Pepper Spray: A Self Defense Option?

Pepper-Spray-A TLS report: With the recent rash in burglaries and assaults in the community, there’s been much talk about the different self defense options. One of the much discussed options, was the option of carrying Pepper Spray. TLS did some research into the effects, options and legalities of Pepper Spray, and this is what we found.

The Effect: Pepper Spray is not an irritant. It is an Inflammatory agent. The difference is important. When you are sprayed with an inflammatory agent your eyes slam shut instantly. If you can manage to open your eyes your capillaries will be dilated and you will be temporarily blind.  This causes the person to be vulnerable and dependent, resulting in easy overpowering (for example, by law enforcement officials).

Is it better to carry Pepper Spray or not? It’s the debate many have with any weapon used for self defense.

TLS spoke with an LPD Officer who wishes to remain anonymous, for his opinion on carrying the spray. “‎​It’s an excellent deterrent for an attacker especially for women” he said. “The law allows its carry usually on a key chain-type dispenser for easy access and use. Its not fatal, and will help buy the victim some time to call Police and get away from the attacker”. He added, “The law also allows for prosecution under an assault charge if a person uses it improperly against another person”. “My wife carries a nice pink one on her key chain”.

The law in NJ: Any non-felon 18 or over may possess for your protection “one pocket-sized device which contains and releases not more than three-quarters of an ounce of chemical substance not capable of lethal use or of inflicting serious bodily injury, but rather is intended to produce temporary physical discomfort or disability through being vaporized or otherwise dispensed in the air”.

Decide how you are going to carry it. There are flip tops, twist locks, thumb trigger, and gun grip models. Each has advantages and disadvantages. 

Most police and other enforcement agents us a flip top canister. They have a guard over the button and it is protected from going off accidentally, but usually need to be n a carry case on the belt.  

Twist locks are good for carrying in a pocket, if it has a good locking design.  

Thumb trigger and gun grip models need to be in a holster of some kind and are larger. Not so good for the opera, but maybe good when hiking or camping. 

Carrying it around:You cannot carry pepper spray on board a commercial aircraft. This is a Federal crime that can carry up to a $25,000 dollar fine. It is ok to carry pepper spray in your checked baggage although it is highly advisable that you notify the ticketing agent when you check your baggage. Also since 9/11, you may have issues when carrying pepper spray into secured locations such as a Federal buildings, State buildings or anyplace where you pass through a security checkpoint.

Below, is a Star Ledger video of members of the New Jersey National Guard in Fort Bliss training before their deployment to Iraq. Before any soldiers can guard an Iraqi detainee they must be sprayed with Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) a very powerful pepper spray like substance. The goal is for them to understand what the spray does to people and themselves.

Getting sprayed with extreme pepper spray
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  1. Just so you all know, all officers that carry pepper spray are sprayed in a controlled environment like shown on the video so they are aware of the full effects and of its effectiveness.

  2. I strongly suggest TLS readers look into Grizzly Bear spray for home defense, it sprays 25ft and is made to take down a Grizzly, it should work on for average break in. Don’t know what the law says about it.

  3. Thanks #1 we really needed to know this. Oh and one thing TLS your article forgot one small bit of advice after I sprayed myself to be like #1 and afford the same experience how do i stop the PAIN?

  4. fresh air and time. rinse your face off thoroughly ONCE trying your hardest to keep your eyes open to flush them. let it air dry, do not pat or rub. do this only once, if its not sufficiently rinsed off, water will reactivate it….untreated the effects should only last between 30-45 minutes. if they persist seek medical treatment….a few people may be allergic to it say if your allergic to peppers and some people, like people who eat spicy food for their entire lives, may be resistant to it.

  5. The reason the cops need to get sprayed is so they will see how painful it is there for they wont be so quick to spray it, only if they really need to. For a civilian we dont have that concern if someone comes into your comfort zone in a threatening manner go ahead and spray, and run. Another side note if you want to use oc spray for home protection you need to get foam spray for if you spray the regular spray in the indoors nobody will be able to breath, the foam is non evaporating it will only effect the person aimed at. There are alot of brands if you want to know you are getting the best quality stuff get the brand the cops use, its made by Fox Labs. i think you can only get it online

  6. I don’t carry a gun to kill people.
    I carry a gun to keep from being killed.

    I  don’t carry a gun to scare people.
    I carry a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.

    I  don’t carry a gun because I’m paranoid.
    I carry a gun because there are real threats in the world. 
    I don’t carry a gun because I’m evil.
    I carry a gun  because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world. 
    I don’t carry a gun because I hate the government.
    I carry a gun because I understand the limitations of government. 
    I don’t carry a gun because I’m angry.
    I carry a gun so that I don’t have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared. 
    I don’t carry a gun because I want to shoot someone.
    I carry a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon

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