Criteria for Finding the Best Pepper Spray for Self Defense

Finding the best pepper spray for self defense should be based on many different criteria. You must also take into account what and where you plan to use it. It should not simply be decided because of claims that it is the..

  • Best pepper spray
  • Hottest pepper spray
  • Strongest pepper spray

OC is the best chemical compound found in self defense sprays. It is a natural chemical derived from various pepper plants, thus the where the name pepper spray comes from.

18% Wild Fire Pepper SprayOC pepper spray comes in various concentrations 1%, 5%, 10%, 15% and 18% OC pepper. These percentages alone are not enough to judge their effectiveness. When choosing the best pepper spray you must take several factors into consideration, not just one.

When the factors listed below are combined with the percentage above, the effectiveness of the pepper spray is more clearly determined.

  • The heat rating of the OC
  • The type of carrier agent
  • The spray density

The heat rating of OC is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU’s). This gives you an idea of the heat generating capacity of the defense spray. Since OC is derived from hot peppers and they are rated in SHU’s this rating can transfer to the pepper spray’s heat rating.

Bell-peppersjalapeno pepper 5,000 SHU'sHabanero pepper 250,000 to 300,000 SHU's


Peppers range from;

  1. 0 SHU’s for standard bell peppers
  2. 5,000 SHU’s for Jalapeno peppers
  3. 250,000 to 300,000 SHU’s for Habaneros peppers
  4. 15 Million SHU’s for Pure OC

Determining the most effective pepper spray for self defense is not as straight forward as the advertising my make it seem. A 10% concentration of Jalapeno peppers is not as potent as a 1% concentration of Habaneros peppers

wf-18lg_1When OC from the peppers are prepared for spray formulations they are processed until they reach heat ratings up to 2,000,000 SHU’s. There have been recent manufactures processing the spray with an SHU of 3,000,000. Some chemist have warned this type of heat could cause tissue damage.

Considering the SHU rating and percentage of a self defense spray are not exactly the best indicators of it’s potency. The best self defense spray with a high percentage is only qualified by asking; “What is the percentage based off of ?”

The next thing to consider when deciding on the best pepper spray for self defense is the carrier agent of the OC. It’s job is to hold the OC pepper in the solution and assist in it’s dispersal once it is released from the pressurized container.

Generally the actual carrier and OC formulation are closely guarded by each manufacture, common carriers are alcohol, ketone, along with other solvents and oils. Halon was once used by some brands, but has since been banned due to environmental concerns.

To date the best and safest carrier agent available is HFC 134A. It keeps the OC pepper in the solution, while helping to break it down into the smallest possible micron droplets upon release of the container.

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