woman using pepper spray on attacker

3 Critical Benefits Of Pepper Spray That You Need To Know About

Practicality and a wide range of uses had long distinguished pepper spray among civilians, police, and military personnel. There’s a good reason for its reputation, however, as the benefits of pepper spray are profound.

Also known as Oleoresin Capsaicin (OC) spray and mace, pepper spray is nearly 150 years old.

In order to qualify to carry pepper spray, military and police personnel are required to be sprayed, which is incredibly unpleasant

They must know the effects it has on the human body for two reasons.

First, pepper spray deployment affects more than just the target. Police and military personnel exposed to direct or indirect contamination need to be able to operate, despite accidental misting or spraying.

Secondly, if they’re going to carry pepper spray as a weapon on civilians, criminal or not, they need to know how it feels. This helps to prevent misuse.

Keep reading for our top 3 critical benefits of pepper spray.

1. A Non-Lethal Solution

One of the most important benefits of pepper spray is its nonlethal nature. 

It’s no question that we live in dangerous times. However, it doesn’t mean any of us to want to become killers in the act of defending ourselves.

Pepper spray offers a non-lethal solution.

Pepper spray works well as a stopping power for most. However, it should be noted that pepper spray will not stop those with higher pain tolerances or drug-induced resistances.

At the very least, however, pepper spray will serve as a strong distraction and deterrent.

Why It’s Effective

Capsaicin is the heating element of pepper spray. It’s found in peppers, such as chili peppers and ground, then extracted. The remaining oleoresin is then added to water with an emulsifier to maintain a consistent solvent.

Capsaicin has many effects on the human body.

The skin experiences a fierce and often debilitating burning sensation. The eyes lock shut, becoming incredibly difficult to open and causing temporary blindness. Pepper spray inflames the mucous membranes, making it difficult to breathe or function otherwise.

Maximum Effective Range

Pepper spray’s effective range varies based on the delivery system. Most canisters give you about 5 to 15 feet, making for a great self-defense tool.

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Bear spray, however, can spray up to 35 feet, which is probably a good thing when faced with a charging bear. Note, bear spray is only effective when sprayed directly in the bear’s face.

However, practice is imperative in order to quickly and smoothly deploy your pepper spray. Note, in an intense situation with fear and adrenaline coursing through your body, you won’t be able to completely rely on your cognitive ability. Consistent practice teaches you how to react instinctively.

Temporary Effects

One of the more ethical benefits of pepper spray is its nonpermanent effects.

While the most intense and painful period of pepper spray only lasts 15-45 minutes, the long term mild effect may last a couple of hours. However, there’s no lasting damage or pain.

It’s important to understand that pepper spray is a water-activated substance. Water activates a reflash when you shower or wash your face, even hours later.

Multiple Applications and Benefits of Pepper Spray

Another benefit of pepper spray is its wide array of applications. As we mentioned before, pepper spray is available to military, police, and civilians alike.

Pepper spray is perfect for crowd control, uncooperative suspects and detainees, muggers, and even aggressive animals.

Police and military can even use pepper spray on non-violent uncooperative suspects. Be completely compliant to avoid being arrested or sprayed.

Women often carry it as a means of self-defense, while many outdoor enthusiasts carry it for defense against bears and other animals. Pepper spray is a must for hunters.

There are even wasp sprays.

What’s the difference between wasp spray and pepper spray? Check out a thorough comparison from the experts.

2. Anyone Can Carry and Use It

One of the greatest benefits of pepper spray is its availability and ease of use. Anyone can obtain pepper spray and carry it as a self-defense tool.

Ease of Use

Pepper spray comes in a variety of canisters. Each canister has a unique deployment system and safety features. Some have a tab you must flip up to reveal the button, while others have a twist top.

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Regardless, a pepper spray canister is generally designed for ease of use, even while under pressure.


Concealability is perhaps one of the most important benefits of pepper spray canisters for women.

They can hook onto key chains or even conceal as a fake lipstick container.

Carrying Options

With the wide variety of containers come a wide variety of carrying options. Some people prefer the quick accessibility of a belt holster, while some prefer a more concealed approach, such as the lipstick container.

Some pepper spray models even come shaped like guns, a less discrete carry option.

3. Legal and Widely Acceptable Self-Defense Tool

Because of its non-lethal nature and effectiveness, pepper spray is a well-accepted means of self-defense. However, before going online to order, check your state regulations regarding pepper spray.

State Regulations

Pepper spray is readily available for consumers in most states. However, a handful of states such as New York, California, Wisconsin, Massasschutesetts, and Michigan have restrictions.

These restrictions include pepper spray sales locations, largest cannister size, and largest potency (percent of oleoresin capsaicin to water).

In Washington D.C., you must register to possess and carrying pepper spray with the police.


As mentioned above, one of the most convenient benefits of pepper spray in most states is its availability and accessibility.

Outdoor stores sell pepper spray for bear-defense, while firearm stores sell it for self-defense purposes.

Many online stores offer pepper spray and other self-defense tools. However, online consumers must be sure of there state laws before buying from an online source.

Using illegal pepper spray for self-defense will not grant you immunity for illegally carrying it.

Life Hacks

The benefits of pepper spray are nearly countless. For self-defense against others and animals, it’s the tool of choice.

If you’re considering getting pepper spray, look up your state’s laws and regulations. It may just save your life!

For more advice, tips, tricks, and hacks on life check out our Life Hacks page!