I’m not a big fan of that “I carry a gun when I’m going somewhere dangerous” thing. Bad things can happen to good people any time, any place. Even when you’re in the shower. Just ask Carrie. (Although it seems to have worked out well for Bobby Ewing.) But I’ve re-arsenaled a bit recently. I no longer carry a flashlight or a knife or pepper spray. But I do carry the Kimber PepperBlaster II above—when I walk the Schnauzers. I want to be able to defend them without shooting anyone’s prized pooch or one of them big ass hawks that’s constantly wheeling overhead (next to the black helicopter). I suppose I should carry it generally, but there’s just too much stuff! When winter comes, I’ll reconsider. But maybe not. I mean, how do you train to decide which level of force to use and how to transition between the two?

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38 Responses to Why I Don’t Carry Pepper Spray—Except When I Do

  1. I’m taking the OC class on Sunday with Wayne, and he’ll be explaining the different types of sprays. I love Kimber and I’ve been looking into their pepper blaster, but I never met anyone who owned one. How does it fit your hand RF and have you ever tried some practice shots with this model.

    • I’m also in the market for a good pepper spray for the wife and I. been going back and forth between the Kimber blaster and the Mace Gun. would also like to hear how the Kimber blaster is working out.

      • +1 I would appreciate any firsthand experiences anyone would care to share about the Kimber pepper blaster. It looks hard to aim and therefore hard to hit with. Anyone…anyone?

  2. purchased 3 kimber blasters 1 for the wife and 1 for my daughter they do not c/carry so i figure some type of defence is better than nothing…but man do those things shoot…

  3. Lots of food for thought here, thanks RF…

    I frequently hike with my dog in the woods in the dark as well as taking walks in the neighborhood and going to local dog parks. A (non-gun-toting) 4-dog-owning dog-advocate friend of mine carries an air-horn, cane, and citronella spray to fend off stray dogs, break up dog fights, etc.

    As I think about it, a dog attack/skirmish happens with about the same speed as a human attacker – i.e. very fast with little warning. And any prevention is likely to incur collateral damage (i.e. my own dog gets sprayed).

    So the bigger question in my mind is “How many forms of deterrent do I want to carry?” and “How/where do I put them for quick access?”

    It seems logical to carry a non-lethal deterrent (e.g. pepper spray) and a lethal one (pistol). Any more than that becomes heavier and increases the response time with respect to choosing the “appropriate level of force” and remembering where it is (which even LOEs get wrong)…

    While I wouldn’t want to shoot a loose neighbor’s dog on a walk around the block (a common occurrence and wouldn’t the MSM just love that story), I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot a stray attacking dog or pack of dogs. And *any* attacker when we are in the woods (coyote, feral hog, cougar, human) is subject to being shot.

    It seems that at a minimum, I must carry a flashlight, a non-lethal weapon, and a lethal weapon. I do carry a fanny-pack (best form of carry, imo – the mini-van of concealed carry, and I have no shame), but in the event something happens, it still comes down to a split second decision about what to pull out, where to pull it from, and whether or not to use it…

  4. “I mean, how do you train to decide which level of force to use and how to transition between the two?”

    I think the following video, which was the catalyst for the pepper spray question on my local gun group message board, is an excellent example of when pepper spray would be the weapon of choice.

    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=ec0_1303444048

    The video was posted with the context of “lawful response”, i.e. what would YOU do if you witnessed the attack?

    The replies were basically divided into 2 camps:
    – Intervene with fists and beat the snot out of the aggressors.
    – Draw firearm to stop the attack.

    I interjected the pepper spray option into the discussion and was met with the rather incredulous “No one carries a firearm and pepper spray except the police, silly” response.

    I am thoroughly baffled as to why carriers are so quick to dismiss the less lethal option, particularly when the topic of liability in an armed defense response gets so much airtime within the gun community.

    If we acknowledge that we are obligated to de-escalate a situation with the least amount of justifiable force, I would think that carrying pepper spray would be the norm for gun carriers.

    Example: You, by yourself, are walking down the street and you are accosted by 2 men who are larger than you. They are drunk, belligerent, and want to pick a fight. Neither is armed. You try to detour to no avail. You try loud verbal commands to try and draw attention to yourself and to instill in the minds of witnesses that you were trying to withdraw from the situation. No luck. The men keep advancing and start shoving you.

    What do you do? I know the answer to this may depend on what constitutes the justifiable use of lethal force where you live. But let’s go back to the liability issue. Would you rather try and fend off the attackers with pepper spray or simply go for the brass ring and pull your weapon?

    If I were in this situation I would undoubtedly feel as though my life were in danger. If two larger assailants confront me I would be more than justifiably worried that they would stomp my head into the pavement. However, as I sit safely behind my keyboard with normal adrenaline levels, I would also be concerned that pulling a gun and employing it would bring upon me a world of legal hurt. You know, that whole, gasp, disparity of force gremlin.

