When it comes to pepper spray, you can’t just assume that all canisters are the same. They vary not only in size and shape, but also in what’s in the can. Pepper sprays don’t always contain the same ingredients or formulations. When considering your pepper spray choices, it’s important to learn the differences between the various pepper spray types, which enables you to make an informed decision.
Most types of pepper spray contain oleoresin capsicum. OC is the active ingredient that makes hot peppers so hot. The concentrated chemical derivative used to make pepper spray is about eight hundred times hotter than even the hottest peppers. This chemical is suspended in either oil or water so that it can be sprayed from a spray can. Most pepper sprays have a formulation of between one and ten percent oleoresin capsicum, although a few pepper sprays contain up to eighteen percent.
Even between canisters containing the same concentrations of the same chemicals, there are differences in the way the spray comes out of the canister. The three main dispersal methods are fogger, foam, and forced cone sprays. Although these differences may seem trivial, they make a big difference in how the spray is used in a self defense situation.
Pepper spray utilizing the forced cone method comes out of the canister in a fine spray that can be propelled up to twelve feet away. This fine spray is released in a relatively thin line rather than being dispersed across a wide area. Forced cone pepper sprays are ideal for those who are confident that they will be able to aim accurately.
Foam is a popular type of pepper spray for those who want a forgiving dispersion method. This thicker spray is not easily blown around by the wind, making it ideal for outdoor use. It makes a sticky mess; as the attacker tries to wipe it away from the face, it will actually become even more effective.
Fogger pepper sprays are designed for situations with multiple attackers. When sprayed from side to side, the pepper spray spreads in a super-fine mist or fog. Because it spreads quickly, this type of pepper spray does not require such accurate aim.
No matter which type of pepper spray you end up choosing, make sure that you know how it works, so that you can develop a strategy for how you would use it in a real-life self defense situation. Even though pepper spray is as easy to use as a can of spray paint, it will be most effective if you understand how your chosen pepper spray will come out of the can.
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