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Spice Up Your Self Defense With the Firepower of Pepper Spray!

Aug 18, 2008
The "heat" or "hotness" of chili peppers and consequently pepper sprays is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU) or the Scoville scale, named after the American chemist Wilbur Scoville. The presence of the chemical capsaicin is responsible for this pleasant or unpleasant degree of heat, depending on if you are talking to a hot wings connoisseur or an assailant with pepper spray dripping from his face.

For all you culinary folks or chili eaters, a sweet bell pepper is rated 0, containing no capsaicin. A pimento or pepperoncini is only mildly spicier with a 100-500 SHU rating. Green pepper Tabasco sauce may yield 600-800, regular pepper Tabasco at 2500-5000, and super spicy habanero Tabasco sauce topping out at 7000-8000 SHU. Widely popular jalapeņo peppers rate around 2500-8000. BAM! Pure cayenne pepper typically packs enough capsaicin to reach 30,000-50,000, compared to more exotic 50,000-80,000 Thai peppers. Speaking of more exotic peppers, a Naga Jolokia pepper from India ranges from 850,000 to 110,000 and a Dorset Naga may reach 1,600,000 SHU, or 1.6 million units of fiery mouth burning hotness!

Capsaicin in its purest form has a Scoville rating that ranges from 15,000,000 to 16,000,000. Yes, that reads 16 million! The standard grade pepper sprays in the US usually achieve 2 to 5 million SHUs.

Pepper sprays are inflammatory, unlike Mace which is an irritant. Inflammatory agents will cause immediate closure of the eyes and will induce coughing, choking and nausea. Temporary blindness due to dilation of the eyes and the mucous membranes will swell up, effectively preventing all but life support breathing.

The effects may last from 20-45 minutes depending on the pepper spray's strength. Popular pepper spray products, such as Pepper Shot are rated at 10% strength, boasting a SHU of 2 million. The Wildfire 18% contains enough Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) to achieve nearly 3 million Scoville Heat Units of stopping power. Bear strength Guard Alaska requires a higher concentration for those that venture into the woods, with at least a 20% concentration of capsicum firepower.

There are even triple action self defense sprays incorporating OC pepper, CN tear gas, and a UV marking dye. This potent combination sends your assailant into an uncontrollable fit of coughing and choking while his eyes are slammed shut. The CS tear gas causes a profuse tearing to the already affected eyes, as well as an intense burning sensation to the face. The UV marking dye marks the assailant and may assist in identification once apprehended.

Conveniently, many pepper sprays come on key chains. This is a good idea since most people will usually have their keys with them. But don't forget about the times you don't have your keys. The small investment in additional pepper spray may save your life or the life of a loved one! Then you will also always have your pepper spray within easy reach. You can also find covert pepper spray products such as pepper batons (kubotans), pepper pagers, lipstick spray, "Stunning Ring", and hand weight Hot Walkers for walking and jogging. Pepper spray is also sold in gel stream formulas instead of liquid sprays. Gels have the advantages of longer distance, stronger pepper, very sticky on the target's face and less contaminating overspray.

However, the best, strongest, and farthest ranged pepper spray in the world will amount to the SHU rating of that bell pepper if you fail to do three simple things: purchase some pepper spray, carry your pepper spray wherever you go and practice using it. This means buying extra pepper spray and actually "waste" it by discharging practice sprays to gauge the range of your product and improve your spraying accuracy. If you are going to under shoot or hit the wall next to an attacker, you mind as well pack your pockets with pimentos. Of course, with the affordability of peppered self defense products and the peace of mind you gain by being prepared, if you do ever find yourself in a pepper, err pickle... you can hardly consider it a waste.

It would be nice to believe that nothing will happen to you, but the reality of it is that an ounce of protection could be worth more than a pound of cure. What is Worth Protection to you? Your belongings? Your family? Your personal well-being?

Don't be afraid to spice up your self defense, stay safe and be prepared!
About the Author
For a full line of stun guns, pepper sprays, Tasers , home protection, Mace, child safety, personal alarms, voice changers, safety lights, diversion safes, hand held metal detectors, instructional fighting DVDs and much more, Check out Worth Protection Security .
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