Why Use and How to Choose Pepper Spray

If you carry a gun for self-defense, you should also carry pepper spray.* Even if you don’t carry a gun, you should carry pepper spray, also known as oleoresin capsicum (“OC”).

Using a firearm for self-defense is always the very last option in a lethal attack situation. But you shouldn’t rely solely on a gun as your only means of self-defense. FBI/DOJ crime statistics tell us we’re 5 times more likely to be faced with a non-deadly threat, against which only non-deadly defensive force is legally appropriate, than we are a deadly threat.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, The 5 Elements of Self-Defense Law ]

Under what circumstances is the use of pepper spray as a defensive tool lawful and advisable? What conditions have to be met before you can use pepper spray in self-defense? Pepper spray is a non-deadly form of self-defense and can be used to stop any reasonably perceived threat of non-deadly harm, which means almost any degree of harm. So long as you use it defensively and not offensively, generally speaking you should be within your rights.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Checklist: Categories and Their Items for Every Day Carry (EDC) ]

In the following video, Chris Baker of Lucky Gunner says, “OC gives you a force option that’s somewhere between harsh language and shooting somebody. We all know that statistically, we are very unlikely to end up in a situation where we need to use our firearm to defend our life. Much more common are situations that call for some kind of intervention that’s less than deadly force. Maybe someone is behaving in a threatening way, but they don’t have a weapon and they have not done anything yet that would warrant using deadly force. That might be a good time to deploy some OC.

[ Read the SemperVerus article, Video: Always Carry Pepper (OC) Spray for Non-Lethal Force Self-Defense ]

“It’s not magic. OC is not a substitute for a deadly force option. It doesn’t work 100% of the time. But it’s a force response we can use early in an encounter to hopefully stop everything or get away from that person before the situation escalates. Using a non-lethal option sooner means we don’t have to resort to the lethal option later. And if we mess up and spray someone who didn’t really deserve it, the consequences are far less severe. Nobody dies, nobody goes to prison.”

Active Response Training: Pepper Spray—How to Choose It and How to Use It

Active Response Training: Lessons Learned from a Successful Use of Pepper Spray

AmmoMan.com: Less Lethal And Non Lethal Self Defense and How To Use Pepper Spray For Best Effect

FPFTraining: Watch the Video on Using Pepper Spray

Recoil: How to Pepper Spray

* Pepper spray is not legal in all areas of the US or in every location. Check your local and state laws and regulations before purchasing or carrying OC spray.

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