What is Pepper Spray?

How does it work to stop an attacker?

Pepper spray is made up of an active ingredient called OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) and other inert ingredients.  They can be water or oil based.  The best formula being oil based as oil based products do not have the problem of separation.   Separation is where the final blend will not stay blended and the oil (OC) will separate from the water base.  This is very similar to putting oil in water.  The oil will want to rise to the top.  All OC products that the Pepper Spray Store sells are non-toxic and non-flammable. The effects of the pepper spray last between 20 and 90 minutes, giving the user plenty of time to escape their terrifying situation. Pepper spray units can be fired multiple times and can have a range of 8 to 20 feet, depending on the particular model you purchase.

The newest defensive spray agent, Oleoresin Capsicum, is a derivative of hot cayenne peppers. OC is an inflammatory agent and unlike tear gas it is effective on those under the influence of drugs and alcohol.  When the OC contacts the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, throat, and lungs), symptoms will appear instantly. The capillaries of the eyes will immediately dilate, causing temporary blindness. Inflammation of the breathing tube tissues will cause difficulty in breathing; however the victim will still be able to breathe. Pepper spray will not deteriorate with age and will not cause lasting aftereffects, however the short-term effects are quite effective.

Some consumers think that when it comes to pepper defense spray, the higher the percentage, the better the pepper spray.  However, this is not true. The percentage of OC does not correlate to the spray’s level of intensity.  An effective spray allows the victim to disable the attacker and escape or take control of the situation.

OC is effective against all attackers; even attackers who cannot feel normal levels of pain (psychotics, drug abusers, alcohol abusers) will be affected by pepper spray. Pepper spray is also the best deterrent against attacking wild or vicious animals.

The actual term OC (oleoresin capsicum) refers to chili peppers, and is a horticultural term. Jalapenos, chiletpin, cayenne, and habaneros are all chili peppers. Although they look quite different, and can taste quite different, they all contain an alkaloid called capsaicin. Capsaicin is tasteless and odorless. It is so powerful that even when it is immersed in water, the heat from it can be detected. Studies show that humans can detect even one part per ten million of this powerful alkaloid.

In 1912, Wilbur Scoville, a pharmacologist, developed the standard for measuring the power of capsaicin. The Scoville Organoleptic Test was used to determine the temperature of peppers. Scoville conducted his research by measuring the ground pepper into a mixture of sugar, water, and alcohol. He then took the mixture to a panel of tasters who then gave the mixture a grade between zero and 5,000,000 with a majority needed to assign a proper value.   This is now referred to as an SHU or Scoville Heat Unit.

Today the method of measuring the power of capsaicin is much more sophisticated.  High Pressure Liquid Chromatography or HPLC is a computerized method that is now used to determine the Total Capsaicinoid % and SHU.   It is a significantly more accurate method of testing the heat of OC.