is the most effective of the three types of spray because any inhalation quickly draws the mist into lung tissue, swelling the mucous membranes and incapacitating the assailant. Even in windy conditions, this mist works well and forms a barrier between the user and the assailant, giving them enough time to escape. It works especially well with more than one aggressor in still air because the mist will remain suspended for several minutes. The 15-20 foot spray range is also a factor in giving the user time to spray and escape. Unfortunately, the number of shots per unit is less than jet or cone spray due to the large amount of chemical released with the spray and the high pressure of each unit.

Each pepper spray has its pros and cons, but the important thing to remember is that if used correctly, any one of them can save your life. After buying a pepper spray, go through a real attack scenario without letting go of the spray. Familiarize yourself with how to hold the spray to be effective, making sure the nozzle is pointed away from you, simulate a spray, and then turn and run. Although the spray will stop your attacker, NEVER stick around to see what happens. Spray and run like never before. And call the police when you are at a safe distance. Hopefully you’ll never need to use pepper spray, but it’s much better to have it and never use it than to need it and not have it.