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View Full Version : More practical than a bug, pepper spray/mace


Dr_2_B
July 12, 2009, 09:37 PM
Was just reading a post about carrying a bug. It occurred to me that mace or OC spray would be a more practical choice. I'd guess a person would be about 10 times more likely to draw the spray than to draw a gun in the first place. And maybe 100 times more likely than to draw a bug. Yes, I know there are legalities involved with the spray too.

Actually, I don't carry the spray but it wouldn't be a bad idea. Certainly not saying one couldn't carry both a bug and the spray - but we have to make compromises. Any thoughts?

Sevens
July 12, 2009, 10:00 PM
My first thought is one that has been brought up here before that REALLY made me think the first time I heard it...

If you get involved in a self-defense shooting (and win) and you end up on trial, there's going to be a lot of finger pointing as to why you didn't simply pepper spray your attacker rather then shooting him full of holes.

grumpycoconut
July 13, 2009, 12:00 AM
How about this scenario.

Plaintiff's Attorney: Mr. Dude who shot my client's poor innocent baby. We found posts by you on the internet in which you poo pooed the idea of carrying a less lethal weapon as part of your defensive arsenal. Isn't it true that lethal force encounter are rare as hen's teeth and that you are much more likely to need a less lethal force option? Isn't it true that you consciously and willfully and callously decided that you would rather carry only lethal weapons? In fact, Isn't it true that you get a kick out of the very idea of shooting people? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you that this cowboy, this violent man, this murderer refused to carry a simple, cheap and effective tool that he might have used to save my poor client's innocent and misunderstood now dead baby.

No matter what you do you are going to answer some hard and mean questions if you cap someone. If the prosecutor don't go after you, you can bet that the shootee's survivors will.

It's not hard to show why you didn't choose a less lethal option before going to guns if it was a good shoot. What's hard is justifying why you shot that dog or that scary but non-lethal guy when pepper could have done the trick.

If you are gonna carry you lose nothing and gain much by having a less lethal option at hand.

Nnobby45
July 13, 2009, 12:45 AM
Spray isn't deadly force and, when used as designed, can be used to keep things from escalating to that level.

The gun is for when things reach or are already at the deadly force level. They aren't two different things that handle problems at the same level.

BUG means back-up gun. For use when your primary weapon, for some reason, didn't solve the problm and you're in deep doo doo. Rather reach for your spray or your BUG?

Dr_2_B
July 13, 2009, 01:26 AM
This argument reminds me of a car search several years back. I was trying to decide which was more important - airbags or anti-lock brakes. I learned that on average, a person uses anti-lock brakes once a year. On average a person uses airbags once every 50 years.

I feel it's a similar argument with respect to the spray vs back up gun (granted, they aren't mutually exclusive). Both have their purpose, but one is more likely to be needed. I always carry a gun, but I'm probably more likely to need to employ the spray one day - just like LEOs.

IZZY
July 13, 2009, 09:12 AM
If you are that worried you need 2 guns why not have a small can of pepper-spray as well??? It's lighter than an extra mag.

My experaince is it is easy to miss with spray, and wind is a factor for those types that release a spray vs. a stream.

ZeSpectre
July 13, 2009, 10:07 AM
Real world experience with pepper spray is that it works on some, not so much on others. It also relies heavily on having time to react with the target's nervous system.

Now don't misunderstand me it can be a great tool but you don't use it and stand there like you've sprayed a "force field" in front of you. I've seen a charging individual get well sprayed and still finish their dash to body slam the "sprayer" into the ground because the "sprayer" didn't move to evade.

Best use? Lay down a fog behind you as you haul a## our of the area! :D

Brian Pfleuger
July 13, 2009, 10:12 AM
Was just reading a post about carrying a bug. It occurred to me that mace or OC spray would be a more practical choice. I'd guess a person would be about 10 times more likely to draw the spray than to draw a gun in the first place. And maybe 100 times more likely than to draw a bug. Yes, I know there are legalities involved with the spray too.

What you're missing is that the people who carry BUGs on this forum, not all but most (at least the vocal ones), will tell you that they don't care what the odds are. It happened to somebody, somewhere, or they can envision a scenario wherein it COULD happen so that's odds enough.


Even so.... I wouldn't really compare spray and a BUG. Spray is where you might start the force continuum, if you're at BUG stage then you are VERY deep down that road, not a place for spray anymore.

Having said all that, I do think that an argument could be made that it is irresponsible to carry a gun without carrying some less lethal option.

