When a product is used by law enforcement on a daily basis you can be pretty damn sure of its effectiveness. Pepper spray is easy-to-use, inexpensive, and has been used for decades to disable hardened and violent criminals.
In terms of self-defense there are few options that offer all of this and the ability to use it BEFORE someone gets within arms reach.
Why is it so effective?
It causes severe eye pain, temporary blindness, and difficulty breathing for the target. Even just a small amount will completely disable most attackers.
And because it’s designed to be VERY easy to use, pepper spray is a great self defense option for just about anyone.
Just like any product there are some that are better than others. Below we’re taking a look at the best pepper sprays for self defense in just about any circumstance.
Our Top 7 Best Pepper Sprays Reviewed
|Name of Product||Weight||Range (feet)||No. of Shots||Shelf Life||Price|
|Sabre Pepper Gel Spray||1 lb||10||35||4||$$|
|Police Magnum OC Spray||1 lb (for both)||8||7||4||$$|
|Mace Brand Pepper Gun||1 lb||20||7||4||$$|
|Sabre Tactical Series||1.8 oz||18||18||4||$$|
|Fox Labs Stream Spray||1.5 oz||12-15||16-18||3||$$|
|Fox Labs OC||1.5 oz||17-20||18||3||$$|
|Kimber Pepper Blaster II||4.2 oz||13||2||5||$$|
Sabre Red Pepper Gel Spray with Adjustable Hand Strap
The Sabre Red Pepper Spray is our pick for the best pepper spray for self defense.
It offers the ultimate protection against multiple threats from a safe distance. This pepper spray offers up to a 12 foot range, with a powerful stream that can last up to 25 bursts. It is equipped with a UV dye feature which comes in handy for suspect identification.
It is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. Unlike traditional atomized pepper spray the Sabre uses a gel. This eliminates the possibility of wind back-flow, allowing you to use it without fear of inadvertently impacting yourself or anyone other than your intended target.
It has a shelf life of 4 years from the date of manufacture, hence you are able to use them for a long time especially if you don’t have the need to use them frequently. It comes with a free how-to-use video, which you can access on Sabre’s social media conveniently.
Practicing with your pepper spray beforehand can help insure you use it properly when it is needed. This will allow you to act quickly, aim and fire confidently at the eyes of the attacker.
To use, simply depress the trigger with your thumb for a steady spray.
Sabre’s pepper spray is available in either black or pink finish, in which you can choose according to your personal preference. It comes with a reliable and adjustable hand strap which ensures that it is immediately accessible during an emergency situation.
The Sabre red pepper gel is highly portable and lightweight allowing you to carry it in your pocket, purse, or on a keyring.
- 12 foot range with 25 bursts
- UV dye feature
- Adjustable hand strap
- 4 years shelf life
Police Magnum OC Pepper Spray
The Police Magnum pepper spray comes in a 2-pack (0.5 ounce each) keyring style spray. It’s lightweight and easy to carry.
Like the Sabre it has an ultraviolet (UV) identifying dye to help provide subject identification. This can come in handy to find your culprit, possibly hours after the attack.
This pepper spray has a range of up to 8 feet, nevertheless you should ensure that you fire it accurately onto the face of your attacker. Each canister contains enough pepper for 7 shots.
It has a safety top to prevent accidental discharge. The safety top, also known as the flip top feature prevents the top cover of your bottle from opening when placed inside your bag.
That being said, the locking mechanism on the top prevents any accidental firing. The top can turned on and off. However, they are said to get easily out of the lock mode so keep it safely in the right place to ensure it is tightly locked.
Operation is simple. Bear in mind, you need to always test it before making the purchase, because the last thing you want is to find that your spray can is empty. A small step of testing it before buying it makes a lot of difference and hence why, you should practice this precaution.
The OC-17 police strength on the other hand consists of the OC (oleoresin capsicum) solution, which is used to irritate the eyes of your attacker, whether people or animals. However, it is not lethal so don’t hesitate to use it of you are in trouble. Also, the spray solution itself is non-toxic and non-flammable.
- 8 feet spray range
- 7 shots
- A pack of 2 keyring style
- Safety top feature
Mace Brand Pepper Gun
The Mace pepper gun offers the best range (20 feet) of any of the sprays we’ve tested. The first thing you’ll notice about this pepper spray is that it comes in a pistol grip design. This allows for convenient aiming.
The pepper spray canister itself is replaceable after use.
