Skip to content
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW
                                ⚡ 110,000,000 VOLT STUN BATON PROMO SHOP NOW

Best Pepper Sprays in 2024

Testing the Best Pepper Sprays

Pepper spray (aka OC Spray) is without a doubt the most common non-lethal self-defense product in the world. It is universally used across all police departments for combative subjects and riot control, as well as everyday self-defense for civilians. But what exactly is pepper spray? And more importantly, how do you know which is the best pepper spray for you? With so many different brands claiming they have the strongest pepper spray, each offering unique formulations and heat concentration percentages with different types of triggers, spray patterns, and ranges it’s impossible to cut through all the noise. Well, we are here to help with our unbiased and thorough pepper spray reviews and buying guide.

Why listen to us? Well, we’ve been in the OC spray business since you were probably in diapers and we're committed to being a source of truth against all the B.S. advertising numbers that brands put out there and the misinformation a lot of self-defense internet experts publish. We're not just referring you over to Amazon and getting a commission off your purchase. We stand behind the products we sell because the thing we're most proud of is our relationship with our customers.

We know you want to get right to the best pepper sprays; so, first up are the product reviews followed by general OC information. If you have any questions about the terminology used throughout the reviews, reference the information toward the bottom and that should clear things up. Or send our team a message and we’ll be happy to help.

Table of Contents:

  1. Top 3 Pepper Sprays in 2024
  2. Best Pepper Spray for Runners
  3. Best Keychain Pepper Spray
  4. Best Everyday Carry (EDC) Pepper Spray
  5. Best Pepper Gel
  6. Best Pepper Spray Gun
  7. Best Pepper Spray for Dogs
  8. Best Bear Spray
  9. Top Pepper Spray Brands
  10. Types of Spray Patterns
  11. Pepper Spray vs Mace
  12. Semantics, Ingredients, and Chemistry
  13. The Effects of Pepper Spray
  14. How Long Does Pepper Spray Last?
  15. How To Get Pepper Spray Out Of Your Eyes?
  16. Does Pepper Spray Expire?
  17. Is Pepper Spray Legal?
  18. Can You Bring Pepper Spray on an Airplane?
  19. Where to Buy?


Top 3 Best Pepper Sprays


Fox Labs 5.3 Sabre Crossfire Mace Police Force


Fox Labs Pepper Spray Five Point Three Sabre Red Crossfire 1.4oz Stream Mace Police Force Pepper Spray Keychain
Rating 4.9 / 5 4.7 / 5 4.6 / 5
Price Starts at 22.95 Starts at $16.99 $16.99
Sizes 1.5 oz / 2 oz / 3 oz 1.4 oz / 1.5 oz / 2 oz / 3 oz .5 oz
Spray Pattern Stream | Cone Stream | Gel Stream
Range Up to 18 ft. Up to 20 ft. Up to 12 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product


Fox Labs 5.3M SHU

Fox Labs International has been leading the industry with its FIVE POINT THREE line for the last 20 years. Comprised of their famous 2% OC solution with a 5.3 million Scoville Heat Unit resin; this is the strongest, most effective, and best pepper spray on the market today.

We’ll get into the chemistry later on how solvents, solutions, capsicum (and more big “C” words) each play their unique role in the strength heat indices, but for now, know that Fox Labs uses the purest form of OC resin to create a defense spray that no other manufacturer can match. While other companies focus on fluff ‘advertising’ figures that attempt to trick consumers into thinking their formula is stronger than it is, Fox doesn't do this because they don't need to. Look around and you will see competitors marketing 5-10% OC concentrations, but what they do not tell you is that most are using a less pure resin that has more fatty oil, sugar, and unwanted by-products. If Fox Labs were to use a 10% OC formula, they would have 3.5% major capsaicinoids making it illegal because it would cause permanent damage.

