Pepper spray is an inflammatory based upon Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) or Capsasin, the spice found in hot peppers. It causes burning and pain to the soft tissues of the eyes, nose and mouth. It is typically dispensed in aerosol form from small canisters for self-defense. Pepper spray is preferred for its less-than-lethal nature as well as its often unrestricted availability.
Some states control sales of pepper spray and the quantity that may be carried on your person. Nanny states such as New York limit where pepper spray may be purchased and how much may be carried. Refer to your state's laws before buying pepper spray.
Its inflammatory effects cause the eyes to close, taking away vision. This temporary blindness allows officers to more easily restrain subjects and permits people using pepper spray for self-defense an opportunity to escape. It is considered a less-than-lethal agent.
Use & Effects
Aerosol canisters project a stream, mist or foam of OC that is aimed at the face, especially the eyes, nose, and mouth, of an attacker. Once the target has been hit, pain and inflammation may occur. Pepper spray is primarily a distraction technique best followed up by either fight or flight. It should not be relied upon as the primary means of self defense.
Some consider pepper spray to be an inadequate form of defense due to its inability to stop a motivated attacker, particularly if the attacker has been exposed to the chemical before or is immune to the effects for one reason or another. Studies show that persons under the influence of alcohol, drugs or who are emotionally/mentally disturbed may not feel the full effects of pepper spray. Thus owners of pepper spray can have an illegitimate sense of security.