Pepper Spray F.A.Q.s

Is using pepper spray against the law?

If you are interested in using pepper spray, you should check with your local law enforcement office or your state’s Attorney General’s office. Each state has their own regulations, although most states state it is legal to possess and carry pepper spray. Some states have strict regulations on the size, age, or OC concentration of the pepper spray their residents carry.

Are there places that prohibit pepper spray?

Yes. If you are flying on a commercial aircraft, you cannot carry pepper spray with you. If you attempt to carry pepper spray on board, you will be violating Federal law and may be fined up to $25,000. If you would like to carry pepper spray in your checked baggage, you might be able to do so. However, you may want to check with your airline and notify the ticketing agent when you check your baggage.

In addition to aircraft, you cannot carry pepper spray into many Federal buildings, State buildings, or anywhere else with a security checkpoint. There may not be laws about these situations, but using your best judgment is often advised.

Can you tell me how pepper spray works?

The active ingredient in pepper spray is oleoresin capsicum (OC). OC is derived from one of the hottest peppers in the world, the Cayenne pepper. Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent, not an irritant like MACE or tear gas. Upon contact with mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, pepper spray causes instant dilation of the capillaries. This contact can cause temporary effects such as temporary blindness, difficulty breathing, and excessive coughing. The skin contacted with pepper spray will also have an intense burning sensation. These effects are not permanent. Traditional effects last from 15 to 60 minutes. Since pepper spray is an inflammatory and not an irritant, those who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs will still be able to feel its effects.

When it is best to use pepper spray?

Each situation is different; therefore there is no way to tell you when to use your pepper spray. In addition, no defense item is 100% effective in every situation. If you feel your life is in danger or you are threatened, you can use your pepper spray. However, it is a crime to use pepper spray maliciously, without just cause.

Can you tell me how to use my pepper spray?

Using your pepper spray is something you should research in advance. Be sure to keep a distance between you and the attacker, if at all possible. Aim for the eyes or the face. Release a one to two second burst of spray onto the attacker. After spraying, move out of the way, keeping your eyes on the attacker. By noticing the reactions of the attacker, you will be able to see if you need to spray again or not. “Spray and Move” is a great motto to go by when using pepper spray. Once the threat is eliminated, move to safety and call the police.

Does pepper spray expire?

Yes. Pepper spray can expire, so take note of the expiration date on the can. The expiration date will typically be three to four years after the date of purchase. The spray life can be indefinite, however the potency is what loses effect over time. Use of pepper spray after the date of expiration is unadvisable. It is a good idea to replace your pepper spray each year, to ensure you always have the most potent spray available.

Will my pepper spray work when I need it?

You can test your defense spray every 90 days, to ensure it does work. To do this, step outdoors and test the direction of the wind. Always stand upwind from your spraying direction, to ensure you won’t be affected by any spray blowing back. Depress the button for less than one second. Of course, each time you test your spray, less spray will be in the can. So, be sure you leave plenty for an emergency.