Pepper spray is a good line of defense

Pepper spray is a good line of defense

Why and when to carry pepper spray is an important question and concern particularly for women, who may be out alone at night. You never know when you may need protection from an assailant.

Ideally, you should have the spray with you at all times. Carry it so you have easy and quick access to it. Do not carry in your purse or bag where you have to unbuckle or unzip if you need the spray.

Why Is This Stuff Hot?

It contains oleoresin capsicum, an intense component in cayenne pepper. It can be water- or oil-based. When you use a surfactant in a water-based formula, the formula remains homogenous, so you do not need to shake before spraying. It stays in formula and the contents do not separate. Read the list of contents. Major capsaicinoids are the true measure of heat, which determines the most potent and fiery self defense spray.

Non Lethal

Remember, the spray is not going to kill or permanently maim anyone so do not worry about this. Do not delay using it if you are in danger.


What Happens?

Use the spray from a distance of eight to 20 feet, contingent on the type of spray you have. Some can be fired repetitively. When using it is imperative you hit the assailant in the eyes in order for the spray to be effective.

When a person is blasted, he instantly experiences burning of the eyes, throat, nose and lungs. Eyes become dilated, causing short-term blindness, and begin to puff up. The individual has trouble breathing. Skin burns when coming into contact with the spray and mucous tissues in the throat, nose and sinuses hurt. It is not a pleasant experience, but it is not supposed to be.

This definitely gets the attention of whomever or whatever (e.g., a dog) you are spraying, hindering the person or animal long enough for you to make a safe getaway.

Once sprayed the person or animal experiences consequences for 20 to 90 minutes. The spray is effectual on those ‘under the influence,’ unlike tear gas, which isn’t.

How Do I Carry It

Do not allow the spray to get buried at the bottom of your handbag. If you can’t find it — looking, looking, digging, still looking — it isn’t going to do you any good. Time is of the essence if you are about to be assaulted or robbed. Clip it to the inside of your bag so you can retrieve it in a split second. You can put the spray in a fanny pack. If it is attached to a belt, attach it so the spray is upside down. It’s easier to grab and use that way.

Practice retrieving the spray from a belt, fanny pack or purse.


Store the spray away from children and animals. Put it in an area where the temperature is moderate. The seals of the can may leak if you leave the spray in the your vehicle during hot weather. The canister can explode. Extreme heat destroys the effectiveness of the contents. On the other hand, if the contents get too cold they are not going to be effective.


If the can is dropped this can damage the contents. Test the spray every three months or so to make sure it is in working order.

You must replace the spray every two to four years. If using old spray it can emit a short burst rather than a fine mist and you may get injured instead of the assailant.