Even people who are avidly anti-gun recognize the value of pepper spray as a tool of personal protection.
On the other side, some pro-defensive gun people ignore pepper spray thinking that the gun they carry will solve all of their problems. According to trainer John Murphy, this is like trying to “hammer screws.”
Thankfully, those in the civilian defensive gun training industry whose work I respect most are increasingly promoting pepper spray as an important force option, one that can solve problems of personal protection well before lethal force would be necessary or legally justified.
We all know many people — our spouses, partners, children, parents, friends — who carry pepper spray. But how many of them have any idea how to use it?
I carry pepper spray but had never practiced getting it out of my pocket or actually deploying it until a training course I took last month. FPF Training’s 2-day Concealed Carry: Advanced Skills and Tactics course included a unit on deploying pepper spray. It was very instructive.
As part of the course, we were given (as part of the course fee) a Sabre Red MK6 inert stream trainer.
Some instruction was given on how to carry the pepper spray in our pockets and how to get them out and ready to use. We then got on the line and had a chance to “spray” the instructor, John Murphy. (Although the liquid is inert, he wore a mask to prevent his face and eyes from getting doused.)
This was the first time I had ever sprayed anyone, and it was interesting to see that hitting someone with a stream of pepper spray does not just happen by magic. There is some technique involved to be most effective.
We then had an opportunity to deploy the pepper spray from our pocket as Murphy walked slowly (and calmly) toward us. As you can see in the video below, my wife Sandy fumbled the “draw” on her spray a bit, then when she regripped the container she blocked the nozzle with her finger.
The added stress and complexity of this exercise reinforced the importance of practicing (or even training) to use pepper spray. Fortunately, in addition to courses like John Murphy’s, there are trainers out there (like Chuck Haggard of Agile Training and Consulting ) who offer courses focused exclusively on pepper spray.
In retrospect, it made no sense to me at all to train so much to use a firearm for personal protection but then to carry something I am arguably much more likely to use (pepper spray) as if it were a magic talisman warding off harm without my knowing how it works.
If you carry pepper spray, learn how it works and how to use it effectively.