Why you should NOT trust pepper spray for self-protection

Krav Maga NYCPepper spray is a popular self-protection weapon used around the world for those feeling vulnerable when they venture out into the streets. It is also used by police as a crowd control method when protests get out of hand. Pepper spray comes in different forms like gel, spray, or flogger in various types of canisters and it’s usually effective within a 10 feet range depending on canister pressure. Pepper spray is not to be confused with Mace which is a chemical irritant more like tear gas. Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent.

The active ingredient that makes pepper spray an inflammatory agent is a capsaicin.  From peppers, capsaicin is firmly grounded and extracted using an organic solvent like ethanol. Once this process is effectively completed, capsaicin is then weaponized into a canister.

The reason people might want to use pepper spray is its severe temporary debilitating effects which are a strong burning sensation on your skin, immediate inflammation of all your mucous membranes in your eyes, nose, mouth, and lungs. Your eyes immediately shut as a reaction to the intense burning sensation. You may also experience shortness of breath, nasal and sinus discharge. For people who already have medically diagnosed breathing problems like asthma, it could even be fatal depending on how close they are to the point of discharge. 

You may be wondering if it’s such a powerful weapon that even police use then why not use it for self-protection. Police use it to control an unruly person or a crowd that’s out of control rioting, not for their self-protection. A lot of women, for example, will buy a small can of pepper spray and keep it “handy” in their purse just in case. She may think this will keep her safe when she walks late at night to get into her car or walk home. This is a false sense of security.  It’s an issue of timing as in how fast can she draw out her pepper spray can come from her purse to effectively use it against an assailant? By the time her hands find the can, and she tries to take it out, the assailant is already attacking her or restricting her arms. Worse, she may actually succeed in taking out the pepper spray can only to have it taken away by the assailant and used against her instead. There is also an issue of wind direction. If it’s a windy day out on the street and she aims against the wind, it’s going to affect her and not so much the assailant. And all this can happen to a guy too. He may keep it in his pocket, but when he tries taking it out the spray can get stuck and doesn’t come out right away. By this time he’s already getting beaten and will eventually become immobilized. What happens if the attack is inside a subway train and there are other people around? Even if you succeed in using the pepper spray, chances are you will hit innocent bystanders who can legally sue you in a civil court for damages.

The most accountable self-defense is using your own body; having fighting skills (even just a basic level), using your fists, your kicks to sensitive areas of the assailant’s body like the nose, the chin, the throat, the eyes, ears, back of the head, neck, groin, knees to neutralize him and truly defend yourself or those who can’t because they’re elderly and vulnerable.

You can only use pepper spray, keys, or any other tool when you are prepared & and when YOU KNOW HOW TO USE IT without hurting yourself.

A recently uploaded video on youtube revealed a cop gets pepper-sprayed by a suspect!
The cop had other tools to use as well, including a real gun. The point is not what you carry, but the HOW you use it.

It’s not a matter of size (although it’s always best to be the stronger person in a fight), you can be short and manage to defend yourself against someone taller, stronger, and bigger, but you have to mentally condition yourself to do so and look at a person as a target.

You can’t have your whole strategy rely on a tool that may not be available to you when you need it. If you are already grabbed, the pepper spray won’t do much of a service to you if it’s your pocket or handbag.

You have to discipline yourself and learn self-defense. Krav Maga is the best system out there for that purpose because it addresses all the self-protection needs in an intuitive and effective manner. Krav Maga bypasses all the formalities, rigid forms, and specific rules of different martial arts schools and instead focuses on what works and doesn’t in a real-life street scenario where you are being attacked by someone or multiple aggressors. While there are rules when you’re learning Krav Maga at a school like Krav Maga Experts, there are no rules in the streets when you find yourself in a situation that you have to fight. Krav Maga trains you to be aware of your surroundings at all times, assess a dangerous situation, and then act accordingly. When your mind has been conditioned by Krav Maga over a period following consistent training, meaning you attend classes regularly during a week, you no longer care about carrying a weapon like pepper spray because your level of self-confidence has risen in a way that bypasses the need to carry such weapon in the first place. Remember: YOU are the most lethal weapon there is.

“Carrying a pepper spray or self-protection tool is a good idea. But trusting it as a ticket out of trouble, as a bad idea.” Tsahi Shemesh, Founder of Krav Maga Experts