One of the most common types of self-defense is pepper spray. This spray can be found on store shelves in the form of sprays and aerosols. These products are designed to incapacitate an attacker by causing temporary blindness and respiratory distress. Besides using it as self-defense, some people also use pepper spray for hunting purposes or animal control.

There are different strengths available: some come in at 10% strength while others boast up to 20%. These sprays usually contain Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) or like ingredients such as cayenne peppers (pungent peppers). The spray is typically diluted with water, creating a mist. 

The term "pepper spray" is used for both OC and Cayenne sprays. Each cayenne pepper has between 30,000 and 50,000 Scoville heat units (SHU) while the OC variety has between 2,500 and 5,000 SHU. There is some controversy regarding this type of self-defense as studies have shown that this spray can have severe health effects on humans.

How is Pepper Spray Designed?

The term "pepper spray" or "oleoresin capsicum" is a lachrymatory agent (or lachrymator) that causes the eyes to sting and run, temporarily causing blindness. This spray is one of more than 100 chemical weapons used non-lethally, with varying degrees of risk to human health. 

Although it was invented in 1974 by Rick Smith and Dr. John Benninger, some people also consider it an ancient weapon due to references in ancient texts like the Bible that suggest people would use cayenne pepper and onions as an incapacitating agent. Although people have used pepper in some form for centuries, the United States Army was the first to design a spray specifically for use in combat on June 25, 1974. 

This spray was designed by Rick Smith and John Benninger from Drexel University, who sought to develop an agent that would cause temporary blindness as opposed to causing permanent injuries. This chemical weapon could be trained on people or animals and would have no lasting effects on their health or lives. 

It was developed by them in collaboration with chemists from Wright-Patterson Airforce Base and refined by Smith's team at a Defense Contract Research Organization (DCRO). Although Smith and Benninger were the first to develop this spray, they did not have the longest publication history. In 1964, the FBI wrote a paper in which they described some preliminary data on field tests of Pepper

There are numerous variations and different methods of administering pepper spray, its design has remained constant since its first conception in 1974. The DCRO created its weapon out of a compressed liquid, which is why it is also known as OC spray or oleoresin capsicum spray.

Also Read: Does Pepper Spray Expire?

Why Use Pepper Spray For Defense?

In this blog post, we will explore some of the top benefits of pepper spray in detail. Let’s start with how this spray is non-lethal and won’t cause serious injury to a human being. It also has no lasting or permanent effects on the person as it eventually wears off after thirty minutes. It can also be used on animals and even insects, which makes it a perfect prevention option for outdoor activities like camping or hiking.

1. It’s Non-Lethal

This is one of the non-lethal self defense weapons that have no lasting effects on the victim. There are plenty of options out there that can really hurt you if applied to the skin. This spray can be used on soft targets like eyes and faces. So, it’s safe for use in areas where kids might be present or in case of an emergency situation when you might need to protect yourself from an attacker.

2. No Permanent Harm

This spray is not harmful in any way to its user and is not known to have any serious side effects as long as it is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and under medical supervision.

3. It Can be Used on Animals and Insects

This is one of the best benefits of pepper spray as it can be used on animals, insects, and even humans as long as it does not come in direct or prolonged contact with the eyes. This makes it a perfect product to use around the house when there are pets or when you have a bug infestation problem.

4. It is Safe to Use in An Enclosed Space

Many law enforcement agencies approve its use in an enclosed space because it only affects the person directly exposed to it. It does not spread through the air like some other weapons do which makes it safer for users, especially in high-stress situations like those that occur outdoors where getting away might not be possible.

5. It Causes Temporary Pain

Another benefit of this spray is that the pain it causes is temporary and will eventually subside after thirty minutes. This makes it a safer and more humane option in the case of an emergency. Even if the victim gets some of it in their eyes, they will only feel temporary pain and discomfort.

6. It Works Even Under Water

Unlike other weapons like guns or tasers, this spray does not need to connect with its victim in order for it to work. The effects are instantaneous when it comes into contact with any part of the body or face because its main ingredient is capsaicin, which causes extreme irritation to skin cells especially eyes making them tear up and eventually shutting them down for a few minutes causing temporary blindness.

7. It's Odorless and Tasteless

This spray is a non-lethal weapon that is known to be a safe way to protect yourself from people who pose a threat to your personal safety. It comes in two forms: gel and mace. Mace is mostly used for animals as it has the additional feature of being able to stun them if they get some of it on their eyes, thereby disrupting an attacker’s source of vision long enough for you to escape.

8. Good for Women’s Use

Pepper spray has been known in the past as one of the most effective ways women can ensure their safety at home and while they are out and about, but there's more to this spray than meets the eye.

9. It's Easy to Use

This spray is a personal safety weapon that is easily accessible and easy to use, even under stressful situations. It can be used in an instant to protect yourself against attacks by criminals or other people who might put you in harm’s way. You only have to keep some spray with you and whenever you feel exposed or vulnerable, it will give you peace of mind knowing that you have a way out of your situation if things go wrong.

10. It's Easy to Find and Purchase

There are plenty of other secondary options for self-defense, but pepper spray is one that is more easily available and accessible for those who don't want to carry a gun but still need something for personal protection.

11. It's Easy to Conceal

This spray is an ideal weapon for those who want something discreet and easy to carry anywhere they go, especially when traveling. All you have to do is keep one in a small bag or attach it to your person where it's easily accessible and out of sight until the time comes when you need it most.

12. It's Durable and Lasts for Years

Since it is a non-lethal weapon, you can use it for extended periods of time without having to worry about damaging or losing it. You can use it for almost any situation and all you have to do is keep your wits about you and make sure that you are in a safe space before doing anything rash.

Also Read: How to Get Pepper Spray Off Skin?

Learn to Use Pepper Spray

If you step foot in a crowded parking lot, go to the movies, or simply walk your dog around the block, it's always a good idea to have some form of self-defense on hand. If you're not comfortable with firearms, one option is pepper spray. This spray is an effective deterrent, but not the most pleasant way to deal with a dangerous situation.

If you're armed with a gun and you're prepared to use it, ask your attacker what he's armed with. If that's a spray, consider a different approach. Keep in mind that pepper-spraying somebody is not generally a good idea. If you'd rather not spray somebody, another option would be to yell loudly or punch him in the face. If all else fails and you have no other weapons (and cannot shoulder through the crowd), run away as fast as you can until help arrives.

If you choose to carry this spray, it's important to know how to use it. First of all, remember that this spray is intended for people and not animals. The same goes for bear spray, which is a variation of pepper spraying designed specifically to handle bears. If you try to use this spray on an animal, you may end up turning your own face into a roast beef dinner.