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By James Yeager

People use the word "mace" as a generic term for any type or brand of aerosol chemical weapon. They use it much in the same way as saying Kleenex for any facial tissue. Shop wisely because not all personal defense sprays are created equally. Some people choose them because OC can be carried in some places that guns are not allowed. Others just want more options.

The single biggest misconception about aerosol chemical weapons is the "percentage" of O.C. (Oleoresin Capsicum) like 5% or 10%. A person might be led to believe the 10% formula is better than a lower one like 5%. The higher percentages make it last LONGER because there is more pepper in that formula. They do not make it HOTTER and heat is what makes it effective.

Let’s say brand "A" uses a very low grade of pepper and makes the formula 10%. Brand "F" uses the highest quality peppers available and makes the formula 2%. The only way to determine how good either of them might be is to check the label for Scoville Heat Units. Heat is what makes O.C. effective. Heat of O.C. is measured by S.H.U.s (Scoville Heat Units). In my opinion, you should consider nothing less than 1 million S.H.U.s, for self-protection or Law Enforcement work. Fox Labs International has a 2% formulation, which increases recovery time, but it is 5.3 million S.H.U.s, which makes it the hottest spray on the market.

Another misconception is that the O.C. spray will affect people of different ethnic backgrounds less because they eat so many peppers as part of their staple diet. This is absolutely not true.

The three physical effects that you want your formula to cause are a burning sensation of the contaminated skin, respiratory distress, and an involuntary eye closure. The burning sensation is the least important tactically. The desired respiratory effect is to decrease the ability for the badguy breath enough to keep attacking you. The involuntary eye closure is the most important tactically. The O.C. dries the fluids in the eye on contact and forces the person to shut their eyes. If the potential felon can’t see you it will be more difficult to catch or kill you.

Most Personal Defense Sprays are available in Fog, Cone (sometimes called Mist), Stream and Foam. Each of these spray patterns has its strong points. Fog is the most effective delivery system because it is the most readily inhaled. It causes the most cross contamination onto unintended areas and is the easiest to blow back into your own face. Cone has a "shotgun" type pattern and is my personal favorite for general use. It has a more wind resistant delivery but still atomizes the OC well for inhalation. Steam is not inhaled as readily but has the greatest distance and even less likelihood of blowback. Foam has an almost shaving cream type consistency. It is highly unlikely it will be blown back by wind and is the best choice for indoor use as it causes the least cross contamination. Foam however is the least effective because it is rarely inhaled.

Some manufacturers would have you believe their product is superior to any other defensive option. Nothing works 100% of the time. NOTHING. Not your shotgun, not your baton, not your brain. Do not fall into the trap of thinking your O.C. will handle anything that comes along. It will not. Beware of any company who says their spray is the greatest thing ever invented. I have seen demonstrations of people sprayed with pepper sprays and still attack. Goal oriented people. They are dangerous and you must remain vigilant.

You must also have a back-up plan. Just like going to your back-up gun if your primary becomes damaged or taken. If your OC doesn’t work you need to be prepared to go to a higher level of force or be ready to run away. Always keep in mind your self defense tools are likely to give lackluster performance when it comes down to it.

If you carry OC as a defensive option put some thought into it. Just like with your gun-holster-ammo combination. Police officers use the OC on their belt far more often than the gun beside it. Consider which spray pattern and formulation will best suit your needs. Also consider placing several cans in strategic locations like in the car, at the office, by the front door and in your vest pocket.

Using OC isn’t as complicated as shooting but you do need to practice with it. Many companies sell inert training units that will work for practice but I suggest just using a live can. Practice like you would use it and think ahead and know which way the wind is blowing. If it blows back into your face have you really made yourself safer?

While on the topic of accidentally (or otherwise) being sprayed there are some simple guidelines you can follow to speed recovery along. Water and lots of it will help immensely. If you have non-oil based soap available (like Dawn or J&J baby shampoo) you should use it to wash the excess spray out of your hair and off your face. Make sure to get it all so you don’t get recontaminated later when you shower. Never use salves or creams to ease the burning sensation. It will only trap the OC under the skin and cause blistering. Never remove another persons contact lenses, always let a medical professional take them out.

If you ever are forced to spray someone you should move afterward. Two or three one half second bursts will do it. If the face is covered it will make it no hotter to spray more and it could actually wash some off. It should produce a reaction within three seconds of contact. If you do not get the desired effect go to your "plan B".

Chemical Weapons can be a good choice for people who choose not to have a gun. They can also help us bridge the gap between no force and lethal force. If chosen and used correctly they can be a great asset to anyone who is worried about their personal safety.

Tactical Response offers the best chemical weapons course available anywhere and the only quality course open to non-police and military. We open a lot of new tactical applications for this tool and it is one of our most sought after classes. To host a class or for more information or call 731-676-2041, check our website (http://www.TacticalResponse.com), or send an e-mail to Info@TacticalResponse.com.

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I've been hit with Freeze +P and it isn't any fun. We had to stand and get sprayed by our instructor with eyes open and then walk foreward and hit a bag. The burning went away about a half hour later and the redness was gone in a couple hours. Some of the other officers didn't take it as well as I did and were still complaining an hour later about the burning. One gentleman in particular still had his eyes swolen the next day. All in all, a good OC spray is invalueable to someone who can't carry a gun everywhere or to someone who just doesn't want to carry a gun.

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Guest Loaded247

Cannon Fodder, let me check on that...unless James Yeager knows the answer (he probably does). I got my Instructor Certification on Freeze +P. It was an eye closing experience...:)

I've also got some Fox Labs 5.3, but I've never been sprayed with it. I'm still trying to find someone who has been sprayed with BOTH, so they can tell me their impressions on each of them.

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But what is special about the animal spray that makes it illegal to use on the 2-legged animals?

It would seem to be an irrelevant question given that you're interested in stopping humans, right?

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Not really. If regular OC is enough to stop humans but yet there is another mixture that is made for animals, is regular OC not effective on animals? Is there some chemical in the Animal spray that is more effective on animals?

Animals don't sue you when you hit them with something that is more potent than legally allowed for use on humans.

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Yeah, but humans sue no matter what. Even if you are in the right you will end up in court for a civil. Haven't you ever wondered why something is against the law? There has to be a reason, unless your a liberal. I'm not being stupid, I do want to know what is the difference in them.

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