Pepper Spray and Mace
Pepper spray and Mace are popular products that have been on the market for quite some time now. Pepper spray is the juice of hot peppers distributed in a spray or mist. Mace is actually a trademark (not generic) name for a substance similar to tear gas.
Pepper spray causes inflammation of the eyes and nose. It is basically the same base material as very hot sauce. Sprayed directly into the face, it can incapacitate your assailant immediately and leave him (or her or it) disabled for several seconds.
Mace is actually an irritant. It causes no inflammation. It is painful but not nearly as effective as pepper spray or other personal security devices. One advantage to Mace is that its effects last longer.
For all personal protection devices, we recommend pepper spray as the best combination of safety and effectiveness. The spray inflames eyes and mucous membranes causing an overpowering burning or stinging sensation. The effects of pepper spray are temporary and painful blindness, difficulty breathing and nausea.
The "heat" of pepper spray is measured in Scoville heat units (SHU). In terms of measuring effectiveness, this measurement is more important than the OC measurement. The higher the SHU, the more effective the spray. If you are protecting yourself against men, a high SHU is important; against dogs, a product with lower SHU is more fitting.
Pepper spray is legal in all but a few states. Check your local laws, especially if you live in New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Mace is now outpaced in popularity by pepper spray, but it may still have some value. You may want to consider buying Mace as an effective backup to pepper spray, since its effects last longer than those of pepper spray.
Pepper Spray and Mace Delivery methods
- The Forced cone is most often recommended. It creates a spray pattern ranging up to 12 feet, in thick droplets that have minimum blowback.
- Stream sprays have the advantage of distance, but can be difficult to aim in conflict situations.
- Foggers are good for dealing with several attackers, but the blow-back may also hit you.
- Foam is good for windy conditions.
Pepper spray can be purchased in cans, pen units or rings. Pepper spray dispensers can also be disguised as other devices such as cell phones.