Everything You Wanted to Know About OC/Pepper Spray

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Whether you carry OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) or pepper spray for self-defense, it’s crucial to understand how to use it effectively. While many people purchase pepper spray as a precautionary measure, few take the time to practice with it, leading to potential misuse in critical situations. This guide will help you understand the importance of proper usage, the different types available, and essential tips for ensuring you can rely on your spray when you need it most.

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What is OC / Pepper Spray?

OC / pepper spray is made from the naturally occurring, main ingredient causing heat in hot peppers, capsaicin, which is what allows for the sprays’ effectiveness.

Choosing the Right Pepper Spray

The market offers a plethora of pepper spray options, making it important to research and choose well-known, reputable brands. Quality matters when your safety is on the line. While break-away keychains and other gimmicky designs may seem convenient, they can be unreliable under stress. Fine motor skills often deteriorate in high-stress situations, so it’s best to keep your spray simple and straightforward.

Safety Mechanisms: Familiarize yourself with the safety mechanism on your spray. Whether it’s a flip-up guard or a twist-to-unlock feature, practice disengaging it quickly. In a moment of crisis, the last thing you want is to fumble with your safety mechanism. Larger canisters often have flip-up guards that are easier to manage under pressure compared to small canisters with intricate safety switches.

Proper OC Spray: Also work to find for those sprays offering 100% OC / pepper spray versus more of a blend with tear gas ingredients such as CS and/or CN, as they can dilute a spray down to be less effective.

Practicing with Your Pepper Spray

Using pepper spray effectively requires practice. Purchase two identical canisters: one for practice and one for actual use. By practicing, you will learn how to disable the safety, aim, and deploy the spray accurately. Different sprays have varying distances and dispersal patterns (stream, fog, gel), so understanding your specific spray’s characteristics is crucial.

Practice in Safe Conditions: Always practice in a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors. Avoid windy days to prevent the spray from blowing back into your face. Practicing regularly helps ensure you are familiar with the spray’s mechanism and effectiveness, and it also keeps the canister in working condition. Aim for the eyes and brow, as hitting this area allows the spray to flow down into the eyes.

Aiming: You are aiming for the face, ideally the eyes, followed by the nose or mouth. The face is not a large target to start with; and under stress, it will become that much harder to hit, especially on a moving target. This is why getting comfortable with operating your spray and practice, before you need it, is so important.

Carrying Your Pepper Spray

For pepper spray to be effective, it must be accessible. Carrying it in your hand when you feel threatened is ideal. If it’s in your pocket, purse, or dangling from your keychain, it may be out of reach when you need it most. You need to be ready to deploy it instantly without fumbling or hesitation.

Using the Spray Under Stress: Realize that in an emergency, your body will undergo an adrenaline dump, impairing fine motor skills. Practicing with the spray in non-stressful situations helps build muscle memory, so your actions become automatic even when you’re under pressure.

Advanced Tips and Considerations

  1. Multiple Canisters: Carry at least two canisters per person you plan on protecting. This redundancy ensures you have a backup in case one fails or multiple attackers are involved.
  2. Regular Maintenance: Test your canister at least once a year to ensure it still works. Replace it every 2-4 years, as the effectiveness of the spray diminishes over time.
  3. Be Aware of Your Environment: Always be conscious of multiple attackers and escape routes. Pepper spray is a defensive tool, not a magic solution. After deploying it, your primary goal should be to escape to safety.
  4. Ultraviolet Dye: Opt for sprays that contain colored or ultraviolet dye. This feature helps authorities identify the attacker later.

The Reality of Self-Defense

Pepper spray can incapacitate an attacker, but it’s not guaranteed. Be prepared to follow up with other defensive actions, such as striking or running away. Incorporate pepper spray into a broader self-defense strategy, including physical training in martial arts or self-defense classes like Krav Maga. Tools like pepper spray can provide an edge, but your best defense is a well-rounded preparation and awareness.

Real-World Scenarios and Training

Consider a scenario where you need to use your pepper spray:

Imagine walking to your car late at night. You sense someone following you and reach for your pepper spray. If it’s in the bottom of your purse, you might not reach it in time. However, if it’s already in your hand, you can deploy it immediately.

This scenario underscores the importance of accessibility and readiness. You should be familiar with the spray’s operation, have practiced aiming it, and be prepared to act swiftly.

In the bottom of your purse or in your backpack does you absolutely no good. If you cannot get to it quickly, what good does it do?

Other Facts about OC and Pepper Spray

  • It is not meant for general crowd control. It is meant to be used against individuals.
  • The sprays can be used and effective against defending against animals, though there never guarantees.
  • No permanent damage to a bad buy should be caused by the use of the sprays, as the symptoms and issues caused should generally subside in time, in an hour or less. This of course is what gives you plenty of time to get away.
  • The sprays are generally legal for use though you will want to confirm with any states or countries you plan to travel to in order to confirm.
  • You generally must be 18 years of age to purchase the sprays. Please check where you plan to purchase to ensure compliance.
  • Again, you need to practice to know how the safety works on your spray and how to aim it effectively.


Carrying pepper spray can significantly enhance your personal safety, but only if you know how to use it effectively. Purchase quality spray, practice regularly, and keep it accessible. Incorporate it into a broader self-defense strategy, and stay aware of your surroundings. By taking these steps, you can increase your chances of staying safe in a dangerous situation.

Remember, self-defense is about preparation and vigilance. Don’t wait until you need to use your pepper spray to learn how it works. Practice, stay informed, and carry your spray confidently, knowing you are prepared to protect yourself if the need arises.

Use Shield Protection Promo Code: OGS15 to get 15% off your purchase (excluding bundles/packages). Shop Shield Protection Products to purchase some of the best pepper spray on the market. Consider their inert trainer as well.

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