The FIVE POINT THREE collection comes in 1.5 oz, 2 oz, and 3 oz flip-top canisters. Two different spray patterns are available and are delivered through either a stream or cone. The stream spray reaches up to 20 feet and is generally more accurate than the cone spray, reduces the risk of blowback, and is less affected by adverse weather because of its tighter choke. The cone spray sacrifices distance for increased coverage only reaching 15 feet but allowing the user to target multiple assailants and not having to worry about missing their target during an intense and adrenaline-fueled encounter.

The spring-loaded flip top of the Fox Labs 5.3 helps prevent accidental discharge but still allows for quick and easy access to dispense the spray quickly. We especially love the UV dye in the spray as it makes for easy suspect identification if they somehow manage to get away. Law enforcement just needs to shine a blacklight over the perp and they will light up like a Christmas tree making for an easy arrest.

While this next point might not apply to most civilians as they do not typically carry stun guns and pepper spray, the Fox Labs 5.3 formula is oil-based and non-flammable making it safe for use with Tasers and stun guns. There have been instances where law enforcement has had to use both, and perps have caught on fire after being sprayed with an alcohol-based OC and then Tasered. Although we hope you never find yourself in a situation where OC spray and a Taser are needed at the same time for your self-defense, it's good to know it will not happen.

Sabre Crossfire Pepper Spray

The Sabre Red Crossfire collection edges out second place in our review of the top-rated pepper sprays. Sabre is a premium manufacturer and has consistently been one of the best OC brands in the world since 1975 thanks to their well-known commitment to product quality. Sabre developed their own in-house High-Performance Liquid Chromatography HPLC lab which is a process that ensures and verifies heat specification quality. This 5-step process is conducted within their in-house laboratory with frequent independent testing to provide the most consistent level of capsaicin pungency. The result is a guaranteed heat consistency, something not many brands can claim.

The Red Crossfire collection is classified by Sabre as their Level 3 formula, which is the strongest OC spray that they manufacture. Sabre Red derives from a 10% OC solution of 2 million Scoville Heat Units, resulting in a Scoville content of 200,000. But the true kicker for the Sabre Red line is the major capsaicinoid percentage, clocking in at 1.33% MC. The major capsaicinoid percentage is the true measurement of heat that all pepper spray is judged on and is verified by their HPLC testing.

Probably the most unique aspect of the Sabre Red Crossfire line and what makes it one of the best pepper sprays available is the Crossfire technology canister which uses 3rd generation canister technology. Crossfire canisters can be deployed from any angle, whereas the black Sabre canisters need to be upright. If you think about it like a clock, Crossfire can be sprayed at any hour hand between 1 and 12 o’clock. Most OC spray brands use 1st or 2nd generation canisters which can only be sprayed between the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. This is not ideal as subjects tend to duck and block the spray with their hands as virtually no attacker willingly allows a direct spray. Crossfire canisters allow maximum target acquisition as they can be sprayed upside down or sideways to outmaneuver the perp and get the OC where you want it, their face.

The Sabre Red Crossfire line comes in canister sizes of 1.4 oz, 1.5 oz, 2 oz, and 3 oz, giving plenty of options for anyone looking for just the right size. The 1.4 oz offers 10 one-second bursts, and the 3 oz offers 16 one-second bursts. All other sizes fall in between those parameters. The small 1.4 oz makes it an excellent pepper spray for women to keep safely in their purse or handbag. Also great for storing in small center consoles or small driver-side door compartments.

The flip-top trigger mechanism is a high-quality plastic that will prevent accidental misfiring’s yet is still extremely easy to quickly flip open when needed. Sabre uses a nitrogen propellent which allows for operating temperatures between -20˚F to 120˚F, and there is also a UV dye within the OC formulation to quickly identify any perp that manages to get away after being sprayed.

Overall, the Sabre Red Crossfire collection is a reliably high-heat OC spray that is manufactured by one of the best pepper spray brands out there today. You cannot go wrong with Sabre Red.

