No matter where you live, or what your daily routine is, no one is immune from crime. One mistake that people make is becoming too comfortable in their surroundings—this can happen when you feel very safe in your neighborhood or workplace, or feel overly secure visiting the same stores and restaurants in your area. But one of the best ways to stay safe is to always be aware of what is going on around you, and to have a form of self-defense that you can carry anywhere.
Pepper spray is a very useful tool for people who want to help protect themselves against crime wherever they may be, and desire to have the means of warding off someone who may attack them. Some of the major advantages of pepper spray include the facts that it is affordable, non-lethal, portable, and it is not hard to learn how to use it effectively.
Types of Pepper Spray
Pepper spray is typically made of one of three different types of chemical components, commonly called: CS (Orthochlorobenzalmalonitrile), CN (alphachloroacetaphenone), and OC (OleoresinCapsicum). The compounds in CS and CN pepper sprays irritate the membranes of the nose and eyes within 5 to 30 seconds and can cause extreme stinging and tearing of the eyes. Being sprayed with CS or CN is incredibly uncomfortable, and it can be a useful tool to prevent a crime from occurring, or escape when being assaulted. However, CS and CN pepper sprays do have some limitations—they may not be as effective if the assailant is on drugs, drunk, or experiencing a psychotic episode.
OC pepper spray differs from CS and CN due to the fact the chemical compounds are considered an inflammatory agent, not an irritant. This form of pepper spray acts quickly to cause severe inflammation to the eyes and cause them to swell, and it is also possible for OC pepper spray to cause temporary blindness. A person sprayed directly in the face with OC pepper spray will most likely give up any type of assault and be on the ground clutching his or her eyes and nose.
Purchasing Pepper Spray
There are many different sizes and types of pepper spray on the market. In addition to considering which type of chemical compound you want when buying pepper spray, it is also important to think about how the canister you purchase sprays:
- Forced Spray Cone: A pepper spray canister with a forced spray cone emits the pepper spray in a circular mist, typically about two feet in diameter. Many types of forced cone pepper spray canisters have a range of 6 to 12 feet. One drawback to forced spray cone canisters is the fact that if you are not careful the pepper spray compound can blow back into your face if there is a wind at the time of use.
- Broken Stream/Stream: This type of pepper spray canister is designed to deliver a more concentrated stream of liquid pepper spray when aimed at the face of an assailant. This type of canister usually has a longer range than a forced cone canister, but the pepper spray can run out faster due to the fact that it is a direct liquid stream and not a mist.
- Foam: Some types of pepper spray canisters emit foam, which is highly effective in stopping an assailant. The wind does not affect foam pepper spray, and the thickness of it makes it difficult for an assailant to remove it from his or her face without causing great pain and discomfort as the foam is rubbed into the skin.
Tips for Owning Pepper Spray
Pepper spray is a great self-defense tool for everyone to have, but it is a very good idea to know how to use it. After purchasing a canister of pepper spray, take the time to learn how the safety mechanism works and take a few practice sprays so you are comfortable handling it and spraying it in the case of an assault or being confronted by someone who wants to hurt you.
Other Uses for Pepper Spray
In addition to being a form of personal defense, pepper spray is a god thing to carry if you are a hiker or enjoy taking walks around your neighborhood. The compounds in pepper spray work on animals as well as humans, so having a canister of pepper spray can protect you if you encounter and aggressive dog or wild animal while enjoying times outdoors.