Defense sprays like pepper sprays are arguably the most popular and effective non-lethal self-defense tool on the market. However, many people do not know how to properly use their pepper spray. You should train with and understand non-lethal weapons and devices just as you would with a firearm or any other tool. This article will show you how to use pepper spray — the right way. We will discuss how to hold pepper spray, proper positioning, importance of accessibility, limitations and more.
HOW TO USE PEPPER SPRAY THE RIGHT WAY
Hold pepper spray properly
The first step is knowing how to properly hold pepper spray. TV shows and the media commonly portray women holding defense sprays with the palm of their hand lightly wrapped around the canister (like a claw) and their index finger held over the actuator (the mechanism used to deploy the spray).
The wrong way to hold a pepper sprayThe problem with this method is that it leaves your spray lacking in security. An assailant could easily snatch it away from you and use it against you. Using your index finger also makes it difficult to target your attacker and deploy the spray.
The correct way to hold OC spray is to place it in the palm of your dominant hand and form a fist around it, using your thumb to deploy it.
Correct way to hold the pepper sprayThis method allows you to secure your defense spray, preventing an attacker from grabbing or knocking it out of your hand. It also enables you to properly deploy your spray and use it as a striking tool if the bad guy or gal gets too close to you.
Positioning & Movement patterns for pepper spray
The last important thing to remember when holding your pepper spray is proper positioning and movement patterns.
When faced with a threat, it is best to hold your canister inward with your dominant hand (to keep it out of reach) and extend your recessive (or weak) hand outwards, with palm facing towards the attacker (like a stop sign). This stance will help the assailant from attempting to disarm you and allow you to push back or keep them at bay.
There will be times when your pepper spray or OC spray does not automatically kick in and impair your attacker, especially when dealing with someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You may get into a situation where the attacker attempts to “fight” through the pain and rush at you. You must remain vigilant of this. If they do try to run at you, side-step them and continue spraying. You want to keep as much of a distance from the threat as possible.
Keep pepper sprays easily accessible
Besides holding pepper spray properly, the other common issue many folks have is not having it readily available in case of an attack. This is particularly true for women, who often have their defense spray buried in the bottom of their purses. Pepper spray is of no use to you as a personal protection device if you do not have it when you need it. It defeats the whole purpose of being prepared.
With only moments to spare, a criminal will not sit and wait for you to dig out your OC spray, prepare it and deploy. This is why it is absolutely critical to have it ready in case of an attack. An important fact to remember is that someone carrying a knife can close a distance of 21 feet within a matter of seconds, when faced off against someone armed with a gun . Combine that with the reality that most [untrained] folks will “freeze up” or panic when being attacked and you find yourself with very limited time to react.
Understand pepper spray limitations
Lastly, you must understand that pepper spray, like any other self-defense tool, has its limitations. No device is fool-proof (not even a firearm). . You may run into the following problems, so remain vigilant.
There may be circumstances where you are facing someone that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and find that your pepper spray is not being as effective as you would like. While they do not rely entirely on pain compliance like stun guns and expandable batons, defense sprays may take some additional time to “kick in” when dealing with folks under the influence. And although OC spray will cause temporary blindness and breathing issues, someone with enough willpower will be able to “fight through it” and attempt to come after you (remember what was said about positioning).