What kind of pepper spray do you carry?


December 24, 2002, 06:50 PM
What kind of pepper spray do you guys carry, or do you carry pepper spray at all? I always carry pepper spray in addition to my sidearm, because there are situations where that might be a better option. I've been carrying the Fox Labs 11oz. spray, but I don't like the way the container is made, to activate it, the button is pushed to the side and down, and many times I've found it pushed into the "on" position after it's been in my pocket for a while (it hasn't sprayed on me yet, though). I'm considering getting the ASP keychain pepper spray, as it's slimmer, easier to carry, and has a more active but just as easy to release safety mechanism, so it's less likely to go off in my pocket. The Fox Labs spray is about twice as strong as the ASP spray, though (Fox Labs is 5.4 million SHU, vs. the ASP spray's 2 million SHU). Decisions, decisions.

If you enjoyed reading about "What kind of pepper spray do you carry?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
December 24, 2002, 11:39 PM
Don't carry OC, but if I did, it would be Fox.

December 25, 2002, 01:14 AM
Fox. 5.3 million SHUs makes me smile. :D

I have a 2oz fog type spray in the nylon belt-clip case, but I find myself carrying the keychain spatter spray much more often since it's so small and it's attached to my car keys.

December 25, 2002, 01:38 AM
I never looked. I picked a canister up for the wife as a Christmas gift. I also carry it because sometimes you can't shoot.

December 25, 2002, 04:02 AM
We are issued First Defense mk-4 in the 3oz. size. Carry is mandatory on duty. Don't carry away from work as of yet.

December 25, 2002, 08:38 AM
Fox. It works better than anything else I've ever seen.

Will be testing the grenade version next week. :D

December 25, 2002, 12:20 PM
I don't currently carry any, but have been thinking about getting some. It seems that Fox is getting the general nod.

December 25, 2002, 12:49 PM

El Tejon
December 25, 2002, 02:38 PM
Guardian OC, prefer the fog rather than the stream.

Whatever you decide upon, get a class and keep fresh stuff.

Line Rider
December 26, 2002, 08:08 PM
FREEZE +P+ you can hear their eyelids slam shut.:D

Nathaniel Firethorn
December 26, 2002, 10:37 PM

- pdmoderator

December 26, 2002, 10:46 PM
Zark Industries. So far it has a 50% success rate.

December 27, 2002, 09:16 AM
Without a doubt, Fox.

December 27, 2002, 11:17 PM
Fox Labs.

December 29, 2002, 02:20 PM
Following extensive research and posting on various forums, I picked up:

Fox 5.3 - Cone - 2 oz

December 29, 2002, 03:55 PM
I carry the ASP Defender (the keychain gadget). I like it. It is a bit long to carry comfortably in my pocket, so I'm planning to switch to the shorter Palm Defender I just found out about.

When I tested the thing (not just the tester canister, but the real thing, too), the result was a nice spray rather than a stream. Having taken insufficient account of the wind direction, I can attest to the discomfort involved. There again, while being distracted and angered by the pain, I was far from incapacitated. Frankly, I think that's beyond the ability of any OC.

December 29, 2002, 05:25 PM
I carry Punch II. Accidentally went off in my pocket once, and it really stung! I had to drive with my head stuck outside the window so that the blowing wind would soothe my face. It also got all over my keys, so for weeks afterwards I'd still smell the OC whenever I opened my car or house door.

December 30, 2002, 11:13 AM
While there are many very good OC products on the market, Fox (IMHO) is without a doubt the best.. everything else rates a very distant second place... low in percentage, high in SHU, very good customer service, QC issues are rare, etc...

FWIW we (Legion) will be teaching a Fox Labs O.C. Aerosol Weapons Instructor Course (factory certified) in Memphis on February 8th and 9th. This course authorizes the student instructor to teach the Fox basic O.C. course upon completion. More information about the program can be found at our web site (www.legionconsulting.com). The course is "open enrollement".. anyone is free to participate...

