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No one wants to think about the worst that can happen, but if it does happen, you want to be ready. Pepper spray and pepper gel are among the safest, easiest, and most effective utilities you can keep in your preparedness toolkit, and no other self-defense products have kept more people safe or saved more lives. Whether the person you care about is a woman crossing a dark parking lot, a law enforcement officer responding to a call, or a camper setting out on their next adventure, they should carry personal protection spray.
Pepper spray is so effective that it is one of the most widely recommended survival tools, especially for women. Sprays are now available in an almost limitless range of delivery options, from spray cans, to jewelry, to keychains, and more. Most options are highly compact, easy to use, and have an effective range. There's almost no excuse for not carrying pepper spray, so get some for yourself, too.
Pepper spray, also called OC spray (oleoresin capsicum), works by using capsaicin, a chemical extract taken from chili peppers, as the active ingredient. Capsaicin is what gives your favorite spicy foods their "heat," but when sprayed in the eyes it causes instant inflammation that can lead to uncontrolled watering and temporary blindness. If you've ever accidentally wiped your face while cutting up some jalapenos, you've gotten a small taste of what pepper spray can do.
When used properly, pepper spray is an effective tool for fending off attackers. It also works well for riot control and even for driving away some animals like dogs or bears. Some varieties of pepper spray also contain ultraviolet dyes that can be used by law enforcement to help with identification in the event of an arrest.
You'll sometimes hear pepper spray generically referred to as mace, but pepper spray and mace are not the same thing. Mace, which was developed in the 1960s, is a chemical variant of tear gas. It has since been found to be potentially toxic and is considered less effective than pepper spray, so its use has largely been discontinued. The Mace Protection Company continues to manufacture many varieties of pepper spray, pepper guns, and other OC delivery systems.
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