Best Pepper Sprays To Stop Threats In Their Tracks

By Just In Case Jack | Last Updated: April 30, 2023

Pepper Spray Is One Of The Most Popular Self-Defense Weapons Available Today

Pepper Spray

That’s why we’ve added h2t to our list of 10 basic prepping steps.

But there’s a lot of confusion and misunderstandings 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 pepper spray for self-defense?

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

Using both my Engineering & Self-Defense background, I’m going to share the following:


Best Pepper Sprays For Sale Today

Pepper Spray Vs. Firearms

Benefits Of Carrying OC Spray

Cost Of Carrying OC Spray

Best Pepper Spray Features To Look For

How To Use It For Max Effect

How To Make Pepper Spray At Home

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Best Pepper Sprays For Sale Today

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

And in the past, this was a problem since many sporting goods stores didn’t carry it.

But nowadays, it’s not difficult to find – you CAN buy it online:

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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↓ LifeShield 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 - 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 Spray Formula Breakdown ↓

SABRE Advanced Pepper Spray, 3-in-1 Formula

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

They're a well-known manufacturer trusted by police departments and other law enforcement agencies nationwide.

The 3-in-1 Pepper Spray is one of their most popular offerings, with OC pepper spray, CS tear gas, and a UV dye.

They have a tight stream spray pattern. And they offer an inert practice spray canister so you can train without the risk.

This practice can ensure that in the heat of the moment, you don't fumble with the twist-lock safety or accidentally spray backward!

The included training documents have links to instructional videos and other training tips.

These can help you get the most out of your new spray.

The Sabre 3-in-1 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 or want a good option for home or vehicle defense, this is your best bet!

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↓ Frontierman Bear Spray Advantages | SABRE ↓

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 Pepper Spray Black Flip Top Pocket Clip

This one is for those looking for something a bit more discrete and pocket-friendly.

This 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)

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 Pepper Spray with UV Dye Review ↓

Pepper Spray Vs. Firearms

No question about it, firearms are a more powerful form of self-defense if someone is properly trained.

But that’s the issue with firearms; many folks don’t want to take the time to train properly. And some people don’t believe in an armed society.

Plus, firearms are a lethal form of self-defense. This can also make someone hesitant to concealed carry a handgun – even if they own one.

The bottom line is this:

Firearms come with some extra baggage.

No, we’re NOT saying YOU should carry pepper spray instead of a gun. You do you.

But there are plenty of people who are more comfortable carrying pepper spray.

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

Pulling a gun on an unarmed threat might unnecessarily aggravate or elevate the situation.

Many (including military and law enforcement) choose pepper spray as a first option.

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

This prevents premature escalation in certain circumstances.

↓ How Effective Is Pepper Spray For Self-Defense? ↓

For example: if the threat is unarmed and/or there are many innocent bystanders.

And for some people, carrying a firearm isn’t an option for moral reasons.

Making it the perfect addition to your nonlethal self-defense arsenal.

Watching the video below provides an excellent example of why EVERYONE can benefit from carrying a professional grade OC spray:

↓ This Is Why I Carry OC Spray & Recommend You Do Too ↓

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Benefits of Using OC Spray For Self Defense

Affordable Cost

Clearly, even the most expensive pepper sprays are far cheaper than a handgun.

If you want a cost-effective self-defense weapon, pepper spray is hard to beat.

Fewer Regulations

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

But still far fewer than most firearms.

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

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

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

Pepper sprays are generally smaller and lighter than firearms.

Even lighter than the smallest and lightest handguns (such as S&W Airweight and Kel-Tec).

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

And some of the most compact OC sprays are small enough to hang on a self-defense keychain.

Note: These mini options tend to have very short spray durations…

A Non-Lethal Weapon

Pepper spray is extremely irritating and painful – but not fatal.

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

Best Pepper Spray

Costs Of Using OC Spray For Self Defense

A Non-Lethal Weapon

While “non-lethal” made the list of pros for pepper spray, it’s also one of the main “cons.”

In some situations, pepper spray may not be enough to stop the most vicious attacker, especially if they are on drugs that numb their senses or are extremely intoxicated.

If a situation gets out of hand, a perpetrator with firepower is no match for someone with pepper spray.

