what is pepper spray

What is Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is a less lethal self defense device that can be used as a protection mechanism against people as well as animals.

When sprayed, it causes a severe irritation, especially when sprayed into an attacker’s eyes. This type of intense irritation is caused since it is an aerosol spray that contains an active ingredient known as oleoresin capsicum (OC).

Oleoresin capsicum is an oil derived from a pepper plant and is a type of an inflammatory agent that causes irritation. OC is such a prominent ingredient in pepper spray that some individuals refer to pepper spray as “OC Spray.”

What is in Pepper Spray?

To create pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum is mixed with water or an oil-based solution then pressurized inside an aerosol canister.

By pressurizing the formula, individuals are able to spray an attacker at a distance. Some pepper sprays can spray 4 ft while others can spray up to 25 ft away!

The distance depends on the brand, size of canister and the type of pepper spray you purchase.

Types of Pepper Spray

There are several types of pepper sprays available on the market today. The most common type is a hand-held aerosol container that releases OC particles when sprayed at its target in a stream formation.

There are also larger containers (sometimes referred to as “bear sprays”) designed for outdoor use against bears and other large animals. Additionally, there are gel-based, fog and foam based pepper sprays.

Here are the four most common types of pepper spray: 

  1. Stream — The pepper spray stream is the most common type of OC spray on the marketplace. A stream pepper spray shoots just like it sounds…in one powerful stream. Picture a hose, water gun, or spray paint - the pepper spray stream shoots similarly to these items. The stream provides a high level of accuracy (learn how to use pepper spray by watching this video) and can spray quite far. The stream spray usually sprays anywhere from 8 ft to 12 ft. 
  2. Gel — Pepper gel sprays can spray the farthest compared to other types of pepper spray. Depending on the brand and the size, this pepper spray is known to spray up to 25 ft. Pepper spray gel requires the most accuracy when spraying at an attacker because it shoots in a precise stream and then sticks.
  3. Fogger — Pepper spray fogger shoots similar to how perfume sprays. Since it does not shoot in stream, you have less to worry about when it comes to accuracy. However, since it is less precise there is an increased chance that the spray will blow back at you. For best practices be sure to spray, run away and call for help. Fogger pepper spray will spray anywhere between 4ft and 18 ft depending on the size and brand. 
  4. Foam — Pepper spray foam is similar to pepper spray gel in the fact that it sticks once it is sprayed. Think of this one like shaving cream. This spray can spray up to 18ft but typically sprays a shorter distance. On average it sprays 6 ft to 8 ft.

How do you Use Pepper Spray?

Pepper spray is such a popular less lethal self-defense device because it works well and it is easy to use.

In case of emergencies, it's important to know how to use pepper spray. Read this article to learn how.

Be sure to practice using your pepper spray so that you are always prepared — just in case. You can find a practice bundle on the Safely store.

Is Pepper Spray Dangerous and How Does it Work?

Pepper spray works by releasing an aerosolized form of oleoresin capsicum (OC). OC is derived from chili peppers and contains chemicals that cause inflammation in mucous membranes—such as those found in the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

When exposed to OC, the most common physical effects include:

  • Burning and pain in eyes as well as the throat 
  • Temporary blindness
  • Coughing 

Pepper spray can cause more severe reactions depending on the amount of major capsaicin (MC) inside of the formula.

To ensure pepper spray manufacturers do not add too many MCs, there are legal legislations in place.

Most symptoms last around 15 minutes. The National Capital Poison Center recommends that “anyone with serious effects such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or persistent eye pain should seek immediate medical evaluation.” 

Can You Die from being Pepper Sprayed?

Pepper spray is known to be a less lethal or non-lethal self-defense option. Less lethal meaning most cases will not result in death and non-lethal meaning the device will not result in death.

In most cases, pepper spray will not cause permanent damage. However, there have been few cases where pepper spray was found to be lethal, but this is very very rare and usually the individual had an underlying condition such as asthma.

If you have been sprayed by pepper spray, wash your eyes out with water and do not touch other parts of your body.

For more information on what to do, check out this article

Is Pepper Spray Legal?

Pepper spray is legal in every state.

In most states, anyone over 18 years of age may purchase and carry pepper spray without any special license or permit.

However, it’s important to note that some states have more stringent requirements. It’s best to check your state’s laws prior to purchasing and/or carrying pepper spray. 

To learn more about the pepper spray laws in your state, visit this article

Please note that, due to state laws, Safely pepper spray can not be shipped to Hawaii, Massachusetts, or New York.

About Safely Pepper Spray

Carrying pepper spray can help you protect your peace of mind and helps you stay prepared just in case.

Safely pepper spray is pocket sized, has a safety lock, contains UV-Dye to mark an attacker and contains a maximum strength formula including 10% oleoresin capsicum (OC) and 1.4% capsaicinoids (MC).

Safely pepper spray can spray up to 10 ft and has up to 25 quick bursts inside each canister.

Our pepper spray is lab tested to ensure maximum strength in each canister and has a shelf-life of 4 years.

Get your Safely keychain pepper spray today by purchasing from our online store.

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