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Pepper Spray 101
Pepper Spray vs. Pepper Gel
Pepper spray is a popular choice for personal defense that has been around for decades. But it’s not your only compact, self-defense option. Pepper gel is a newer formula that contains the same active ingredient — a naturally occurring substance in cayenne peppers called oleoresin capsicum (OC) – but instead of being contained in a liquid, the pepper is suspended in a sticky gel.
When you fire pepper spray, the diameter of the spray pattern tends to spread out as it sprays toward your target. Because pepper gel is a thicker formula, the gel sticks together instead of spreading out, firing in a targeted ballistic stream pattern.
Pepper gel has a sticky viscosity that allows it to travel further than pepper spray droplets. Most pepper gels have an effective range of up to 18 feet, compared to 12 feet for a standard pepper spray.
The potential for cross-contamination is one of the biggest differences between pepper spray and pepper gel. If you fire pepper spray outdoors, windy conditions could blow droplets back at you. Cross-contamination is also a risk if you deploy pepper spray indoors with bystanders nearby.
Pepper gel has a slight advantage over spray for reducing the potential for cross contamination and blowback, as its sticky formula holds active ingredients within a concentrated stream focused toward your attacker.
Effects on an attacker
In the end, OC is OC, and whether it hits an assailant as spray or gel, it’s going to cause an intense burning sensation to target’s eyes, nose, throat and skin. These effects usually last about 45 minutes – giving you time to escape from a dangerous situation. However, while both are debilitating, pepper gel sticks to the assailant’s face, forming a temporary blindfold, and rubbing it increases its potency.
The strength of the formula can also determine the effects of the product. Most spray and gel formulas range from about 2 percent to 10 percent OC, although pepper gels tend to be higher strength.
Now that you understand the differences, arm your self with pepper spray or pepper gel, whichever best suits your needs, so you are prepared wherever you go.
By Doug Melzig
Doug Melzig is Mace’s Director of Sales for Law Enforcement and International Accounts.
Stay safe on the road when Daylight Savings Time ends
Your commute home from work was sunny all summer, but when Daylight Saving Time ends Nov. 1, we lose a critical hour of daylight and you’ll be driving in darker conditions.
As we turn back the clocks, here are five tips to help you stay safe on the road after dark.
Tune up your ride.
Catch up on general vehicle maintenance before winter weather hits. Check your brakes, tires, headlights and wipers to make sure your vehicle is running properly and address any mechanical issues to reduce the risk of roadside incidents after dark.
Prepare for breakdowns.
If your vehicle does break down, you’ll need to draw the attention of oncoming traffic so other motorists can steer clear of your stopped vehicle. Keep reflective markers, road flares and a reflective safety vest in your trunk as part of a roadside safety kit. Also include flashlights, first aid supplies, gloves, jumper cables, blankets and tools, along with the equipment to change a tire.
Monitor road conditions.
The end of Daylight Saving Time doesn’t just mean nightfall comes faster; it also means worsening weather conditions. Fall brings precipitation mixed with leaves littering the roads, which can impact driving conditions and impair visibility. Consider replacing your wiper blades to maintain good visibility, and be on the lookout for puddles or leaves piled on the side of the road.
Get to your car safely.
Park in well-lit areas when possible, and scan the parking lot before leaving your building. Also carry Mace® Brand Pepper Spray for protection in case someone is lurking in the shadows to take advantage of the early darkness.
Always be aware of your surroundings. Be alert for cyclists, runners and pedestrians who are less visible after dark. And if you’re the one walking or biking at night, make yourself more visible to motorists with reflective clothing or Mace® Brand Nite Beams Armbands.
By Bill Treacy
Bill Treacy is Mace’s director of sales for sporting goods and consumer accounts.