Women using pepper spray

7 Problems With Pepper Spray  

Pepper spray CAN reduce a predators capacity to harm you….BUT:

1. It’s not easy to get to under stress

When you need it most, the spray is probably buried on the bottom of your purse.  Not surprisingly, stress will make it 1000 times harder to find it fast. I recall one seminar event where a women said “Oh I can get to it fast” and then took 2 min to find it. We had moved on in the presentation by the time she was able to dig it out! You have maybe 1-2 sec, not 120 seconds. So unless you intend to walk around with it in your hand, so it’s ready at a moments notice, its unlikely that you will be able to get to it or even find it.

2. Wind is NOT your friend

I don’t think that it really needs much explanation, but an aerosol like pepper spray does not do real well when there is wind. It’s made incrementally worse when that wind is blowing in the wrong direction (at you). You can imagine what spraying it at someone and having it come flying back in your face does for your chances in a bad situation. Sure there are different versions of pepper spray, like pepper foam, but even those are not all they are cracked up to be. I’d still warn you against using anything like this unless your willing to test it. That said, would you like to see some tests? Click here to watch Pew Pew tactical testing various sprays on a target.

3. Pepper spray sucks in confined spaces

Ladies, ever put hair spray on in a small bathroom and it forms a cloud, well, that same thing can happen with pepper spray. A confined space is not where you want to use this stuff unless you want it bouncing back into your eyes as well. A few years back a women’s truck drivers group called me for a seminar event. They had proudly purchased pepper spray for their drivers until we talked that is. I brought up the fact that a truck cab is a confined space, they quickly realized this was not the best gift for their drivers after all.

4. It might not work at all

The type of people you’re likely to spray with pepper spray have probably been sprayed before and may have learned to fight though it. This is one of the reasons that if you take a class on the use of pepper spray, they will actually spray you with it. You therefore have no way of knowing what actual effect this will have due to this fact alone.

5. Pepper spray is not magic

I lost track of the number of parents who call us about self defense and mention that they bought their teen daughters pepper spray. It is almost as if, they are saying “we provided them what they need” and are not sure if we need any classes really. WHAT? Pepper spray is not a magic solution, it can be a layer of safety but ONLY if you really train it, just having it around does not make invincible. The sad fact is that pepper spray often gives many people a false sense of safety and that can be VERY dangerous.

6. It has an expiration date

Normally a can of pepper spray goes bad in about 2 years after the date of manufacture, NOT from the date you buy it.  As the materials age, they lose their effectiveness, so it’s not a buy it and forget it type of an item. Want to know what does not expire? Ammo and tools with sharp edges! Which brings me to point 7 below….

7. Pepper spray is not a firearm or blade

Pepper spray is a less than lethal solution, but if the situation requires more and this is all you have, then your up a creek as they say. It does not replace the use of a firearm or blade when it comes to giving you the greatest chance for surviving a violent attack.


As you can probably tell, I’m personally not the biggest fan of this self-defense product. I just see to many issues with it in real world applications. So before you trust your life or the life of a loved one to a can of pepper spray, do more research and testing. Whatever you choose to use at the end of the day, remember to TRAIN THE HELL OUT OF IT, just don’t shove it in a pocket and move on. 

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Train Hard, Stay Safe,

Justin E.