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Pepper Spray--The Truth

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by OC-Trainer, Dec 17, 2014.

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  1. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    Great question, DeepSouth.

    I was going to discuss this in an upcoming post because there is a phenomenon that can occur from over spraying (more on that in a minute), but a decent spray to the eyes, regardless of spray pattern, will have the desired effect; eyes slam shut, pupils dilate, pH balance thrown off, etc. The key of course, is to make sure the OC gets to the actual mucosa of the eyes. Things like eyeglasses, indirect hit to both eyes, and squinting or blinking at the last second can all delay the OC from taking hold. We need not look any further than the police academy videos as an example. There's a reason that they start with their eyelids closed. If the OC only makes contact with the top of the eyelids it can take a full 30 seconds or so before the OC runs down to the actually mucous membranes. You can see this occur in this excellent example originally posted by glistam...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2A3SK-YEek

    To avoid this with a stream pattern, I recommend ear to ear across the eyes twice, just to be sure. Looking at the accuracy needed with a stream pattern and it's easy to start to see why cone patterns can be so beneficial for civilian self-defense. The cones eliminate the need for supreme accuracy. Is there a higher risk for cross-contamination? Sure. But missing the target completely is a bigger concern, in my opinion. A one or two second burst with a cone not only covers the eyes, but the nose and mouth too. Giving the added benefit of taking the attackers breath away.

    The over spraying phenomenon occurs most often with streams. Because streams are water-based, spraying too much OC can actually start to "wash away" the OC that took hold. A good 2-3 second dose, ear to ear across the eyes, should be the minimum/maximum coverage needed, provided the user achieves complete saturation of both eyes, of course. Only respray if you aren't sure if you connected with both eyes. Keep moving too, side stepping while spraying-making it as hard as possible for the attacker to keep up- as the OC takes hold. Once it does; Run.

    OCT
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
  2. 308win

    308win Member

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    Your previous post (#325) recommended an up/down application for the cone pattern and the post immediately above recommends ear-to-ear: which is it? It seems to me the orientation of the target's face would dictate: if the target is coming at you with head down and a side-to-side pattern would work better than up and down; if the head is up either would work but as you suggested any evasive move by the target is probably going to be ducking which makes ear-to-ear less likely to reliably hit the eyes.
     
  3. glistam

    glistam Member

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    He said stream is ear to ear, cone is aim for the neck then up and down.

    Worth considering is the circumstances that attacks happen and in particular those where OC would be used as opposed to other tools in the tool box. In general I've found that among us self-defense focused individuals, we tend to imagine situations that are statistically rather uncommon while forgetting the ones that are common. The majority of violence comes from people we know, either related to us or at least acquainted.
     
  4. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    308,

    The post above (#327) is only referring to stream patterns as ear to ear. I referenced cones, just to highlight that there isn't a need for pinpoint accuracy with them. The patterns, and ways to spray them, are general guidelines, but by and large, an "up and down" spraying motion is rarely correct (if ever) with a stream.

    Due to the nature of an attack, there are always going to be variables. In the example you gave, if someone where charging me with a their head down (and I had a cone pattern AND I felt spraying was the best option at that moment) I would just discharge the OC between me and the attacker. That is another advantage that cones have above all others- area denial. Essentially, if the attacker chooses to continue to aggress towards you then they are deciding to go through a "cloud" of OC. This is exactly how bear spray works. The same tactics can be used against a human with the right product, knowledge, and training.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    OCT
     
  5. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    Most of the pepper spray videos online are totally unrealistic. Spraying a stationary paper target is fine, at least initially. After you have the basics down, you definitely want to simulate a more realistic scenario.

    This is one of the finest example of that simulation. I have no affiliation with the firm behind it, but it is easily one of the best out there.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGbEfHdlNF8
     
  6. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I can tell you from personal experience that if the attacker is "sky clad", a top to bottom spray will produce some immediate results...
     
  7. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    OC Countermeasures

    The subject of OC spray countermeasures- as it relates to their use in a self-defense context- has never been addressed anywhere online. To my knowledge, this is the first time these tactics have ever been discussed in an open forum.

    Count•ter•meas•ure-
    A measure or action taken to counter or offset another one

    For virtually every common weapon/tool there is a countermeasure:

    • Gun > > > > bulletproof vest/soft body armor
    • Knife > > > > stab-resistant vest; slash-resistant clothing
    • TASER > > > TASER-proof shirt

    These items of course, are designed to increase the probability of survival, and/or to decrease the effectiveness of the weapon/tool when used against the wearer. They also have another thing in common, all of them can be worn covertly.

