Content of the material
- How long does capsaicin burn last?
- KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING PEPPER SPRAY
- The Formula
- OC (Oleoresin Capsicum)
- Scoville Heat Rating
- CN Gas
- Dye Additions
- Spray Pattern and Range
- Stream Spray
- Mist Spray
- Foam Spray
- Canister Size Options
- Small Canisters
- Medium Canisters
- Large Canisters
- This Really Happened
- Cant breathe after cutting hot peppers?
- Talk to me
- Will a stun gun stop a pitbull?
- Prevention Tips
- States with Pepper Spray Restrictions
- Is pepper spraying a dog illegal?
- Are law enforcement pepper sprays significantly more potent than civilian products?
- Recommended Brands
- PROS OF USING PEPPER SPRAY FOR SELF DEFENSE
- Affordable Cost
- Fewer Regulations
- Easy Concealment
- A Non-Lethal Weapon
- Can I use my SABRE pepper spray after the indicated expiration date?
- Pick the Right Pepper: Blends, Sprayers and Spray Patterns
- What should you do if you are sprayed?
How long does capsaicin burn last?
You may have some skin redness, burning, or a stinging sensation at the application site. Although this usually disappears after the first several days, it may last 2 to 4 weeks.
KEY FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING PEPPER SPRAY
When choosing pepper spray, there are a few factors you’ll need to be sure to consider.
The first, and most important, factor in choosing a pepper spray is the formulation.
There are three major formulas on the market when it comes to self-defense sprays: CN, CS, and OC.
OC (Oleoresin Capsicum)
OC is one of the most common and popular forms of pepper spray and stands for Oleoresin Capsicum.
The active ingredient is capsaicin, the same chemical which gives peppers their heat.
Capsaicin acts as an inflammatory agent.
It not only causes pain but also causes instant inflammation of the mucous membranes. This makes it difficult and painful to breathe or even open your eyes.
The remaining ingredients form an oily liquid to help with the delivery of the capsaicin.
The oily liquid means the solution is not soluble in water. So you can’t easily wash it off.
Victims are encouraged to blink excessively to produce tears to help to flush the eyes. They are also told not to touch any other body parts to avoid spreading the substance.
There are wipes available to help remove pepper spray. But your attacker is unlikely to have them on hand fast enough to be useful!
But not all peppers are the same…
Scoville Heat Rating
People who like spicy foods know there are regular peppers, HOT peppers, and INSANELY HOT peppers! And there’s a way to measure these differences, it’s called the Scoville Heat Scale.
You can see from the image below – a bell pepper is essentially harmless, while a Habanero Chili is a very HOT Pepper and a Dragon’s Breath is an INSANELY HOT.
CS isn’t technically a “pepper spray”, but rather a military tear gas. It can be used alone or in combination with OC spray for added effectiveness.
CS is the most popular since it induces a range of nasty symptoms – from mild tearing to immediate vomiting.
It’s often used for riot control or to force people out of an area. CS can be found in aerosol canisters or can be deployed by grenades.
CN is an older form of tear gas, which has similar effects to CS gas and also includes temporary loss of balance.
The effects of CN tear gas last longer than that of CS. But it can also cause permanent skin and lung damage, so it’s much less common than it was in years past.
In some pepper sprays, the manufacturers add either a visible or UV dye.
This dye can serve as a marker for your attacker, making ID easier if they run.
This can be helpful for law enforcement, but the visible dyes can also help you avoid them if they try to come back.
Spray Pattern and Range
Another critical factor in choosing a pepper spray is to find the right spray pattern.
The most typical patterns used are spray or mist.
If you have respiratory issues, spray patterns help avoid the risk of accidental user inhalation.
For accuracy and longer range, some pepper sprays shoot streams of fluid.
This allows you to hit a single attacker without spraying bystanders.
Of course, stream pattern sprays require more training and practice. If you miss, you may have lost your only chance at self-defense.
A mist spray pattern produces a large cloud of gas which is more easily inhaled. But it comes at the price of a far shorter range.
Since they form a cloud, mist spray patterns do not allow you to target your attacker directly.
This means there is a risk of spraying people other than your attacker. Including yourself, if the mist cloud blows back on you.
The least common spray pattern is foam.
Foam sprays are difficult to aim and have a shorter range than stream pattern sprayers.
It’s also slower to take effect, so it’s not as useful in most situations. Avoid foam spray patterns unless they’re the only option.
Canister Size Options
Finally, you’ll want to consider the sheer volume of spray you might need.