Dr_2_B
July 13, 2009, 03:58 PM
I do think that an argument could be made that it is irresponsible to carry a gun without carrying some less lethal option.

I like this statement. While I might not use the term 'irresponsible,' I'd certainly say it's more responsible (or indicative of better preparation) to carry the less lethal spray.

And I couldn't agree more with Spectre. Spray and jet! Let the bg try to catch me with both his eyes slammed shut and me doing my Roadrunner imitation.

Nnobby45
July 13, 2009, 04:15 PM
What you're missing is that the people who carry BUGs on this forum, not all but most (at least the vocal ones), will tell you that they don't care what the odds are. It happened to somebody, somewhere, or they can envision a scenario wherein it COULD happen so that's odds enough.........................

Having said all that, I do think that an argument could be made that it is irresponsible to carry a gun without carrying some less lethal option.

A bug fits nicely in my vest and can go with me to the gym, doctor and dentist, or anywhere else where I need to take my vest off and would expose my primary weapon. Vest is always next to me and I'm still armed in the parking garage, lot, daylight or dark.

It's also true that some 'ol geezers like me--- and some younger fella's as well, feel that when things go wrong, they can go real wrong.

Paranoid? No, I only get paranoid when I don't have a BUG, and to a lesser extent, spare ammo for both my BUG and primary.:D

Hey, PK, why would a fellow shooter who doesn't believe in spare ammo or BUGs want to ease the door open a little for justifying criminal prosecution of those "irresponsible" enough not to carry a BUG?

The other folks would want to put us in jail for being "too heavily armed and bloodthirsty".

Instead of arguing that you're irresponsible, why not argue that proper mindset, with regards to training in tactical withdrawal and avoidance, would meet the criteria for less lethal option?:cool:

Brian Pfleuger
July 13, 2009, 04:32 PM
Instead of arguing that you're irresponsible, why not argue that proper mindset, with regards to training in tactical withdrawal and avoidance, would meet the criteria for less lethal option?

As for me, I wasn't arguing anything.

"An argument could be made...." I'm not sure whether I agree with that argument or not.


I've also never called those who carry a BUG "bloodthirsty" or anything else for that matter. As stated above, those that carry a BUG have, almost to a man, said in effect that they don't care what the odds are, they carry it regardless. To which I have repeatedly replied that they should go right ahead and do so, this is America after all.

I have also noted before that the argument from the "Pro-BUG" side generally turns to either name calling or accusations of name calling, which is once again the case.


But once again, to the point of the OP, I consider a BUG and pepper spray, or any other less lethal option, to be on opposite ends of the force spectrum and in no way interchangeable. It can be "both/and" but I don't see how it could be "either/or".

Nnobby45
July 13, 2009, 05:07 PM
I've also never called those who carry a BUG "bloodthirsty" or anything else for that matter.

I didn't say you did.

What you said was that not carrying a BUG might be considered irresponsible.

What I said was that the folks on THE OTHER SIDE (anti-gunners) might consider carrying two guns as bloodthirsty and too heavily armed.

Point being that getting shot at by antis from the front is bad enough without worrying about the folks who are standing behind me.





As stated above, those that carry a BUG have, almost to a man, said in effect that they don't care what the odds are, they carry it regardless. To which I have repeatedly replied that they should go right ahead and do so, this is America after all.


Yes, I guess in America you can do all kinds of foolish things, like carry a BUG or spare ammo.

sakeneko
July 13, 2009, 05:19 PM
I imagine that the level of threat each of us faces is quite different, too. I'm no expert, but my gut suggests that a police officer on the street, or soldier in a combat zone, probably should have a BUG for safety. The same might be true for a civilian who lives or works (or both) in an extremely dangerous or crime-ridden neighborhood.

On the other hand, I'd probably be wasting a few hundred dollars if I bought a spare gun because it is likely that I will never need the one I have for any purpose but target shooting. I simply don't live or work in places where crime is frequent, and rarely go to dangerous areas after dark or do anything that would put me at risk. I'd rather use the space for a less-lethal option like a can of pepper spray (and often do).

I don't think that there's one right answer to the question of back-up guns or second options. It all depends on your circumstances.

thesecond
July 13, 2009, 05:43 PM
Peetza: I've read the BUG thread. You are irresponsibly 'misquoting' and generalizing about those who have decided to carry a BUG, and who posted their reasons.

Did we participate in the same thread?