    So what does an OC/pepper spray countermeasure look like? Well, chances are that if you've watched some of the recent events in Baltimore or Ferguson you undoubtly noticed someone wearing a bandana or dusk mask to help counter the effects of the copious amounts of pepper spray used at the time. Since those particular countermeasures do nothing to protect the prime targets areas for OC spray-the eyes-those things pose virtually no concern. Spray the eyes as usual. But what if your adversary is using something to shield his eyes? Anything that blocks the OCs access to the mucosa of the eyes is a concern and defeating those countermeasures is what this post is all about.

    Let's take a look at those that could potentially cause a problem in the event that you had to spray someone for self-defense.


    Eyeglasses-Easily the most common "eye shield" you're going to come across. Honestly, glasses really aren't much of a defense against the effects of pepper spray. Though they will initially deflect a direct hit to the mucosa, the fact that they are open on the sides makes them really vulnerable. That, and the fact that the OC will eventually run down behind the glasses and take hold. The delay can seem like an eternity, however. So after the initial spraying, keep moving and have a counter of your own. It's always a good idea to have some H2H training under your belt. OC spray also has something else going for it... more on that below.


    Gas masks/Motorcycle helmets-These items are, without a doubt, THE most troublesome for OC spray. Aside from protecting the eyes (for our purposes), and the head, they also protect the lungs. Not to mention the identity of the criminal. Motorcycle helmets are now routinely being used in the commission of crimes abroad. Thugs swoop in on a motorcyle, commit the crime, then take-off.

    Unlike the countermeasures mentioned above for guns, knives, and TASERs-OCs countermeasures have a very unique disadvantage-They are overt. You cannot miss someone wearing those things. Especially the gas mask. While a motorcycle helmet won't necessary look out of place in a supermarket (if someone is caring it under their arm, for example), it definitely would out be of the ordinary if some fool was walking around with it on. This should be HUGE red flag. Remember, nothing takes the place of situational awareness! If you see someone walking around with either one of these things on, remain on high alert, better yet, get out of there and call 911.

    In the (unlikely) event that you find yourself having to use OC/pepper spray against an attacker wearing either of these things, and avoidance/escaping is no longer an option, and you do not have a firearm, do the following:

    Spray the eyes/face as you normally would! Here's why; at this point your spray just became OC spray...paint. That is, the natural pigmentation of OC, the orange-reddish color, will physically obstruct the eyesight of the person wearing the mask/helmet. You coat the visor/mask with that trademarked color OC is known for. This should (keyword) totally remove their eyesight, by way of physical obstruction. At this point they have two choices: remove the mask/helmet, or try and clear the "paint" away. Both of these things are good for you. If the sprayee tries to clear it away, use that opportunity to run or counter. If they lift the visor or remove the mask, spray them again. This time OC spray will do what it does best. Going from orange spray paint-back to its original purpose-an inflammatory agent. Use this opportunity to counter or flee.

    As with any kind of assault or physical confrontation there are a ton of variables. Knowledge is power and there simply isn't any replacement for SA and training. Although it is impossible to prepare for every eventuality, the more you prepare and train, the better your odds. If I can steal a quote from Louis Pasteur: "Chance favors the prepared mind."


    TL;DR-Sorry, can't sum up something this complex in a single line. Please read above :)

    OCT
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  8. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    You should see some of the creative "gas masks" inmates have made in prison from some very common items. None of them worked. The worst was when due to OSHA, they took OUR gas masks away, so we have no advantage in a closed area. My "gas mask" which does work somewhat in an area saturated with gas, is a handkerchief held over the mouth and nose. ONLY semi-useful against being in the environment, not against being sprayed.
     
  9. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    I can only imagine some of the stuff they use. BTW, would love to hear the backstory on those "sky clad" incidents. Sounds like it was a fun time trying to decon :eek:
     
  10. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    This video will really help put armoredman's point into perspective. The mask used in the link below contains multiple filters, and it still is no match for the OC vapor.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pOOsxVYXtM

    As a bonus, we get to see some milk being used for decon.
     
  11. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    OC-Trainer, let's just say that starting a fight with staff while naked is never a good idea...
     
