Pepper spray is also known as OC, short for its chemical name Oleoresin Capsicum. One of the best general-purpose self-defense tools ever developed, most police in the US carry it. Decades of street-use by law enforcement have proven it safe and effective.
What does pepper spray do to someone? It inflames the skin and mucus membranes of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat. It causes intense pain. It makes the person sprayed in the face close their eyes, cry cough as if chocking, and be unable to speak. It makes them feel that they can’t breathe, though they really can. The effects can last from about 15 minutes for breathlessness to over an hour for the skin sensation of burning.
There are dozens of different sprays on the market. To find the right one for you, consider: OC concentration, Schoville rating, canister size, and spray delivery system. Oh, yeah, and price.
Police pepper spray is usually in the 5-10% range. Higher percentage of OC might actually not be quite as good as the lower ones, because it is harder for the larger quantity of pepper to atomize in the spray. Also, above about 10%, having more OC in the can doesn't make it work faster, and doesn't hurt the attacker more; it just makes the effects last longer than an hour. Since you won't need nearly that much time to get away and call for help, a product in the 5-10% range is most appropriate, and less expensive.
Pepper spray is one of the best general-purpose self-defense tools ever. A previous blog discussed the various types of pepper spray products. Here we will discuss how to use what you have purchased.
An extremely powerful tool for many situations, it pays to have your hand already on it, unobtrusively in your purse or pocket, whenever you are around someone who makes you uneasy, or whenever you are going to or from your car or home.
Quick review of the effects of pepper spray: It inflames the skin and mucus membranes, causing much pain. It forces eyes closed, makes one cry cough uncontrollably, and be unable to speak. The effects can last from about 15 minutes to over an hour. Effects more than four hours might need medical attention.
When properly used it does no permanent damage. So, what’s proper?
For starters, you might not want to carry pepper spray if you have asthma, or use on someone you know to have asthma. Although many asthmatics have been sprayed without ill effect, a few cases have been serious enough to risk death. Also, the safety of using pepper spray around very young children has not been established....