The many types of self-defense sprays you can use to deter an attacker

Some people might not have access to guns or firearms for self-defense. If you are suddenly attacked, you can still protect yourself with any number of self-defense sprays that can incapacitate your attacker. These non-lethal weapons can serve as warnings or deterrents to any would-be attackers. Here are a few of the best self-defense sprays you can arm yourself with. (h/t to


Chloroacetophenone (CN) is a substance commonly referred to as mace. It consists of crystals in a pressurized liquid medium. Mace spray is easy to use and easy to acquire as it can legally be shipped within the 48 contiguous states. You won’t need extensive training to use mace and it can even be used by someone with small hands, so it’s perfect if you just want a nice basic self-defense spray. As mace is typically propelled by nitrogen gas, you won’t need to apply much pressure to use it. However, you should keep in mind that there may be a delay of up to 30 seconds after activating it. The keychain version of mace is incredibly easy to carry and conceal, allowing you to conveniently bring it on your person whenever you want. (Related: Items that you should carry with you every day… for the ultimate prepper.)

Pepper spray

Oleoresin capsicum (OC) is an oily liquid extracted from hot peppers. This substance allows pepper spray to cause severe burning sensations on any bare skin it is exposed to. One of the most common self-defense sprays, pepper spray can incapacitate an attacker for 30-45 minutes. It does not leave any permanent tissue damage, but it may cause inflammation and prolonged discomfort that may linger for up to four hours after its use. Pepper spray may require some amount of practice to use properly, otherwise a strong wind can easily blow the spray back at your face. When time is of the essence, you’ll want to keep the pepper spray canister close at hand in a belt or pocket clip and not at the bottom of your bag. You’ll also want to make sure that your pepper spray is up to date as expired pepper spray may not work as a very effective deterrent.

Bear spray

As the name implies, this spray is meant for bears, not humans. It has a greater potency and range than regular pepper spray, but ironically, it has a lower concentration of OC. These come in much larger canisters than pepper spray, allowing you to put up a shield of OC between you and the bear or your potential attacker.

Tear gas

Tear gas is made of a chemical irritant called chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS). It is actually an incredibly potent powder that can cause severe burning sensations, tearing of the eyes, coughing, excessive production of mucus, vomiting, choking, and loss of bladder control. If CS is raised to its melting point, it will release a vapor that can form an acid via a chemical reaction when exposed to water. If tear gas makes contact with wet skin, this can result in an especially severe burning reaction.

Wasabi spray

You’ve probably heard of wasabi as that spicy green paste in Japanese cuisine. If you’ve ever tasted some, you’ll know that it produces a unique burning sensation that often burns intensely through the nose, rather than the mouth. Now imagine taking that burning sensation and weaponizing it to some extent. Based on wasabi horseradish, wasabi spray is a short acting self-defense spray that can deal intense damage to your attacker. Depending on where you live, wasabi spray might not be available for civilian use, so it is best to check with your local laws on the use of wasabi spray.

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