  12. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    OC Countermeasures Part II

    Additional thoughts and observations on OC countermeasures:

    The video below is a pretty good example of how the natural pigmentation of OC spray can obstruct the vision of someone wearing glasses/mask. The video is deceiving, though. If you look closely at 0:45, you can see that the plastic portion of the mask is covered in orange. Unfortunately, they cut away and at some point wipe the visor portion of the mask. Obviously these guys are trying to sell the masks, but it just comes off as a little "slight of hand"-to put it mildly. Either way, it helps to visualize the effects. *Bonus*-we see the initial shot go over the head!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYTF5guxqFc

    • Each spray pattern has its own advantages and disadvantages. Foam OC spray has additional physical obstruction properties built right in.

    • In addition to the orange pigmention, OC is naturally oily and waxy. This furthers the "blur" factor on glass/acrylics and other materials used for the visor portion of masks and helmets.

    • The physical obstruction aspect that occurs from the natural orange pigmention and dye, also works on the eyeball too. Just like spray paint. It will "block" the eyesight even before the inflammatory process starts in the mucous membranes. During an attack every millisecond counts.

    • I mentioned before about why, in my opinion, "White Lighting" was flawed. This was one of the reasons why. Virtually no pigmentation=losing virtually all of physical obstruction properties.

    • There's a reason why I am a huge fan of overt/visible dyes (and not a fan of UV dye) in defense sprays. When you have the added benefit of a staining dye, it increases the physical obstruction properties many fold. These overt dyes also "mark" the assailant and alert others that something is amiss.

    Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not offer many options with visible dyes (though that may change after they read this thread ;)). Remember you heard it on THR first :)

    OCT
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2015
  13. Sox

    Sox Member

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    OCT,

    There is product on ebay currently "pepper blitz" counter assault with a large nozzle. They say "10%" OC.

    Could you comment on the nozzle specifically, as I used to see this one quite a bit, and comment on the product itself with respect to quality manufacture, consistency etc.

    I am also confused by the "bear spray" frontier for example says 2% but in the label it says 1.1 capsaicin or capsaicinoids, I can't recall. So is it in fact stronger or weaker than civilian sprays for the 2 legged variety?

    How were the "Guardian" products that used to be out?

    Thanks again,

    Dave
     
  14. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    Hi Dave. Thanks for the questions.

    Pepper Blitz is good stuff. It uses the same "golden ratio" (10% OC, 2 million SHU, 1.25-1.33% MC) that Sabre uses for the majority of their self-defense formulas. I took a quick look on ebay. If you are referring to the first listing, then it is a cone/fogger model. Unlike most brands that use the same patented actuator, they do use a couple that aren't that common. Most actuators used today on the 2 oz. to the 4 oz. use a "flip-top." I don't believe it has that feature. Counter Assault (makers of pepper blitz) offer quite a few cone patterns.

    Frontiersman is made by Sabre. It is stronger than Pepper Blitz. Here is an easy way to decipher bear spray: All bear spray, regardless of the manufacturer (in US), is the same strength. By law, bear spray must be at least 1% major capsaicinoids (MC) and no greater than 2% MC. The governing body that oversees bear spray is the EPA. They don't not recognize OC% or SHU rating, only MC%. There are only 4 EPA approved brands of bear spray in the US- Frontier by Sabre, Counter Assault, UDAP Pepper Power, Mace/Guard Alaska. All of them are 2% MC. Bear spray is hotter than virtually every other form of OC spray.

    Any company that can pass the EPA requirements for bear spray, will have great quality control. I wouldn't hesitate to carry Pepper Blitz. Do keep in mind though, that getting the freshest product from ebay or Amazon can be difficult at times.

    Are you referring to Guardian PD brand?

    OCT
     
  15. grter

    grter Member

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    Hi I have a question about pepper spray in New York City/NY State. Every time I look up the laws other than the words of a stregnth to be determined by the department of health I can't find out what is the legal OC % SHU and MC% for pepper sray in NYC.

    The best hint I got was from a store in upstate NY that sells a 0.67% MC product (Saber I belive) claiming it's the strongest allowed in NYS.

    I know about the laws stating you have to purchase it in a drug store, gun store, and write your name on a form (I am not sure you have fill a form anymore though.)

    What is the bottom line on this in English.

    By the way thanks for all the valuable input on this often misunderstood product (pepper spray)
     
  16. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Belgium is reportedly now arming its officers with paintball guns for response to error attacks. The few reports I read said "They can also fire pepper spray missiles." I cannot believe that intelligent professionals can honestly believe this is a good idea...the pepperball launcher is terrible.
    As an OC instructor, check my logic - would it not be better to "arm" said responders with LTL devices like flash bangs and OC/CS grenades while waiting for armed police to respond? In your capacity, given these restrictions on unarmed police, what would your recommendation be?
     
