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.
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.
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.
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