Is Pepper Spray a Good Self-Defense Option?

February 21, 2020

Self-defense weapons come in many shapes, sizes, and varieties. Pepper spray is often overlooked as a means of self-defense.

What is Pepper Spray?

As a weapon, pepper spray provides protection and self-defense. It offers the victim time to escape from a threatening situation. 

The main ingredient of pepper is oleoresin capsicum. This oil is present in most of the various types of peppers. The oil gives the spicy taste in a hot pepper. One milligram will form blisters when it touches skin.

Advantages of Pepper Spray over Concealed Carry

Pepper spray takes up little room in a backpack, purse, knapsack, brief case, fanny pack, or equipment belt. There are even pepper spray cans small enough to fit into your key chain.

Anyone of any age can operate it. You don’t have to have a license to carry pepper spray. A can of pepper spray is easy to conceal and it can quickly be ready in your hands when you feel danger. You can have your pepper spray handy along with your car keys when you are walking across a parking lot or campus.

Pepper spray will not usually kill your assailant. It is intended to slow down an attacker. This gives you an avenue for escape.


Pepper spray is proven effective as a self-defense tool. In fact, police often use it to spray criminals.

People purchase pepper spray to be safe and prepared for danger. It is important that you every day carry and know how to use pepper spray properly. Pepper spray as a self-defense tool can decrease your chances of being seriously or fatally harmed. Pepper spray will buy enough time to run from the scene and find or call for help.

Pepper spray is easy to buy. You can get it online or in many stores that specialize in self-defense equipment.

If you feel threatened by a person or an animal, you can easily take out a can of pepper spray and spray the person. The resulting pain in the eyes and face will give you time to flee and seek help. It causes the assailant to cough. It induces temporary blindness, burning of the skin, and itching.


The Downsides of Pepper Spray

Pepper spray can never replace concealed carry. But it can certainly offer a stop-gap approach with you are threatened up close and by a single attacker. If there is more than one attacker a can of pepper spray isn’t as effective—unless you can spray the lead and frighten off the others.

Pepper spray is a close range weapon.


How to Use Pepper Spray

As with all forms of self-defense it is vital to know how to use pepper spray. You need to practice how to use your pepper spray can. 

Know how to get the can out quickly and smoothly—just like unholstering your concealed carry. Stash it where you can get to it quickly. Try putting the pepper spray in different locations and reaching for it from your purse, backpack, key chain, pocket, or belt. 

Pepper sprays usually have a safety feature so they won’t accidentally be activated. Practice getting the safety off the can of pepper spray.

Aiming your pepper spray is the next important skill to practice. You are aiming for the attacker’s face—especially his eyes. Grab your spray and step back to get some distance. This decreases the chance that you will be hit by the spray. Keep your hands up to protect your face. Don’t extend your hand. The spray will hit your assailant if he is within fifteen feet—sometimes farther.

Keep your eyes open. There is a tendency to want to close your eyes to avoid overspray. This won’t help. Wind and weather conditions and the age of the canister can all affect aim and effectiveness.

Once you press the spray button, fan the can back and forth to avoid poor aim. While you are spraying, yell. This too puts the attacker off. It will alarm your attacker.

Pepper spray effect is not always instantaneous. Be prepared to wait a few seconds. That’s another reason yelling for help is a smart action.