How to Use Pepper Spray The Right Way for Self-Defense

Knowing how to deploy pepper spray is important for personal safety and effectiveness of the self-defense device. In order for the spray to inflame the eyes of an assailant, the nozzle must be properly aimed at an adequate range and delivered with the correct spray pattern. Pepper spray is easy to use but requires practice because it is common for assault victims to freeze and fumble in an emergency situation.

Becoming Familiar with Pepper Spray

Ensure that the spray canister is easily accessible, either on a keychain or belt loop, not at the bottom of a satchel or pocketbook. In a potentially vulnerable situation, such as a deserted street or dark parking lot, have the spray readily available, but concealed in a bag or purse.

Pepper spray canisters have a safety release to prevent accidental discharge of the product. Familiarity with unlocking the release is important since you will have to make quick and accurate hand motions in the event of a threatening situation.

Although statistics show that pepper spray is most often used at close range, it is beneficial to be aware of the range of your particular canister of pepper spray. Some brands have a range of up to 20 feet, but are most effective at 4 to 6 feet. Also know how many available shots are contained in the canister as some attacks involve multiple threats.

Aim and Release

If the canister comes with a carrying case, practice taking it out quickly and aiming it at an imaginary target. Accuracy is important because the spray needs to hit the assailant’s facial skin and eyes. It is important to understand the overall objective of using pepper spray, which is to temporary blind the attacker so that you can get away. Pepper spray can also be used against a dog or other animal that is about to attack.

Another effective practice drill is to put the canister on a table, close your eyes and practice taking aim with the nozzle pointed in the right direction. Under duress, it’s possible to fumble with the canister and potentially aim the nozzle at your face. Practice this drill enough times to gain familiarity with the device so that it becomes part of your muscle memory.

Always use the thumb when releasing the spray so that you can keep a firm grip around the can. Draw the spray quickly, deploy the material and step to the side, out of the way. If the assailant is hit in the eyes and struggling to keep them open, they’ll likely become angry and aggressive, and lunge toward the last place they saw you.

Spray Pattern

Stream and gel products should be sprayed ear to ear across the eyes in a back and forth horizontal pattern. A cone delivery system or fogger should be sprayed up and down in a vertical pattern. With a foam device, use a circular motion aiming at the face. If there is wind, the user should be aware that they may also be affected by the scattering spray.

Hold the canister with authority and also raise your other hand like a stop sign which will enable you to more easily push away the attacker. Escape from the situation as quickly as possible knowing that you may also have to physically fight off your assailant. Pepper spray canisters can also be used as an impact weapon, if necessary.

Becoming familiar with your pepper spray canister is important because in a threatening situation, it’s typical for victims to become impaired at making smooth and quick movements. Pressurized pepper spray can be an effective means of self-defense when draw and aim methods are practiced and the product is properly used.