Stay Safe and Win at All Costs!
Dave West

Kahr carrier
January 2, 2003, 05:27 PM
MACE pepper foam:)

January 3, 2003, 05:16 PM
So how many of ya'll have actually maced someone and know what to expect?

I had an occassion forced on me once many moons ago in Columbus Ohio. Warm summer day, perp in shorts and tennis shoes only. Skipping the auful details of why I hosed him up and down with it (stream type) and it seemed like a full five seconds before he reacted to it with the loudest girlish scream I ever heard. He had other things to think about then besides giving me a hard time so it worked, but a full five seconds???

It didnt impress me.

January 3, 2003, 07:10 PM
Edward: Was that 5 seconds watch time or 5 seconds adrenaline time? Could be that your perceptions were sped up, as can happen under stress.

January 3, 2003, 08:36 PM
Well It sure seemed like a long time. Seemed like longer actually but I figure it was really only 5 sec or so. It was a long time ago and my only occassion to use it so not a valid test did make, really. Maybe some LEO's on the board have used it a few times or more and can comment on reaction times of the chems that they have seen first hand.

He was a pretty big boy but did have a lot of skin showing so it did work as intended, but left me feeling that it should have worked faster. I continue to wonder if it would have turned out the same if he would have had more clothes on or been more aggressive than he was...

All I knew was I didn't want to touch him at that point, so beat feet! :p

January 3, 2003, 08:48 PM
The Sherffs I worked for issued pepper spray,though I can't remember what brand. Personally, I was never comfortable with spraying a BG with any kind of a breeze blowing. During training, more than one Deputy got more of the spray than the BG (trainer)
Having been sprayed, I know that it is capable of rendering an officer less than 100 percent effective. Not a good thing.

January 4, 2003, 07:15 AM
I have personal experience with the "SABRE" brand of sprays.. it's a CN/CS gas + pepper + Id dye.

My fiancee's spray cap popped off one day (small keychain unit- shoe now uses an upgraded unit with a non poppable cap), and I tried to pop it back on.

Lo and behold, the thing goes off in my hand. We both started coughihg about a second later (tear gas effect), and the back of my hand was on FIRE!

Damn thing burned for 13 hours- I tried oil, water, soap, toothpaste.. it just burned and burned!

I keep a larger can in the car- it's good stuff!


January 4, 2003, 01:38 PM
I dont carry any sort of defense spray. I really dont have a lot of use for them.
I was watching Fear Factor the other night, and they were locking these people in little rooms and popping something like Fox grenades, and making them stay in there as long as they could. 30 seconds was probably the average. But thats a long time in a fight, and the amount of stuff floating around in the little room, was far more than comes out a spray can like you carry... and watching it, I'm thinking "Any of these people, spray them all you like with a can, and they could still keep coming if they were p!ssed enough, not to mention if they were on something." because it seems true to me, none of 'em were falling down on their knees, screaming, etc. etc. Yes, being locked in a room full of the stuff made them tear up, vomit, cough, hack, etc. but thats a pretty extreme exposure too... and really, the reactions are not enough to make me comfortable with thinking sprays are so reliable.
I realize these folks werent being sprayed right in the face, with the stuff spraying in their eyes, mouths and up their noses, but still.. :scrutiny:

My use for them, and for this I may eventually get a can, is, basically, "eye-jab in a can". To create temporay blindness, to give me a momentary upper-hand, to deliver something more fight-stopping. Metsebushi (http://donrearic.com/modernmetsubushi.html) if you will.
Aside from that, I'll stick with how I do things already.

January 4, 2003, 05:15 PM
Pepper is proven to be much more effective than regular tear gas, as it HURTS!

I wouldn't call it an end-all be-all weapon, but if you hit someone in the face with it, they'll be blinded at least, giving you time to run, counter-attack, or ?