Stopping a petty thief in the city may require far less spray than a charging grizzly bear in the backcountry.
Think about how you intend to use your spray and pick the right size for your needs.
Keychain pepper sprays are marketed to runners and college students. These small bottles contain less than a half-ounce of usable spray.
This only gives you a couple of seconds of spray at close range.
Better than nothing, but you can also run out before an attacker has been properly neutralized.
Larger sizes tend to come with belt holsters for easy retrieval. Most purses can fit a medium-sized 2oz canister.
These include many backcountry bear sprays and personal defense sprays.
Two ounces of fluid is good for up to 30 seconds of spray and many can achieve accurate patterns up to about 15 feet.
Sure, 15 feet doesn’t feel nearly far enough during an attack. But it’s good enough as a close-in self-defense weapon.
Remember, you’re aiming at a small target like the eyes and nose, so long-range shots are risky either way.
There are much larger sprays on the market, but they’re only good for home defense.
Anything larger than 2 ounces is generally too bulky for everyday carry.
Now that we’ve covered all the key features, let’s take a look at some of the best ones on the market today.
This Really Happened
Case 1. An 8-year-old boy unintentionally sprayed himself in the face with pepper spray. He was wearing glasses at the time, so a minimal amount got into his eyes. His skin was red and irritated but felt better after washing with soap and water. Although he was not complaining of eye irritation, instructions for irrigating his eyes were provided should it become necessary. During a follow-up call, the boy’s mother said the boy’s eyes were a little pink but not painful, his skin was red but without blisters, and his voice was a little hoarse. These effects were expected to resolve.Case 2.
Cant breathe after cutting hot peppers?Cure Pepper Burns on the Skin
Cover burned skin with vegetable oil. Keep the oil over the burn until the stinging subsides. Wash the oil from the skin with soap and water. If that does not work, soak the burned skin with milk or cream.
Talk to me
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Will a stun gun stop a pitbull?
Stun guns, also known as electric breaking sticks by Pit Bull experts, are extremely effective against aggressive Pits and other breeds. Expert dog trainers recommend the use of stun guns to stop or prevent dog attacks.
- Lacrimators should be used as directed by the manufacturer.
- Keep lacrimators out of the sight and reach of children.
- If a lacrimator unintentionally gets on your hands, avoid touching your face and wash your hands thoroughly.
- If in an area where a lacrimator has been used, leave the area immediately and get to fresh air.
- Avoid direct contact with a pet (or any animal) that has been sprayed.
States with Pepper Spray Restrictions
Pepper spray is one of the affordable, straightforward, and nonlethal forms of self-defense for people. However, some state–related restrictions are in place regarding pepper spray. So, before buying some for yourself or your loved ones, you must understand the laws surrounding its possession in your state.
Is pepper spraying a dog illegal?
Pepper spraying your neighbor’s dog is perfectly legal, provided it’s only done in self defense. Using pepper spray on dogs that aren’t showing signs of aggression or posing an imminent threat is generally considered a despicable act, and you could face animal cruelty charges.
Are law enforcement pepper sprays significantly more potent than civilian products?
There are significant differences in potency from one pepper spray to the next. However, civilians have access to pepper sprays with the same potency as carried by agencies using the strongest available formulations. Though many agencies carry either the SABRE or SABRE Red pepper sprays, there is not an agency in the United States that is carrying a blended formulation which is stronger than SABRE – or an OC-only formulation which is stronger than SABRE Red!
Below are a few choice makers of pepper spray and in a variety of styles, types and sizes. Any of them are sure to have one that will suit your needs, from tiny keychain-sized units to large, building-clearing party cans.
- SABRE Red
- Fox Labs
PROS OF USING PEPPER SPRAY FOR SELF DEFENSE
Clearly, even the most expensive pepper sprays are far cheaper than a handgun.
If you want a cost-effective self-defense weapon it’s hard to beat.
Yes, pepper spray does have some legal restrictions (based on strength and delivery). But still far fewer than most firearms.
Many locations prohibit firearms (college campuses, national parks, shopping centers, etc.). But these “safe zones” don’t have the same bans.
Plus, pepper spray is simpler to travel with across city or state boundaries.
Where firearm laws (and even knife laws) frequently change from locale to locale.
Making them easier to carry while working out, running, or even walking the dog.
And some of the most compact pepper sprays are small enough to hang on a self-defense keychain.
Note: These mini pepper sprays tend to have very short spray durations…
A Non-Lethal Weapon
Pepper spray is extremely irritating and painful – but not fatal.