  17. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Interesting video from Baltimore. Sorry if it was posted earlier, didn't see it. The gas they are using, as seen deployed two different ways, seems to be kind of weak. A weaker formula for crowd control? If we had sprayed an inmate that close with that much Phantom, he would have been clawing at his face and gasping for mommy. I saw another shot hit a woman filming from a different angle, and she was unaffected, apparently.
    https://youtu.be/-YmTdMW9uSQ
     
  18. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    My pleasure, grter. Always happy to help...to your questions:

    Some state pepper spray laws are not only confusing, they can be down right ridiculous. I'll never understand the absurdity of some of these laws. Unfortunately, NY has some of the strictest on the books. I believe that the strength limitation is a fairly new restriction. I'm pretty familiar with all of the statutes for the US, but I could never figure out when they started limiting the strength. Even NY's official statutes that I've read over the years do not address the strength. Maybe they just haven't amended the statute or whatever, but it has changed apparently. Here is the unofficial, "official" new (and old) restrictions:

    • You must be over the age of 18
    • You must have no history of felony convictions or assaults
    • Product must be purchased from an authorized dealer, pharmacy or gun dealer
    • You must complete a form with your name, address, birth date and signature
    Product canisters not to exceed .75 oz and strength not to exceed .7% major capsaicinoids


    The last one is the new restrictions. I've also heard the rumblings that the form is no longer necessary, but it could be hit or miss. Sabre, as the global leader in pepper spray, has addressed this change by making a specific "NY legal" spray. All that means is that the spray is a level II ( .5%-.7% MC). It is difficult to find a civilian spray that is a level II, so Sabre maybe your only choice.

    Hope that helps clear things up. Please let me know if you need anything else.

    OCT
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2015
  19. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    Completely agree with you, armoredman. Europe has a real hang up about OC spray. For reasons unknown, the majority of the agencies using any kind of LTL sprays use PAVA. Why they feel that the synthetic (and less effective) form of oleoresin capsicum is better, is beyond me. The majority of Pepperballs are PAVA, and perhaps even the LTL grenades they use are too. I still would prefer the flash bangs and irritant grenades to the Pepperballs, however. Even better if they are filled with real OC.

    Regarding that Baltimore video: Great clip. I've been following that case since it occurred. They use Defense-Tech white or yellow label, which would be either a level 1 or 2. I don't think that Phantom- or any of the "vapor" OCs- are every used outdoors. But yes, the Phantom would have recked him even more. It is nasty stuff.

    OCT
     
  20. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Ummm...we've used it outdoors...when the wind comes through and picks those particles up again, everyone gets hit again. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
     
  21. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    Correct my if I'm wrong, but when you say outside, you mean in the yard, right? I've never heard of that type of OC being used on the streets-during riots-for example. Phantom (and the like), is mostly marketed for use in prisons.
     
  22. Citadel99
    • Contributing Member

    Citadel99 Contributing Member

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    Was on the bike this morning and had a thought...does pepper spray work on snakes? Not looking to find out by trial and error but curious...

    Mark
     
  23. glistam

    glistam Member

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    I know that Mythbusters tested ground cayenne pepper as an area-deterrent (which did work on bears) and found it had no real affect on snakes. Mothballs, Cat litter and hemp rope similarly did not work.

    Also, snakes generally don't "attack" humans in the way a dog would, but rather most encounters are unintentional and up close.
     
  24. OC-Trainer

    OC-Trainer Member

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    Thanks for the question, Citadel.

    Technically speaking, OC spray will not work on snakes since they are not mammals. All mammals are born with a specific receptor that is activated by oleoresin capsicum. It is called the "capsaicin receptor." To my knowledge, there isn't any credible data that would suggest anything to the contrary.

    OCT

    Edit: Just saw glistam's post. I really should make more time to catch up on that show.
     
  25. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Sorry I thought you meant "outside" is in open air, not "outside" as in outside the wire. Yes, on the yard and in a sallyport - THAT one sucked, 30 + down sucking wind, and particles kicked up by every breeze that went through those barred crash gates. If that had been used in Baltimore, the streets would have cleared quickly, but they might not have been safe for drivers or pedestrians until hosed down. Imagine driving along with your windows down and getting a face full of used OC...bad juju,
    On snakes I can say a buddy of mine found out LE Bodyguard 10 does NOT work on rattlesnakes - he sprayed a diamondback while doing a zone check. The snake was blinded, but MADDER than all get out, and chased him, probably using his pits, all the way around the zones. He said that was one mistake he will never make again.
     
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