Streetwise Pepper Spray Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Pepper Spray?
Our Streetwise Pepper Spray is a top selling brand of pepper spray. Pepper spray is generic name for a family of defense sprays which are, essentially, non-lethal chemical compounds that cause immediate and extreme inflammation when sprayed at an attacker, especially when aimed at the eyes and face.
These inflammatory properties make pepper spray an ideal tool for personal self-defense, as well as crowd control and riot suppression.
The primary ingredient in pepper spray is Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). This is also the chemical that makes chili peppers hot.
Commercially available Pepper Spray is typically a combination of capsaicin, water, propylene glycol, and nitrogen or some other gas used as a propellant. Pepper spray is not always based on naturally occurring capsaicin. Some types of pepper sprays are made using synthetic substitutes of oleoresin capsicum..
Regardless of the method used to produce it, when properly used, pepper spray has proven to be extremely effective as a self-defense tool and for crowd control and riot prevention.
How Does Pepper Spray Work?
Streetwise Pepper Spray works as an inflammatory agent, and as such causes extreme discomfort or incapacitation in a variety of ways. These debilitating effects impair an individual’s ability to act with strength or agility, which is why pepper spray is often considered a paralyzing or immobilizing agent.
It is most effective when sprayed in an attacker’s face, especially in the area of the eyes. Pepper spray will typically cause immediate partial or complete loss of sight, as it dilates the capillaries in the eye area. Contact lenses and sunglasses will not prevent the debilitating effects of pepper spray.
The effect of pepper spray on the respiratory system is immediate inflammation, causing the attacker to suffer uncontrollable gagging, retching, gasping and coughing. The inflammation may also prevent the individual from getting enough oxygen to continue to operate normally, and may be immobilized. It is important to note that the airway is not completely blocked, so the attacker will be able to breathe enough to stay alive. The respiratory effects of pepper spray can last for up to 40 minutes.
Pepper spray may also cause a temporary paralysis of the larynx, so the attacker cannot shout or make much noise.
Pepper spray also causes an extreme burning sensation and inflammation of the skin, often accompanied by a rash. Many pepper sprays include a UV marking dye which stains the skin of an attacker, aiding in identification and apprehension of the attacker.
The combined effects of pepper spray on these various bodily functions frequently cause an individual to lose fine motor skills and general coordination.
The length of time someone will remain disabled largely depends on the strength of the pepper spray. Typically, the effects will last between 30 and 45 minutes. Some effects of pepper spray can fade quickly, while others may affect the person for the rest of the day.
Usually, pepper spray does not cause any permanent health damage. However, studies have shown that persons subjected to repeated use of pepper spray may see the discomfort becoming more permanent. And, in some instances where an individual suffers from asthma or other respiratory problems, or is taking certain medications, pepper spray has been known to cause death.
However, generally speaking, pepper spray is considered a non-lethal means of defense.
Streetwise Pepper Spray ... or Mace?
Pepper Spray is often, erroneously, described as Mace. First, Mace is actually a product brand name, and the company carries a diverse array of self-defense products, including pepper spray. When someone says “Mace,” we can usually assume they are referring to aerosol pepper sprays in general. Similar to our use of “Kleenex” or “Xerox” when we’re really talking about tissues or copiers.
The original Mace defense spray product was invented in 1965 by Allan Litman, and over the years it has gone through some changes in formulation. In the 1980s and ’90s, its primary ingredient was Phenacyl Chloride, a form of CN tear gas. Subsequently, the original formula(s) of Mace have been discontinued in favor of the more effective OC (oleoresin capsicum) pepper sprays available.
A very important distinction between the original Mace CN tear gas and pepper spray is that Mace is considered an irritant, whereas pepper spray is an inflammatory.
The debilitating effects of Streetwise Pepper Spray have proven to be immediate and very effective, since the body reacts involuntarily to the inflammation caused by the capsaicin, especially when sprayed around the eyes and mucus membranes in the mouth and nose.
This causes temporary blindness, coughing, gagging, and difficulty breathing. Because these reactions are to an inflammatory agent, they are totally involuntary: the body will react like this to the capsaicin, regardless of the “will power” or any drugs in the attacker’s system.
On the other hand, tear gas or Mace is an irritant, and over the years proved to be far less effective, especially when used against people who were under the influence of alcohol or some types of drugs (who tend to make up a large percentage of the criminals who may be inclined to attack you in the first place.)
Is Streetwise Pepper Spray Legal?
There are no Federal laws (that we know of) regarding the purchase or possession of pepper sprays. However, pepper sprays cannot be shipped via Air Freight; they must be sent via ground transport.
For the most part, pepper sprays are “legal” (or “legal with restrictions”) in the majority (if not all) of the states within the U.S.
Each state’s restrictions may be different, so please be familiar with your state’s laws.
For a comprehensive listing of state laws, please see our Pepper Spray Laws page.
Most restrictions have to do with the concentration of capsaicin in the formulation, and/or the size of the container. And of course, nearly all states require that the use of pepper spray be done in a lawful manner (ie, self-defense with justifiable cause), and that the user be at least a certain age (usually 18 or 21 years).
While we attempt to keep current on state and local laws, we cannot guarantee that our information is totally accurate or up-to-date. Please understand that it is up to you to ensure that your purchase or possession of any item is legal in your state.