Spray Your Way to Self Defense

When I was in college, I used to carry pepper spray. My roommate, who was in ROTC, always carried pepper spray and told me how good it was in case I was ever attacked. I took the advice, bought some pepper spray, attached it to my keychain and carried it in my backpack at all times.

Thankfully, I was never in a situation where I needed to use my pepper spray. Today’s society has certainly changed from years ago, so if you’re looking for an effective self-defense weapon, you may want to consider pepper spray. While it’s true that Mace-branded products and even tear gas can be useful, pepper spray may be an even better option.

Think about it … a pepper spray has an immediate impact on an attacker. With the right type, you can hit your target up to 20 feet away. The swelling and pain as a result of the spray will impair your attacker’s vision and allow you to escape the situation.


Affordable and Effective

Pepper spray is quite affordable — many options are priced below $20. You can also purchase more than a gallon of pepper spray for around $40 from some manufacturers, but that depends on where you live.

It’s not just concerned commuters who carry pepper spray — law enforcement officials also carry the potent spray. And everyone carries it for the same reason: it works. When you really break it down, pepper spray is quite basic.

The ingredients in pepper spray include capsaicin and combined with certain oils, it makes for a product that sticks to the skin and causes inflammation and pain. The effects of the pepper spray last between 20 and 90 minutes, giving the user plenty of time to escape their life-threatening situation.

Side Effects of Pepper Spray:

  • Painful burning
  • Swelling of eyelids
  • Excessive tears
  • Temporary blindness
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dry eyes
  • Hyperventilation

Pepper spray units can be fired multiple times and can have a range of 8 to 20 feet. But that depends on which type you purchase. In addition, pepper sprays are available in many different strengths. Each strength is made up of a different type of pepper and provides a specific benefit.


Three Types of Pepper Spray

  • Stream Sprays: Gives you the best distance — up to 20 feet. Shoots like liquid in a water gun. Best for an experienced person.
  • Cone Sprays: Gives you a wider dispersal span. Lingers in the air after dispersal for continued impact on an attacker. Best for novice users, requires less accuracy.
  • Foam/Gel Sprays: Best for indoor attacks — will cover face of attacker. More effective for attackers that wear eyewear as it will stick to the lenses and impair eyesight. Instant results.
  • Fog Sprays: Covers broader area. Great for protecting against multiple attackers. Has a longer range up to 25 feet and is usually found in bear sprays. Risk: you and others can be affected by the longer range. Fewer shots in canister.

Each pepper spray has a certain strength and is based on the Scoville Heat Unit rating, Major Capsaicinoids and Oleoresin Capsicum percentages. Before you buy a pepper spray, make sure you check out the following:

  • Expiration DateMost sprays have a shelf life of 2-4 years.
  • Safety Switches: Should be on the product to prevent an accidental discharge. Note: if you have a pepper spray in public and it’s released, you could be held accountable for any injuries that occur.
  • Shot Counter: Look for a dispersal unit that comes with a counter for best results.

Here’s a few of our top picks …


1. Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray

The Sabre company is the number one pepper spray trusted by police officers and consumers worldwide. This defensive spray offers maximum stopping power and is made with a UV marking dye and a strong formula. If you’re looking for the best pepper spray on the market, Sabre 3-in-1 one has a minimal failure rate and includes a tear gas for intensified facial burning.

With a range up to 10 feet, this spray provides up to 35 bursts — multiple threats can be neutralized if required. In addition, the stream is strong enough to avoid the blowback from the wind.

You can increase your safety even more buy purchasing a Sabre practice spray. Familiarize yourself in using pepper spray with this safe-for-practice item. There are no pepper irritants included and you can be ready just in case you are put in a dangerous, panic-induced situation.

The Sabre 3-in-1 is a solid choice in a trustworthy defensive weapon and they also make a gel version.

Features

  • Number one pepper spray used by police and consumers worldwide
  • Police include: New York, Chicago PD, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s and U.S. Marshals
  • 4-year shelf life from the date of manufacture
  • Protection at safe distance against more than one threat
  • 10-foot spray range
  • 35 bursts — up to 5 times more than competing brands
  • Easy access: Clippable to keychain or belt and more
  • Lock top to prevent accidental discharge
  • Includes locking top safety helps prevent accidental discharge
  • Offers training and programs
  • ISO 9001: 2008 certification
  • Shipment prohibited to: AK, DC, HI, MA, MI, NY & WI
  • Check latest price on Amazon

2. Sabre Gel Pepper Spray

Gel is a better choice than a defensive spray if you expect to come into close contact with a potential attacker. The Sabre Gel comes with its own holster clip, has a shelf life of up to 4 years, and just a bit of blowback.

