My main issue with OC spray is that for many people carrying it and providing it to people, it serves as the first and only line of defense. Where I would put open hand skills and impact weapons people use OC spray. And face it, many people put it where others would use a gun or knife, the reason is that it is their only weapon. At MCS when we talk about the selection of any tool we follow the logical model of Selection, Carry, Deployment and Use. Just as the perfect gun or knife discussions plague us, so does the hottest OC spray. So after getting some information you select and purchase your spray of choice. Now we move onto carrying it. Ah, the rub. OC spray where not prohibited by type or size is often prohibited in many other areas like schools, airports and other government buildings. So if I armed my daughter with OC she would not be able to carry it to school or on school property, where high school football games are the social event of the week. Maybe the lady you are looking to help works in a govern or flys a lot for work. Out of 100% of their lives what percentage will they be able to carry the OC? Now we are onto deployment which we break down to two categories, pre-deployment and spontaneous deployment. In pre-deployment the lady would have to possess the mindset and awareness to realize she is in a dangerous area and situation and free her hand to have the OC at the ready. Now let's discuss my wife, like most mom's she has the little ones or packages in tow. So at some point she has to make a conscious decision to let go of one of the kids or only carry one bag of groceries, you get the idea. Now onto spontaneous deployment. Unlike men, women are typically grabbed before or instead of being struck. A goblin is not going to be kind enough to walk up say "I am coming over there and grab you, get ready". In addition to that research shows that women are more often then men physically attacked from the rear. With men most of the time the issue is going to be robbery. For the ladies is could be robbery but very often it is going to be abduction or rape. So with the bad guy well within arms distance, how would a young lady employ OC spray? She wouldn't. So out of 100% of attacks, what percentage would a woman be able to deploy OC? In my opinion a very small percentage. So you pick the very best OC and she carries it all the time, still providing a very small chance for use. The last and final part of the model, use. The woman in question has the best OC money can buy, her lifestyle allows her to carry it religiously, and under the conditions of a spontaneous attack she is able to spray her attacker. There are two types of use here, use with the BG already in physical contact with the victim, or the bad guy not yet in physical contact with the victim. Having been sprayed several times on purpose for training and dozens of times accidental by other officers in the street I have learned a few things about the effects of OC. The first is that my reaction to it is almost an allergic one. My fair skin burns from it something awful. Even with a very light shot of the stuff I cannot force my eyes open. That said I know from experience that if I have my hands on someone while I am sprayed I am not letting go and will do as much damage as I can in the shortest amount of time because I know that I have to control them to prevent them from doing any subsequent damage to me. If I don't have my hands on them but can manage to get hold of them I will do the same. No matter what type or how much OC I was sprayed with and no matter the environment or conditions I never lost my ability to inflict physical damage. If you are thinking that the person could just run away, think about it, they already have to be reasonably close for the spray to reach them. If after the above you still believe that OC spray has a legitimate place in your personal protection plan then I wish you the best of luck. To learn more about your other options..just wait for part II.