    Absence the presence of a knife or a gun (of course if either of the bad guys has a lethal weapon it’s game on) I would rather bring to the defense that I first tried to thwart the attack with a less lethal option. I am not a lawyer (and I have never played one on TV), but perhaps it might help a jury to know that you tried non-lethal force before resorting to lethal means. Or, it might hurt. “You mean you shot 2 men impaired by the effects of pepper spray?”

    I am of the thought that carrying pepper spray might serve as a deterrent when confronted by a situation where the threat does not have a knife or a gun. I like to have more than one tool. You’ve heard the cliché, “If the only tool you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail.”

    • “Example: You, by yourself, are walking down the street and you are accosted by 2 men who are larger than you. They are drunk, belligerent, and want to pick a fight. Neither is armed. You try to detour to no avail. You try loud verbal commands to try and draw attention to yourself and to instill in the minds of witnesses that you were trying to withdraw from the situation. No luck. The men keep advancing and start shoving you.”

      If there are two of them, and they are both larger than you, it means that they have numerical superiority, and your best option is to GTFO Dodge City.

      That said, my concern in such an incident is that attempting to deploy a “less-lethal” option, such as OC spray, could go very badly. First, if they’re already within arms reach, you’re already pretty well screwed. Second, if emply OC spray against them, and they are hopped up on something as you suggest, it may well accomplish nothing more than angering them further, even if you hit them to optimal effect. They may be blinded, and in pain (dulled by whatever they’re intoxicated by), but if they’re already in grappeling range, that doesn’t matter worth a damn; once they’re holding you, they can still beat the snot out of you. THIRD, and worst, is that when using OC spray (or even being in the general vicinity) it is very difficult not to be affected even if you are not directly targeted; if this happens, then it effectively destroys your ability to fight back.

      There are very few situations where I’d advocate the use of OC spray, and it’s something that should be trained with extensively before use.

  5. Robert: You say you don’t carry pepper spray, but you do carry the pepper blaster. Is not the blaster, pepper spray?

    I consider pepper spray to be potentially more useful than a gun because you are much more likely to be involved in a non-lethal assault than a lethal one. Pepper spray is very low on the force scale because it does cause any permanent damage. It, therefore, can be used against a very low level assault, hopefully, stopping the assault before it escalates.

    That is not to say that pepper spray should replace a firearm, but it is an essential tool to be carried at all times. PS: It works against our 4-legged assailants as well.

    Pepper spray is not a buy and forget tool. You need to learn how to use it and practice with inert units.

    A flashlight is another essential defense tool as most gunfights happen in low light. You need to be able to identify the threat and if there is a weapon involved. If you can’t see, you can’t shoot. It may be bright daylight outside, but you may be indoors or stay out later than anticipated. Lights are great utility tools as well. The 911 folks got down the steps of the trade center using their cell phones as flashlights. Of all the tools I carry, the light is the one that I use the most, by far. And, yup, you need training for a flashlight to know how to use it as using it wrong could get you killed.

    A knife is a great back up weapon, retention tool, disarming tool as well as a general cutting tool. I don’t leave home without one. To use it right, you guessed it, training is a must.

    My daily carry is: XD45, spare mag, J-frame, light, pepper spray, knife, cell phone.

    Rabbi
    http://www.armedresponsetraining.com

        • They’re a great organization. Aaron Zelman was a good man. RIP. I’ve read and/or watched JPFO’s Death by Gun Control, Innocents Betrayed, The Gang, Talkin to America, and maybe others I can’t recall. Which training videos are yours at JPFO?

          I’m going out now for a nice shabbos lunch…if the little undisciplined rug rats there don’t drive me nuts with their screaming. What passes for many parents these days sometimes leaves much room for improvement.

  6. Ruger now sells an interesting pepper spray unit called ‘Ultra’ that includes with what they describe as law enforcement grade pepper spray, a 125 decibel alarm, and a bright strobe light. The link below is to a short video on the Ultra model.

    http://www.ruger.com/micros/pepperSpray/index.html#

    The Ruger Ultra might be a better idea, for everyday carry, than the bear-grade pepper spray I’ve been considering since I live in the Pacific NW.

    • I had not seen the Ruger product before, but I am going to investigate it.

      On the surface though, I am not confident that is a good answer as I have many questions. How and when is the strobe activated and how does it get turned off?

      The point of pepper spray is to blast and run, not to stay around. The strobe may not have enough time to do anything. Strobes can have a disabling effect of the user as well. The disco effect can limit the users ability to see what the attacker is doing with his hands. If you have to shut the light off manually, that presents its own problem. Same issue with the sound. If I am running away, I don’t want the sound to give away my position. Trying to turn it off manually while running may not be easy and i don’t want to drop it so the bad guy gets it.

