One kind of pepper-infused aerosol spray is pepper spray. The term refers to the frequent use of peppers as a main component. Since its development in the 1970s in the United States, it has been mainly used for self-defense; however, it can also be used for other purposes like veterinary care and pest control, as well as for law enforcement to temporarily incapacitate suspects.

It can be obtained manually or through self-defense tools made to release it on their own in the event of an attack. Capsaicin (50%), oleoresin capsicum (0–98%), and related compounds like capsaicinoids—which cause a burning sensation when applied topically—are the active ingredients of pepper spray. It is a non-toxic substance. Depending on the spray's strength and volume, it can be useful at distances of up to forty feet or greater. You can make your own pepper spray at home with everyday kitchen ingredients. 

According to data from the US Department of Justice, almost 635,000 individuals were detained and charged with crimes involving the non-military application of CBW weapons (such as pepper spray or mace) that could have resulted in harm or death between 1995 and 2005. When this spray became standard equipment for all uniformed patrol officers in the United States in 2007, about 5% of police departments nationwide had done so.

Who Introduced the Idea of Pepper Spray?

Many people have heard of pepper spray and how it is used as a way to get away from someone or something, but few know the true story behind its creation. While there are many different versions of these sprays on the market today, they all came about from one man’s idea to keep his goat from attacking him. 

On May 28th, 1927, Mr. A.C. Grayling created a chemical formula that would become known as “Aunt Isabel’s Pepper Spray” after his wife gave him an attack in the face with their pet goats under her care while he was working in their garden one day.  The farmer was able to put distance between himself and the animal with his spray, however, the next day he was severely burnt by its caustic spray. 

He tried to cope with his burns by applying cold water and hydrogen peroxide but the wounds continued to fester which ultimately caused him to be bedridden for three weeks. 
Although he thought his face was beyond repair, Mr. Grayling never stopped experimenting with this deadly chemical formula, trying many different combinations of oils and pepper extracts until eventually, he found what would become a household name.

Aunt Isabel’s® Brand Spray was introduced to the public in the year 1955 by Mr. Grayling’s son, Edward. He had been working for his father as a young adult and had become interested in marketing his father’s formula to individuals who might be having problems with aggressive people or animals. 

How is Pepper Spray Made?

A pepper spray is an aerosol spray that contains one or more of a variety of chemical compounds, which irritate the eyes. The most common active ingredient in these sprays is capsaicin, followed by nonivamide. This spray is typically sold as a defensive weapon for people to use on human assailants; it's also used as an animal repellent. Since some people are more sensitive to it than others, you should always test any purchased product on yourself before using it on another person or animal.

The mixture's ingredients are specially prepared so that they can be broken down into their component parts in an instant under conditions of high pressure. The components become airborne as they break up in the aerosol spray, creating an irritating mist. The components have been specially formulated for their effect on humans and animals. The most common active ingredient is capsaicin, which is made from hot chili peppers (the official name for this type of pepper is "capsicum"). It causes intense irritation in most people who come into contact with it, often with burning pain.

The other main ingredients are probably some combination of the following: Nonivamide, which is a nerve irritant, is often used in pepper sprays. It's similar to another substance called 2-methyl-2-buten-1-ol (MBDB), which was developed as an antihistamine but showed little promise when it was tested on human volunteers. MBDB (sometimes known as neomibd) was later found to be less irritating than capsaicin. It's also been compared to phenylacetic acid, a cardiac stimulant that's sometimes used for treating angina pectoris (chest pain due to lack of oxygen in the blood).

Also Read: Does Pepper Spray Expire?

How to Use Pepper Spray?

The best way to use pepper spray is to aim it at the attacker's face at an angle so that the stream sprays across the entire face. This allows for them to get sprayed in each eye and therefore. If they aren't able to see, then they can't follow instructions or see what you are doing.

It is a chemical weapon used as a non-lethal weapon that shoots out streams of irritant chemicals, as well as any incendiary agents such as CS gas. These sprays can cause temporary blindness or breathing problems for those hit with its smoke-like mist, which typically consists of capsaicin (the active ingredient) mixed with other chemicals like tear gas and lachrymator. This spray is an effective deterrent against criminals and home intruders. It is not, however, intended for self-defense or physically harming the attacker.

What Kind of Pepper Spray to Choose?

Now, how to choose what kind of pepper spray to buy? There are basically three choices of these sprays:

(1) ordinary household spray (HPS) can be bought without prescription in small amounts from hardware stores and other places; (2) more powerful self defense weapons (SPS); (3) military grade self-defense sprays (MSPS). Each type of spray has its own unique characteristics and merits, so must make a careful choice before buying one.

  • Household Pepper Spray (HPS)

The common HPS is made of less than 2% key ingredient, a high concentration of tear gas and inflammatory agents, and can be an effective deterrent against intruders and criminals. However, it is only effective within a 10-15 feet range. It also requires a large amount of force to press the trigger button, and there is no color-coded indicator that shows the strength of the spray. Without proper training in using this spray, there are chances of spraying oneself or others accidentally. The remedy for this is to put on safety goggles prior to spraying.

  • Self Defense Sprays (SPS)

The first type of self-defense pepper spray is ordinary household spray. This type of spray can be used to deter and stop one or two people with physical attacks. This is because it consists of less than 2% concentration. It has a significant drawback however, because once the force of spray attacks the eyes, it can blind them for up to 30 minutes or even longer depending on how strong the concentration is. 

In addition, police have reported that a person will have to press the trigger button 20 times in order not to be hurt by the spray again. The remedy for this is to aim toward the attacker's face and spray sideways; it will reduce the force of attack and help prevent injury.

  • Self Defense Sprays (SPS-2)

The second type of these sprays is the more powerful kind. This type exposes certain chemicals that activate quickly, giving temporary pain on contact, or can have a slight burning sensation to show redness in the skin. Once activated, there is no color-coded indicator that shows the strength of these sprays, but a little bit of time is needed for them to activate. So do not forget to take your time because once you use this kind of spray, you will feel great relief from pain without any side effects.

  • Military Self-defense Pepper Spray (SPS-3)

The third type of self-defense spray is the military-grade self-defense pepper spray. This type of spray is considered the best for people who are working out in rough environments and for those who spend a lot of time outside. 

These kinds of spray are very handy because they contain inert gas like propane or nitrogen, depending on whether the canister is pressurized or not. Pressurized ones have an indicator that shows the strength of their contents. It also comes with a needle valve that prevents accidental discharge and can be used by most people for safety purposes.