As a self defense expert I get emails all the time asking me “what’s the best self defense weapon?” This question can be very simple to answer, but I’m going to have to split people into groups to best answer this question.
For the vast majority of the population the best self defense weapon is pepper spray or mace. A lot of guys I know giggle a little bit at this because that’s what they buy their sixteen year old daughters to keep them safe.
Think again! I knew a Delta Force operative who has since passed away in combat who swore by pepper spray and carried it with him almost everywhere. It was his self defense weapon of choice (when he wasn’t in on a military mission of course).
Pepper spray is an extremely effective self defense weapon for several reasons:
1. Easy to use- especially when you may be in a surprise situation or your nerves are on edge.
2. You can spray first and ask questions later because it is non-lethal.
3. Easy to buy and very little training to use.
4. It gives you an unfair advantage over an assailant even if he has a weapon, because you have removed his most important sense ‘sight.’
5. Certain units can be used from up to 20ft away (in never lets the bad guy get to close)
Some of these points could use a little clarification.
Pepper spray is easy to use because it does not require great accuracy.
You can buy the fogger or cone shaped spray for easy use. This means when your hands get shaky, a physiological side effect of the fight or flight response, you’ll still be able to get this stuff in the attackers eyes and mouth.
Also the non-lethal nature of pepper spray and mace allows you to use it more freely. If you feel like a person is a serious threat pull it out and hose them down. You’re not going to seriously hurt them and you don’t have to wait for them to make a move.
Problem With Carrying a Gun for Self Defense
The problem with carrying a gun for personal safety is that you have to be much more reluctant to pull the trigger.
There are two main reasons for this:
1. You have to make darn sure this person is threatening your life (or you will be going to jail and will have to live with yourself knowing you killed an innocent person).
2. You have to ensure that no innocent bystanders will be hit by a stray bullet (remember stray bullets can go through walls and even kill someone in their house).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m no anti-gun advocate. If you are licensed and trained in firearm use and safety, a gun can be a great self-defense tool. But, keep in mind all the risks and legal consequences that could come along with using your gun. I personally prefer to carry pepper spray for my self defense.
Wait! Before you run out and buy the first can of pepper spray or mace there is some stuff you need to know.
Most importantly, not all states allow you to carry pepper spray. You should seriously look into this. This article is meant to keep you safe, not get you into trouble. I am not a lawyer and cannot give you legal advice. It is your job to find out what is legal in your state and county.
Also, not all pepper sprays and maces are created equal. There are certain ratings to look for.
You should ensure that it has either a SHU (Scoville Heat Units) rating of at least 2,000,000, or a ‘OC’ percent (oleoresin capsicum percent) ranking.
Of the two the SHU rating is more important because a high OC can make the spray thick and difficult to use.
Finally make sure your unit has an expiration date on it. These sprays lose their effectiveness over time, and the last thing you want is to spray an assailant with faulty pepper spray.