pepper spray
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7 Reasons Why Pepper Spray is Must Have SHTF Item

(Written by Guest Writer Amplush)

As someone who works in the hospitality industry, I’m one to be knocking off at some pretty wild times of the night. Sometimes the patrons where I work can be a bit rowdy in the late hours so my employer set up surveillance where the staff park to combat this, but mid last year I was faced with a situation I had worried about for some time. 

As I approached my car at around 11 PM someone that I was earlier feeding drinks to, approached me as I was walking up to my car. I live in a state where it isn’t common for people to be carrying guns, but sure there’s occasionally violent crime and this is just the kind of situation that I was dreading. My first thought when this guy started yelling out was to pretend I didn’t hear it and keep walking as quickly as I could to my car. 

Busily fumbling around in my bag for my keys as I walked this guy kept yelling out aggressively to me as he started running up closer behind me. My first thought was this is going to be the night I get attacked and something really bad happens. I started thinking maybe I could jam my keys into his side and run as fast as I could back into the building, but if I did I might not make it quick enough and I could be making this situation much worse once he caught up with me. 

pepper spray PIN

Once I reached the door of my car he was screaming at me to give him my keys. I don’t know if he was planning to steal my car or just make it so I couldn’t get away, but either way, this guy was bad news and I found myself in a spot I didn’t know how to get out of safely. Unfortunately, I left karate as a kid after 4 or 5 classes so the self-defense option was out. 

Out of sheer luck though when I went to pull my keys out of my bag and hand them to him, one of my coworkers who was outside heard what was going on and shouted “hey! I’ve called the cops.” Quickly realizing someone else was witness to what was going on, he decided to bolt knocking me to the ground. Thankfully my car and I were safe, but I was left pretty startled. If it were not for a vigilant coworker I could have had my car stolen or worse.

This whole situation got me to thinking about ways I could protect myself in everyday situations. I go to the gym at early and late hours and the same for my work, so it’s not uncommon for me to be more at risk of bumping into the shady characters. Usually, I can just avoid any kind of confrontation by getting to my car as quickly as possible, but if not being saved by a coworker the situation I found myself in could have ended badly. 

Where I live it isn’t common practice for people to carry guns on their person, though even if this were the case as a prepper a gun still wouldn’t be my self-defense tool of choice. I have a fairly bad aim so I’m more likely to shoot my foot than the person I’d be pointing it at, and the likelihood it could be turned around and used against me is considerable. 

I’m also not trying to seriously harm some poor guy for being low on cash and desperately looking for a way out to fix that problem. Guns never appealed to me as a way to get out of potentially dangerous situations. This is when a friend suggested the idea of maybe using a taser gun or pepper spray as a form of immobilization and protection in survival situations. 

Tasers have their place but again I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with the idea of shooting thousands of volts of electricity through someone else’s body. What if the offender had a heart condition? Or what if I accidentally shot an unsuspecting bystander? So pepper spray it was and I feel it offers the security I need when SHTF (shit hits the fan) without much of the risk of other forms of self-defense.

Here are seven reasons I decided this was the choice for me.

1. Pepper Spray is a Non-Lethal Alternative to Guns

pepper spray in action
pic by VCU CNS on flickr

Pepper spray is made from natural ingredients, specifically oleoresin capsicum, a concentrated form of the chemical that makes chili peppers taste spicy. The way it is used is by spraying it into a person, dog, or bear’s eyes and this causes instant pain and irritation making it incredibly difficult for the person or animal to see either preventing an attack or creating a distraction mid-attack so that you have the opportunity to escape. It is often used as a means of defense in riot control and is considered quite a safe way to combat aggression because it causes temporary immobilization. 

Try running towards a sound with a blindfold on and you’ll get the general idea of how difficult it is for a person or animal to come running at you after being sprayed. In addition to this, it causes extreme pain and stinging in the eyes due to the sensitivity of this part of the body. If you have ever accidentally touched your eye after handling a chili when cooking, you will have had a very small taste of this pain but this is much more temporary and less life-threatening than the damage a bullet from a gun can cause. Excluding suicide, the rate of death by firearm in 2019 was around 15,000 1

Many of these incidences may have been a mistake or not intentionally caused, but unfortunately, if a main artery is hit with a bullet or if infection sets in a self-defence tool can easily turn into a life or death situation. While there is still some risk of causing damage to the eyes with pepper spray it is rarely known to be lethal and can help you get out of a SHTF situation safely.

2. It is a Cheap Form of Self-Defense

The cost of owning a firearm can range in the thousands as licensing, registration, training, and buying equipment and accessories all come at a price. This is in comparison to a cost of $20-$200 for the more expensive pepper sprays and typically there is no licensing or registration required. This makes it a much more affordable self-defense tool to have in comparison to firearms, and it can be stored safely on your person or in a car if going to areas where there may be bears or other animals lurking.

