Best Pepper Sprays: A Powerful Way To Punish An Attacker

By "Just In Case" Jack | Updated: 10/18/2023

Pepper SprayToday I’ve got something really important to share…

A Complete Guide To Finding (& Using) Pepper Sprays

Because pepper spray is one of the most popular self defense weapons.

That’s why we’ve added it to our list of 10 basic prepping steps.

But there’s a lot of confusion around pepper spray, such as:

  • Can it REALLY neutralize a dangerous threat?
  • What’s the difference between different heat ratings?
  • What factors matter most when choosing some for self-defense?

That’s why today, I want to clear the air.

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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Best Pepper Sprays For Sale Today

First, many people don’t know where to buy pepper spray.

In the past, this was a problem since many sporting goods stores didn’t carry any.

But nowadays, it’s not difficult to find.

You CAN buy it online.

Today we’ll cover a few of the:

  • Best pepper spray for self defense
  • Best pepper spray for women
1. Top Recommendation
SURVIVAL FROG LifeShield Self-Defense Kit

This self-defense kit from Survival Frog includes three key self-defense weapons:

  1. Pepper Gel / Spray
  2. Personal Alarm
  3. Stun Gun

The personal alarm is meant to be added to a keychain.

While the other two devices easily fit in a survival bag or purse.

However, this bundle is for you if you're serious about self-defense without firearm training.

Why? Because:

  • Great for those who are not comfortable with guns
  • Safe for users (but really bad for an attacker)
  • Non-lethal injury to keep you out of jail
  • Temporary disable gives you time to getaway
  • Compact enough to keep in a purse or bag
  • Easy to use, no training required

You can take care of all your self-defense needs and upgrade your keychain with a single purchase.

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↓ Life Shield Self-Defense Kit Review

Fox Labs Five Point Three Police Pepper Spray

Earlier this year, I read an interesting news article.

It was about a man hospitalized after eating one Carolina Reaper.

It is said to be the hottest chili pepper known to man - at around 2,000,000 Scoville Heat Units!

This pepper causes intense dry heaves, blinding headaches, and some near-stroke symptoms.

But what if the “pepper” in a pepper spray was that powerful?

FOX Labs is measured at 5,300,000 SHU.

That's an astounding 265% hotter than the Carolina Reaper!

It can spray this blinding defense up to 17 to 20 feet.

FOX Labs Pepper Spray is used by Police, Law Enforcement, Security, and Military agencies worldwide.

  • Super Powerful
  • Safe To Carry When Not In Use
  • It may be illegal and/or difficult to take place
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↓ Fox Labs Pepper Formula Breakdown

SABRE RED Compact Pepper Spray with Clip

Just about any list of pepper sprays will contain something from Sabre.

They're a well-known manufacturer.

Trusted by police departments and other law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The Red Pepper Spray is one of their most popular offerings.

It has a long range and tight stream spray pattern.

The Sabre Red also has a good shelf life (4 years) and a low price, so it's easy to outfit your entire family.

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↓ Best Pepper Spray Sabre 3-in-1 Review

Frontiersman Bear Spray with Holster

Sabre is also in the bear spray market.

These sprays are generally larger canisters, have longer ranges, and include higher concentrations.

The Frontiersman delivers on all those fronts.

The 9.2oz canister is huge and hard to conceal.

But the 35ft range is amazing compared to most personal pepper sprays' 10-15ft max range.

If you're in the backcountry a lot, this is your best bet!

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↓ Frontierman Bear Spray Advantages

Fox Labs FX Mean Green Pepper Spray

Fox Labs Mean Green trades the UV dye for a highly concentrated, bright green dye.

This immediately colors the skin and clothing of your attacker.

The 3 oz size is available in both stream and spray patterns.

Depending on the spray pattern, you can expect a 12 to 15 feet range.

The Mean Green has metered half-second burst sprays.

This provides you with over thirty "shots" without the risk of holding down the trigger until you run out.

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↓ Fox Labs Mean Green Heavy Stream

POM Flip Top Safety Pepper Spray

This one might be the best pepper spray for women.

Why? Because the POM Pepper Spray is compact and designed to look a little less intimidating.

This makes it a good option for those looking to carry without making it obvious.

It's a small canister and has a closer range than other sprays.

But that's a decent trade-off for being able to carry it in more situations.

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↓ Pom Pepper Spray Review

Wrist Saver Pepper Spray for Runners

This pepper spray is made for athletes.

The Wrist Saver is a convenient padded wristband that contains:

  • a small pepper spray in a holster
  • a built-in LED flashlight
  • some space for ID and other information (or cash)

It claims to have police strength so you know it's effective.

Of course, it's a small canister made to fit in a wrist holster.

But it's still capable and worth checking out if you need a portable running option.

