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#137920 - 06/27/08 03:05 PM Pepper sprays / mace?
TeacherRO Offline

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2326
Is there a preferred brand? Size? Is gel or foam better?
All opinions welcome.

#137929 - 06/27/08 03:35 PM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: ]
JohnN Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 966
Loc: Seattle, WA

My understanding is that Fox Labs is a good brand. Personally, I think the 2oz is a good size. Large enough to do the job, but small enough to conceal.

My understanding is there are three main types. Stream, Cone and Foam.

Stream has more range, but you have to be more accurate. Cone works better up close but is going to be less effective at farther distances. Foam is for indoor use where having a bunch of aerated particles in the ventilation system is probably not optimal.

Personally I think the cone is the best for general purpose. Most encounters of the unpleasant type are likely to happen up close.

Keep in mind you need to plan 'what next'. Typically "run!" is the answer.


#137934 - 06/27/08 04:16 PM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: JohnN]
Colourful Offline

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 86
Loc: Yukon
Bears : I like a concentrated stream. After the stuff is out, water evaporates and pepper dust moves with wind.

Punks : After being sprayed, if he or she grab and wrestle you, you will be in contact with the stuff, so spray and run.

#137981 - 06/28/08 01:50 AM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: Colourful]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...Punks : After being sprayed, if he or she grab and wrestle you, you will be in contact with the stuff..."

Indeed you will. I have seen some badguys laugh at mace/pepperspray, but I KNOW it works on me. Nowdays I would go for a Taser. PR-24 to the side of the knee works too, but they are kinda hard to carry around, and illegal in many places except for LEO's...

#137985 - 06/28/08 02:41 AM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: TeacherRO]
CentralOklahoma Offline

Registered: 03/04/07
Posts: 45
Loc: Oklahoma

I have carried and used OC "Pepper Spray for 12 years now. I have used it on about 15 very aggressive, even suicidal acting people. Men and women. It is very important to get it on their face, specifically in their EYES.

The key to this is suprise. IF they do not expect it, it will work alot better.

I have yet to see anyone that has gotten a good dose in the eyes, to have it fail to work on them. There are guys out there that may say it does not work on them, well they are full of it. If they ever get it in their eyes, it will work.

There are three general types as mentioned before by others. FOG "mist", Stream, and Foam.

The fog is for very close range, will contaminate you as much as the bad guy and is blown by the wind all over the place. I would not recomend carrying it.

The Foam was designed for use inside jails and prisons in an effort to keep the stuff from cross contaminating other areas of the jail or prison, this causing probelms with other prisoners.

The bad thing about the foam is the bad guy can wipe it off and throw it back at you!

This leaves us with the best one in my opinion, the STREAM. I use a DefTech product.

The good thing about the STEAM is it is easy to aim, even at night as it seems to gather light and you can see the stream even if there is just a little light out. This makes it easier to get the stuff in the bad guys face. It is less likely to blow in the wind and is more precise on hitting targets unlike the shotgun effect of the nightmare fogger.

I would recomend the (Size) MK 3 for conclealed carry, it is small enough to carry in your hand, yet it still has enough range and product to hit a bad guy at 10-15 feet.

Stay away from the size that is suppose to go on your key ring. That is too small an amount that you might only spray and miss with. Most every time I used it I ended up dumping the whole can (MK4 size that is for belt pouch carry) as most people do not just stand around when the fight is on.

If you get a good face full, expect to be unable to open your eyes from 30 minutes to 5 hours. The best help at getting it off of you is to force your eyes open with your fingers and to face a cool high speed fan. It could take an hour or so facing the fan to get to a point that you feel good enough to get away from the fan. Be aware that the fan will make your face feel alot cooler and when you first go away from it your face will feel like its heating up again.........

Some say that baby shampoo deluted in water and sprayed DIRECTLY into the forced open eyes helps get the sticky resin out, thus speeding recovery. Rinse with lots of cool clean water after.

The baby shampoo direct into the eyes may right now sound like a crazy thing, but when you get a good dose of OC in your eyes, it burns so freaking bad that you will generally try anything to get it to cool down. I have actually done this and it did seem to help the first time I was sprayed with it in training.

The last time I was sprayed in training, it was a nightmare that lasted over 4 hours, unable to open my eyes, as I had been sprayed by some of the newer foger OC's that have a super high OC content.

**I almost forgot to warn you, IF you get sprayed say in the face, afterward when you can breath again, and your face is not feeling so much like its in an oven, and you have finished swearing off mexican food for a year, DO NOT just strip down and jump in the shower.

**All that OC may re activate and if in a shower, it will run down your body and inflame additional areas that just might be more sensitive than your face had been......

