One of the most popular non-lethal self-defense options is pepper spray. There are many types and strengths to choose from. Knowing your options will help you select the perfect type for your lifestyle. An odd and somewhat scary suggestion is to test a small amount on yourself.
Now I know this sounds a bit crazy, but there is good reason for this. As a police officer, I was required to go through the process of being sprayed. This allows you to understand fully what your attacker will experience. More importantly, you will know how you respond to the spray. (If you have a medical condition, you should consult your doctor prior to doing this) Simply lean your head over a sink and rinse with cool water to wash the spray off.
Do not let the water drip down your body as it can leave a burning feeling wherever it touches. It is inevitable that when using pepper spray, you may, in turn, get sprayed as well. Wind shifts and body movement can cause back spray or residual spray. If you live in a windy area like the coast, you may want to opt for a gel rather than a spray. Gel will give you more control and cause less back spray. You can also get colored gel.
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The benefit here is that your attacker would be easily identified by the bright orange or red on their face. Sprays can range from solid stream to wide stream. A wide stream is capable of covering a larger area with multiple attackers. This can also be called riot sray or bear spray. These types of spray are often found in larger size cans and are great for animals, both 2 and 4 legged.
For personal defense, look for a convenient size for carry that has a spraying distance of 8 to 10 feet. Small key chain or pocket clip styles offer easy access. Many will come with a locking device to keep from accidental spray. Be sure you know how these function. Practice often removing the spray and taking aim, unlocking and pressing the button (or acting as if you are).
Having these actions frequently practiced will allow you to act quickly when needed. You will find out if the style you selected has any restrictions or additional movements needed. Were the keys in the way? Was the case too hard to open? Did the spray go too far in the pocket? Was the clip not working right? These are questions that you should resolve now, not when your safety is on the line.
The most important step seems silly to say, but it happens more than you think. Carry it! make it part of your routine. If grabbing your pepper spray is as normal to you as grabbing your purse, you are more likely to have it when you need it. Remember, always stay safe, keep calm and carry on!
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