Best Pepper Spray for Self Defense

Best Pepper Spray for Self Defense – Recommendations for 2023

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The greatest weapon you have is probably best pepper spray for self defense. Yes, many people still prefer a gun, but pepper spray allows you to defuse a situation before it escalates to the point where fatal action is necessary.

It may be carried in areas where weapons are forbidden, is inexpensive to purchase, and doesn’t need a lot of experience to operate. It is also lawful in all 50 states (* See note and disclaimer at the end of the post).

There are several variations among various items. Some of these variations could constitute the distinction between life and death.

Therefore, before making a purchase, read this article and have a look at our suggestions for the top pepper sprays for self-defense.

ImageProduct NameEditor's RatingPrice

Sabre Red Tactical Series Gel
Sabre Red Tactical Series Gel

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Fox Labs 5.3
Fox Labs 5.3

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Sabre Red Key Case
Sabre Red Key Case

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Mace Pepper Spray Gun with Strobe LED
Mace Pepper Spray Gun with Strobe LED

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Frontiersman Bear Spray
Frontiersman Bear Spray

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How to Choose pepper spray

How to Choose pepper spray

Choose carefully! Although there may not seem to be much of a difference between two brands, even something as little as the safety lock type might affect how fast and efficiently you can release the spray during an assault.

Your greatest alternatives for self-defense are those I’ve laid down for you as the primary qualities you need to think about.


Think about how you will utilize it before you buy.

  • Are you going to keep it on your keychain?
  • within your pocket?
  • in your bag?
  • Will you employ it against human or animal attackers?

You should choose a spray from the following categories based on how you want to use it:

  • Keychain: These are little containers that typically weigh between 12 and 1 ounce. Although they are highly portable, they only have a little range and enough spray for a few assaults.
  • Canister: Canisters frequently have extended ranges and have a large capacity. Unless they are on a holster, I don’t think they are appropriate for daily carry. They are difficult to swiftly remove from your pocketbook or bag in addition to being cumbersome to carry. Canisters, however, are the greatest choice if you’re putting together a bug-out pack or searching for bear protection. Compare pepper spray with bear spray.
  • The “guns” in question spray pepper spray. They can go great distances and have more precise sprays. Like canisters, they take longer to extract. They do, however, have the advantage of making an attacker feel intimidated. Read our review of the top pepper spray devices.
  • Covered/Disguised: These sprays have the appearance of lipstick tubes, pencils, or other commonplace items. They tend to be a little gimmicky, but in some circumstances, they could be useful for self-defense.

Recipe for pepper spray

  • Three basic components are possible to use:
  • CS (Orthochlorobenzalmalonitrile) (Orthochlorobenzalmalonitrile)
  • Alpha-chloroacetaphenone, CN (Oleoresin Capsicum)

Both CS and CN come from synthetic compounds. For the military and police enforcement, they were developed. As “tear gases,” CS and CN both function by irritating membrane tissues. Despite their relatively great potency, they can be ineffective on those who are strong pain tolerators, are inebriated, or under the influence of narcotics.

The most effective kind for self-defense is OC. It is created using spicy peppers’ inherent compounds. Only those containing OC are thought to be genuine pepper spray. Inflammation results from OC. OC will cause someone’s eyes to close if it is sprayed in their direction. Another factor contributing to temporary blindness is capillary irritation. When breathed, OC pepper spray makes breathing difficult. Besides, you can choose some Survival Hammock for Different Situations.


A spray that will stop assailants in their tracks is what you desire.

Concentration and SHU rating are the two basic metrics used to gauge pepper spray potency.

  • Concentration: The concentration of an OC pepper spray will be considered while making a decision. This displays the amount of OC included in the formulation. The concentration of most self-defense pepper sprays ranges from 1% to 18%. Pick pepper spray with at least 5% of an active ingredient for self-defense against assailants. Never purchase one whose concentration isn’t listed. Be aware that in some states, OC concentrations more than 10% are banned.
  • SHUs: The power of the OC is also assessed (measured in Scoville Heat Units, or SHUs). The SHU of bell peppers, for instance, can reach 100. SHUs in Carolina peppers may reach 3,200,000.

However, the relationship between concentration and SHU is not always clear-cut: a pepper spray may have a high concentration despite using mild peppers.

Both a high concentration and a high SHU are ideal. Unfortunately, the SHU level of most pepper sprays is not listed.

You must contact the manufacturer to obtain this information (or use our reviews).

Principal Capsaicinoids (MC)

Principal Capsaicinoids (MC)

The sole lab-tested indicator of a pepper spray’s actual potency and capacity to cause pain is its Major Capsaicinoid (MC) content. Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) laboratory testing is used to determine it.

Sadly, the majority of them do not have their MC content checked. However, some well-known companies, like Sabre, do specify their MC content. Only 2% MC is allowed in bear repellents at most.


A typical pepper spray canister weighs anything from half an ounce to seven or more. Be aware that some quantities of pepper spray are prohibited by laws in some states.

Look at the pepper spray’s capacity in terms of sprays (or bursts) as well as its weight in ounces.

Typically, a “burst” is a 1-second spray (though some define it differently, so pay attention).

Any attacker should be rendered helpless with only one spray (bears and some animals will require much higher amounts).

Therefore, a pepper spray with 20 bursts might theoretically be used 20 times or against 20 attackers.


I wouldn’t worry too much about range unless you want to use it against creatures like bears. Since most attacks take place at close range, a weapon with a 20+ foot range is not required.

The majority of times, personal defense requires a 6-foot range.

