Pepper spray is a popular self-defense tool for law enforcement, security officers, and civilians alike for its close and long-range usage and its non-lethality. Despite this, it is still quite possible for it to be used incorrectly, or for a situation to require more than just quick incapacitation of an attacker. This article will help you break down the basic pros and cons of pepper spray before you decide to use it as a tool for your team, including its legality, versatility, and effectiveness.
Pepper spray has been used by law enforcement agencies since the mid-1970s. It is generally lauded for its ability to subdue an offender for around 45 minutes, though when not used correctly it does have the ability to affect the wielder of the spray as well as the one being sprayed. With this in mind, although it is legal in all 50 states, many have special requirements in order to hold a certain amount of pepper spray or to carry it as a self-defense tool:
Once you’re sure that you are complying by your state’s laws, there is the more personal matter of assessing you or your team’s specific security needs. Most sprays can reach a maximum of about 12 feet. This is a good amount of distance, but if your job involves you working in packed crowds or smaller spaces, you run the risk of hurting others or even incapacitating yourself. Its compact size makes it easy to carry, but it can also be difficult to deploy in panicked situations. It is also possible that attackers may be wearing masks, or have a genetic trait that makes them less likely to be affected by pepper spray. If this is the case, it could be detrimental to not have another form of defense.
The main takeaways here should be that pepper spray can be very helpful, and is a great non-lethal self-defense tool. However, in untrained hands, it can do more harm than good. The possibility of it not being effective also serves to emphasize how important it is for security guards to have versatile training, like Krav Maga, to ensure they can defend themselves even if they do not have a weapon.
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