What is pepper spray made of?
Pepper spray is a derivative of Cayenne pepper. The oils are extracted from the
pepper using a high-pressure process. This process leaves you with the active
ingredient in pepper spray known as OC or OleoResin Capsicum. The pure pepper
extract is then diluted with an inert ingredient that reduces the SHU or Scoville
Heat Unit to get it down to a useable SHU for pepper spray. SHU is a unit of
measurement that determines how hot something is the rating goes from 1 million
SHU up to 5 million SHU. One million SHU is detectable on the palette in
concentrations as little as 1 part per million or 1 drop of OC in 1 million drops of
water. All of our sprays are 2 million SHU and in much higher concentrations than
1 part per million.
Will my pepper spray expire?
Yes. That is why we print an expiration date on every can of pepper spray.
Usually this expiration date is 3 to 4 years from the date of purchase. Although
the spray life is indefinite it does start to lose potency over time. Any use of the
spray beyond the expiration date is HIGHLY inadvisable. We strongly advise you to
replace your pepper spray every year! That way you are always assured of the
potency of the spray.
How can I be assured my pepper spray will work when I need it?
You should get in the habit of testing your defense spray every 90 days. To do
this first go outside and determine which direction the wind is blowing. Remember
to always stand upwind from the direction you are spraying.
Depress the firing mechanism for ½ second. This test should be performed upon
purchase and every 90 days after that. Be aware that every time you test your
spray you reduce the contents of the canister. If you are using a key chain model
and you test regularly you will need to replace the unit every 9 to 12 months if you
follow the recommended testing procedure above. See the reference chart on the
back of the packaging for additional information.
What temperatures are safe for my defense spray?
Excessive heat or cold may cause the can to leak or burst. Therefore, do not
leave your spray in any area that may exceed 125 degrees F or drop below -15
Will the airlines allow defense spray on an airplane?
Sprays are not allowed in carry-on luggage or at any time in the passenger area.
VERY IMPORTANT! The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) allows one spray (up
to 4-ounce size) per traveler in your checked luggage only. Some airlines have
restricted the presence of these sprays entirely. Check your airlines.
How effective is defense spray?
These sprays are effective in most situations, but not all. If somebody is under
the influence of drugs or alcohol or has special training, i.e. military or martial arts
training he may not be as effected as others.
What do I do when my Mace unit expires or is empty?
Like any pressurized aerosol device, over time the unit may not spray as far as
expected, if at all. We recommend replacing your spray after the expired date
shown on your can. Defense sprays contain chemicals and should be disposed of
in accordance with all local, state and federal regulations. For information on
replacement canisters, contact your distributor, or call 1-888-811-8864 for help
locating a dealer.
What does SHU mean?
Scoville heat units (SHU's) is a term used to measure the 'hotness' of pepper. For
example, one spray might be 500,000 SHU while another is 1,000,000 SHU,
which means the pepper is twice as hot.
Are defense sprays legal in other countries?
When dealing with overseas and shipping defense spray, there are less
restrictions on OC pepper sprays than there are on products containing tear gas.
Many foreign counties have restrictions, and so it is important to determine those
before travelling to foreign countries. If someone were interested in exporting (or
importing) overseas, the US government requires special permits and an export
license to do so. Important information for obtaining export clearance are:
Department of Commerce web site www.doc.gov ; US Export Assistance Center
(206) 553-5615; Department of State-Office of Defense Trade Controls (202)
663-2714; International Trade Institute (206) 527-3732.
What's the difference between pepper spray and Mace?
Don't get Mace confused with Pepper Spray, as Mace is a brand name.
Our Self DefenderTM, Security Plus® Heatwave and PepperGard® pepper
sprays all contain OC (oleoresin capsicum) which is a derivative of hot
cayenne peppers. When sprayed in the face, OC (pepper spray) causes the
person's eyes to slam shut, creates an intense burning sensation and
disorients him for several minutes.
Pepper sprays come in various concentrations such as 5%, 10% and 15%
OC. The most common is 10% OC with UV (ultra-violet) dye.
MACE is a registered trade name for the brand of defense sprays
manufactured by Mace Security International. A Mace brand defense spray
either contains OC pepper, tear gas or both. Therefore PepperGard® ,
Pepper Foam®, Triple Action®, Muzzle® and Double Action® are Mace
products containing either pepper spray, tear gas or both.
TEAR GAS Causes coughing, irritation and watery eyes. MACE Triple
Action® is a blend of OC pepper, CN tear gas and UV dye. This formula
combines the benefits of tear gas with the "burning" effect of pepper to
disorient an attacker. The spray should be aimed at the face of an attacker.
PEPPER FOAM is a 10% OC pepper formulation with UV dye that sprays in
a thick foam. The foam acts to "blindfold" and disorient an attacker and
cause the same "burning" and closing of the eyes as traditional liquid
pepper sprays. The spray should be aimed at the face of an attacker.
NOTE: All of our sprays including Self DefenderTM, Security Plus®
Heatwave and Mace® brand products offer an effective means of humane
and non-lethal self defense.
Is pepper spray legal?
In most states pepper spray is legal to possess and carry. You should
check with your local law enforcement office or your states Attorney
Generals office for any regulations your state may have. There are states
where pepper spray is legal but there may be size, age or OC concentration
restrictions. You should check on these restrictions as well.
We've compiled a listing of the pepper spray laws, for states that posted
this information, in this personal protection section. See Pepper Spray
Laws on the menu above.
Is there anyplace where I cannot carry my pepper spray?
Yes. You cannot carry pepper spray on board commercial aircraft. This is a
Federal crime that can carry up to a $25,000 dollar fine. It is ok to carry
pepper spray in your checked baggage although it is highly advisable that
you notify the ticketing agent when you check your baggage. Also since
9/11/01 you may have issues when carrying pepper spray into secured
locations such as a Federal buildings, State buildings or anyplace where
you pass through a security checkpoint. Although there are no laws that
we are aware of you should use your common sense here.
How does pepper spray work?
Pepper spray's active ingredient is OC or oleoresin capsicum. The OC is
derived from Cayenne peppers these are some of the hottest peppers in
the world. Unlike MACE or tear gas, which are irritants, pepper spray OC is
an inflammatory agent. Contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose,
throat and lungs) causes immediate dilation of the capillaries. This can
result in temporary blindness and instant inflammation of the breathing
tube tissues and systematically cuts of all but life support breathing. OC
also will create an intense burning sensation on the surface of the skin.
However, OC will cause no lasting after effects. The effects last from 15
to 60 minutes. Because OC is an inflammatory agent and not an irritant it
is effective on those who feel no pain such as psychotics and those under
the influence of drugs or alcohol.
When should I use my pepper spray?
Although no defense item is 100% effective in every situation you will need
to assess the situation as it happens. You should ONLY use pepper spray
if you are threatened or your life is in danger. Please note that it IS a
crime to use pepper spray to commit malicious acts.
How do I use my pepper spray?
If you have to use your pepper spray make sure you have distance between
you and the threat if at all possible. Aim the spray at the eyes and facial
region of the threat then release a 1 to 2 second burst of spray. After you
have done this MOVE out of the way but keep your eyes on the threat.
Pepper spray can take a couple of moments to cause a reaction and by
watching the reactions of the threat you will be able to determine if you will
require another shot of pepper spray. Boxers have a saying "Stick and
Move" well the same applies here. Just remember "Spray and Move",
"Spray and Move". Once the threat is eliminated seek help and call the
police. You may also wish to get a Tactical Use of Defense Spray Manual.
It is loaded with useful tips on using defense sprays.
Protecting People, Property & Profits
Pepper Spray FAQs