Learn The Truth - Common Pepper Spray And Gel Myths
When it comes to ensuring personal safety and giving the user confidence to go out and do what they love, using a pepper spray or gel can be one of the most effective solutions on the market. SABRE, the leading brand in personal safety, wanted to help dispel some of the most common myths about pepper spray and gel so users can better understand why it is among the most trusted, easy-to-use self-defense tools around.
MYTH: When deployed, pepper spray and pepper gel can easily backfire and spray users, leaving users vulnerable.
FACT: The odds of deploying pepper spray or pepper gel and having it backfire are minimal. Most users are more familiar with the product than they think, having used aerosol spray or gel cannisters before, as they are used in everything from hair spray to shaving gel. Also, SABRE designs many of its pepper spray and pepper gel products with a molded hand grip, helping users to quickly and intuitively identify which way the canister is facing, even at a moment’s notice. Properly utilizing the hand grips ensures the canister is held correctly - pointing away from the user while allowing the user to keep their eyes on the attacker. SABRE also outfits most of its canisters with safeties, including Flip Top and Twist Top mechanisms, to prevent accidental discharge. SABRE stream & gel delivery systems reduce, and in most cases eliminate wind blow-back entirely as they deploy from the canister with more velocity than traditional aerosols. SABRE also teaches the “Spray and Move” technique when spraying a threat or attacker. This will also further reduce the likelihood of any user contact if they are down-wind.
MYTH: The attacker will take pepper spray away and deploy against the user.
FACT: First pepper spray protects you at a safe distance. So in many cases the user will be able to escape the threat without being within arms-reach. SABRE also teaches how to address distraction techniques during their Personal Safety Academy classes to help keep threats from getting close. For instances when the attacker is able to get closer to the user, SABRE recommends always deploying the spray with the thumb instead of the index finger. This allows for a very firm grip and SABRE highly recommends finger grips which make that grip even stronger and the likelihood of the attacker removing the spray from the user even more challenging. If necessary, the thumb deployment and finger grip allow the user the option to strike the attacker which can give them the distance necessary to use their spray.
MYTH: Pepper gel takes longer than traditional pepper spray to take effect or “kick-in”.
FACT: Pepper gel is designed to be sprayed ear to ear directly across the eyes of the threat. Upon contact with the eyes, pepper gel causes the eyes to slam shut taking away the vision of the threat. This gives the user an excellent opportunity to escape to safety. So, when used properly by making eye contact with the threat, pepper gel takes effect immediately.
MYTH: Pepper spray and pepper gel containers are only good for one-time usage.
FACT: Most pepper spray and pepper gel canisters contain multiple bursts of product and have a four-year shelf life. While SABRE pepper sprays and pepper gels can be used multiple times, it is recommended that users purchase a new canister after deploying the spray or gel to ensure the user has all bursts or complete protection available to deploy against a potential attacker, including multiple threats. To verify how many bursts a SABRE product has before its first use the user can review the product label or visit sabrered.com.
MYTH: Pepper spray is no more effective against an assailant than hand-to-hand self-defense techniques.
FACT: Pepper sprays and pepper gels are a force multiplier. No matter the user’s age or size, when properly deployed, pepper sprays and pepper gels will have the same effect on an assailant, causing their eyes to involuntarily shut, allowing users to create a safe distance between themselves and the attacker. Additionally, unlike other personal safety products, not only does pepper spray allow the user to protect themselves at a distance, but they can also protect themselves against multiple threats and/or attackers at the same time.
MYTH: Pepper Spray is not legal in certain states.
FACT: While pepper sprays and pepper gels are legal nationwide, helping to give people across the country the confidence to do what they love, possession and/or use may be regulated or prohibited by law in some jurisdictions. Pepper spray is legal for sale in all 50 states. Sales are restricted to minors in some states and some states have size limits. To learn more on specific laws and state restrictions, visit sabrered.com/blog/pepper-spray-laws
MYTH: Pepper spray and pepper gel are ineffective against some people.
FACT: No matter who is sprayed or how many times they have been sprayed, SABRE pepper sprays and pepper gels will cause eyes to involuntarily slam shut because of the inflammatory effect and reaction the mucous membranes have with the product. Therefore, even if a potential assailant is inebriated or under the influence of drugs, they will be impacted by a pepper spray or pepper gel when direct contact is made with their eyes.
MYTH: Pepper spray and gel can accidentally discharge in my bag or pocket.
FACT: SABRE pepper spray and pepper gel canisters all have built-in safeties (flip top, twist lock and push down locking mechanisms), which minimize any potential of accidental discharge. To properly deploy SABRE products, it is recommended that users read all manuals and packaging prior to first use. Users are also encouraged to watch the SABRE training video made available with their purchase. Finally, users can purchase a Practice Pepper Spray, which sprays water and allows them to practice arming, disarming and aiming their SABRE canister.
MYTH: Pepper spray and pepper gel can cause permanent damage on those who are sprayed by it.
FACT: Pepper spray and pepper gel products will have temporary effects on those who are sprayed but will not cause permanent damage. Upon contact with a person’s eyes, nose, throat and/or lungs, those who are sprayed will experience involuntary eye closure and a painful burning of the skin. The ultimate goal from using pepper spray and pepper gel is not to cause permanent harm, but to cause temporary disruption of an assailant so that the user has the ability to escape to safety.
MYTH: Why am I not allowed to fly with my pepper spray?
FACT: Federal regulations actually allow for one canister of self-defense spray to be brought per person on a flight, but it must be stored in a checked bag at all times. This canister cannot exceed four fluid ounces by volume. More information on FAA regulations can be found at sabrered.com/on-the-go
MYTH: Wasp spray is used in the same way as pepper spray or pepper gel.
FACT: No, wasp spray and pepper spray have two completely different effects on people. The primary active ingredient in wasp spray is typically pyrethrin or pyrethroids, which is extracted from the chrysanthemum plant. This ingredient’s primary use is to disrupt a wasp’s nervous system. By comparison, the primary ingredient in pepper spray, capsaicin, causes disruption to a human’s eyes and respiratory system. One additional difference is in the concentration of each product. Ultimately, the formulation of wasp spray is designed to be powerful enough to work on a small wasp and not a full-grown human, which means it will, at most, minimally irritate a human’s eyes without incapacitating them the way pepper spray would.
MYTH: Law enforcement officials use pepper spray that is significantly stronger than the sprays and gels available to average citizens.
FACT: SABRE, the #1 brand of pepper spray trusted by law enforcement worldwide, sells the same maximum strength pepper spray and pepper gel formulas to civilians as it does to law enforcement agencies worldwide. SABRE is the only brand with an in-house HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) Lab that guarantees heat level of our maximum police-strength pepper spray, eliminating the 30% heat failure rate experienced with other brands per an independent University of Utah 2001 study.
MYTH: Bear spray is less potent or not as strong as regular pepper spray.
FACT: Pepper spray & bear spray strength is measured in major capsaicinoids. The strongest pepper spray measures approximately 1.33% major capsaicinoids and the strongest bear spray equals 2.0% major capsaicinoids or approximately 50% stronger. The major capsaicinoid percentage (measures strength) is often mistaken for the oleoresin capsicum (OC) percentage (measures only the amount of pepper in the formulation). To determine the true strength of pepper spray, you need to know the major capsaicinoids.