The importance of hands-on training in the use of pepper spray cannot be overstated. In a self defense situation, you must know how to use the spray effectively, and what it looks like when the spray is released from the can. How can you aim directly at the attacker’s face if you don’t know how to aim your self defense device? Although pepper spray is designed to be as easy to use as possible, and indeed, the basics are to simply aim and shoot, for maximum effectiveness you should practice using your pepper spray before you find yourself in need of it.
Not only should you know how to aim, but you should also have an overall strategy for self defense, both mentally and physically. Your plan should be well-rehearsed, including practice drills. In a dangerous situation, you won’t have much time to decide what to do. If you’ve already practiced a similar situation, you’ll be able to quickly take down your attacker, allowing you to get away safely.
In addition to practicing by yourself, you may find it helpful to enroll in formal self defense training classes, where you’ll learn unarmed moves and techniques for using pepper spray. Your local police department should know about training classes in your area. These classes can help you become more prepared to defend yourself with pepper spray.
The more comfortable you can become, and the more confident in your self defense abilities, the better. With any self defense method, practice makes perfect. With frequent practice, you’ll know how to hold and position the spray canister for maximum effectiveness.
Before you carry or use pepper spray, read any instructions that came with your canister. Many instruction booklets contain helpful information on how to carry and use the spray. They should also describe various features, such as the safety latch, that you must know in order to use pepper spray to defend yourself.
Role playing drills can be very effective methods for practicing self defense situations. Use an empty canister for these practice drills. Have a partner try to grab you from behind, and then take your canister from you before you’re able to use it. Practice methods to regain control while struggling with an attacker.
Practicing with an actual canister full of pepper spray should only be done outdoors and away from people. Many people do purchase a second canister for practicing. The first step is to practice your draw and aim. You don’t want to fumble with the canister, looking for the safety mechanism, when you’re confronted by a dangerous person. To test out the pepper spray itself, aim at a tree or shrub. Stand upwind, and avoid walking into the spray’s path before it has time to dissipate. Begin with light pressure to determine the amount of pressure you need on the device. Take note of the stream’s path so that you can learn how to aim the device most effectively.
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