View Full Version : OC, Pepper spray -- do you carry/use it?

January 6, 1999, 08:48 PM
I am a certified OC instructor, however it has not been necessary for me to use OC on another person except in training.
I would like to hear from those that have used OC. What kind, gas, stream, spatter stream, droplet, foam etc.
What were results? How long until effect was noted? What distance? How was OC deployed -- short 1/4 second discharges, long discharges?
Did you decontaminate? If you did decontaminate, what did you use? George

Rob Pincus
January 7, 1999, 01:41 AM
I sprayed someone in Boston about 6 or 7 years ago. He was drunk, I was escorting someone from a resaraunt to a hotel. An associate continued with the client and I sprayed the daylights out of the BG who was looking for a fight and wasn't taking a "no."
Long spray from about 3 feet. I had one of those mini-canisters of OTC Pepper Spray.

He screamed and stumbled into an alley. In retrospect (and since I have been sprayed myself since then for training purposes) I believe the guy was more shocked than incpacitated at first, though he undoubtedly had a misreable night. I caught up and continued to the hotel.

The worst part was that when I put the cannister back into my pocket I contaminated said pocket. I ended up contaminating my hand the next day, which was rather embarrassing and annoying. After a dry cleaning the coat was fine.

Obviously, there are issues about spraying a drunk and walking off, but under the circumstances it was the only logical choice.


[This message has been edited by Rob (edited 01-07-99).]

January 7, 1999, 06:30 PM
It seems that all I do is ask questions...

How does one evaluate OC sprays?
I've heard that "5%" or "10%" are meaningless (percentages of what?)
I have read to rate OC by "Schoville Heat Units" (SHU). Some "authorities" say at least 1,000,000; others say 1,500,000.
I recently received a catalog that advertised 2,000,000 SHU.
What's the story?

January 8, 1999, 05:31 PM
I carry two kinds of OC, An ASP key defender and First Defense Foam. I have been Nailed by the key defender (windy day) and although it stung a bit, I have no dought that I would still be able to fight. As for the foam, I have not had to use on a BG but have gotten a good dose.I had my girlfriend spray my to see if it worked, and for copurt if it ever came up. The stuff was NASTY!!!!!!!!!
I seemed to burn for ever and could not be wiped away, plus it would spread everywere. Even if the OC did not work the foam will blind them, it has a 15 foot range and does not blow to bad in the wind.

January 9, 1999, 11:01 AM
Aside from air and water, what else do you folks use or do to decontaminate?

Edmund Rowe
January 9, 1999, 01:56 PM
I let someone spray me a few years back to see how well it would work as advertised. The label promised "instantly incapacitates regardless of influence of drugs or alcohol" or something like that. No, I wasn't drugged or drunk, but I stood with mouth wide open and let the 10% get me all over my face/mouth/nose. Someone else was standing by to catch me as I fell to the ground.

With a roar cry, "I'm gonna knock your skull off!!" I ran across the driveway, attacking a simulated target (candy cane ornament stuck in ground) with a simulated weapon (paper towel tube) swinging away about 10 times at the thing. Not hitting every time, but not drop dead incapacitated by any means. On the video tape of it you glimpse the sprayer running for his life during my charge.

After the 10 maybe whacks I dropped the tube and groaned, holding my face. A bunch of laughter and quesitions like, "Describe how it feels!" "Burns....burns BAD" after which I started punching the air in front of me in a rage to illustrate I wasn't out of the fight. I walked unaided to the garden hose to spray my face off. Didn't help.

More comments in next post

Edmund Rowe
January 9, 1999, 02:05 PM
Some observations:

-I eat spicy food a lot, slathering tobasco and black pepper on a lot of my grub, so that may be a contributing factor.
-Immediately prior to the spraying, I thought of someone who really irritated me and the incident that really got my goat. I had prepped myself into a rage so I wasn't caught cold. Note that opponents might be similiarly "prepped" also.
-The burning feeling made me want to SMASH, CRUSH, DESTROY, and MANGLE something. People's reaction to pain is hardly a known factor. Some may collapse, some may go Edzilla mode.
-This OC had no ...whatsitcalled...scoville heat unit rating on it so the 10% may be meaningless. Note however that the label advertised "Police strength" and promised the world.
-Observers were split into 2 factions:
1) Gun people said it wasn't tremendously effective
2) Non-gun people attempted to rationalize, saying, "It could still give you time to get away"
-Best description by an onlooker: "Edmund wasn't incapacitated, he was inconvenienced"
-I don't think OC spray is useless, but if/when you use it, you had BETTER have an alternate plan B if plan A doesn't work!!
-Some asked if I'd do it again with some for real stuff with a maxi-scoville rating. I said only if I have a softball bat as a minimum and I'm really going to try to beat on whoever sprayed me. No takers.


