Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Non-Lethal Option: Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is another option for self-defense. It is considered non-lethal even though in 2014 a 24 year old man died after being pepper sprayed and then restrained on his stomach. Security guards had a knee in his back and he complained he couldn’t breathe. This is definitely the exception, not the rule.
There are generally three different products used as self-defense spray, CS, CN, and OC.
CS gas is tear gas (Orthochlorobenzalmalonitrile). The name "CS" comes from its both discoverer Corson and Stoughton.
CN gas is also a tear gas (Chloroacetophenone). CS and CN gas is a chemical agent.
CN was created in 1870 in Germany and used in WWI. CS was developed in the 1950’s.
OC (OleoresinCapsicum) pepper spray was originally introduced in the U.S. in the 1980s by the Postal Service.
CS And CN: These chemical components irritate the membrane tissues and cause stinging and tearing. They can take from five to 30 seconds before they are effective and may not work if someone is drunk, on drugs, psychotic, or can't feel pain.
OC: This component is also well known as pepper spray and is an inflammatory agent; not an irritant. When someone is sprayed with OC pepper spray, the person's eyes slam shut. OC dilates the capillaries and causes temporary blindness.
The four types of pepper sprayers are broken stream, forced cone, fogger and foam.
Stream or Broken Stream: Think of a water pistol. Stream sprayers deliver more liquid pepper spray to the target, so someone getting hit in the face with a stream of pepper spray is taking a big hit. But they also get used up faster. Streams often have a longer range than a forced cone pepper spray. Another plus to streams are the low risk of blow back, which is what might happen if you shoot a mist of pepper spray into the breeze and it comes back and hits you too.
Forced Cone Spray: Most of the smaller 1/2 oz. personal size pepper sprays are forced cone sprays. The spray pattern is circular and covers a width of about two feet; approximately the size of a human head. The range of the forced cone spray is about six to 12 feet. The spray is a finer mist than the broken stream but is delivered in a forceful stream. The eyes will shut tight and fast. If the slightest amount of spray is inhaled, it will cause instant choking and uncontrollable coughing.
Foggers: A fogger type spray has finer droplets still than the forced cone and disperses wider. It is most effective in covering a larger area with pepper spray quickly; aim is less critical. Consider it for dealing with multiple attackers, crowd control, bears, or to defend the home. A pepper spray fogger can make a hallway uninhabitable in short order. The force with which the spray is dispersed is considerable. The attacker will always receive the majority of the spray even in windy conditions. Spray from a fogger style sprayer is the fastest acting of your choices.
Foams: This type of spray uses a thick, heavy foam with many effective ingredients. The wind has the least effect on this type of spray. Foam pepper spray piles up on the target as well. It accumulates, rather than running off, and is practically impossible to wipe off without assistance. The effects are instantaneously debilitating and get worse as the target tries to remove it, inadvertently rubbing it further into the skin.
Any self-defense spray takes some training and practice to use effectively. Wind is always an issue when using these sprays and blow back should always be avoided.
When learning to use the spray of your choice practice to be sure you understand operation of the canister. Every brand is just a little different. Know the safety features and how your spray works. Indexing (knowing which way the spray is pointing) is also important to know. Some sprays have features such as safeties or straps that make indexing easier.
I was trained in using an OC spray used by the military. But the chemical training I received was all in the CS or CN variety. My chemical warfare training involved a gas chamber with CS gas in it. We were to endure the gas as long as we could and then don and clear gas masks. My experience with OC spray was being directly sprayed in training with how to use this spray defensively. So I have a little experience with each of these types of sprays.
In my experience and with my research I have found OC to be what I feel is the best of the 3 types of sprays. There are some with all three agents together in their spray.
I’m limited in my use of different brands but after researching and watching many reviews of brands I’ve come to the conclusion that I favor the Sabre brand. Next would be the Mace brand. In think the Cold Steel Inferno and Fox brands seem pretty reliable too. But from what I can see, Sabre is my choice.
Defensive sprays can go bad so replace them often (I’d say every 6 months but at least annually). Use the replaced sprays for practice. If you have not taken a course in this find one online. There are practice sprays on the market with inert agent in them but like I said before, use the real deal that you replaced.
Check out this great review on Youtube
Semper Paratus
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