What is Pepper Spray? 

TigerLight has been working with, educating, and selling pepper spray in its TigerLight devices for over 20 years. We have made this pepper spray guide page to help educate anyone looking into buying, or learning about pepper spray. 


Krav Maga Expert Gets Willingly Pepper Sprayed by His Son


Used by Japanese Samurai warriors in hand to hand combat and Chinese soldiers against lines of enemy soldiers, peppers and the more modern day, pepper spray, has been used for centuries as a way to fight off dangerous attackers. Pepper Spray is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. The hot part of hot peppers is extracted and made into a compound. It is combined with an emulsifier, water and a propellant. This is then put into a compressed aerosol container including a spray actuator and typically, a safety mechanism. The more scientific name for pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum spray (OC). That is why you will often hear pepper spray ferreted to as OC. Capsicum is the organic compound in peppers that makes peppers hot. It is an irritant to humans and most animals. One of the most important things to consider when it comes to pepper spray, is like most things in life, not all sprays are created equal. 

What is the Best Pepper Spray? 

We recently wrote an amazing blog post, "What is the Strongest Pepper Spray" on this very subject and we highly recommend you check it out! There are many different types of pepper sprays and chemical sprays. So which one is the best?

First, we want to clarify the difference between pepper spray and mace. These two often get confused when people think of your traditional pepper spray. Mace is a chemical spray made out of phenacyl chloride which is tear gas or something very similar to that chemical component. Mace can cause irritation and make breathing difficult. However, mace does not cause inflammation to the mucous membrane. This significant difference between the two can make a world of difference in its ability to stop an attacker.

Because pepper spray causes inflammation to your eyes, throat, skin and lungs and is extremely painful, it is generally more effective at safely incapacitating an attacker. Mace, while very painful, does not work as effectively on someone who has a sever tolerance to pain or is on drugs or alcohol that is dampening your attacker's pain senses. 

Pepper Spray

However, just as pepper spray and mace yield different results, there are many factors that can dramatically impact the effectiveness of pepper spray, even though one spray might claim to have, or even have, the exact same potency as another. These seemingly small differences in spray patterns, particle size and whether or not the delivery method is stealth, or not, can absolutely be the difference between stopping an attacker and not stopping an attacker. This has been amply demonstrated in effectiveness studies on the TigerLight by law enforcement agencies, such as the LASD Study by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The inflammatory nature of pepper spray is far superior to mace and although the intensity of inflammation and its impact on pain, breathing and seeing is directly related to how strong and concentrated the pepper spray is, there are other factors that are even more significant, particularly the respiratory impact of a stealth-delivered cone spray compared to a non-stealth spray. This difference is increased even more if the spray is a stream of a gel, which will have comparatively little respiratory impact, a huge factor when it comes to stopping attackers that are on PCP or other similar drugs. However, there is even more to be concerned about.

There was a study done by the University of Utah that discovered the variability of the capsaicin level within a pepper spray can jeopardize the outcome of someone using the spray. In face the study showed that the vast majority of popular sprays on the market was actually far less potent than the claim on the canisters level. Some were only 1/100th the potency claims on the canister or in the advertising.

There are many different vendors and retailers that sell pepper spray. However, by far, the leader and most effective personal protection device using pepper spray is TigerLight's own Defense Alert Device. 

Does Pepper Spray Work? 

 When you have been in this business as long as we have, you start to get frustrated when people try and argue against the blatant effectiveness of pepper spray. The truth is, pepper spray works. Is it perfect? No. However it is one of the safest, and most effective means of using non lethalforce at stopping an attacker. The combined benefits of being extremely painful and also making an attacker feel like they cannot breath due to the intense burning of their mucous membrane make pepper spray a no brainer. The National Institute of Justice reports on the effects of the ability to breath when pepper spray is used. It also discusses how the majority of Police departments use pepper spray within their force. TigerLights were part of a massive study done by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department. The results of the study showed that pepper spray (in TigerLights) used by the sheriffs department had a 94% stop rate.So with most police departments using pepper spray and its intense potency and effectiveness it really is an essential self defense toolthat you should have! 

NIJ Study on Pepper Spray

The photo above is taken from a study by the National Institute of Justice on pepper spray  and its effects on ability to breathe. 

Is Pepper Spray Legal? 

This is a question that we get a lot at TigerLight. People wonder whether they can carry pepper spray legally in their state or country. We want to make it very clear on this article, that pepper spray is legal in all 50 states. There are some restrictions when it comes to specific states, specifically New York. We have a products specifically for New Yorkalong with instructions on how to obtain pepper spray there. Our owner Michael Teig has created an amazing guide to pepper spray in New York.

Is Pepper Spray Lethal? 

Anything measure that can be done to make the lives of our citizens and police officers safer, should be taken. In the study we have referenced multiple times in this article (LASD), the rate at which officers used significant force was reduced by 34% and there was a 43% reduction in excessive force complaints. In 2020, according to officer down memorial page, there were 326 deaths  officers that were killed in the line of duty. According to Statista.com there were 999 deaths to citizens using a firearm in 2020. These numbers are shocking to say the least. NPR reported just with firearm deaths in the united states during 2020 there were 19,223 deaths. If pepper spray can reduce these numbers even by 10% in any capacity that would be 2055 less people that perished this year.