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↓ Wrist Saver Pepper Spray – Tested and Reviewed

Police Magnum Keychain Pepper Spray

This 3-Pack Police Magnum Pepper Spray is a great bundle offer for those who want to protect multi-family members.

This is a pepper spray keychain - which is an ideal size for pockets and purses.

But don't let the small size fool you; it can deliver over 10ft range in a powerful stream.

It also has added UV Perpetrator marking dye to identify a suspect.

This professional-grade Prepper Spray Keychain Spray is HPLC lab-tested before being used in production and sales.

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↓ Police Magnum OC Spray with UV Dye Review

Pepper Spray Vs. Firearms

No question about it:

Firearms are a MORE powerful self-defense weapon.

  • But not everyone is comfortable with firearms.
  • And few people take the time to train properly.
  • Heck, some folks don’t believe in an armed society.
  • Plus, firearms are a lethal form of self-defense.

The bottom line is:

Firearms come with extra baggage.

Now, I’m NOT saying you should carry defense pepper spray instead of a gun.

You do You!

But there are people more comfortable carrying pepper spray.

Plus, there are situations where spray is the most logical deterrent.

Firing a gun on an unarmed threat can get you in serious legal trouble.

That’s why having an OC spray option is wise.

Then back that up with a more lethal defense (such as a firearm).

This prevents premature escalation in certain circumstances.

But how effective is it?

Watch this video to find out:

↓ How Effective Is OC Spray?

For example:

If the threat is unarmed and there are innocent bystanders, pepper spray is a nonlethal for of self-defense.

Watch the video below for an example of why EVERYONE can benefit from carrying a professional-grade spray:

↓ This Is Why I Carry OC Spray

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Pros of Using OC Spray For Self Defense

Affordable Cost

Clearly, even the most expensive ones are cheaper than a gun.

As a cost-effective self-defense weapon, pepper spray is hard to beat.

Fewer Regulations

Yes, it does have local laws and legal restrictions (based on strength and delivery).

But fewer than firearms.

Many locations prohibit firearms (college campuses, national parks, shopping centers, etc.).

But these “safe zones” don’t have the same bans for sprays.

Plus, it’s simpler to travel across city or state boundaries.

Where firearm laws (and even knife laws) frequently change from locale to locale.

Easy Concealment

They’re smaller and lighter than firearms.

Making them easier to carry while working out, running, or walking the dog.

And some are compact enough to hang on a self-defense keychain.

Note: These mini options have very short spray durations…

A Non-Lethal Weapon

It’s extremely irritating and painful – but not fatal.

It also has a lower chance of injuring a bystander, which makes it safer to use in a crowd.

Best Pepper Spray

Cons Of Using OC Spray For Self Defense

A Non-Lethal Weapon

While “non-lethal” made the list of pros…

It’s also one of the main “cons.”

In some situations, a spray is not enough to stop a vicious attacker.

This is especially true if they’re on drugs or intoxicated.

If a situation gets out of hand, a perpetrator with firepower is no match for someone without.

No Reloading (one-time shot)

You can’t reloading pepper spray.

Most sprays have a short duration.

So be wise about how much you use and when.

Because once your out, your out!


While self-defense sprays are becoming common, it’s not as easy to find in sporting goods stores.

Unlike common handguns and ammo rounds – like the 9mm – which can be found anywhere.


Not all people will respond to pepper – nor will all animals.

With people, this is due to mental illness, drug abuse, or training.

Plus, face shields, gas masks, and sunglasses can reduce direct contact with the eyes.

Lowering its overall effectiveness.

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Pepper Gas Spray

Best Pepper Spray Features To Look For

The Formula

The formulation is the first and most important factor.

There are three major formulas on the market:

1. OC (Oleoresin Capsicum)

OC is one of the most common form of pepper spray.

And OC stands for Oleoresin Capsicum.

The active ingredient is capsaicin.

This is the same chemical that gives peppers heat.

Capsaicin acts as an inflammatory agent.

Not only does it causes pain but also causes instant inflammation of the mucous membranes.

This makes it difficult and painful to breathe or open your eyes.

The remaining ingredients form an oily liquid to deliver the capsaicin.

The oily liquid is not soluble in water.

So you can’t easily wash it off.

Victims are encouraged to blink excessively to produce tears to help to flush the eyes.

They’re also told not to touch any other body parts to avoid spreading the substance.

There are specialty wipes available to help remove the spray.

But a random attacker is unlikely to have them on hand!

But not all peppers are the same…

Scoville Heat Rating

People who like spicy foods know there are regular peppers, HOT peppers, and DEADLY HOT peppers!

And there’s a way to measure these differences.

It’s called the Scoville Heat Scale.