The nice thing about sprays are of course, they're non -lethal, non-permenently damaging. I told my fiancee, if approached in a dubious manner, sray first, ask questions later :)

You can apologize for spray, but not for gaping knife wounds or bullet holes ;)


January 4, 2003, 05:32 PM
First Defense 10% Spray. Would pick Punch or Fox, also. Fellow officers carry the same major brands and all seem to work fairly equally, although, many forumites at TFL and other sites, on a percentage basis, seem to choose Fox most often. Sounds like a good question for a forum poll.


January 5, 2003, 05:24 AM
Is first-defense the yellow one? I think they sold that here in CA as the first 'legal' one, when they had a permit system for sprays (now anyone can buy).

I tried the 'sniff and hand' test on the first defense stuff- it doesn't seem very strong, but then again, I still wouldn't do the face-test!


January 7, 2003, 01:48 PM
"Fox Keychain" without the keychain in coat pocket. Bought from selfdefenceproducts.com

January 8, 2003, 11:07 AM
Edward429451 said
"So how many of ya'll have actually maced someone and know what to expect?

I had an occassion forced on me once many moons ago in Columbus Ohio. Warm summer day, perp in shorts and tennis shoes only. Skipping the auful details of why I hosed him up and down with it (stream type) and it seemed like a full five seconds before he reacted to it with the loudest girlish scream I ever heard. He had other things to think about then besides giving me a hard time so it worked, but a full five seconds???

It didnt impress me. "

at first glance, i would say the reason you didnt get the reaction that you expected was that you used the spray improperly. 5 seconds of continual spray is actually counter productive. Get some training and i imagine you will get better results. other problems could have been the quality of the aerosol weapon you used (not all are created equal), your target zone, and the individual's pain theshold... there are MANY myths about pepper spray. here is a short article i wrote for the NLETA (National Law Enforcement Trainers Association) newsletter. perhaps it will help some... not claiming to be the "resident expert", but i am a Master Instructor Trainer for Fox Labs (train new instructors), and an Instructor Trainer for Use of Force Consultants (law enforcement training group in TX) in the use of O.C. Aerosol Weapons. I am a member of the Fox Labs International Review Board, and spray an average of 200 people each year between field use (bad guys), basic classes, and instructor classes. Again, not "the authority" on the subject, but i think ive got a wee bit of experience, and have a pretty good idea about what works and what doesnt...

Hot or Not?
Dispelling the Myths behind Pepper Spray

Ever since 1974, when the first OC product specifically developed for law enforcement began to get marketed and sold out of a garage in a south Florida home, Aerosol weapons have become increasingly popular. Unfortunately, outside of a short course taught at the basic academy, little exists for most agencies in the way of advanced OC training, and a multitude of myths about what OC is, how it works, and what its capabilities and limitations are have risen over the last 3 decades. Like all defense tools, the proper use of OC requires training. This article represents no replacement for that formal training, but is written only in hopes of dispelling some of the most common myths and misconceptions regarding OC and its proper use.

Myth #1: Percent equals pain! It is commonly believed that the higher the percentage of OC in an aerosol unit, the more effective it will be. This is simply untrue. In simplest terms, the percentage of actual active ingredient in a unit relates much more to the amount of time it will take an exposed subject to decontaminate than it does to the amount of “heat” felt. The question to ask is 10%, 15%, or 20% of WHAT? Is the base pepper a jalapeno, cayenne, or a habanero? How refined was the pepper before it was used in the formula? These things obviously should make a difference.
The true measure of heat is determined by the SHU, or the Scoville Heat Units found in the canister. SHU is a culinary scale that was developed to measure the heat in peppers, and helps us to determine the effectiveness of various OC sprays. A green bell pepper is the base of the scale and holds a rating of 0 SHU. As a matter of reference, a jalapeno pepper typically rates between 3,000 and 5,000 SHU. Fox Labs 5.3 (a particularly outstanding OC Aerosol product) on the other hand is rated at 5,300,000 SHU. A stunning difference indeed! High SHU ratings are obtained through the hybriding of certain pod peppers and then through a detailed refining process. Placing a large amount of poorly refined, garden-variety peppers in an aerosol unit does not make it hot. When considering the purchase of a canister of OC always check the advertised SHU. If the manufacturer boldly advertises percentages, but refuses to place the SHU rating on the can, chances are there is a reason for this.