Spray Form:

In order to be successful for self-defense, it must strike the assailant in the eyes. If you don’t have a lot of time to react to the attack (which is unlikely), striking the eyes can be challenging.

Some pepper sprays have different spray patterns that make hitting the eyes easier or tougher.


These spew out liquid like squirt guns. Although they have a great range of fire, they need to aim perfectly to target an attacker’s eyes. Only if you have excellent aim and remain composed under duress would I advise using them.

For the majority of people, spray and mist are probably the best options. Similar to a can of hairspray, these items release pepper spray. The attacker is more likely to be hit by the spray despite its shorter range. The spray will also be inhaled by the attacker. The disadvantage is that you could run across nearby residents. You might get yourself if it is windy!

Foam Sprays:

Foam pepper sprays have a great range of projection. The foam formulation, on the other hand, takes the longest to have an impact on the eyes and won’t be easily ingested by the attacker. You shouldn’t be too concerned, though, if the foam comes back and hits you. If you suffer from a respiratory condition like asthma, this could be your best alternative.

Safety attributes

Any pepper spray that is intended to be carried about on your keychain must have safety features.

Unfortunately, in an assault situation, the same safety measures may make it more difficult to spray.

I advise purchasing one with a push-and-slide safety mechanism for self-defense.

An excellent alternative is a flip-top, particularly when utilizing holster spray. These are safe for everyday carry and may be released rapidly.

Make sure you practice disengaging the safety mechanism if you pick one with a holster or a twist-type lever. You won’t be able to release it quickly enough to be useful in an assault otherwise!

Best Pepper Spray for Self Defense Reviews

1. Sabre Red Tactical Series Gel

This is one of the most well-known items from Sabre, one of the top pepper spray manufacturers.

Unlike most other pepper sprays, it is a gel. The gel allows for a great range without the danger of blowback.

The range is extremely amazing given that this has a spray pattern rather than a stream.

You may get a lot of sprays out of the gel because it is 1.8 oz.

The canister might have been a little bit smaller, though. It might seem a little thick on your belt because it is 4 12 inches tall.

Compare pepper gel vs. pepper spray by reading more.


  • Gel minimizes blowback
  • powerful formula
  • Long-range UV marking dye


  • It takes experience to rapidly remove from holster.

2. Fox Labs 5.3

The cone fog spray design on Fox Labs 5.3 sets it apart from the competition.

The possibility of blowback is increased by a fog spray. They don’t need quite as much precision, though. You’ll be grateful for a fog when an enemy is approaching you swiftly! Inhaling the cone fog increases the likelihood that respiratory difficulties may result.

The SHU rating is also among the highest you’ll find. While Fox Labs has 5.3 million SHU, the majority of the top pepper sprays only have 1-2 million.

You’ll undoubtedly be able to repel an assailant!


  • Effective formula
  • Fog reduces the requirement for precision
  • suitable for a purse


  • Fog may result in blowback
  • Holster not provided
  • a 3-year maximum shelf life

3. Sabre Red Key Case

Here’s another one from Sabre, designed for wearing on your keychain.

You can separate it from your keys while they are still in the door or ignition thanks to its quick release feature.

If you can easily take the pepper spray out when you don’t need it (or are going someplace where you can’t bring it), that feature is also quite useful.

The pepper spray is really effective and dependable, as you would anticipate from Sabre.

The stream is ten feet long. Even while this has a considerably smaller range than the other choices we’ve looked at, it is still more than sufficient.

The safety switch on this pepper spray keychain can accidently go from “off” to “on,” which is the only significant problem.

This isn’t much of a problem because the trigger needs to be pulled with some force in order to fire. It’s still important to note, though.


  • powerful formula
  • adequate safety measures
  • may instantly access
  • Canisters with many blasts


  • The stream demands precision.
  • Twist locks may inadvertently become activated.
  • Quite large on the keychain

4. Mace Pepper Spray Gun with Strobe LED

Although there are several pepper spray guns available, this one from Mace has the most intimidating appearance.

It may easily be mistaken for a genuine firearm if drawn on an assailant.

Instead of using a gun, many homeowners employ this for non-lethal home defense.

You can easily get affordable replacement cartridges for the Mace pepper spray that comes with the rifle (get the refill cartridges here).

Up to 20 feet away, the weapon can shoot a powerful jet of pepper spray. Water cartridges are also available for practice.

The spray gun also has other self-defense functions, such as a spotlight and an LED strobe light.

Just be aware that not all states allow the possession of weapons like this. This is not used in New York or Massachusetts.

Check the laws in your state before purchasing!


  • a 20-foot radius
  • large stream
  • extremely precise Strobe light


  • 7 sprays maximum per canister
  • Not accepted in every state

5. Frontiersman Bear Spray

This 7.9 ounce alternative (there is also a 9.2 ounce version) is too heavy to carry with you every day.

But for bears, it’s definitely their best option. It sprays out a tremendous volume of spray per second and has a very long range of 30 feet.

Despite being a spray that looks like fog, it won’t generate as much blowback because the fog starts to disappear at a distance.

Anyone planning on a hiking trip in bear territory should consider it.

It’s a great option for survivalist bug out bags as well.

While bugging out in the bush, you may use it not only to defend against bears and other animals, but also to defend against any human assailants, albeit it won’t be as effective. See our article on whether bear spray may be used for self-defense.


  • extreme range
  • immediately produces 2% significant capsaicinoids of thick fog


  • Too big to carry on a daily basis
  • a 3-year maximum shelf life

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