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Mace or Pepper Spray


A Common Question: Should I Use Mace or Pepper Spray?


Pepper spray is a generic term for all self-defense sprays that contain oleoresin capsicum, a carrier, and a propellant. Oleoresin capsicum is the active ingredient in pepper spray, harvested or derived from cayenne peppers or other peppers. Its effects are physically incapacitating rather than painfully irritating; this makes it ideal for self-defense sprays that are intended for use on assailants who are immune to pain (psychotics, those under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Tear gas, on the other hand, is commonly made of one of two chemical compounds: CS (orthochlorobenzalmalononitrile) or CN (choroacetophenone). These compounds, when sprayed into the face of an assailant, work to irritate eyes, skin, and respiratory system. They work on the pain principle, and so are not effective against those who are impervious to pain.

Mace is a brand name that used to offer only tear gas. Now, Mace offers several different types of self-defense spray, including:

Mace Triple Action is pepper spray, tear gas, and Ultra-Violet dye. The pepper spray physically incapacitates the assailant by forcing his eyes shut and tightening his bronchial tubes, making it impossible for him to see and very difficult for him to breathe. The tear gas irritates the bronchial tubes, causing him to cough. The UV dye brands the assailant with a purple mess, making him easily identifiable.

Pepper Mace uses a 10-percent oleoresin capsicum solution and UV dye. The OC solution is a particularly strong one; it doesn't kick in as quickly as a smaller concentration like 1-5 percent, but the effects are longer, sometimes up to 45 minutes.

Pepper foam is the same as pepper Mace, but it sprays as foam rather than a liquid.

So as you can see, it is not a question of mace vs. pepper spray, since Mace is simply a brand name. The question is really one of Tear Gas vs. Pepper Spray. The winner? Pepper spray, hands down.

About the Author:
The above article was taken from the original website as listed in  No author was mentioned

The Facts About Pepper Spray

Essential Pepper Spray Facts

Pepper Spray is a common inflammatory agent used in repelling a would-be attacker. Using the essence of a hot pepper as a weapon is not a new age idea. The ancient Chinese put ground cayenne pepper in rice paper and flung it in the face of their opponents, and Japanese ninjas used ground pepper to disable opponents as well.

Todays commercial pepper spray products are mostly O.C. (Oleoresin Capsicum) which is a derivative of the hot pepper family. The degree of OC in solution is often touted as a percentage, usually in the range of 5% to 18%. Experts caution consumers not to take these marketing numbers too seriously. A higher percentage of OC may not penetrate the membranes as fast as a lighter fluid. A more scientific rating is in Scoville Units. Look for a product rated at 2 million Scoville Units. That's plenty hot and will do the job if you must use it in an actual attack. Do not use it in any situation other than as an emergency defensive maneuver. You can be fined by police or sued by the person who claims the assault to be inappropriate or injurious.

Pepper Spray affects all the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth and lungs). Common reactions are tearing, coughing, gasping for breath and temporary blindness. The effects are temporary, certainly enough time for you to flea the scene or call 911. Pepper spray has been the preferred non-lethal agent for police for the last few decades.

Pepper spray should not be confused with tear gas. We may know tear gas and its effects from newsreels of police using it against protesters from the 60s and 70s. CN was the first tear gas chemical; it was used by civilian and military forces in the early 20th century. Its effects were similar to pepper spray although there were concerns about its potency and stability. It is still used in many parts of the world and is the active ingredient in Mace.

CS was developed in the 1950s. This chemical is typically dispersed in a cloud or fog and causes severe tearing and skin irritations. During the Vietnam War, the United States developed an array of delivery vehicles for CS, including small pocket grenades, the Mighty Mite (a continuous spray device used in caves and tunnel systems) and 58-kg cluster bombs dropped from helicopters and planes. CS quickly became the chemical of choice for police in crowd control.

Tear gas tends to hang in the air and may keep its potency where it lays for days. Most important, unlike pepper spray, tear gas in high concentrations has caused pulmonary failure, heart attacks and severe gastroenteritis. For these reasons pepper spray has replaced CS in many parts of the world.

For pepper spray to be effective, it must hit the face and if possible the eyes. To that end, a consumer can choose from several dispersion methods including gels, foams and traditional sprays. Gels and foams tend to stick to the attackers face causing maximum tearing. These canisters are under pressure so they can typically shoot a stream from 8 to 12 feet. The newest type spray pattern is a fogger, which expands and vaporizes into a cloud of pepper. This type of spray pattern is great for multiple attackers, crowd control, bears and home use. Most pepper products shoot in short bursts. Unless you get a 2 ounce or larger canister, you are limited to perhaps 4 to 7 bursts.

When used properly and in the appropriate situation, pepper spray can indeed be a life saving device. Although you hope to never use it, it may be better to have it and not need it, than not have and really need it.

About the Author:
Eugene Brenner is web master of and He is considered an authority on personal defense products such as pepper spray, stun guns, Taser, personal alarms and diversion safes. This article was taken from the original website listed in




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