Let’s be practical, the laws in your area may restrict the use of firearms, or ban them entirely. And what’s the solution when you are traveling? Many destinations don’t allow firearms in any capacity. Or you may be doing something that makes carrying a firearm practically impossible, such as running during the summer or going to the beach.
There are many non-lethal measures, that when performed with knowledge and understanding, can be taken to protect yourself and give the confidence you need to feel safer.
Here’s a little insight…..the primary focus of these methods will be targeting the weakest parts of the human body, the eyes, throat, and knees. Stay with us during the next few weeks as we explore some of the alternatives to firearms and give you ideas to supplement.
In this series, you’ll benefit by learning the pros and cons to using some of the most well-known methods of self protection, as well as some instances in which they may be applied.
This week, we’ll start with PEPPER SPRAY:
OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) Spray, or better known as pepper spray is most commonly found in law enforcement and corrections. It serves as both a denial and direct usage tool that attacks both the eyes and the respiratory system of the person on the receiving end of the spray. When in contact with the eyes, it causes irritation which can lead to blurry eyes, pain, or even temporary blindness. When it affects the respiratory system, it can cause intense coughing and choking. This form of non-lethal has seen usage in law enforcement since 1989, initially starting with the FBI’s SWAT team and special agents.
Here are some important considerations in selecting the best pepper spray unit to fit your needs:
Consider the size of the unit:
The smaller variants are more concealable, but harder to use in stressful and difficult situations. The larger ones are more forgiving, and offer more shots than the smaller versions, which is crucial should you be facing multiple opponents. The larger variants also can serve as impact weapons once the liquid has been used up.
Consider the spray pattern the unit emits:
Different spray patterns can work differently in different situations. There are typically two spray patterns, a cone pattern and a stream pattern.
The cone pattern operates in a shorter range. It can be drastically affected by wind, but the spray particles linger in the air in a broad pattern. This is better used as an area denial weapon. (a denial weapon is a device or a strategy used to prevent an adversary from occupying your space.) You spray it in the air around you and run, as the spray will linger in the air, providing you time to find cover or get to safety.
The stream pattern can be used at a greater distance and it is less affected by wind. However, it requires more accuracy to effectively hit the targets face.
Some pepper sprays include gels or foams that allow them to stick to a target, thus affecting them more. These variants also require accuracy to effectively employ.
Consider the type of trigger on the unit. Some versions use a button that is depressed by your thumb. This allows your thumb to serve as an aiming mechanism while allowing you to keep the spray farther from your face. Another thumb trigger mechanism is on the bottom of the spray, while effective, this requires the use of a bent elbow deployment, bringing the spray closer to your face. This could potentially cause the OC spray to come back to the user.
Consider the environment when using the OC spray unit. If you live in an environment that is substantially more windy, a stream is more effective but requires you to face your assailant head on. The cone is not as well suited for these environments, but is better for area denial in urban terrain.
If you noticed someone has stalked you for a couple of blocks, and after a series of turns they remain behind you, deploying the cone in a choke point serves a dual purpose. If they are truly following you, they have to walk through the choke point, thus bringing them into the mist of OC. This could incapacitate them enough for you to get away, or should they remain on your trail, their hacking and coughing can give you enough warning of their approach so you can prepare to give them a full taste of the spray.
If the usage for the spray exists indoors, things like air flow and ventilation could affect how to best to employ your spray.
Train with the spray! Yes…as with everything else that is important, your first time using the spray should not be in a critical moment of self-defense. Some companies offer inert trainers for this specific purpose.
Practice makes perfect: Just like with a firearm, you want to practice your draw, toggling a safety (if there is one) and accurately employing the spray. This allows you to determine the best range of your spray so that you’re more secure and assured if the occasion arises to actually use it.
Finally, as with all weapons, look up the legalities in your area. Some jurisdictions may find that OC is illegal, while others may allow its use. Be sure to check the laws of places you’re traveling to as well, as they may have more restrictive laws than your state.
As always, SDTG is here to offer you advice and guidance. We’ll help you create a unique plan to work with your lifestyle. Just connect with us.
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