In Colorado, it can be considered brandishing even if you only say you have a gun or even reach under your coat as though to put your hand on one. I've heard this both from my CCW class and from a friend that was a cop.
So here it's all or nothing as well.
I like the idea of the spray. Before I could CCW I used to carry spray, and a couple of friends made fun of me for it because it seemed unmanly. I'd answer with, "Hey -- I'm still going to kick somebody's butt if they come after me. I just figure it'll be easier if they can't see and are having trouble breathing!"
Knowing when to reach for a weapon is difficult even for cops. By the time a situation escalates to the point they can use their weapon or even feel a need to draw it, they are often too tied up in what's happening. Even a LEO can't just shoot everyone who looks at him wrong or seems in a bad mood.
The gun is the weapon of last resort. Your other weapons to break free or get away or get clear to draw a gun are at the ends of your arms and between your ears.