Is pepper spray right for you?

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I have often been asked about carrying pepper spray as a self-defense weapon.  Everyone has to conduct a risk assessment and what they are comfortable carrying and using if the time comes.

Women make up the majority of Americans that carry pepper spray on a daily basis.  It is fairly safe and a less lethal option to stop a larger threat.

I do not discourage anyone from using pepper spray, but rather make sure you train correctly and have a plan.  If your pepper spray is in the bottom of your purse or dangling wildly from you purse strap, how will you get to it when an attacker is 10 feet from you?  The attacker can announce they are coming to assault you, walk normally to you and have their hands on you before you will put your hands on your pepper spray, wherever it is.

Too many people carry pepper spray and rely on it being there to stop a threat.  You need to have it staged and readily accessible in the event of an attack.

Practice.  Buy and extra bottle of pepper spray and go home and practice on a life size cutout and see the range of the spray and how it is affected by the wind.  The effective range of most pepper spray is around 20 feet.  You will soon realize that you will more than likely get some pepper spray on you or at least breathe some in.  Then, you will know what it is like and how to deal with it.

Train.  Put your pepper spray in a location that is easy to get to with one hand and can be deployed by one hand.  When you leave the store, you should be carrying your pepper spray in your hand along with your keys.  FORGET your phone for 90 seconds and be aware of your surroundings.  If you carry your spray on your body, have a plan of how to grip, draw and deploy the spray in the event of an attack.

Don’t just put it in your pocket or jacket.  This are both examples of false security.  You feel safe because it is there.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.

If you carry a lethal weapon and pepper spray as a secondary weapon, that is great.  You still need a plan of action for drawing the pepper spray and deploying it, just as you would with a lethal weapon.

If you are a runner, pepper spray is a great choice for self-defense.  Just keep in mind that you will need to place it somewhere you can get to it in a hurry and with one hand.  If you run with a back pack or fanny pack, you will have to unzip something to obtain the spray.  That is never a good situation.  Try and carry it on your person, or even in your hand.  If a would be attacker sees that you are armed, it may totally change his mind and the outcome as well.

In my line of work pepper spray is something commonly utilized.  We call it OC.  It stands for Oleoresin Capsicum.  It DOES NOT affect everyone the same.  Some people have been getting sprayed by pepper spray for years and it doesn’t affect them like it would a normal person.  You can spray someone and they may still continue to charge you and put their hands on you.  You have to aim it at the nose and eye areas to be effective.

Overall, pepper spray is a good self-defense weapon IF it can be deployed and used properly.  It is another tool for your tool box.

Fortuna Paratus Remunerat= Fortune Favors the Prepared.

Shane Smith


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