Myth #2: Pepper Spray doesn’t work on persons of certain ethnic backgrounds (specifically Hispanics). This is probably the single largest myth in the history of pepper spray. As a result of having “hot” diets, including numerous peppers, it is commonly believed that people of Hispanic origin may not be as readily affected by OC. The reality is that no pepper, no matter how often it is ingested is as hot as most law enforcement grade OC. Pepper sprays effect subjects both physiologically and psychologically. While it is possible for a goal directed person, or someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol to overcome the actual pain associated with OC and continue to fight, it is impossible for them to overcome the physiological effects on their bodies. OC, when inhaled, inflames the mucus membranes of the nose and throat, resulting in coughing and gagging, thereby making breathing difficult. OC will cause eyes to twitch spasmodically and close, causing temporary blindness and loss of balance. The capillaries in the eyes will dilate when exposed to OC, and a burning sensation will be felt on any exposed skin. Goal directed subjects may overcome the pain, but are still placed at a disadvantage by being exposed to OC by its ability to take away their vision and their respiration pattern. OC will effect everyone differently based on their individual pain thresholds and raw determination, but has no way of knowing a persons birthplace, diet, or cultural background.

Myth #3: More is Better! The more OC applied to the bad guy, the more likely he will be affected. This is yet another falsehood. Most OC manufacturers recommend spraying an offender with ½ - 1 second, short “bursts.” If more OC is needed, it is recommended that more short bursts are used. If multiple bursts do not place the offender into a non-assaultive position, it is time to try something else. Spraying an offender with bursts longer than 1 second in length can actually be counterproductive. OC aerosol weapons generally contain three basic substances in the container. An active ingredient of refined pod pepper is used to incapacitate the offender. A solvent is utilized to emulsify the active ingredient and place it in a liquid state. Lastly, a propellant is added to the canister that allows the solvent/active ingredient mixture to be expelled from the canister onto an offender. In order for the pepper spray to be most effective, it is essential that the propellant and solvents used in the formulation of the pepper spray be able to fall out of or evaporate from the mixture rapidly, so that the offender is only exposed to pure active ingredient, leaving nothing to get in between the offenders skin and the “heat” of the product. By spraying a subject with a long, continuous burst, one can actually experience a washing effect where the solvent and propellant, still in the mixture, wash the active ingredient from the intended target area (eyes, nose, and mouth) and onto a less reactive area of the face.

Myth #4: All OC is created Equal. The final myth. Because OC is generally an unregulated product, there are a multitude of “bathtub blends” available at every discount retailer and convenience store in America, and it is generally believed that all pepper sprays are about the same in terms of quality and reliability. As stated before, it is important for the defense-oriented consumer to become knowledgeable about OC, and check the SHU and percentages of active ingredients in particular prior to any purchase. This however is not enough. As a rule of thumb I tell students and student instructors to never purchase an OC product anywhere they can purchase beer or blue jeans. Rely on established law enforcement supply shops and reputable gun shops to help you with your purchase. Only purchase products made by established, well known manufacturers, and check out the OSHA materials safety data sheet for specific ingredients whenever possible. If you wouldn’t trust your personal safety or the safety of your loved ones with a bargain basement, used, unchecked firearm, why would you trust an unproven, bargain basement OC? The cost difference in discount brand pepper sprays and law enforcement grade aerosol weapons is incidental, and well worth the peace of mind that the extra dollar may cost you.