Even though the form is gel, the delivery range spans up to 18 feet. Mind you, it only affects what it directly impacts. In addition it’s quite difficult to wipe away, so time is on your side to get away. The Sabre Gel comes fully equipped with up to 18 bursts and is a wise investment to consider carrying with you every day.

Features

  • Maximum blocking power
  • Does not vaporize like traditional pepper spray,
  • Offers a 20% broader range of 18 feet
  • Check latest price on Amazon

3. Guard Dog AccuFire Red Pepper Spray

Protect yourself and your loved ones with a pepper spray made by Guard Dog Security. Guard Dog is one of the nation’s most recognized in self-defense and tactical sprays.

Although this brand is not as popular as Sabre, they provide an extensive line of security and self-defense items for the everyday consumer. Their products are made with the highest quality ingredients which are sure to stop an attacker you may encounter.

This pepper spray comes with a push-button laser option and is equipped to your keychain, so that your accuracy can be increased. The Guard Dog AccuFire is extremely accurate and an effective self defense weapon. Made with the hottest ingredients, Guard Dog pepper spray is laboratory tested and includes a UV identifying dye. In addition it features an 18% OC rating and a firing range of up to 16 feet.

Not to worry if you run out of spray — the laser can be used to disable an attacker and give you a chance to get away. Along with the basic keychain design, it offers a simple delivery system and is affordably priced. This pepper spray is perfect if you’re looking for one equipped to a keychain and a light feature.

Features

  • Equipped with push-button laser; equipped to keychain
  • Formulated with 18% OC pepper spray
  • Hot stream of non lethal chemicals with a UV dye
  • Laser sight matches natural hand position
  • Fires up to 16 feet away
  • Free replacement
  • Protected 4 Life program
  • Check latest price on Amazon

4. Mace Defensive Spray

I’m sure you’ve heard of Mace, the original tear gas. Invented by Allan Lee Litman in 1965, Mace was the first commercial product of its type. However, this Mace product is a branded form of self-defense pepper spray and also contains a mixture of tear gas and UV dye.

This stream spray shoots up to 10 feet. You’ll get about 15 applications with this bottle of spray if you use 3-second bursts. It also includes a safety cap to help prevent an accidental discharge.

In addition, the finger grip is useful to help you get an accurate spray. It’s available in 11-gram and 18-gram sizes and comes with a small chain so it can dangle from your keys.

Features

  • Triple Action Formula
  • Made of OC Pepper, Tear Gas, and UV Dye
  • Stream pattern sprays up to 10 feet
  • Upto 15 2-3 second bursts
  • Includes flip-top safety cap to prevent accidental discharge
  • Offers finger grip and keychain
  • Check latest price on Amazon

5. Mace Police Strength (Magnum) Defensive Spray

This super strength 45-gram container of pepper gel features a 10% OC formula that does an outstanding job for immediate results. Like all gels, this one is incredibly thick and accurate.

The Magnum Gel is easy to apply and extremely difficult for an attacker to remove, nevermind see! It provides up to 20 bursts and can be fired up to 18 feet away.

Features

  • 10% Oleoresin Capsicum Pepper Formula (Hot, Hot, Hot)
  • UV Dye to leave an invisible mark on a target,
  • Non-Liquid Pepper Gel has a thick formulation and great in windy conditions
  • Flip-top safety cap to prevent accidental spraying
  • Features LED light for illumination
  • Equipped for up to 20 bursts and 18-foot range
  • Check latest price on Amazon

6. Wildfire Self-Defense Spray

Are you looking for a larger self-defense spray than a keychain-style application? This one made by Wildfire is going to be one of your best options. It’s extremely hot and offers one pound of pepper spray!

Featuring a pistol grip on the container, the 18% blazing formula will definitely give you the opportunity to take out an attacker that may be stalking you. In addition, it includes a safety pin which can be inserted into the grip to prevent an accidental discharge.

The Wildfire Defensive Spray is pricier than other brands, but you will get much more spray for your money. It’s a great choice for a self-defense spray.

Features

  • Large defense spray
  • Pistol grip style
  • Includes safety pin
  • One pound of extremely hot formula
  • Check latest price on Amazon

7. Kimber Pepper Blaster II

Kimber America is a firearms manufacturer and have recognized the importance of including less lethal means of defense within defensive handgun series. The company imports and markets a line of Swiss-made pepper projection devices that are different from the other competitors on the market.

The Pepper Blaster II is an upgrade from the original Pepper Blaster. It’s similar to the original, but turns the Pepper Blaster I into a device that is aimed and fired more like a handgun, via a grip extension. It fires accurately and the trigger is double-action, meaning it requires you to be focused when you fire.

The Kimber Pepper Blaster II delivers a 13-foot range in 1/10th of a second — giving you fast results on your attacker. It’s truly a reliable self-defense spray at its best.

