A company called Salt Supply Co. is marketing a paintball gun for self-defense.
A company called Salt Supply Co. is marketing a paintball gun for self-defense.

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.

A startup is making a new kind of gun for home defense: one that incapacitates, rather than kills, the intruder.

Salt Supply Co. has designed a paintball-style gun that shoots pellets filled with pepper spray that rupture on impact. The Salt gun is designed to be a safe alternative to traditional firearms so that nobody gets killed, including children who might discover the gun and think it’s a toy, or a family member that’s mistaken for a burglar.

“We keep it in our nightstand because it’s not deadly, you don’t have to lock it up,” said CEO Adam Kennedy. “You should feel comfortable having this by your bed, because your kid can’t kill himself with this.”

Kennedy said that he co-founded the startup with his Chicago neighbor Andy McIntosh. Both men travel a lot for work and they don’t want to leave their wives alone and defenseless in a neighborhood where shootings are frequent. But their wives didn’t want guns in the house. So they came up with Salt.

The $300 handgun is powered by CO2 cartridges and holds seven .70-caliber slugs. They contain ghost pepper extract encased in a ball that breaks on impact like an egg. He said it causes the lungs to constrict, as they would during an asthma attack.

He said the shooter does not have to hit the intruder directly, since every shot releases a five-foot spray of pepper extract.

Let’s be perfectly clear on what these two neophytes are selling. They are selling a false sense of safety, and an illusion of protection for both themselves and their wives.

They are simultaneously attempting to claim that their product is safe to leave unattended in a nightstand where children can access it, and yet effective enough that it can provide adequate protection against home invaders, rapists, and other threats when law enforcement officers may be ten minutes or more away?

The Challenge

I have a simple challenge to make to Adam Kennedy and Andy McIntosh.

Let’s find a shoothouse (indoor firearms training simulator) somewhere, preferably a law enforcement range with a weapons locker. You’ll charge up your Salt guns with a CO2 and your pellets a month beforehand, and store them under lock and key on site. You’re not going to have time to load CO2 cartridges during a home invasion, so this gives a rough simulation of a Salt gun stored for actual use.

A month after the guns are locked away at the site, we’ll take them out of the weapons locker, and place them in the shoot house. Each of your guns will have a seven-shot magazine of your spice extract (14 total rounds), and since you suggested it, we’ll put them a nightstand drawer in the simulated bedroom in the shoothouse. They will then “go about their normal day” as they would while you are out of town.

I’ll arm myself with a simple Simulations gun (say, a Glock 17 conversion with ten rounds) and I’ll come “seek” them at some point as a home invader with ill intent. It might be as soon as the exercise starts. It might be in an hour. Criminals don’t tend to conveniently schedule their attacks with you beforehand.

We’ll start the timer the moment they first hear me inside. They can “call 911.” We’ll see if they can retrieve the Salt gun from the nightstand and put me down and keep me down with their pepper pellet guns without taking rounds from my Simunitions gun in return. We’ll have five minutes to complete the scenario once they place their “911 call,” to simulate a very fast law enforcement response time, where the dispatcher gets all the information they need clearly and concisely and just happens to have an officer nearby.

Any centermass hit on the ladies will be assumed to be a loss for the pepper ball system, and they have to go the full five minutes without being shot.

Does anyone reading this think that such a scenario is going to turn out well for the two ladies?

Of course not.

These poor women have no training, likely no survival mindset, and a paintball gun filled with a chemical that may or may not work due to the CO2 charge leaking out and rendering the “gun” inert. They’ll quickly discover whether the guns work at all. I’m guessing they won’t.

But what if they actually function?

Then the real fun begins!

We know from decades of law enforcement officer use that chemicals fail to have an incapacitating effect against attackers due to natural immunity, adrenaline, alcohol, drugs, or just standard-issue tenacity and will. The product also seems predicated on the hope that their attacker is going to stand still in a cloud of pepper stray that is more than likely going to miss in the first place if the gun even works. (trained law enforcement officers miss more than 80% of the time with handguns under stress).

These people refuse to deal with the simple fact that the only proven system for dealing with violent criminals is the accurate application of deadly force, and they have created a product to cater to their denial.

It’s a placebo; a denial of reality with a profit motive.

Sadly, they’ll probably sell some of these. Even more sadly, someone will make the mistake of attempting to use one of them in self-defense.

Their last thoughts are likely to be, “this can’t be happening to me.”