I would rather get a 5 second ride on the X 26 Taser than get a face of OC.

Good luck.


The stuff I use and has been used on me. It is hot but not crazy hot like some of the newer versions. OC by DefTech is a food grade product that you can actually eat.


Background info on OC.


#137987 - 06/28/08 03:09 AM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: Colourful]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Pepper spray, if you have it, gives you another option.

There is some slight danger of not escalating enough or not taking a situation seriously enough, in essence not realizing your in deep poop when you are and then too late showing up to 'gunfight with a knife'. Or pepper spray, as the case may be. The reflexive tendency of too many is to immediately escalate to lethal force, while claiming to playing it safe.

If you do carry pepper spray you need to be aware of its limitations and aware of the situation in ways most don't often pay much attention to. Like the direction of the wind. Or getting enough room to get at least arms length away before you spray and room to maintain twice that once you spray. Being aware of this, and taking steps to maintain distance and upwind in a situation should be automatic if you carry spray.

Sidestepping can be at least as, if not more, effective as a way of maintaining a safe distance. Virtually anything might be used to help maintain separation. A chair bench, broom or mop can be used to fend off a person. Getting on the other side of a vehicle or even a low wall is good. On the street staying on the opposite side of a lamp post or sign.

My tendency is to keep facing the attacker. Maintaining some control and awareness. Backing off or sidestepping as needed. If you run your giving up a lot of ability to influence the outcome.

IMHO if your going to use pepper spray I wouldn't warn the person that they will get sprayed. Or let them know you have pepper spray. I think this gives up the advantage of surprise and gives the attacker a chance to brace themselves and/or modify their tactics to neutralize your defense.

When the critical moment comes whip out the spray and spray accurately and thoroughly. Lay it on heavy. This is going to be easier if you have practiced. Some spray manufacturers sell practice sprays that match the performance of their regular version. I would advise everyone who carries spray to use these to practice with as often as possible.

In selecting pepper spray I would get it as strong a version as practical. The spray pattern to get is up to you. Tight streams have to be aimed and anything that misses the face is pretty much wasted. You can run out of spray before hitting the target. And the time it takes to get it on target allows countermeasures. Thugs aware of pepper sprays often know to turn away, cover the face with a shirt or anything handy and attempt to rapidly close with and grapple with anyone spraying them.

Wide sprays can get you an effective hit faster. But anything but a direct hit won't be as effective as a square hit from a concentrated stream. Possibly more importantly a wide spray with small droplets or aerosol can blow back on you. Making your awareness of the wind and keeping upwind even more critical.

Also where you might use it can make a difference. An aerosol used in a small room can effect everyone in the space. A good spray of strong OC spray can make a fairly large room uninhabitable for a good amount of time. A small leak can make a vehicle impossible to drive if your unwilling to drive with your head out the window. Unless the can is intended for emergency use it pays to keep any cans of spray your transporting in a vehicle sealed in plastic bags. Ideally the primary zip-lock is rolled in a thick towel and stuffed in a trash bag. This gives the spray somewhere to go.

Choosing a spray I would get the largest bottle I could comfortably carry and get one with a dye. Sprayed with a UV activated dye means that sticking around makes them more vulnerable to be caught by the police. This may or may not persuade them to break off any pursuit. At the very least they are out some clothes. The down side is that if it leaks or you spray innocent bystanders you may be buying replacement clothing. Some dyes will wash out of clothes but not off of skin. Some permanently stain clothes.

Personally I like having pepper spray, a stun gun and a collapsible baton handy. An appropriate firearm completes the picture. IMO non-lethal defense means you can intervene earlier and more confidently in marginally threatening situations. It gives you more options.

#137990 - 06/28/08 03:42 AM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: Art_in_FL]
SwampDonkey Offline

Registered: 07/08/07
Posts: 1268
Loc: Northeastern Ontario, Canada
Hi Teacher,

Oklahoma and Art have given you sound advice.

I would go with stream pepperspray, as hot as you can get, in as large a can as you are able to conceal. Hit with surprise at the appropriate time and if you are with friends have a pre-arranged code word that means pepperspray is going to be deployed (e.g. HOT).

I was pepper sprayed in training with a direct hit in the face of very hot spray of the cone type. I was able to keep it together for about 10 seconds, but as soon as I blinked I could not open my eyes again. Decontamination took about 45 minutes and running water became my best friend. It really s*cked, I remember it like it was yesterday and actually it was 10 years ago.

Use with caution as it is easy to contaminate yourself and others or have an accidental discharge. Don't play with the can, flash it about, or horse-around with it, the stuff is bad news and dangerous when used on some people or in risky situations (e.g. in a vehicle). Also if you spray a person and it has limited or no effect (e.g. drugs, training, you missed) they often get very angry and the confrontation escalates, be prepared!