Pepper Spray is an effective tool that should be carried by all law enforcement officers. Firearms are not the answer to every defense situation, and it is essential that we have the proper tools available to us as the situation dictates; else we sacrifice officer and suspect safety. However, with any defense tool comes the responsibility to train and become proficient with it. If you currently carry pepper spray or intend to in the future, seek training and find out everything you need to know about it to reduce your personal liability and to maximize its effectiveness.

Hope this helps....

Stay Safe and Win at All Costs!
Dave West

January 8, 2003, 11:59 AM
Hey mdwest, thanks for the informative post. I see myth #3 written all over my incident. Now I can see how the wash effect may have inhibited its effectivness.

So even with his shirt off I should've concentrated on his face. I probably seen too many Vicks Vapo-Rub commercials...;)

January 8, 2003, 12:13 PM
no problem at all.. glad i could be of assistance!

Stay Safe and Win at All Costs!
Dave West

January 8, 2003, 12:24 PM
I noticed that Fox spray has a 'notch' where the red firing tab can be apparently locked down - is that the intended use?

I can post photos if this is unclear.

January 8, 2003, 12:54 PM
are you talking about the little "dimple" on the 11 gram (keychain) unit?

if so, that is a very simple safety device designed to help keep the actuator from rotating to a firing position accidently... no need to press it down, when you rotate the actuator to the left (non-firing position), the little "dimple" comes to rest in a shallow notch..

same thing on the 2oz. "bullet" tops..

one neat "new" option on the bullet tops.. the actuator (part you press to get it to fire is being made out of a material that glows in the dark... if this is your "bedside" unit or is kept in a drawer, etc.. it makes it a little easier to find the top of the can and the actuator.... kinda gimiky, but doesnt cost anything extra..

i personally prefer the "flip top" over the bullet top, but that is just my preference...

Stay Safe and Win at All Costs!
Dave West

January 16, 2003, 09:52 AM
Kinda late but I've go the Fox keychain unit without the keychain. I asked around and was told nothing was better.


January 16, 2003, 07:48 PM
ASP Key Defender, though 2MM SHU is to be considered the minimum, as I understand it.:scrutiny:

Was reading old threads on TFL last night; IIRC Tamara should have something to say about effectiveness of OC, or lack thereof.:uhoh:

January 17, 2003, 01:33 PM
A couple things to note, one was the reference to First Defense being the "yellow" units. I think this comes from California, where at one time civilians could carry OC after taking a class, but the civilian units had to be yellow in color. This has changed, and now the citizens of PRK can be stylish and tactical with black units.

When Mace was in common use, I think some officers may have been trained to spray the target int he upper chest, with the idea that the vapors would then rise into the eyes and also be inhaled. As noted above, a direct application to the eyes/nose area works best. It's not a case where the subject will close his eyes because of the discomfort, the eyelids will swell shut.

I've been "juiced" twice with First Defense in training, direct shots to the eyes. It worked well on me and most everyone else. We had one gal who was mildly discomforted, but had little reaction.

I like the first Defense MK-VI, a small unit with a pocket clip and a spring tensioned cover over the button to help in avoiding uninitentional discharge.

A few days ago I emptied a container of Cap-Stun, one of the early brands. this unit was at least ten years old, and had been sitting around the house. I took it outside on a still night and sprayed it in the driveway. The force of the spray was still good, and even the minimal exposure I had got me coughing hard. I don't doubt for a minute that it would have had the expected effects if I had been sprayed with it.

Great thread, lots of people sharing good information!

January 19, 2003, 12:41 PM
I've been looking at the FOX sprays, and I'm wondering if anyone can describe to me what the spray pattern difference is between the heavy stream and the medium fog? Is it significant? Which one would you carry?

January 19, 2003, 10:59 PM
Stream sprays tend to go farther, and not suffer from 'blowback' as much if youre downstream of what you're spraying. Fogs are like a shotgun- hard to miss, but I think wind can blow it back at you some.

Notice the police that use foggers on TV usually have gas masks on! :)


If you enjoyed reading about "What kind of pepper spray do you carry?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!