Pepper Spray FAQ

Are all self defense sprays considered pepper spray?

No. In fact there are several different types of self defense sprays. There are CS and CN self defense sprays. These are made up of different chemical compounds and are used as self defense as well as to control riots and the like. CS has become more common over the years than CN type sprays. The active ingredients in these products is manmade and irritates the eyes, the nose, the throat and lungs which will slow down or disable those who have been sprayed.

Pepper spray is an altogether different product and is often known as OC spray. It is a chemical compound that is made from a derivative of cayenne pepper and when sprayed it causes the eyes, to tear up, become painful and the individual may even be blinded temporarily. It can be used in many situations such as personal defense, crowd control, defense against animals and riot control. It has become more popular than the other two forms of spray over the years because it is more effective.

How do you use it?

Using pepper spray is not difficult but most people find that they do better when they have practiced. You should at the very least be familiar with the canister, the nozzle and the dispenser so that you can aim accurately when you are in a stressful situation. If you are in an emergent situation you need to put as much distance between you and your attacker as possible so that you don’t end up spraying yourself. Don’t threaten your attacker with the spray, instead aim the spray at the eyes of your attacker and spray two to three times. It generally takes just a few seconds for the spray to affect the attacker, at which point you need to run and get help.

How long does it take the spray to work and how long will the effects last?

It is effective because it works almost immediately, even on those who may be under the influence of medications, alcohol or drugs or those who do not seem to experience pain as much as others. It will generally last anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes depending on the exact product, which is plenty of time to get away and call police to help capture the attacker.

Does pepper spray expire?

It’s important to note the difference between an expiration date and a shelf life. The actual chemical component will not degrade over time but the shelf life of pepper spray canisters is usually three to four years. After this period of time the can may not spray as well as it should or it may not spray at all. This is especially true with the pepper spray key chain varieties of cans.

The best way to determine if your product has expired is to test it. This can be done every six months. Simply spray one small burst outdoors to ensure it sprays with accuracy and enough force. If it does not, you need to purchase a new canister.

How do I know when to use pepper spray?

Many consumers are reluctant to actually use it, so it needs to be said that you should use it any time that you feel that your life is in danger. This is a personal defense tool and it is meant to help you get out of a situation where you feel threatened. As soon as you feel threatened and don’t believe you will be able to get away, use the spray. You don’t want to wait too long, as you may lose your chance to use the spray at all. The good news is that these products are not deadly, so spraying too soon will not harm the individual long term and will allow you to get to safety.

Where do I store my pepper spray?

You want to store your spray at room temperature in a place where it cannot be reached by children. It’s important not to keep it in a vehicle as hot temperatures can cause the seals to break down. Carrying your product will need to be considered, as most people who need the spray don’t have any warning that they are in trouble. You should keep it with you at all times, if possible, carrying it in a jacket, pants pocket, purse or key chains. The keychain variety is very convenient and much less likely to be forgotten or left behind so it is there when you need it.

Does pepper spray work on animals?

Yes. it will work to ward off wild animals, including dogs. If you are going to carrying it specifically for protection from animals, you will want to purchase our bear or dog spray that has been formulated to work extremely well on animals. Dogs should only be treated with the dog spray as they often cannot flush the pepper spray out of their eyes and the different formulation of the dog spray will allow for the effects to be temporary.

Is it legal for me to carry pepper spray?

It is legal in all 50 states. That being said, in some cities you will need to pay attention to specific regulations concerning where you can buy the spray, where you can possess the spray and also where you can use it. The best option is to call your local police department and ask them about any regulations that pertain to you and your use and possession of it. Knowing the law will help you to use your pepper spray with as much confidence as possible, which is important when you are in those life and death situations where indecision can cost you dearly. See our state laws article for more detailed information, including state laws.

Pepper spray on airplanes?

With security regulations set forth by the FAA and the like, this is a good question. The good news is that you are permitted to carry mace or pepper spray in your checked baggage so long as it have a safety mechanism that will not allow for an accidental discharge. What this does mean is that you cannot carry it on the airplane into the passenger cabin but it can be in your checked baggage so that you have it when you arrive at your destination.

Note: All of the pepper sprays that we sell have a safety mechanism.

What happens if I get pepper spray on me?

Whether it is an accidental discharge or you get it on you in the midst of spraying someone else, the most important thing is not to panic. As quickly as you can, remove all of your contaminated clothing and then rinse all of the affected areas with cool water, not warm, as warm water may intensify the pain. It’s important not to rub the affected areas; rather you need to rinse it with cool water. Once the area has been thoroughly rinsed you will need to wash the areas with a cold cream based soap. This is necessary because soaps with oil will trap the active ingredient of the pepper spray in your skin and prolong the pain. This should relieve the pain and any lasting issues should not go beyond 45 minutes. If pain or irritation continues, have the area examined by a doctor as this is not a normal reaction to the product and you may need treatment.

Is pepper spray better than a stun gun?

Better is a relevant term but when you look at the benefits of each product most people find that sprays are simply more reliable. Unlike a stun gun, your pepper spray does not require a battery, so you need not need to worry about whether your stun gun will actually operate in the event of an emergency. Stun guns can be very effective but if you need it and the batteries are not charged or there are parts that are not working, you will be out of luck and it could be a life and death difference. If you do carry a stun gun, it is a good rule of thumb to carry a spray so that you always have a plan B. It does not need batteries and will usually continue working for years at a time, usually three to four and so you know that when you need assistance, your pepper spray is ready to fight for you. Better safe than sorry, don’t you agree?

Page last updated on: July 25th, 2014

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