Another tool in the tool-box.


#138024 - 06/28/08 04:11 PM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: TeacherRO]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 788
Loc: wellington, fl
Cautionary Tale:
Back in the mid seventies, we had off-duty cops in uniform doing security duty at the hospital, with mace and other accouterments on their belts. A ‘Code Gray’ announcement on the PA system was used to summon security and all able-bodied types to a unit where there was that kind of trouble-an unruly patient, a beached whale, a screw-top jar with a sticky lid…whatever.

One evening, there was a ‘Code Gray’ announced for the newborn nursery. This was unusual, so the (young and foolish) male nurse and orderlies responded, as did the Sgt. Murphy, at a faster pace than usual. Murphy was slightly ahead of us (he was faster, and he was also the best choice as point man) and as he rounded the corner to the nursery corridor, he slipped and fell, damaging his can of mace, which proceeded to empty itself, creating a cloud that pretty much filled the corridor. This incapacitated Murphy, the misbehaving visitor who was in the corridor and who was the object of the code call, and te male nurse and orderlies who ran into the cloud. Alls well that ends well, but the Sergeant was known as Mace Murphy for a long time thereafter.
Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

#138025 - 06/28/08 04:16 PM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: nursemike]
7point82 Offline

Registered: 11/24/05
Posts: 478
Loc: Oklahoma
CentralOklahoma, that's one of the most objective, accurate posts I've read in a while! Good job.

A BIG +1 on NOT carrying/using the key chain sized units. When my DW and I started dating she carried one of those. We went outside and I sprayed it at a small tree. She was amazed at how brief the spray lasted and how weakly it was dispensed. She's been carrying either a two or (usually) three ounce spray ever since. The two or three ounce can be carried in your hand when walking through a parking lot and no one will even notice.

Art offered good advice too. Pepper spray isn't a death ray. Even if the bad guy is instantly blinded and in pain he can still make a lunge or run at your last known location; so MOVE. A term I hear at lot from my trainers is "clock-step". Very basic but effective.

The long and short of it is that I really like the stuff. It gives me an option other than going hands on. I had a very aggressive panhandler suddenly remember an appointment (only guessing wink ) when he thought he was going to get a face full of the stuff.

There are several good brands. I usually carry Fox Labs or the stuff the local police supply stocks. I can't remember the brand and the DW isn't here or I would just check her purse. lol.
"There is not a man of us who does not at times need a helping hand to be stretched out to him, and then shame upon him who will not stretch out the helping hand to his brother." -Theodore Roosevelt

#138039 - 06/28/08 06:29 PM Re: Pepper sprays / mace? [Re: 7point82]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Coming back to this thread, I finally had time to read it in detail, a couple of thoughts come to mind.

If you do buy pepper spray or mace be sure to note the expiration date. The stuff doesn't last forever. The cans can lose pressure and, I have been told, the compound will lose strength. In my mind nothing would so embolden an attacker as having someone pull out a can of mace and at the critical triumphant moment it dribbles out over their hand. Or the compound is so weak it is like eating hot wings.

When a can reaches its expiration date use it for practice and get a new one.

Second, don't be a one-hit wonder. Have a plan-B, an escape, and a sequence for escalating. Make sure your symphony has a second, and a third, movement. Some people make their move and then freeze. Just standing there. Sometimes they get away with it. But sometimes events overtake them and they lose the initiative. Stay active and engaged. Be aware of the wider situation.

Thugs can come alone or in packs. Mace one and you may have to deal with the group. If your lucky they go after an easier target once one has been sprayed.

If not, one of the advantages of a large can with a wide spray is you can hose down a group. Useful to cover your withdrawl and buying you time.

Firearms may not be the end-all of defense. Faced with a gun a gang can circle, build up each others courage and look for an opening. They can play on your reluctance to shoot to close in. Sometimes attempting to sweet talk the victim or make them feel guilty for pulling a weapon when 'they just want to talk'.

Shooting at this stage can also have legal repercussions. You can guarantee that all the kids will have a well rehearsed story about how they were all on their way to register to vote, or church, and without provocation a madman pulled out a gun and started shooting.

Maced their enthusiasm for the game drains. A little pepper spray in the eyes shatters the illusion of their being invulnerable as long as they keep the tension simmering just below a boil. Being non-lethal you can mace when threatened and long before the situation breaks down completely. Played well nobody has to get shot. Nobody dies.

The combination of a pistol in one hand and a large bottle of pepper spray may be a good one in some situations. The pepper spray a compliment to the firearm for borderline situations.

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