Edmund Rowe
January 9, 1999, 02:22 PM
...and to answer GLVs questions...

I was sprayed with a solid stream, not mist or fog or foam from about 5-6 feet with one long ssssssssssploosh about 2-3 seconds.

The effects lasted about 10-15 minutes with furious rinsing, washing, baby wipes, hot diswashing soapy water and whatever else was on hand.

Baby wipes moved some of it around my face. Wet washcloth on my face helped some.


January 9, 1999, 02:31 PM
As I mentioned in another thread, my younger brother (14 at the time, maybe 110 lbs) sprayed himself with Bodyguard. Since he was doing the spraying, it was obviously point-blank. There was no discernible effect for several minutes. He began crying after about 8 minutes. He, as Edmund said (disregard Edmund's personal experience BTW, he's a mutant :)), was inconvenienced, not incapacitated, at any time. This lead me to believe that foam will work best, but have your backup handy.

January 9, 1999, 03:06 PM

Do I carry it? Yes. I am a big fan of the ASP key-defender. This is a
'kuboton' with an OC canister inside. For those of you who do not know what
a kuboton is, it is basically an aluminum rod about the size of a fat
permanent marker that has a key ring on the end. You can use it as both a
pain compliance device squeezing on different nerves to stop a subject from
resisting or you can use it as an impact weapon. ASP advocates using it as
a handle and swinging your keys at the person's face. I think this is more
intended for women if the OC doesn't work as it seems most of them have tons
of keys -- even a homeless, jobless female with no car and no bike still
probably has 15 or 20 keys on her keyring :) The other nice thing about
this is that it is a keychain which means you will always have it at hand.
A canister of OC gets thrown in your coat pocket or in your wife's purse and
by the time you need it you can't find the damn thing. (no affiliation with
ASP of course).

Have I used it? Never in combat. I did have some informal training on the
use of it though... I tested it out in my garage once. Big mistake. I
wasn't sure what to expect (this was the 'spray' type) so I left the garage
door closed because I was afraid that the wind might blow it around. I was
very surprised to see it come out of the canister in a very fine mist almost
like hair spray. I guess I was expecting a stream. (for thsi reason I'd
probably be a very healthy advocate of pepper-foam but I have not seen a
cartridge loaded for my ASP) So I'm out there spraying and spraying and
then spraying some more, trying different things (I was hitting it for maybe
1/2 a second to a second at a time and there were quite a few shots in
there) when all of the sudden it hit me. Did you ever have your wife or
sister go nuts with hair spray in the bathroom and then you walk in there
and choke? Well the same thing happened to me, there was all this OC vapor
in the air and all of the sudden I must have gotten a good lungfull of the
stuff. My primary reaction was coughing, sneezing, and a massively running
nose so I must not have gotten it in my eyes, but I was a mess. I could
have still faught back on someone but coughing definitely would have put me
at a disadvantage. I had to go upstairs and strip, throw all the clothes in
the washer and then take a shower. I also sent my wife coughing and sneezing
as I ran past her on the way through the kitchen. What did I learn? 1)
Never play with OC spray in a closed in space (well DUH?) 2) The stuff
comes out in a short range mist so make sure you are close to the person.
It's not like in the advertisements where it looks like the lady is blasting
the guy from about 6 feet away with a CO2 fire extinguisher, imagine you
have a small can of hair spray. 3) Blast 'em good. Don;t mess around with
some little sissy shot of OC. It took a long time for it to hit me
(granted it was not aimed at me) Give 'em a good shot in the face with the
stuff and then get the heck out of there. 4) unlike what the advertisement says, this does not stop someone instantly (just like shooting someone with a handgun) so be ready to defend yourself still, but I would expect to be at a healthy advantage over someone who came at me. 5) if they are coming at you with a baseball bat or knife you better have something more than a can of OC, a shotgun or a couple of grenades would be nice.

I love pepperspray (not just for myself but for anyone I know) because of a
few reasons. 1) It's cheap, leagal and it works. 2) People are not afraid
to use it. You have to give serious consideration to using a firearm, esp
if the guy is coming at you with a beer bottle or something like that. With
OC you have almost no inhibitions to use it and you will rely more on your
instincts to defent yourself. 3) It will work on both dogs and people.
I've never shot at one but I have heard that dogs are very hard to hit
because they are small and move fast. OC spreads out like a shotgun so you
have a better chance of hitting. 4) it will work on someone drunk or
drugged (definitely to a lesser degree) because the body will still force
them to caugh and/or sneeze and that will be to your advantage.

