How do Pepper Spray?
So I am researching pepper spray. I haven't found any real interesting threads on pepper spray here yet, but I am still looking. There was a pretty interesting bit about Lasik and pepper spray though.
My first thought was to try out the stuff that Cold Steel offers (Inferno) which I have looked at a couple times on their site and it seems to look pretty good from what I can tell. It is a foam that liquefies on contact so that it drips down and is harder to wipe off. Sabre and Mace I have also heard good things about. Fox labs looks pretty good too. I just started looking at their site and already I am leaning towards getting some from them.
Anyone have experience with pepper spray? Any recommendations on brands or what to look for in products?
From what I have gathered there are a few factors that go into rating how good a pepper spray is from what I can figure out. The type of pepper spray used (spray, foam, gel, fogger) is interesting. Advantages and disadvantages for the different types, ok, makes sense. Spray pattern is a factor. The type of propellant used is a factor. There are different additives that people put in there like CN or SC gas, Inferno has black pepper, there are all sorts of crazy things people put in this stuff I am sure. Then you get into the percentage of OC (Oleoresin Capsaicin), the SHU (Scoville Heat Units), the percentage of CRC (Capsaicin and related Capsaicinoids) in the OC, and plus what kind of carrier is used in the rest of the stuff is important apparently (oils and solvents). Of course finding out all this information about all these products is not super easy, they don't all exactly have a simple ingredient label to look at and compare. Shelf life? How important are some of these factors?
I have also heard that using a spray that only has OC is better since if it has CN or CS in it they (the CN or CS) do not act as instantly and are more likely to float back in your face. Thus better to just get a higher concentration of OC than get a mix of the three or whatever. Any truth?
Training with pepper spray is a whole other bag of pissed off cats.
Can I haz pepper spray?
During certification to carry OC, we were required to take a 3-second dose in the face. Our agency used 10% OC content in a carrier that delivered steady stream up 15 feet. Works well on a majority of folks, but is limited to circumstances/weather. You would not want to deploy the OC in a tight space as you or your partner are as likely to get the dose as the bad guy. You would not want to try to deploy in a windy situation as you are just about guarnateed to get a dose of your own OC. Off duty, I do not carry it. Cuffs, baton and sidearm.
It's great on thai food...
Whatever you get, get multiples and go test shoot it so that you understand the operation, spray pattern, etc. If you're really brave, have someone hit you with it so that you understand the effect it will have on someone first hand.
If you do, bring some baby shampoo. I've heard that helps.
A while back, I read a book called Pepper Sprays by Doug Lamb, and some of my training partners have used them before (law enforcement officers). However, I haven't used them myself. This is the info I've gleaned:
The info you posted on OC vs CN/CS is what I have read too. If you look for defensive sprays though, the majority are OC sprays anyway, and the higher the Scovile rating, the more of a punch it packs. The spray pattern obviously affects the range, margin of error and how it will be affected by the wind. I've also read that the spray pattern affects the size of the droplets, which will affect how quickly it reacts with the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Ideally, smaller droplets are better for this, so a cone shaped stream of small droplets seems ideal for having it hit max effect as fast as possible, but this pattern is also most suceptible to being blown back towards you, while a single stream is most likely to resist this, so there's that gamble.
I've heard from people that have experienced both that being pepper sprayed is far worse than being stun gunned. I've only experienced the latter so I'm not sure.
The stance usually advocated is one with the dominant hand back, so a left lead for right handed people, spraying with the right hand. The idea is to avoid a common reaction by a lot of people using these sprays: they want to extend their arm towards the person's face and spray at close range, like this:
The problem is that right before, during or after the arm extension, an opponent (trained or untrained) is likely to swing their arm out to grab it or knock it away or hit the arm with a weapon, and with an outstretched arm they might succeed. That's why a stance more like this is advocated:
IF anyone is interested, the chemical reason for this is that baby shampoo contain nonionic surfactant detergents, also known as wetting agents, that help disrupt the surface tension of, among other things, oleoresin in the eye.
Originally Posted by money
At the molecular level the baby shampoo helps "loosen" the fabric of OC molecules coating the eye, allowing an eye flush of water to penetrate more easily than with a traditional, eye-irritating, anionic detergents like most wash soaps.
I have found that OC streamers have always worked best for me. Foggers are OK indoors but streamers are the best all around deployment patterns IMO. Wind can cause some nasty surprises on foggers when used outside. BTDT :)
The foams have never really impressed me as being better than a stream and the range of the streamers are usually better.
I can say from experience that low-velocity streams like you would get from U.S. Post Office issued dog pepper sprays do not work well against the wind. But they do burn for a good long time. Also, apparently when a dog sees you crumple into a ball and scream and cry, they decide the game is over and leave you alone.
And yes, sprays (vs. streams) will make a small space uninhabitable. That's including your living room. Anything with CS can have mixed effects. On me, it'll drop me instantly, and my lungs will actively rebel against the rest of my stupid body that has put them in such a situation. A very few people wonder why everyone else is so distraught.
I personally like the foams that leave an ultra-violet sensitive dye that marks the assailant. I don't have any though. Just some Sabre spray and a big ol' can of bear spray. I can't imagine that wouldn't give someone pause in a hallway.
I've done some reading in the past about OC vs CS/CN. What I came across was that OC is better against intoxicated persons, is more effective in general, and more safe.
By the last two, what I mean is that the lower threshold for effectiveness is better than CS/CN, and the higher threshold for serious damage is higher, so you are more likely to stop a guy but less likely to cause permanent damage.
Cold weather has been known to prevent OC spray from working, due to the persons pores being closed. We actually tried this on a friend of mine. We sprayed him in the face in weather around -5 to -10 celsius. He was unaffected by the spray outside, until he went inside and warmed up.
I've also heard from friends that it's much better to be tazered than sprayed, and that baby shampoo is the only thing that helps.
I've been sprayed several times. My encounter was in a middle school fight. Once by a cop who crashed a party I was at back in high school. A couple times I was a casualty of war as a bartender when someone was trying to spray someone else. Never been tazed, but I'm pretty sure it's not nearly as painful nor does it last near as long.
From my experience on the receiving end, a stream would have to be better. Even indoors there is usually some type of current, and spray is very limited in range in the first place. Foam seems more suited to hitting someone already restrained, or going for group in very close quarters, where pissing off and giving them panic rage could be worse then taking the ass whooping you about to get.
Of course from my personal experience, none of what I said matter, all that **** stings like the Dickens and made me compliant damn near instantly. Except for the time with the cop, where I was a smart ass and told him I liked it and to do it again, which he did, which I regreted instantly, so it still counts.