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There are many advantages and disadvantages of self-defense products. Today we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of chemical irritants commonly known as pepper spray.
Which Pepper Spray to Buy
First there are several things to consider before choosing a self-defense spray such as your environment, what are the laws in your area in regards to possession and use of defense sprays; will the defense spray be concealed by you when carried?
Types of Defense Sprays
Defense sprays come in various formulas, sizes, nozzle types, and spray patterns. They usually contain one or more of the following chemicals.
CS (Orthochlorobenzalmalonitrile) also known as CS Tear Gas is a chemical agent used in riot control by the military and police. The compound is dispersed as an aerosol or as a finely divided powder. Exposure to CS causes intense pain in the eyes and upper respiratory tract; the pain spreads to the lungs and gives the sensation of suffocation. In humid weather CS may cause severe blistering of the skin.
CN (alphachloroacetaphenone) also known as CN or CN Tear Gas has been around for a while. It was a popular defense spray in the past until the introduction of pepper spray into the law enforcement community. CN Tear Gas is an irritant to membrane tissues. It causes stinging pain and profuse tearing.
The disadvantages of CS and CN Tear Gases CS and CN Tear Gases irritate the membrane tissues and cause stinging and tearing. They can take from 5 to 30 seconds before they are effective and may not work if someone is drunk, on drugs, psychotic, or tolerant to pain. The affects of CN and CS Gases are not immediate taking up to 30 seconds to affect the assailant. These chemicals aren’t effective self-defense weapons unless formulated with the third chemical listed below OC or Oleoresin Capsicum.
OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) also known as OC Pepper Spray, Pepper Spray, OC gas, or capsicum spray is a lachrymatory agent or a (tearing agent) which is used in riot control, crowd control and personal self-defense, including defense against dogs. The active ingredient in pepper spray is capsaicin, which is a chemical derived from the fruit of plants in the Capsicum genus (hot pepper plants) category, including chillis.
Pepper Spray can be purchased with formulas ranging from 1-20% of active OC ingredient. Exposure to OC Pepper Spray causes the person’s eyes to slam shut. A person may be able to open their eyes after direct exposure however; OC dilates the capillaries and causes temporary blindness. Additionally, instant inflammation of the breathing tissues restricts all but life support breathing. They double over coughing uncontrollable; this condition is temporary but very debilitating.
The heat generating capacity of OC Pepper Spray is measured in Scoville Heat Units or (SHU’s) Peppers have a range of range 0-300,000 Scoville Heat Units. Pure OC can have a rating of 15 million SHUs. The type of pepper used to make the pepper spray determines the heat generating capacity. Basically the higher the SHU the hotter. The formula percentage has no bearing on the heat generating capacity of OC Pepper Spray. The higher the percentage of OC in the spray the thicker the formula, resulting in a slower penetration rate. Therefore a 1% formula OC Pepper Spray penetrates faster than the higher percentage formulas thus affecting the assailant quicker. The disadvantage of the thinner OC formulas are that the assailant will recover sooner.
Always check with your local law enforcement agency in regards to the possession and use of any self-defense weapon. Defense sprays can be purchased in CS or CN Tear Gas, OC Pepper Spray or CN/OC and CS/OC combinations.
Defense sprays come in several spray patterns: spray, stream, fog, foam and gel.
Spray Pattern disperses in the direction pointed and does not have a wide spray pattern. The disadvantage of using a spray is blowback. Blowback is when you spray your defense spray directly into the wind defending yourself and it blows on you or others contaminating both you and others in the area.
Stream Pattern disperses at a greater range than sprays usually 15 feet. Stream sprays aren’t as affected by windy conditions as sprays making it unlikely for blowback. However the OC doesn’t disperse as well out of the carrier as sprays with spray patterns.
Fogger Pattern disperses in a wide pattern and is the preferred choice for defense against multiple assailants. The fog pattern stays in the air and they have a range up to 20 feet.
Foam Pattern disperses in a foam pattern and is good for use in crowded areas because secondary exposure is minimal due to the concentration. The pattern isn’t very wide and police reports have shown that assailants have wiped the foam off their face and threw the foam back at officers. Foam pattern is good unless you have to subdue an individual for an arrest or detainment.
Gel Pattern disperses in a sticky gel and literally sticks to an assailants face or body. This formula is new to the industry and eliminates the possibility of having it thrown back at you like with foam patterns. Blowback and secondary exposure are minimal with this new formula.
The sizes of pepper sprays range from 2oz. to 9oz. and come in several types of carriers jogging weights, kubatons (striking device), key-chains and even pagers for easy access without notice. Defense sprays are a very good non-lethal way of defending you or loved ones. They don’t require contact with an assailant like stun guns and batons making it an excellent choice for defense at a distance.