Because if you'd read it, with the intent of learning something, you would have discovered some of the reasons, as I did, e.g.,

(1) mag-related failures
(2) CQ-concerns (slide-jam, firing at contact)
(3) capacity, and
(4) not that much of an inconvenience to carry an extra mag/loader in light of the fact that one ALREADY has made the decision to pack at least a half-pound of steel/polymer.

Those reasons, most assuredly, are NOT because 'they don't care what the odds are' or that 'they will carry regardless'.

In any event, I look at the content of a member's posts and decide for myself. And it's a good thing the other forum members have the option to do so as well.

Back to topic .... "More practical than a BUG?"

I don't think OC is 'more anything' than a BUG.

(Where are some of you guys coming up with these scenarios where someone is seriously deciding to carry OC INSTEAD of a BUG?)

Nnobby45
July 13, 2009, 05:44 PM
I simply don't live or work in places where crime is frequent, and rarely go to dangerous areas after dark or do anything that would put me at risk. I'd rather use the space for a less-lethal option like a can of pepper spray (and often do).


As long as you realize that the pepper spray isn't a substitute for lethal force, and that you'll be effectively unarmed if the need for lethal force arises, then I have no trouble respecting your choice. Pepper spray MAY give you time to get out of there. I carry it, along with my primary and BUG. Hope I'll neve need any of them.

I can respect, but don't agree with, the philosophy that we arm ourselves or not based on stuff like "I live in a good neighborhood", or "I don't go to places where I think I'll need a gun".

People who disagree with my choices are fine. I just have less patience for those who need to lecture and admonish, or condescendingly acknowledge my right to do as I wish. Not saying I'm perfect and haven't done the aforementioned at one time or another.
Anyway, there are more important things to worry about.:)

Brian Pfleuger
July 13, 2009, 08:28 PM
What you said was that not carrying a BUG might be considered irresponsible.

No, I said I do think that an argument could be made that it is irresponsible to carry a gun without carrying some less lethal option.


Unless a BUG is a "less lethal option", I don't think I was talking about a bug.


Because if you'd read it, with the intent of learning something, you would have discovered some of the reasons, as I did, e.g.,

All the reasons you listed are extremely unlikely, when I have challenged those assertions the responses have been that it's doesn't matter what the odds are. Possibly less so in the "BUG thread" of which you speak, but it is only the latest of half a dozen or more such discussions.

sakeneko
July 13, 2009, 09:13 PM
I think I misled you, Nnobby45. I have a gun: a perfectly functional S&W Model 60 .357 that is kept loaded and that I practice with regularly. I carry it with me. I've already come to the same conclusion as you about relying on situational awareness and staying out of known trouble spots -- those are good things to do and my first line of defense, but I don't want to count on them alone to keep me safe forever. (Although so far they've worked.)

The issue I was talking about was a back-up gun (BUG), in other words, Gun #2 carried by the same person at the same time as Gun #1. *That* is what I don't think I need, but do think other people might need -- especially people whose job it is to go into harms way deliberately instead of avoiding it wherever possible.

thesecond
July 13, 2009, 09:17 PM
Where do you come up with the figures for 'extremely unlikely', Peetzakilla?

Anyway, I'm done in this thread, I'll be looking around the rest of the forum, from other members, for better advice, which, in the past, fortunately, I have found ....

Civilians are NOT obligated (as police officers may be) to follow the force continuum doctrine, to do what police officers do. period. It even may be more dangerous for them to do so .... e.g., drawing pepper spray when an assailant, who approaches, may have a knife or blunt instrument, is an example that comes to mind.

Reasonable fear of imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury doesn't work from the perspective of 20/20 hindsight. To advise someone to use OC, when a potential felony-assailant is moving on you with his hands 'unaccounted for', is dangerously irresponsible advice.

Brian Pfleuger
July 13, 2009, 09:25 PM
No one suggested that pepper spray was or should be the first option in every scenario. I can think of any number of scenarios wherein having nothing but a gun would severely limit your options, possibly leading to a situation that requires lethal force when it could have been avoided if some lesser force option was available. The currently running thread about the man with the restraining order is a good example. Using pepper spray against an unarmed but possibly dangerous person would be quite preferable to putting a bullet in them.

If you would like a gun to be your first and only option, well, have at it. This is America afterall.

MLeake
July 13, 2009, 09:28 PM
Has its place.

As I haven't had any hands on training in its use, I don't know that I'd be too comfortable relying on it, though.

Obviously, I'd want to be aware of wind direction....

But without a chance to try the stuff out, see how it patterns, what the range would be from the type cannister I might carry, etc, I don't know that I'd carry it.

