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January 14 2013 2 14 /01 /January /2013 20:17



Pepper spray is a solvent containing extracts of hot peppers which is placed in a pressurized canister. It is applied to the face of an attacker as a non-lethal self-defense weapon. Pepper spray causes "immediate closing of the eyes, difficulty breathing, runny nose, and coughing." (Wikipedia) Pepper sprays are often rated by their OC content, but all OC is not equal. Generally, inexpensive pepper sprays will advertise a high percentage of OC but will have little strenth in reality.


I was pepper sprayed with the spray from Harbor Freight Tools listed above. The temperature was 30 Fahrenheit (0 Celsius) and there was a slight breeze.


Initially, there was no effect, so it is evident that this no-name brand of pepper spray from HFT did not have the expected potency. So I decided to rub it into my face and eyes. The pain started when I opened my eyes. The spray made me close my eyes immediately, and I was unable to open them again. After one minute, the skin on my face began burning and my nose began running as pepper spray ran through the tear ducts into the nasal passages. No coughing was observed, though. I used paper towels to sponge the majority of the pepper spray from my face. I used a little water but it was so cold outdoors that my face froze. It definitely felt strange to have one's skin numb from cold yet burning up at the same time. After 10 minutes of rubbing with paper towels (something that I was not supposed to do), I entered a slightly warmer room (45 degrees F). Breathing was becoming a little difficult and my nose was running rapidly. After 30 minutes, some sporadic coughing began, and my face continued burning. I continued wiping pepper spray from my face with paper towels. Milk helped relieve the pain but only for a few seconds. After 45 minutes, my eyes were able to be opened again. My face was bright red where I rubbed with the paper towels, and my eyes were quite swollen. After 1.5 hours, most of the symptoms were gone, although when I took a shower, pepper spray ran from my hair into my eyes and made them burn again for 10 minutes or so.


I do not think a bargain brand of pepper spray would stop an attacker due to its low potency, so if you want a spray for self-defense, get a brand-name spray such as Sabre Red.


After the experience, I decided to purchase Police Magnum pepper spray, which seems to be much more potent, although I have not sprayed myself with it yet.

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<br /> The reason why the pepper spray burned when you washed your eyes was because pepper spray contains oil and is a non polar molecule vs water which is a polar molecule and this causes your eyes to<br /> burn even more. I would recommend Sabre Red over Police Magnum since its actually more potent. <br />