I think that's long enough. This is my first post to this board BTW (I
post over on shooters now and then).

January 9, 1999, 09:08 PM
Raven, welcome. Thanks for the post.
I have found the foam to be the most persistent. In training, I was sprayed with the foam, glasses off and eyes open. Recovery time was 40 minutes, much of which was spent with my head in a bucket, blowing bubbles. It was forty minutes before my eyes would stay open by themselves.
The problem with the foam is that is tends to be wind sensitive. GLV

January 9, 1999, 11:19 PM
I assume you mean the problem with anything but foam is that it tends to be wind sensitive? I agree, I'll just wait until they are in close. I'm somewhat adept at hand-to-hand combat. Hopefully good enough.

January 10, 1999, 11:51 AM

Thanks for sharing your nightmare story with the rest of us. I've got mine taped too. My scenario was where I had a mock gun on me. I get sprayed full-facial (I still can't believe you had your mouth wide open you crazy galoot!). Then, a friend of mine would try to grab the gun from me. I was to keep him away, and then, upon the signal, I would draw and fire.

The tape clearly shows that I was in agony, but definitely still fighting. In fact, my "attacker", even with his martial art background, I had managed to pommel him and send him rolling down a slope. And, when given the signal, I was still able to successfully draw and double tap (though I think I pressed the trigger on the mock gun more than twice).

In short, I agree with your sentiment that pepper spray will NOT incapcitate you immediately. It will ENRAGE you first!

I view the spray as a diversionary device designed to greatly reduce the opponent's fighting capacity as you move on to plan B. But one has to be very careful of the "berserker factor". I think the ideal time to use pepper spray is when the opponent isn't using a gun. That way, you can spray and run. Besides, if the attacker has range capability, it kind of nullifies the pepper spray's range advantage as well. And the pepper spray does greatly reduce the attacker's ability to run after you. But whatever it is, it is definitely not a good idea to just stop with the pepper spray. I say it would take 30 seconds for the effect of the spray to fully settle in.

The spray does work. It may not seem like it to an outside observer, but it works immediately. But unlike what the advertisers say, you just don't get results immediately. In fact, the person being spray never gets incapcitate at all. But their ability to fighting back is gradually, though greatly reduced.

January 10, 1999, 09:33 PM
Raven, in my tests, droplet stream was least affected by wind, fog types and foam the most affected. GLV

January 10, 1999, 10:53 PM
It occurs to me that buying a larger size might be a good idea, just in case the crowd goes wild at one of the clubs some night. I put little faith in OC one-on-one, but it can certainly make a room unpleasant.

January 12, 1999, 03:17 PM
I like the 10% FOAM... Ordered out of the Galls catalog, in the green labeled can. Good stuff. Great for when your at Taco Bell and they dont have any "FIRE SAUCE." Okay, so I lost a bet. The result was the hottest soft taco I ever ate. Never bet against cops. The effect of "dragon breath" lasted about 5 minutes. That wasnt the first time I tasted OC. Used it on duty many times to good effect. The Foam seems to be easier to use and live with. Good if your tranporting in your patrol car - the OC stays on the subject and doesnt aerosol/vapor into you while your driving And it makes a good breath freashener too.
Ate some (some being a drop about 1/2 the size of a dime) once and kissed my wife. She went running to the fridge and started chugging milk, and eating bread... I was hooting and laughing so hard. I slept out in the shed that night, and didnt get a hug for a week... but man, that was funny.
Used it in a weapons retention situation... Filled the guys face and mouth full of foam - he inhaled sharply and took it down his lungs. He coughed and threw up for an hour... but at least he was in custody and I was alive...

Yeah, I like OC. Saved my life several times... Diffused bad situations just by pointing the can. Intimidated the hell out of one guy and intimidated him into submission - he said, Man that -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- is candy... I said, yup... took a tiny squirt just to taste it... then said "You want some now?" He said no, and complied with orders.

The think about OC tasting - never let them see you sweat. And keep a straight face too. Once they are in cuffs, you can spit and swear all you want.

Dont try that at home.

