Every time I teach my Bulletproof Self-Defense class, I ask my students how many carry pepper spray. Normally about 50% of the hands go up. My biggest issues with any self-defense weapon is that they can give you a false sense of security. Maybe you might be a little less vigilant, a little less aware, because you’re armed with a self-defense weapon. And that would be a mistake. Any weapon you’re carrying to protect yourself can be taken away from you and used against you. If you have not learned self-defense and you drop your weapon or your attacker takes it from you, you are utterly defenseless.
Top Ten Reasons Why I Don’t Like Pepper Spray
1. Most pepper spray canisters have a safety lock mechanism attached. This prevents you from accidentally discharging it. But if you do not occasionally practice unlocking the canister quickly, you will have a hard time unlocking it and spraying it in a true panic situation.
2. Unless it’s attached to your key chain, most people will never carry their pepper spray in their hand when they’re walking alone. They’re more likely to leave it in their purse, and it would be almost impossible to find it, unlock the safety mechanism, and deploy it fast enough to stop an assailant.
3. Many pepper sprays spray in a stream as opposed to a cloud. That means your aim must be dead-on in order for the spray to be effective. The stream must hit the attacker in the eyes to be effective. If you attacker is wearing glasses, this gives him an added level of protection against your pepper spray.
4. If you spray pepper spray outdoors and the wind is blowing the wrong direction, you could end up with a face full of spray while your attacker gets none.
5. If you leave your canister in a hot car, the canister can leak, making it useless. It can also explode if left in a hot car.
6. If you leave your canister in a cold car, it can become depressurized and lose the ability to spray far enough to reach your attacker until he’s right in front of you.
7. The only way to know if your canister is working properly is to test it periodically, which the manufacturer recommends. However, according to the manufacturer. an 11 ounce hand-held keychain unit only has about ten 2-second bursts of spray in it. So 20 seconds of spray and it’s empty.
8. Pepper spray canisters do expire, but few pay attention to the date and replace expired cans.
9. Nearly 20 states have laws restricting the use of pepper spray. If you’re planning to take your spray on a trip, better check state laws first.
10. And my number one reason not to buy pepper spray? The caution warning at the top of the instruction label of the brand I purchased says “Defense sprays may not be effective on enraged, drugged or intoxicated people.” If someone attacks me in a parking garage, it’s highly likely that he’s drunk, high or pissed off, in which case there’s a good chance he won’t be affected by the spray.
So what’s better than pepper spray? A good solid training in self-defense with weapons attached to your body – your hands, feet, knees, etc. Won’t you please help us spread the word by clicking on the “share” icons below? If you would like to know more about our Bulletproof Self-Defense classes, click here. If Bulletproof classes are not available in your area, please find another self-defense class and take it. Also, please check out the book, “Bulletproof: Safety, Security and Self-Defense for the College-Bound Woman.”