It comes with a UV dye feature which comes in handy in the identification of your target.
Moreover, it utilizes the power stream spray pattern. You are able to stream spray this product in the range of up to 20 feet. It has a maximum number of 7 sprays, so you can use them for more than one occasion conveniently.
It consists of 10% OC pepper formula. The OC stands for oleoresin capsicum which is a naturally made chemical derived from hot peppers to give the best effect in eye irritation and an intense burning sensation to your skin, therefore serving as one of the best self-defense weapon.
The OC formula on the other hand is contained in a replaceable cartridge. The cartridge comes in an advanced bag in a can technology which comes in handy in terms of convenience, as you are able to spray a constant stream at any angle, according to your preference.
In addition to that, you are able to refill the pepper gun with easy to load cartridges. It is well worth your investment as you just need to buy the refills, without changing the pepper gun itself. Also, each pepper gun has 28 grams worth of OC cartridges, water practice cartridges as well as batteries for the LED light operation.
The trigger-activated LED light on the other hand allows you to accurately aim the pepper gun during the night, especially under low-light conditions. It also disorients your attacker’s vision, therefore giving you a few second of heads up before firing on your attacker.
In terms of operation, it is rather simple. You just need to load it and pull the trigger to shoot the pepper liquid with ease. It is best if you practiced using the water practice cartridges included, to familiar yourself with this self-defense tool.
- 10 % OC pepper formula
- Pepper gun design
- LED light operation
- Power stream spray pattern
Sabre Red Pepper Gel Tactical Series
For the user’s convenience, this product provides free training tutorial videos. Its packaging includes links to access training videos as well as publicly available safety tips when handling this pepper spray, on the Sabre main blog. You just need good Internet and you’re good to go, especially if you are a first-time user.
It provides easily accessible protection against various type of threats, either from wild animals or dangerous people. In other words, you are able to access this spray with maximum ease during an emergency situation.
In addition to that, it is equipped with an enhanced safety feature. This is because the pepper gel does not atomize like the conventional pepper spray, therefore will eliminate any wind blowback. That being said, it only affects what it directly contacts which in your case, your target.
The UV marking dye feature comes in handy for suspect identification as leaves an invisible mark, thus making it a lot easier for the law enforcement to catch your culprit. Not only that, it offers a higher shooting range (20% more) of 18 feet/5.5 meters, thereby ensuring your protection at a safer distance.
Moreover, it has 4 years of shelf life, so it will benefit you if you don’t frequently bring/use your spray, as you are able to use it when needed in the span of 4 years. Bear in mind that it is extremely important to test your products before buying them so you are fully satisfied with them.
This product comes with a free nylon belt holster for immediate access. The belt holster on the other hand has 18 bursts in total, and a flip top safety mechanism to prevent any accidental discharge.
In other words, it has a great trigger mechanism as a safety feature. It comes in handy to prevent accidental firing of your spray, especially when you keep them in your pocket or backpack, and tend to move around a lot. Also, this feature prevents the wastage of your pepper solution if it accidentally leaks out.
- Belt holster included
- 18 bursts with 18 feet range
- Easily accessible
- UV marking dye feature
Fox Labs Mean-Green Stream Spray
First things first, this product has a unique feature, in which it comes with a green marker dye, instead of the common UV dye for suspect identification. Though invisible, the green marker will stay on your assailant, therefore making it easier for the cops to identify your attacker.
Weighing 1.5 ounce, it is rather lightweight. It has product dimensions of 4 inch in height as well as 11/8 inch in diameter. That being said, its small and compact size makes it highly portable so you can transport it with ease in your pocket or backpack, as it doesn’t take up much storage space.
Furthermore, it is best you get a holster with it to ensure that it is tightly secured at all times, without any chances of it accidentally dropping to the ground due to its petite size. Also, it comes with a heavy stream spray patterns which has a projection range of 12 up to 15 feet, thus keeping a safe distance between you and your attacker.
Its large nozzle opening on the other hand is able to disperse a fair amount of pepper spray, therefore serving as an effective self-defense weapon. Not only that, it contains 16 to 18 second bursts of spray so you can use it over more than an occasion for your convenience. It is best if you try practicing with water-based solutions to prevent wasting the pepper solution.
Besides that, it has 3 years of shelf life from the date of manufacture. Nevertheless, it is recommended to get a replacement after 2 years itself. This ‘H20C’ product basically consists of a green, water-based spray formula which contains organic pepper resin, to give the best burning effects.