      I do really like the belt mount.
      Are there inert units available for training?
      Lots of questions worth investigating

      • Here is some additional product information that might answer your questions and you can always call Ruger’s customer service. Long ago, when I was in the military, we prepared to keep part of our night vision working when flares suddenly lit up an area by quickly closing one eye until the flares went out and and until we repositioned ourselves.

        http://www.ruger.com/micros/pepperSpray/index.html#

        • That is the same link as above, and unfortunately, answers none of my questions. I will investigate though.

          You have to be careful of a lot of so-called “benefits.” The “ring” portion of the grip that they boasts make is nearly impossible for the unit to be knocked from your hand may also make it impossible to grip it quickly regardless of what they show in the video. NEVER trust marketing.

        • So it is the same link though I copied it from another page. Either way, here is the info:
          125 decibel alarm
          pepper spray has 2 million scoville heat units

          I’m well aware not to trust marketing departments or claims from any organization along with knowing not to trust the integrity and objectivity of authority figures from any ideology.

  7. i would suggest a small key chain flashlight. not ideal but good enough to get the job done. my small led light, shoots an amazing amount of light for its seize and is very inexpensive. Also i know its the truth about guns…..but may i ask what model Mercedes are Fearless Editor and Chief chooses to drive?

    • The keychain lights are ok for overall utility light, but are not bright enough for blinding, not aimed enough to illuminate your target without getting into your own eyes and are not sturdy or reliable enough to rely your life on. They will get you down the stairs in darkness… if they work at the time

  8. My main concern for the wife when she runs is dogs. Should one sort of spray be preferred over another? I got her the Sabre spray with OC and pepper.

    Personally, I can’t stand out of control dogs, but would hesitate to shoot one simply because it will likely lead to violence with the outraged owner next. Dogs never give me grief because I am grown and just stand there when they run toward me barking. Unfortunately, the natural response of children to flee leads the dog to follow its natural response to chase and attack.

  9. I have used pepper spray on several people. One problem, it effects me after about 30 seconds. I have had to wrestle with people after they are sprayed, and it ends with me not being able to breath or see so well.
    If you use it, get the hell away, especially if you are not outside.

      • And this is a primary reason I don’t bother with pepper spray. The way I see it, the defensive tool that has negative impact on the user in addition to the target is useless to me.

        • Used correctly, it will have maximum effect on bad guy, minimal or no effect on good guy. Spraying anything into the wind is never a good idea! No tool, technique or tactic is perfect including guns…no, make that, especially guns.

        • If you spray indoors (parking garage), or where there is no breeze, it can still get to you. It is hard to judge a breeze when you are focused on an aggressor. Just know if it effects you badly or not. That could make a big difference in what you carry. You don’t have to spray yourself to figure this out.

  10. The Spitfire pepper sprayer (www.spitfire.us) is my choice because of its design. It’s held in the palm with the thumb operating the spray control. It sprays in the same direction as its long axis i.e. not 90 degrees to the side. Wherever you can point your thumb you can easily spray e.g. over your shoulder, from the hip, etc. That seems simpler to aim than something held upright and operated like the typical aerosol spray can. It’s also small enough for jeans pocket carry.

  11. As someone trained on LEO-issued pepper spray (as a civilian) and who’s taken a VERY gnarly blast to the face (2 sec, didn’t move), I can tell you OC SUCKS the unholy butthole of Satan himself…

    IF you’re hit square in the face (which I stood there and took… “for the experience”).
    IF you’re among the demographic most likely to react violently to it (I am).
    IF you’re not cranked out on drugs (NOPE) or have not been trained to fight through it (which I have).

    Yes, in a perfect world, OC may work. However, you’re much better carrying a Taser C2 — and the company I train with swears by the for a reason. Taser INCAPACITATES while OC drives toward pain compliance. OC may or may not be effective (including the Kimber Condiment Blower) on certain folks but may also get you into more trouble than you intended to inflict where Taser can drop damn near anyone.

  12. I carry and recommend the Kimber Pepper Blaser II. It performs better than aerosol sprays that the subject will almost always dodge or the wind ends up blowing the spray all over you instead of the attacker. The Pepper Blaster shoots a large amount of OC in a 12 inch pattern. It hits hard and is very hot. It also carries nicely in a pocket. I gave up on the Taser C2. When they first came out we ordered 5 of them and 3 of them had issues. That was enough for me.

  13. I say always carry a flashlight of some kind. Why? Because sometimes in a public restroom you’ll be sitting on the throne, attending to royal business, and some bright soul will turn off the lights on the way out. Or the lights will be on an energy saving timer and your task is taking longer than expected. So there you are. Pitch black, out of uniform, job incomplete. Happens with alarming regularity.

    Ha ha, regularity…

    Anyway. This is why you should always have a light within reach.

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