Features

  • No blowback, drifting or loss of pressure.
  • Eyeglasses and even ski masks won’t stop it.
  • Travels 13 feet in 1/10th of a second.
  • Cannot be shipped to: CA, NY, MA, WI, DC —  may be restricted in HI
  • Not allowed on aircraft or export out of the United States
  • Check latest price on Amazon

8. ASP Pepper Spray

Yet another pepper spray made from 10% OC formula, the ASP pepper spray is only intended for keychain use. This is a highly portable self-defense option, fully equipped to give you six bursts at one-half second each.

The ASP spray is constructed of a solid brass and aircraft-grade aluminum housing to prevent tampering. The delivery released sets off a nice, solid spray full of 2 million SCU’s. The ASP is this is a practical item and is an investment that will help you stop a potential attacker.

Features

  • Formulated with 10 percent Oleoresin Capsicum formulation
  • 2 million Scoville heat units
  • Constructed from aerospace aluminum and solid brass
  • O-ring sealed
  • Capacity is 6 ½ – second bursts
  • Key ring attachment for quick and easy access
  • Not for sale in certain states
  • Check latest price on Amazon

9. Fox Labs Law Enforcement Defensive Spray

Founded in 1992, Fox Labs has been supplying law enforcement agencies and consumers all over the world with outstanding products since 1994. Besides manufacturing pepper spray, they also create sudecon wipes, interlocking shields, and spray holsters.

Fox Labs makes multiple defensive sprays in all sizes, streams and types. The Law Enforcement Defensive Spray is a one-pound pistol grip pepper spray that offers you a powerful method of self-defense. The spray has 5.3 million Scoville heat units, giving you plenty of power to swell up the eyes of an attacker and cause immediate pain.

Fox Labs self-defense sprays have a short-range defensive option — if you prefer not to carry a firearm and have a warranty for up to 3 years. This pepper spray is a great option and quality product.

Features

  • 5.3 million Scoville heat units
  • Works upon contact
  • Pepper spray that the professionals use
  • 12-ounce spray; also available in more sizes, types and streams
  • Check the latest price on Amazon

DIY Pepper Spray

If you like spicy food as much as I do, then you probably have chili peppers and cayenne pepper in your kitchen. Pepper sprays are effective because of the immediate sting and potential temporary blindness they may cause. Chili peppers contain heat in various degrees and when some people consume them, they produce tears. I know I do.

If you’re not keen on purchasing mace or other pepper sprays, you can make it yourself. By now, we know that pepper spray is made from the extracted juice of chili peppers. Homemade pepper spray is made from ingredients in your very own kitchen — and it’s better for the environment. You know you have them on hand if you enjoy spicy/hot food.

Please note: before you begin, safety equipment such as rubber gloves and safety glasses are an absolute necessity!

How To Prepare Homemade Pepper Spray

Step one: Select a really hot pepper. For the most effective pepper spray, you’ll need to use a pepper that is at least 30,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Habanero peppers are great to use, which can be up to 350,000 SHU. For this spray you should use six peppers.

Step two:  Prepare the peppers by drying them out. If you have a dehydrator it works the best — sun drying also works. Once they are fully dried, grind them to a fine powder. Put the garlic bulb into the pepper powder and grind together.

Step three:  Add the wet ingredients and when the garlic and pepper are fully mixed, add 4 tablespoons of mineral oil into the blender with the dry ingredients. Add 12 ounces of vinegar slowly to eliminate splashing. You can also use rubbing alcohol.

Step four: You’ll need to pour the liquid through a funnel into a large spray bottle so it can sit overnight or even for 48 hours.The heat from the peppers will infuse into the liquid and add to the potency of your DIY self defense concoction.

Step five: For this last step, strain the liquid. Use a strainer or a cheesecloth if you have one as it’s the best. Pour this liquid mixture into another spray bottle. You can use any leftover liquid for your garden or outside your house to prevent pests from damaging your greens or causing issues. Lastly, seal your container and you’re done — your homemade pepper spray is ready!


Final Thoughts

There are certainly more pepper spray options on the market today than ones made years ago. We hope you learned more about pepper spray and in addition, found the right defensive product for your specific needs. From Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray to one you make at home, they all have one thing in common: they get the job done.

The choice is up to you as it depends upon your personal preference: size, strength, type, and price. All of the above reviewed pepper sprays are terrific options. You really can’t go wrong with any of them, as they are all affordable.

TIP: Always make sure to check local laws for container size or defensive spray composition, and then choose the affordable self-defense option that makes sense for you. And if you really can’t decide, you can always make one yourself! Good luck!

Alex Joseph is an avid bow hunter and father of two boys. Originally from Tacoma, Washington. Alex now resides in California.

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