By far the most popular non-deadly, self-defense product on the market today is oleoresin capsicum pepper spray or as it is frequently called, “OC Pepper Spray.” Over the past few years, pepper spray has grown in popularity to become the foremost self-protection product chosen by more everyday citizens than any other defending device.
The reason why pepper spray is so popular is that it’s a non-lethal weapon, and it is easy to use. If you get caught up in a situation where you need to defend yourself, you won’t have to worry about harming someone. You can easily and quickly protect yourself with OC pepper spray. You don’t need to carry a gun or a knife with you, which may end up hurting yourself.
Let’s take a closer look at OC spray to discover exactly what it is and how it works. Pepper spray is made from oleoresin capsicum (OC), a naturally occurring, safe compound found in hot pepper plants. This is where it gets its name. OC is the active element that makes peppers hot. The effectiveness or hotness of pepper spray is rated by the Scoville Heat Units (SHU) scale.
An American chemist by the name of Wilbur Scoville developed the scale in 1912 to appraise the hotness or tang of an assortment of peppers. The number of SHU assigned to a particular pepper indicates the amount of capsaicin that is present.
As an example, ordinary bell pepper is rated at 0 SHU since it has no capsaicin, but Jalapeno’s are rated at 5000, and a Habanero is 250,000-300,000 SHU for their potency. If a pepper spray is going to be effective against an assailant, it needs to be rated at least 2 million SHU. However, some police-grade pepper spray is rated as high as 5 million.
OC spray will inflame any area of the body that it comes in contact with. It will cause abrupt closing of the eyes, temporary loss of sight, labored breathing, runny nose, and uncontrollable coughing that will bring down any goon to his knees. OC is also very effective on individuals who are under the effect of narcotics, liquor or subjected to Psychosis.
The strength of the spray will determine how long the effects will last, but the average full effects last around thirty to forty-five minutes, with diminished effects lasting for hours. Once the effects have completely worn off, the assailant will make a full recovery and will not suffer from any long-lasting harmful aftereffects.
OC Pepper spray can’t be washed off with water regardless of how much is used. The most effective way to diminish the symptoms of pepper spray affecting the eyes is by blinking rapidly to bring about tearing. This will facilitate in washing the irritant out of the eyes.
Moreover, to keep the burning sensation from dispersing to other parts of the body, it is best to refrain from touching the affected areas. Rubbing salve or creams onto the affected body regions only serves to trap the capsaicin in the skin, thereby resulting in more severe burning and possibly blistering.
Pepper spray is usually housed in small aerosol-type containers that are petite enough in size to be carried or hidden inside a pocket or pouch. Pepper spray can also be bought camouflaged as rings, lipstick, or some other everyday item such as a pager or writing pen.
Another thing, pepper spray has a shelf life of about 3-4 years. This is because the aerosol propellant could possibly escape from the canister. Should this happen, the spray may not perform as expected. It is best to pay attention to the expiration date found on the label of most models.
By and large, the general public regards OC spray to be the best non-deadly personal security weapon on the market. Their use is not considered lethal force. Therefore, they are lawful in most states, and usually no special permit or license is mandatory. Nevertheless, there are some states that do limit the possession and application of pepper spray.
In New York state, pepper spray can only be purchased from a certified pharmacist or firearms merchant. In Wisconsin, OC in pepper spray cannot exceed 10%. In Florida, only 2oz size containers of pepper spray are legal. In California, only 2.5 ounces (71 g) net weight of aerosol spray are legal.
When traveling, OC cannot be taken on board any airplane for safety reasons. Before making your purchase, it would be a good idea to check with your local police department for laws or restrictions governing the possession and use of pepper spray.