↓ Scoville Scale Explained

You can see from the image below that:

  • Bell peppers are harmless
  • Habanero Chili is a very HOT Pepper and
  • Dragon’s Breath is INSANELY HOT

Scoville Heat Unit Scale

2. CS

CS isn’t technically a “pepper spray” but rather a military tear gas.

It can be used alone or in combination with OC spray for added effectiveness.

CS is popular since it induces a range of nasty symptoms – from mild tearing to immediate vomiting.

It’s often used for riot control.

CS can be found in aerosol canisters or in grenade form.

CN Gas

CN is an older form of tear gas.

It has similar effects to CS gas and also includes temporary loss of balance.

The effects of CN tear gas last longer than CS.

But it can cause permanent skin and lung damage.

So it’s much less commonly used today.

Dye Additions

In some sprays, the manufacturers add a visible or  UV dye.

This dye becomes a marker for your attacker.

Making IDing them easier later.

This can be helpful for law enforcement.

But the visible dyes can help you avoid them if they try to come back.

Spray Pattern and Range

Spray pattern is another critical factor:

Watch this video to figure out which is best for you:

↓ How To Choose A Spray Pattern

The most common pattern is spray or mist.

If you have respiratory issues, spray patterns help avoid accidental inhalation.

Stream Spray

For accuracy (and longer range) stream patterns are best.

This allows you to hit a single attacker without spraying bystanders.

Of course, stream pattern sprays require training and practice.

If you miss, you may lose your only chance at self-defense.

Mist Spray

Mist spray pattern produces a cloud of gas which is easily inhaled.

But it comes at the price of a shorter range.

Since they form a cloud, mist sprays do not allow you to target your attacker directly.

So there’s a risk of spraying people other than your attacker.

Including yourself, if the mist cloud blows back on you.

Foam Spray

The least common spray pattern is foam.

Foam sprays are difficult to aim and have a shorter range.

It’s also slower to take effect.

So it’s not as useful in most situations.

Avoid foam spray patterns unless they’re the only option.

Canister Size Options

Finally, consider the volume of spray you need.

Stopping a petty thief in the city may require far less spray than a charging grizzly bear.

Think about how you intend to use it.

And pick the size for your needs.

Small Canisters

Keychain pepper sprays are marketed to runners and college students.

And often thought of the best pepper spray for women.

These small bottles contain less than a half-ounce of usable spray.

  • Making them easy to carry.
  • But it only gives you a couple of seconds of spray at close range.

Better than nothing I suppose…

But you can also run out before an attacker has been neutralized.

Medium Canisters

Larger sizes tend to come with belt holsters for easy retrieval.

Most purses can fit a medium-sized 2oz canister.

These include backcountry bear sprays and personal defense sprays.

Two ounces of fluid is good for up to 30 seconds of spray.

And many can achieve accurate patterns up to about 12 feet.

Sure, 12 feet doesn’t feel nearly far enough during an attack.

But it’s good enough as a close-in defense tool.


You’re aiming at a small target like the eyes and nose, so long-range shots are risky.

Large Canisters

There are much larger sprays on the market.

But they’re only good for home defense.

Anything larger than 2 ounces is generally too bulky for everyday carry.

How To Properly Use Pepper Spray

It can cause serious injury if not handled correctly.

Each model comes with instructions for safe use.

Take the time to read through it before heading out into a situation where you need it.

One of the first things to learn is drawing, aiming, and releasing the safety mechanism.

Practice with the inert spray until you can:

  1. Smoothly pull the spray out of your holster or bag
  2. Turn off the safety without fumbling

Proper body position is key to aiming.

You’ll want a solid defensive posture.

  • That means your knees are slightly bent.
  • And the spray canister is held out in front of your face.

This helps with your line of sight during aiming.

This balanced, athletic posture will help your accuracy.

When you press the trigger, resist the urge to close your eyes.

This only serves to interrupt your aim at the worst possible time.

Spray in a slight “back and forth” pattern, as if spray painting a surface.

This helps ensure that you don’t miss smaller targets like the eyes and nose.

↓ How To Use Pepper Spray

Always remember, this isn’t an absolute.

Be sure to keep your eyes on your target.

But be ready to flee if your attacker doesn’t back down.

Finally, here’s a good video on some pepper spray DO’s and DON’Ts:

↓ Pepper Spray Dos and Don’ts

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How To Make Pepper Spray At Home

Yes, you CAN make your own at home.

But it’s highly unlikely you’ll make it as powerful as commercial brands.

But if you still want to pursue it – read our step-by-step article.

Final Thoughts

Pepper spray might not have the same reputation other self-defense weapons enjoy.

But they should!

The best ones have powerful high-concentration formulas.

And ease of use makes them an attractive option for anyone.

From backcountry defense against bears to people intent on doing you harm.

There are plenty of sizes and ranges to suit any situation.

So add some to your EDC bag, get-home bag, bug-out bag, your vehicle’s glove box and keychains.

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