To save you some time if you are interested in buying some pepper spray – here is one of the best available on AMAZON:

SABRE RED Pepper Gel – Police Strength – Tactical Series with 18-Foot (5.5M) Range, 18 Bursts & Belt Holster

3. You Need Little Training to Effectively Use Pepper Spray

Pepper Spray Training -by SABRE RED

While there is some skill in using pepper spray effectively, you can gain tips and tricks on training through a bit of online research and practicing at home

If you are concerned about surprise attacks or being approached by aggressors in urban settings Sabre, one of the brands that offer various pepper sprays has some online guides to their use. Similarly, there are resources out there if you are more concerned about a bear or animal attack as these may require some slight modification to how they are used.

4. You Are Not Comfortable With Guns

reasons why pepper spray is a good alternative to guns
pic by hizir kaya on unsplash

If you are anything like me, you may be concerned about the safety of owning and carrying a gun. It has been well established that owning and keeping a gun in your home, particularly one that is not well secured in a gun safe increases your risk of accidental death and death by other means exponentially 3

Although some people must hold firearms for certain professions, for the majority of people they are not required in daily life and may pose a hazard should they get into tiny hands or if they are discharged accidentally. Thankfully there are ways to protect yourself and prep for potentially dangerous situations without placing yourself or others in your home at harm.

5. Legalities Of Your Region Prevent You From Owning Firearms

pepper spray law
pic by bill oxford on unsplash

Perhaps you are well aware of the risks of owning a gun and prepared for this, but if you live in any of the regions where gun ownership is highly regulated it may not be a simple or easy process to obtain a firearm. 

Secondly, even if you own a firearm there may be regulations that dictate the way your gun is to be transported in a vehicle making it an inconvenient option for SHTF situations as if the gun must be carried fully disassembled, there may not be time to spend a few minutes putting it back together again. Some of the strictest gun laws exist in California 4 where it is possible to be denied the right to carry a concealed weapon by authorities. 

In addition to this rigorous background checks are performed so you may simply not be in a position to obtain a firearm but you still require some form of personal protection for yourself.

6. Pepper Spray in SHTF Situations Can Also Help You Deal With Wild Animals

Although in talking about self-defense there is often a focus on attacks by people, those who go foraging or camping in remote locations may be much more at risk of being attacked by large animals such as bears, coyotes, or wolves. 

While many stores sell products specifically designed for use on animals, what is known as bear spray contains the same ingredients as human pepper spray 5. The only difference is that bear spray may shoot at more of a distance and contains around 2% oleoresin capsicum in comparison to 1.33% for human pepper spray, which means you would need to use a bit more human pepper spray than bear spray if tumbling around with a bear. 

If you rarely travel to remote areas however, human pepper spray may be a more sensible purchase for you as it can be used on both humans and bears. As for wolves or wild dogs, they have much keener senses than a human so not as much pepper spray as a human would be needed to disable them.

7. In Disaster Situations You Can Make Pepper Spray

One great part about using pepper spray as a form of self-defense is that in dire situations where there are limited resources or if you live in a remote area, it is possible to harvest chili and make your own spray 6

Since the cost of pepper spray is fairly minimal though, and there is some danger in processing extracts of chili yourself, it is advisable to rather purchase pepper spray for this purpose. This also ensures you are creating a dose at the correct level to take down whatever it is that is attacking you. In situations where this is not a possibility though there are many guides online that can help you to create pepper spray in the safest manner possible.

While pepper spray is a safe alternative to gun use that does not mean it is not without its dangers. It can cause temporary blindness, eye damage, skin burns, skin irritation, and respiratory distress so it is imperative that it is only used in absolute SHTF situations. If you are required to use pepper spray or accidentally spray yourself there are a few remedies to help reduce the effects such as:

  • Detergent and water- soak your face in warm water with detergent for up to 15 and repeat, then dab your face with a towel. Do not rub as this will spread the oils to other areas of your face.
  • Milk spray- chilled milk put into a spray bottle can alleviate some symptoms of irritation
  • Vegetable oil- apply vegetable oil to your face and leave it on for up to 10 minutes. Rinse and then repeat.

Sources

https://www.thetrace.org/2020/01/gun-deaths-2019-increase/amp/

https://www.vox.com/2015/10/1/18000520/gun-risk-death

https://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/state-law/California/

https://www.pepper-spray-store.com/pages/animal-vs-human-spray

https://www.skilledsurvival.com/how-to-make-pepper-spray/