- Green marker dye
- Heavy stream spray pattern
- 12-15 feet range
- 16-18 half second bursts
Fox Labs OC Stream Spray
Weighing 1.5 ounces, this stream spray has dimensions of 4 inch in height and 11/8 inch in diameter. Its small and compact size on the other hand makes it highly portable, therefore making it convenient for you to store it in your pocket or so, for immediate access during any emergency situations.
It has approximately 18 half seconds burst so you are able to use it for a few occasions. The heavy stream pattern style on the other hand projects to the range of 17 up to 20 feet, to ensure there is a safe distance between yourself and the assailant. The stream pattern style is suitable for outdoor use as it is least likely to be affected by wind or rain.
However, you need to aim accurately at your assailant’s face for the pepper spray to play its role. Apart from that, it is equipped with a flip top safety mechanism, which comes in handy to prevent any accidental discharge or firing of your pepper spray.
In terms of expiration, it has a shelf life of 3 years from the date of manufacture. Nevertheless, it is best to replace the spray after the second year itself for better performance. All in all, it is deemed a perfect self-defense weapon as it really stings your eyes, hence really effective in nailing down your attacker.
The operation is rather simple. You just have to place your finger or thumb under the top followed by depressing the button for the powerful blast of pepper solution, onto the face of your target. Also, it is best if you get a proper belt holster with this product so you can store it conveniently and securely in your pocket.
Suitable for :
- Heavy stream pattern
- Projection of 17 to 20 feet
- 18 half seconds burst
- Flip-top safety feature
Kimber Pepper Blaster II
First things first, the Kimber pepper blaster is unique compared to the other traditional pepper sprays. This is because this product fires a capsule of chemical, which then explodes by force when in contact with the target, therefore providing an extremely intense burning sensation to your assailant.
It is easily concealable, since the pepper blaster resembles a subcompact pistol, based on its shape. In addition to that, it is best if you purchase a holster to hold it securely and conveniently, for quick access and smooth retrieval during an emergency situation.
All in all, it is a great non-lethal option for self-defense. It travels up to 13 feet range in 1/10 of a second. The delivery speed on the other hand is approximately 112 mph, therefore keeping the blast accurately on your target as it will least likely face any issues such as loss of pressure, drifting or blowback.
Moreover, its ergonomic grip and sights allows you to hold and position it securely so you get an accurate shot. That being said, its pistol-like contours fits perfectly in your palms to ensure quick access at all times. Also, it has a shelf life of 5 years.
This product contains an incredible ingredient formulation which combines 10% OC solution together with benzyl alcohol for maximum viscosity. The 10 % OC solution is good enough to provide good eye and skin irritation to your target. However, it has only 2 shots capability. After that, it can’t be reloaded.
- 2 shots capability
- Pepper blast feature
- Ergonomic grip for increased accuracy
- 13 feet firing range
Considerations When Purchasing Pepper Spray
Not all pepper spray is alike. Some are better for carrying in a purse while others are made for key rings or other easy access devices.
It is best if your spray is lightweight, so you can simply put in your backpack or pocket without weighing it down. In terms of size, it should have a compact size to ensure that it is highly portable to fit in your pockets, thus able to provide you with quick access during any emergency situations.
Some products comes with key rings or hand straps to further improve its portability for your convenience. Others comes in pistol-like designs in which need to be paired with holsters to hold it securely in place. Nevertheless the size, it should allow quick access and smooth retrieval at all times.
The firing range is the distance you are able to fire your pepper spray from. In my opinion, there should be a safe distance between yourself and the assailant. Ranges of about 8 to 10 feet is good enough for you to take a good shot as well as keep a safe distance.
Too long of a distance will just be futile. This is because the accuracy of your shot will be significantly low. Hence, you’ll just be wasting your pepper spray without actually hitting the face of your target.
Number of Shots
Note that each shots are usually considered half a second long. So, if the spray canister contains 25 bursts of shots, you will only be using it for 12 seconds in total. With higher shots, you are able to use it for multiple occasions.
It also comes in handy if you are fending off a few assailants or for you to try a few test shots. However, it is good to get water-based solution fillers to practice, rather than actually using the pepper solution.
Other Self Defense Options
While pepper spray is a highly effective self-defense tool there are other options. A great backup is to carry a concealed knife for self-defense. These come in many forms including boot knives and pocket knives which we review here.