Pepper Spray Glossary

At Mace® Brand, we know pepper spray. Get a better understanding of the common terms used when discussing pepper spray.

Capsaicinoids: Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) consists of three major components which determine the pungency or hotness of the material. These components are known as Capsaicinoids, with the three major being: Capsaicin, Dihydrocapsaicin, and Nordihydrocapsaicin; collectively referred to as Major Capsaicinoids (MC). The MC content in a given solution is the determining factor of how hot a product will be.
OC Percentage: OC sprays are available in a variety of concentrations, usually anywhere from 2% to 15% by weight percentage. These percentages may be misleading, however, because it is the strength of the OC which determines its effectiveness, not necessarily its percentage by weight or volume alone.
Scoville Heat Units: Scoville Heat Units (SHU) refer to a measurement scale of the spicy heat of hot peppers. The scale is based upon sensory ratings of taste testing; the hotter the sensation, the higher the SHU rating. Because the SHU scale is subjective, this testing method has largely been replaced by a quantitative method of determining the pungency of pepper. High-performance liquid chromatograph (HPLC) testing is currently the favored method of guaranteeing the hotness of a formulation.
Burst Quantity: Would you rather fight a raging fire with a garden hose or a fire hose? Both deliver water, but the rate of delivery is considerably different. The Mace® Brand spray nozzle is designed to deliver a ballistic stream with a purposeful splatter pattern. A super-tight stream allows for no margin of error when spraying in a panic situation. The claim of 25 sprays per canister is nonsensical given that you are likely to miss the target with a super-tight stream. In other words, don’t worry about the amount of bursts! If you find yourself in such a situation that pepper spray is needed, use the whole can and get to a safe location! One blast of Mace® Brand is equal to many blasts of our competitors.
HPLC: High-performance liquid chromatography or HPLC is a technique in analytical chemistry used to separate, identify and quantify each component in a mixture. We source specific oleoresin capsicum (OC) that has undergone this HPLC testing before the active ingredient concentrate ships to our factory. Additionally, we independently test each batch or mix of pepper spray before it goes into a pepper spray canister to ensure a consistent level of heat or pungency in every spray we sell.
As the leader in the industry, we double test! We call this process “double verification” or HPLCx2. Our double verification protocol is an important part of our overall quality control process to further increase product reliability and the safety for our customers.