Kenetic Defense Institute
"Sir Heckler"

January 14, 1999, 02:24 AM
Found the explanation of 2,000,000 SHU OC spray in the Shomer-Tec 1999 Catalog "Law Enforcement and Military", pg 12.
BTW, they take personal checks! NOT credit cards.
Shomer-Tec, Inc.; Box 28070; Bellingham WA 98228
PH: 360/733-6214; fax 360/676-5248

January 16, 1999, 03:30 PM
I've been sprayer and sprayee, with Cap-Stun and First Defense conical fog OC. I've sprayed dogs the most, and they typically aren't really fond of the stuff. The dogs I've had to spray all reacted immediately, but some came back right away, more angry than before, while others didn't come back. The fog is rather sensitive to wind or breeze, while the stream style is less sensitive.

For decontamination, try using cool water and baby shampoo. The baby shampoo does wonders for soothing the burning itchies in your eyeballs and does a decent job of neutralizing the OC on the skin as well.

January 16, 1999, 06:04 PM
Hilton, good information, thanks.

Does anyone know if there is any test information about OC and dogs? If so where? George.

4V50 Gary
January 16, 1999, 10:20 PM
FWIW, my OC instructor use to be a humane officer and in that capcity, walked down the mainline of dog pound. The dogs in that section were all agressive so he tested OC on all of them (a pretty humane humane-officer, huh?). He reported that some dogs shirked back while others quickly shook it off and tried to tear at him through the cage. From that experience he concluded never to rely on OC when it came to dogs. He told the same to us.

Ray VanderLinden
January 23, 1999, 12:37 PM
I'm a LEO and a Chemecal Weapons Instructor, every thing you have heard is right. Capsicum is 1000% better than Mace(CN), for incapacitation CS works Best. But it takes several seconds to work in spray form. I've been sprayed with all of them and used all of them.
Mace score is 1 for 2, and I got an injured left knee.
Capsicum is 1 for 1, Crazy guy out looking for Druids and Satanist (Honest). he took two steps away and dropped. was incapacitated about 25 minutes.
CS Score 3 for 3. 2 fighting drunks and a enraged Ex-husband that wanted a piece of his Ex-brother in law. he never tryed to hurt me but I couldn't hold him.
My personal experiance:
Mace (CN) Just makes me mad, hurt just bad enough to make me want to really hurt the sprayer. Eyes water but I can still see and want to fight even if I didn't before I was sprayed.
Capsicum Almost instantly skin is on fire. It's hard to see, but you can fight and shoot if you have to. You get a burst of strength, after a minute or so you want the burn to stop.
CS For a second or two you wonder why you were sprayed with, then it starts to feel like billions of little needles in your skin, then you can't see, and then you can't breath. If you can't breath, you can't fight.

The differant percent levels of Capsicum does make a differance, not in knock down but in how long the effects last. 2% about 15 minutes, 5% about 30 minutes 10% about 45 to 55 minutes. Also the fairer your skin the longer the effects last.

Byron Quick
January 23, 1999, 05:07 PM
I carry OC but haven't used it. Also keep it velcroed here and there around the house and vehicles. (NO, I am not paranoid) However, I treat people regularly who are sprayed. There's a state prison about 3 miles from my emergency department. Often it is the officers who I treat after the inmates grab the OC.
People's reactions vary. There is an asthmatic inmate at this prison who would die from it. We've told the administration that OC with this inmate is lethal force...hell, hair spray would be lethal force with the guy.

When I was in basic we went into the CS room, took off our gas masks and said name, rank, and serial number. If they hadn't carried me out I'd still be trying to say the first syllable of my first name. Some guys calmly went through the drill and sauntered out. I took a deep breath before removing my mask, didn't breath any of the gas and still couldn't get out a single syllable. I think I could have fought though especially if someone closed with me.

January 24, 1999, 12:42 PM
George: I carry Punch II on occasion, but have never used it. The Punch II is available from Shomer Tec, as Dennis mentions above. It contains 5% of 2,000,000 SHU, isoproply alcholo with a ultra violet dye for suspect identification, and isobutane/propane as propellant. This is a relatively high concentration, but I'm curious about the flammable content for the propellant.

As far as decon, I believe I have read (and it makes sense as well) that cool water is best, and specifically not to use warm or hot water, as this simply opens the pores or your skin, slowing the decon process. After shooting, or being around the range, what does one do - wash your hands and arms, as well as around your face, with cool water, as warm/hot will open pores and do exactly what you're trying not to.


January 30, 1999, 12:00 AM
I have noticed that the spray or fogger is bad in indoor situations. One little spritz and the whole room clears out in 3-5 minutes. The foam is a better choice since it does not vaporize in the air and become dispersed by the heating/air conditioning systems.