Which Pepper Spray is right for me?

You’d think this would be an easy question to answer but you would be very wrong. We will wade thru the myriad of choices you have when you talk about Pepper Sprays.

Hopefully you read the previous articles in this series that explain the effects and differences between the different types of self defense sprays. If not head to the our site and check them out so you know the facts.

Concentration/Strength:

As you have probably already noticed there are tons of concentrations on the market right now for Pepper Sprays. Some of the more popular are 10%, 15% and 18%.

Now what you have to ask yourself is this, the percentages listed are percentages of what? To be honest they really
don’t elaborate on that part so your left asking what is the difference between the different percentages.

They truth is I wouldn’t rely on the percentage listed on the spray as a determining factor. Instead, pay attention to what is important; the scoville heat rating of the spray, the delivery medium and the spray nozzle type.

(SHU) Scoville Heat Units :

This is the real "strength" rating of the pepper spray out there. The pure OC chemical has a rating of somewhere around 15 million SHU. Now 15 million SHU in a spray will never happen due to tissue damage and other serious health risks related to something that hot.

Instead the "norm" would be around 2 million SHU and will probably not go much higher than that because at just 3 million SHU you start to have tissue damage occur. So to be clear,
don’t worry about the 10% thing instead base your decision on SHU and shoot for around 2 million if you want the hot stuff.

Spray Types (Stream, Fogger, Gel, Foam, Mist)

Ok the spray nozzle type and the delivery medium are so closely related we group them together so it all makes sense. The key to the effectiveness of the spray has to do with how fine the OC is broken down. That is why they list foggers as the most effective due to the small size of the OC droplets. The smaller the droplets the faster it is absorbed and the more effective the spray.

Stream Sprays

Ok this refers to the type of spray that comes out in a long stream of liquid which carries the OC chemical.

Let’s talk about the Pros:

  • Greater shooting distance. Generally 15-20+ feet.
  • The stream isn’t affected too much by wind.
  • The end part of the stream does a good job of delivering small droplets
  • Let’s talk about the Cons:

  • It is the least effective of the different types as much of the OC is
    lost when it splashes on contact.
  • You have to "aim" it , it’s a stream of liquid so you have to actually aim at the target and the further away they are the harder the shot
  • Foggers

    This is the type of spray that comes out in gas or fog form. The size of the droplets are so small that it is almost immediately absorbed by the attacker on contact and/or inhalation.

    Let’s talk about the Pros:

  • Greater shooting distance. Generally 15-20+ feet.
  • The fog isn’t affected too much by wind.
  • It does the best at delivering micro small droplets fast for immediate results.
  • Can be used to put up a barrier to give you time to escape.
  • It can be very effective with multiple assailants.
  • Great for home use because the spray lingers in the air as a barrier of pain.
  • Let’s talk about the Cons:

  • You don’t get many shots per bottle but don’t let this hold you back. On average
    you’ll pay 10-20 bucks for pepper spray and even if you only get to use it once to save your life…it’s 10-20 bucks for
    God’s sake! I would pay 100 times that to save my life without a second thought.
  • Mist

    This is the type of spray that comes out in a cone shaped mist. The size of the droplets are very small so it is almost immediately absorbed by the attacker on contact and inhalation.

    Let’s talk about the Pros:

  • It does a good job at delivering fine droplets for immediate results.
  • Can be used to put up a barrier to give you time to escape.
  • It can be very effective with multiple assailants.
  • Better for home use than outside due to wind
  • Let’s talk about the Cons:

  • The only way to get a decent range is with a huge bottle; normal range is only about 4-6 feet.
  • Wind greatly affects the mist and can cause
    "blowback" on the user
  • Foam

    This is one of the newer types of spray and it comes out in foam form. When it hits an attacker it sticks and expands. I am unsure however, how fine the droplets of OC is but according to the manufacturer it is very effective.

    Let’s talk about the Pros:

  • Expands when it hits the attacker’s face.
  • The more he tries to wipe it off the more he grinds it into his pores.
  • Not greatly affected by wind
  • Let’s talk about the Cons:

  • Short shooting distance. Generally only 6-10 feet.
  • Not a lot of shots in the bottle
  • Gel

    This is a brand new patent pending pepper spray and it shoots out a pepper gel. Mace is the manufacturer and they tout it as very effective in stopping an assailant. It too sticks and spreads when they try to wipe it off.

    Let’s talk about the Pros:

  • Greater shooting distance. Generally 18+ feet.
  • The gel isn’t affected by wind;It sticks and spreads when it hits.
  • Let’s talk about the Cons:

  • None known but this is a relatively new product
  • The last thing that can impact your decision is whether or not to get a Pepper spray that also has UV dye in it. The benefit of this is that after you go to the police if they pick him up they can use an UV light on him to show where you sprayed him so it helps secure identification of the suspect as well as the conviction.

    Now you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision as to which Pepper Spray would be best for your personal situation. I always like to recommend to people that they get a spray for the home, one for the visor of your car and one for your key chain, pocket or purse.

    Don’t let all the choices intimidate you, to be honest ANY spray is better than no spray. Keep safe and all the best to you and yours.

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