Being a former correctional officer I can fully agree with the OP. I have been sprayed multiple times during training and from the "side shots" during duty. For lack of better terms the stuff sucks and will definately ruin your day.
Probably the best on the market for personal defense is the FOX 5.3, I have seen grown men drop to their knees by being sprayed from it.
I personally used Freeze +P CS/OC spray (which is standard issue around here) amazing stuff and burns like hell...your face feels like its on fire, you can't see, feels like you have sand in your eyes, feels like you can't breath, and by no means can you focus.
CS/OC spray is definately a recommended alternative to lethal force.
Also the FOX Mean Green spray comes out lime green adding a psychological factor to it as well.
Pepper spray is also very affordable $15-$20 for a 2oz can (best size since you can fit it in your pocket. However be sure to check with localn laws because I know in some places (like Florida) you have to get a CCW to carry pepper spray.
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