Where would one train to use pepper spray?

sakeneko
July 13, 2009, 09:41 PM
I had a policeman I know demonstrate what to do, but you have a good point. I should consider asking if the people I'll be taking my handgun classes from know of somewhere to get training for this. His main point is that you can't just spray away and hope to disable an attacker -- you have to go for eyes, nose, open mouth. He recommended spraying forehead and eyebrows if your attacker is wearing glasses because it will drip down into his eyes.

But I could definitely use some more pointers.

Nnobby45
July 13, 2009, 11:05 PM
*That* is what I don't think I need, but do think other people might need -- especially people whose job it is to go into harms way deliberately instead of avoiding it wherever possible.

Perhaps, but most lethal force encounters involve people who never had an intent to go deliberatly into harm's way, but found themselves there anyway. Obviously, one assumes more risk if it's a deliberate habit.

pax
July 14, 2009, 10:36 AM
But without a chance to try the stuff out, see how it patterns, what the range would be from the type cannister I might carry, etc, I don't know that I'd carry it.

Where would one train to use pepper spray?

That's an excellent question, and worth a thread of its own (that's a hint ;) ).

Most good pepper spray companies offer inert "trainers" for their spray -- that will typically be a vegetable dye driven by the same propellants as their pepper sprays, in the same size cans etc -- so that you can ask and answer those types of questions without necessarily getting exposed to the spray yourself.

A lot of firearms schools also offer pepper spray classes, and I'd really recommend taking one if you're going to carry the stuff. Also check out your local cop shop; chances are good that you can find a police department which either offers OC classes through a "citizen's academy", or which will allow you to sit in on that portion of their training. Such classes typically offer students the opportunity to get sprayed with OC themselves, to see how they react -- and I'd highly recommend doing that if you're going to carry it. If you do not know how your body responds to the stuff, you'll be at a significant personal disadvantage if you ever need to use it, since it's pretty much a given that you'll be exposed to it when you use it. Best to know what to expect and how to cope with it.

More here: www.corneredcat.com/Gear/pepperspray.aspx Hope it helps.

pax

ZeSpectre
July 14, 2009, 11:34 AM
Such classes typically offer students the opportunity to get sprayed with OC themselves, to see how they react -- and I'd highly recommend doing that if you're going to carry it.

Excellent advice. However I'd also like to post an IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE

DO NOT try spraying yourself at home to see what it's like. Odds are you'll have an unpleasant event and that will be all, but there is a small chance that you could be one of those "highly reactive" folks so for your own safety you absolutely should not spray yourself or be exposed without proper medical personnel available on site.

MLeake
July 14, 2009, 12:59 PM
... but did get locked in a CS gas chamber during one portion of training, years ago...

Picture a bunch of guys, afterward, in the back of a 2.5 ton truck, hanging heads over the rails to get our faces in the breeze, trying to flush our eyes, as lines of tears and snot flew back behind us.

Picture, too, the laughter of the gunny and the staff sergeant from the cab of the truck...

It wasn't really that bad, in the sense that breathing and vision returned to normal within ten minutes or so. While it was never truly disabling, I am pretty sure I could not have chased anybody down during that timeframe.

Not sure how the new stuff is, but if I ever do try it out, I'll wear something I don't mind getting quite dirty.

markj
July 14, 2009, 01:16 PM
I see no reason for a BUG so therefore no need for spray.


I would carry it if I was a postman or door to door kinda work.

Brian Pfleuger
July 14, 2009, 01:55 PM
I see no reason for a BUG so therefore no need for spray.

I still don't see how not needing one has any relation to the other. They are on opposite ends of the force spectrum, completely unrelated.

OldMarksman
July 14, 2009, 03:13 PM
Civilians are NOT obligated (as police officers may be) to follow the force continuum doctrine, to do what police officers do. period.

It is true that civilians do not have the duty to apprehend a suspect, or to restrain someone who is acting dangerously. Sworn officers have that duty and must do so without using deadly force except under dire circumstances. Hence, the continuum of force concept is an essential part of their strategy, and they thus carry tasers and the like. They cannot just go away unless they themselves are under attack. That's not what we pay them for.

Civilians, on the other hand, usually have only the responsibility to defend themselves or persons with them; they do not need to subdue or sequester anyone. If they are not under immediate attack themselves, they can and usually must just go away. (There some exceptions involving prevention of serious felonies in some jurisdictions).

That does not mean that civilians can jump immediately to the use of deadly force when a threat presents itself.

It even may be more dangerous for them to do so .... e.g., drawing pepper spray when an assailant, who approaches, may have a knife or blunt instrument, is an example that comes to mind.