Reloading (one-time shot)

Unlike a handgun, reloading isn’t an option with pepper spray.

Most sprays have a short duration, which means knowing exactly when to use them!


While pepper spray is becoming more common, it’s still not as easy to find in every sporting goods store.

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


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

With people, this can be 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 in stopping a threat.

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Pepper Gas Spray

Best Pepper Spray Features To Look For

When choosing pepper spray, there are a few factors you’ll need to be sure to consider.

The Formula

The formulation is the first and most important factor in choosing a pepper spray.

Three major formulas on the market for self-defense sprays are CN, CS, and OC.

OC (Oleoresin Capsicum)

OC is one of the most common and popular forms of pepper spray and stands for Oleoresin Capsicum.

The active ingredient is capsaicin, the same chemical that gives peppers heat.

Capsaicin acts as an inflammatory agent.

It not only causes pain but also causes instant inflammation of the mucous membranes.

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

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

The oily liquid means the solution 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 are also told not to touch any other body parts to avoid spreading the substance.

There are wipes available to help remove pepper spray.

But your attacker is unlikely to have them on hand fast enough to be useful!

But not all peppers are the same…

Scoville Heat Rating

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

And there’s a way to measure these differences; it’s called the Scoville Heat Scale.

↓ Scoville Scale Explained: The Measurement Of Chili Pepper Hotness ↓

You can see from the image below that:

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

Scoville Heat Unit Scale


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

It’s often used for riot control or to force people out of an area.

CS can be found in aerosol canisters or can be deployed by grenades.

CN Gas

CN is an older form of tear gas, which has similar effects to CS gas and also includes temporary loss of balance.

The effects of CN tear gas last longer than that of CS. But it can also cause permanent skin and lung damage, so it’s much less common than it was in years past.

Dye Additions

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

This dye becomes a marker for your attacker, making IDing them easier later if they run.

This can be helpful for law enforcement, but the visible dyes can also help you avoid them if they try to come back.

Spray Pattern and Range

Another critical factor is finding the right spray pattern.

↓ How To Choose A Pepper Spray – Spray Patterns ↓

The most typical patterns used are spray or mist.

If you have respiratory issues, spray patterns help avoid the risk of accidental user inhalation.

Stream Spray

For accuracy and longer range, some shoot streams of fluid.

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

Of course, stream pattern sprays require more training and practice.

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

Mist Spray

A mist spray pattern produces a large cloud of gas which is more easily inhaled.

But it comes at the price of a far shorter range.

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

This means there is 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 than stream pattern sprayers.

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, you’ll want to consider the sheer volume of spray you might need.

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

Think about how you intend to use your spray and pick the right size for your needs.

Small Canisters

Keychain pepper sprays are marketed to runners and college students. These small bottles contain less than a half-ounce of usable spray.

This only gives you a couple of seconds of spray at close range.

Better than nothing, but you can also run out before an attacker has been properly 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 many 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 15 feet.

Sure, 15 feet doesn’t feel nearly far enough during an attack. But it’s good enough as a close-in self-defense weapon.

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

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 or stored correctly.

Each model comes with instructions for safe use and handling.

Take the time to read through it before heading out into a situation where you may need to use your pepper spray.

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

The best way to learn is using a practice canister. 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 any weapon.

For pepper spray, 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.

↓ Self-Defense Tips – 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 elevate the fight or flee if your attacker doesn’t back down.

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

↓ VCU Police: The Dos and Don’ts Of Using Pepper Spray ↓

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How To Make Pepper Spray At Home

Yes, you CAN make your own pepper spray.

But it’s highly unlikely you’ll make it as powerful or as good at delivery as commercial brands.

But if you still want to pursue making your own – read our step-by-step article.

Final Thoughts

Pepper spray might not have the reputation that 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 options in size and range to suit any situation.

It’s smart to add some to your EDC bag, get-home bag, bug-out bag, your vehicle’s glove box, and even your home.

Jason K.

  • Born & Raised In The Remote Woods Of Michigan
  • Engineering Degree From A Major University
  • Long Standing Member Of Mountain Search & Rescue
  • Offical Gear Tester For Several Outdoor Companies
  • Avid Outdoorsman: Backpacking, Camping, Fishing
  • Years Researching & Writing About Surival & Gear
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