Pepper Spray: A Non-Lethal Personal Defense Option That's Nothing to Sneeze at


Personal defense is a lifestyle. If you haven’t thought about what you’re going to do when the bad guys come for you, you will most likely be going with them. So, now is the time to think about what you will do if you are selected to be part of someone else’s food chain. What skills and tools will you need? The answer is that it depends on the situation.


If all you have is a hammer, everything will look like a nail

If all you carry is a gun, then what will you do when less than lethal force is required to defend yourself? You cannot afford to think that, because you carry a gun, you don’t need to be prepared to respond with less than lethal force. Guns are weapons of last resort; as noted firearms trainer and writer, Massad Ayoob, points out, for the “gravest extremes”. The law requires that we respond to unjustified force with equal, or just a little more force. If someone just pushes you aggressively, in most situations, you are not justified in presenting a gun. Law abiding people reserve deadly force as their final option—when confronted with an unavoidable and imminent threat of death or grave bodily harm.   

You need to have a personal defense plan in place

If you don’t have a plan, plan to fail because relying on “Lady Luck is as foolish as wishing you were a millionaire. This truism applies to every walk of life. In the personal defense arena, the implication is that our plans need to be layered. The mindset goes something like, if Plan A doesn’t work, then I’ll go to Plan B, if Plan B doesn’t work, I’ll go to Plan C…and so on, until I solve the problem. So do you have a Plan A? 
Plan A in most cases should be less than lethal

Legally and morally, we are obligated to respond to aggression with the least amount of force necessary to get the job done—which is to stop the aggression. If the appropriate level of non-lethal force on the proverbial “force continuum” does not stop the aggression, we are justified in upping the ante. Naturally, if you are threatened with deadly force, the first order of business is surviving the confrontation. However, the second order of business is surviving the legal aftermath. Our legal system will treat you with more “understanding” if you “tried” to use less than lethal force before you escalated to lethal force.


Pepper spray

Pepper spray is a non-lethal chemical formula for self defense that contains the active ingredient Oleoresin Capsicum (which is also known as “OC”), a derivative of hot chili peppers. When sprayed in the eyes and face of an attacker, pepper spray causes inflammation of mucus membranes in his eyes, nose, throat and lungs. He suffers impaired vision, coughing spasms, burning sensations, and disorientation for about 30 minutes. Thirty minutes later, the attacker’s symptoms are disappearing with no permanent after-effect.

 Pepper spray also works on animals, including dogs

Pepper spray in the face of an attacker can create an opportunity either to escape or gain the fighting advantage if you are attacked. If you carry pepper spray, and you can document that you have taken legitimate training on how to carry and use it, even if you don’t have the opportunity to use it in a situation, the point is that you were prepared to use less than lethal force. You weren’t just prepared to go to guns.

If you carry pepper spray, you should get training in its use

Less lethal tools also require training if you want to be able to employ them effectively. First, you need to know how to choose the right pepper spray delivery system and formula for you. Most commonly, pepper spray dispensers shoot the chemical in the form of a fog, stream, foam, or as a gel. A cone shaped fog scatters particles into the air much like a scatter gun. Cross contamination from back spray is a possibility. However, a fog/cone can operate as a barrier between you and the bad guy, and it’s hard to miss at bad breath distance. On the other hand, a stream is more precise, has more range, and eliminates the problem of cross contamination. However, the down side is that it requires more precise aiming.


Foams and gel tend to stick like shaving cream, however they do not have as much range as a liquid stream.

Whichever delivery option you choose needs to be practiced. Thus, it makes sense to choose a product line that also comes in an inert formula for practice. Guardian PD Pepper Spray is such a product ( You also need to recognize that pepper spray, just like a defensive handgun, needs to be a surprise to an attacker. If you carry pepper spray, you need to figure out how to effectively conceal it, and how to rapidly deploy it from concealment when it is needed, and if the dispenser is built strong, how to use it as an impact weapon. You also need to train to see trouble coming so you can avoid it in the first place if possible.

Pepper spray can be effective in de-railing the attacker’s attention, disrupting his nefarious plan, and disabling him from carrying that plan out. Does it always work? Of course not. That’s why you must have Plans B and C. However, the main idea is for the spray to buy you time either to get away, or if you cannot, to escalate your level of force.

Choose the pepper spray delivery system that fits your situation

Guardian Protective Devices ( offers a choice of different personal pepper spray units that are built strong enough to be used as impact weapons. Guardian PD is a Department of Defense (DoD) approved New Jersey company that manufactures pepper spray for Law Enforcement, the U.S. Military, and for Security personnel. Guardian PD products are also available to civilians for use as a self defense tool. Guardian pepper spray was selected by the US Army as the Best Performer and issued NSN numbers as well as several contracts.



Don’t be a victim. Assure your survival. Learn how to create an opportunity either to escape or gain the fighting advantage if you are attacked. Pepper spray can create an opportunity to escape without being followed. It offers an alternative means of applying controlling force that is short of “Deadly Force”. You can even take seminars in its use given by the manufacturer, such as those offered at The good news is that the learning curve is much shorter than that for firearms.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member