It also has a much lower chance of injuring a bystander, which makes it safer to use in a crowd.
Can I use my SABRE pepper spray after the indicated expiration date?
Like any pressurized aerosol device, over time the unit may not spray as far as expected, if at all. We recommend replacing your spray at the expiration date shown on your pepper spray. The manufacturer cannot be held responsible if the spray has exceeded its expiration date or if the expiration date is no longer visible.
Pick the Right Pepper: Blends, Sprayers and Spray Patterns
If you learn nothing else from this article, learn this: not all pepper spray is made equal! You should not expect a $5.00 can of no-name spray you bought at the gas station in the middle of nowhere to work nearly as well as a premium product made by a major supplier of U.S. police agencies.
The first step in selecting a good can of spray is to determine your needs, and how you need to carry it. A can intended for concealed carry will by necessity be much smaller than one designed for home defense use. Do you need to conceal the can in a pocket or bag? Will it be riding on your belt clipped on, or on a pouch? Is the can for home or car defense?
The design of the can itself is also important: you want to choose a unit that is easy to access with intuitive controls. Any unit that requires it be drawn from a pouch and then have a safety rotated or pressed to deactivate will be much slower into action than one that has a flip-top cover over a thumb switch.
Bear in mind to you must find a balance between performance and packability, much like choosing a gun for concealed carry. Smaller units have smaller payloads, meaning less spray time, and less range than larger ones, sometimes only a couple of feet.
The larger the unit the harder it is to conceal and less likely you are to carry it, but you’ll get the benefit of lots of formula to pass around and greater range.
Formulation is a characteristic that is fraught with confusion, misinformation and half-truths. A given OC formula has two metrics that matter: Intensity and Concentration.
Intensity is the strength of the pepper blend itself, its raw heat. This is measured on a variety of scales, but the most accurate for our purposes is the same one used for hot sauce, incidentally: SHU, or Scoville Heat Units. This scale goes from 0 for “Not Hot” to several million, or “Enamel Melting.”
Debate rages about what the minimum “floor” for pepper spray effectiveness is, but in general hotter is always better. Most of the known-effective manufacturers start at around 800,000 SHU and go way up from there.
The other important characteristic, concentration, is a measure of how much OC is in the mixture. Higher concentration means more hot stuff on the bad guy, equating to a longer burn. 5% is a good minimum, and more is better.
Keep this in mind: most makers of pepper spray face no regulation on their product claims, so purchasing from a known-quantity good manufacturer is essential to ensure positive effect on target. Don’t get taken in by outlandish claims from snake-oil salesmen.
The last consideration when choosing a model is the spray pattern. All have advantages and disadvantages. Below is a short overview of the pros and cons of the different spray patterns. Consider which one will suit your needs best.
- Aerosol– short to moderate range. Fine spray is easily inhaled, accelerating breathing problems and coughing for attacker, but will likely get everywhere, including on you. Vulnerable to blowback.
- Stream– long range for given size. Tight stream of agent bucks wind more easily. Accurate, but less likely to be inhaled.
- Foam/Gel– Moderate to long range, lowest chance of contamination or blowback, but slow to take effect and unlikely to be inhaled.
If in doubt, choose an aerosol.
What should you do if you are sprayed?
“The most important thing to remember is not to rub your eyes if you get sprayed. This will spread the compound deeper into your eye,” Dr. Glatter has explained to Men’s Health.
Use clean hands to carefully remove contact lenses if you wear them. Blink so you help your tears wash away the oily pepper spray.
“Applying baby shampoo to the affected eye is the most effective for neutralizing and removing the oil resin contained in pepper spray,” he says. Then irrigate your eyes. Ideally, use sterile saline, but it’s unlikely that you’ll have that with you, so use water. “Often several liters is necessary to adequately irrigate the eye after exposure. A 20-ounce bottle of water poured over your eye is just not enough,” he adds.
If you get pepper spray in your mouth, rinse that with huge amounts of water, too. “Sucking on ice chips may also help to alleviate burning on your lips, tongue, gums and roof of your mouth,” Dr. Glatter says. “While rinsing with milk may reduce pain in your mouth, it will not remove the oils present that are causing the pain.”
Wash yourself as soon as you are able, and wash your clothes, too (separately from other clothes). Over one to two hours, the pain should gradually dissipate. Seek medical attention if you think the spray has caused burns to your eyes or skin, or if you’re having trouble breathing.
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