I don't think I agree. If the assailant does in fact have the ability and opportunity and puts a defender in jeopardy, and deadly force is immediately necessary. that's one thing. But unless size, numbers, or infirmity create a disparity of force, I think that the idea that a person "may have" a blunt instrument or knife might not meet the threshold.

Of course, everything will depend on how things turn out. Shoot someone who appeared dangerous but who turned out to be unarmed and the folks assigned to determine after the fact whether your fear had been reasonable may decide that it was not.

I can, however, conceive of situations in which the use of an effective less than lethal force option may be indicated if the defender reasonably believes that serious danger is immediately present but cannot know whether the A.O.J threshold is met.

Lay opinion.

armsmaster270
July 14, 2009, 07:27 PM
Remember The Boy Scout Motto "Be Prepared" and The Coast Guard Motto Semper Paratus (Latin, "Always Ready")

http://i239.photobucket.com/albums/ff207/armsmaster270/writings/DSCF1056.jpg

It doesn't cost or weigh that much to possibly save your life or your loved ones.

thesecond
July 15, 2009, 03:15 AM
Oldmarksman: I can see your point. I've carried OC, before. Just know its limitations as reasonable non-deadly force against assailants, who may or may not be able to close the distance and make contact with a deadly weapon, before you can 'beat feet'.

Depending on the circumstances, I do treat people whose hands are unaccounted for, with extreme caution, however. And, as I mentioned in the earlier post, reasonable fear of imminent threat of death or serious injury to one's self or a third party, is not evaluated from the perspective of 20/20 hindsight, e.g., from the fact of what the assailant 'actually' had in his pocket(s), but from the perspective of the defender, i.e., what the defender had reason to believe, at the time of the shoot. No need to further discuss this issue, not enough facts. But there's no doubt one would rather not have to have this argued in court, after an arrest, indictment, and the hiring of both a criminal defense attorney and a plaintiff's attorney (to sue the assailant/family).

OC instead of a BUG? Probably not. OC, in addition to a BUG? Maybe. Know your state/municipal laws regarding OC possession (as to capsacinoid content, and/or as to overall amount).

Asps/batons and knives are also alternatives, but those also require some research into their legality for concealed possession within the jurisdiction, not to mention the requirements of training to become proficient in their use.

BTW .... I've had plenty of encounters with homeless, belligerent drunks, and bat-poo crazy folk in my lifetime, and nearly all of them without serious incident or resort to the use of dangerous instrumentalities.

And I'm certainly not suggesting that because one decides to carry a BUG, and decides, further, to leave the spray out of his/her kit, that he/she is out looking for people to shoot when they don't comply with orders to keep their distance. Not enough facts, so I'm not going to generalize.

Do what you need to do to be prepared.

neon
July 15, 2009, 11:59 AM
Actually, I don't carry the spray but it wouldn't be a bad idea. Certainly not saying one couldn't carry both a bug and the spray - but we have to make compromises. Any thoughts?

I always have a small canister of Fox labs in my pocket. I
think it's always good to have other tools in the toolbox.
Say it's a drunk getting out of hand..you don't need lethal
force here.

Pepper spray is just another tool in the toolbox. If all
you have is a hammer then everything will look like
a nail :D

GojuBrian
July 16, 2009, 04:17 AM
I had to spray three dogs while biking one day ,the spray was very effective in stopping the dogs. I wouldn't had shot the dogs if I had no spray unless they had already chomped me.

I believe pepper spray is a very effective tool for self defense and bugs are unnecessary. Well, that depends on what your job is. :)

106RR
July 28, 2009, 01:58 AM
I carry spray because it gives me an economic advantage in self defense. The use of a firearm in CA is very likely to result in a lawsuit. These are crushing to the spirit and to the bank account. If it is possible to escape unharmed cheaply then I would do it. In some cases nothing but a gun will suffice, but most cops use the pepper spray frequently and seldom fire the gun.
I also think it is important to get past the idea that you are going to teach someone a lesson, or right a wrong. There is little justice in this sweet world of ours and it is not your place to press justice on the street. If you get into a gunfight you will wind up broke, lonely and angry. That is probably how the street criminal feels at the time of the attack. Many of these criminals go virtually unpunished in the court system. Killing one bad guy won't help in the long run (it might help you survive another day).
There is a small town nearby with a population of 51,000 and 900 of them are gang members. Many are third generation in the gang. If you use pepper spray or a gun you might live another day but the pepper spray is cheaper. 899 gang members remain!