Mace Police Force Pepper Spray

Let’s start by getting the semantics straight. The term Mace is not interchangeable with pepper spray. Mace is a brand that manufactures pepper spray, much like Kleenex is to tissues and Band-Aid is to bandages. Known as genericized trademarks, their popularity has led them to become the generic term within their respective product categories. Mace obtained this genericized trademark thanks to making the first defense spray that created a first-mover advantage that lasted nearly 30 years from the mid 1960’s to 1990’s, during which they virtually owned the entire defense spray market. The verb ‘being maced’ is still commonly used today regardless of the brand and spray composition used, despite the fact that there are many more pepper spray brands today.

The active ingredient of the early Mace chemical formula consisted largely of chloroacetophenone (CN tear gas) but has since been changed because of its potentially toxic nature and the exceptional incapacitating qualities of OC pepper resin. What makes Mace Triple Action one of the best pepper sprays and self-defense products is that it combines a safe and effective combination of 10% OC pepper, tear gas (CN), and a UV marking dye all-in-one formula with 2 million Scoville Heat Units. Let us take a closer look at how these 3-in-1 agents complement each other with respect to stopping power.

Mace Police Force Triple Action Diagram

Upon spraying an attacker, the inflammatory agents in the oleoresin capsicum take effect first. Almost instantaneously and completely involuntarily, the assailants eye clamp shut. The OC quickly and efficiently dilates the capillaries and causes temporary blindness. Seconds later, the OC causes inflammation of the breathing tissues and gives a sensation of restriction in the airway and general feeling of intense, searing pain around the face, nose, and throat. Then the effects of the CN tear gas kick in and begin to cause extreme irritation of the membrane tissues within the eyes, resulting in profuse tearing and stinging.

Should a subject somehow manage to get away from the scene of the crime with all this taking effect simultaneously, the UV marking dye marks the assailant and will aid in identification once they are apprehended by law enforcement.

We especially love the canister of the Mace Triple Action Police Model. The unit is an 18-gram (.6 oz) canister that comes housed in a durable plastic case with a keychain attachment. The case is exceptionally well made and provides a very sturdy fit in the hand thanks to the well-placed finger grooves. The finger grooves allow for quick reassurance that the Mace is facing in the right direction before engaging the assailant. The keychain attachment makes it perfect for virtually anyone to take with them on-the-go. The durable case comes with a flip top actuator making it easy to deploy while also preventing misfires.

This model comes with a stream spray pattern, reaching up to 12 feet which is quite remarkable given the small size of the unit. It contains up 20 half-second bursts but is recommended, like all brands, to assume end-of-life if the unit is used. This ensures that the Mace properly functions should you need to use it in the future.

Overall, this Mace pepper spray with 3-in-1 triple action OC, CN, and UV dye is a top-rated option for those looking for a trusted brand.


Best Pepper Spray for Runners


Sabre 3-in-1 Pocket Clip Mace Sport Jogger Sabre Pepper Spray with Reflective Armband


Sabre Pocket Spray for Joggers Mace Sport Jogger Pepper Spray Sabre Pepper Spray with Reflective Armband
Rating 4.8 / 5 4.6 / 5 4.6 / 5
Price $11.99 $16.99 $19.99
Sizes .5 oz .5 oz 1.8 oz
Spray Pattern Stream Stream Stream
Range Up to 10 ft. Up to 12 ft. Up to 15 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product

When it comes to finding the best pepper spray for runners, we’re looking at three main criteria. The first of course is heat strength. You want to be able to incapacitate the attacker and get away safely, and the only way to do that is with a formulation that an has ample percentage of major capsaicinoids. A lot of internet experts will urge runners or walkers to carry dog pepper spray if they have aggressive dogs in the neighborhood, but quite honestly these OC sprays aren’t ideal in situations that involve a human subject attacking or robbing you. This is because the amount of pepper resin in dog repellent is typically half of that in the industry-standard human pepper spray. We suggest that it’s better to have full-strength protection.

The second set of criteria is a combination of size, weight, and portability. It’s especially important for women runners to not feel burdened to be carrying a self-defense product during their daily exercise. If a spray is too big or too heavy, they simply will be less motivated to bring it with them because it gets in their way. Most pepper sprays for joggers typically come in canisters less than 1 oz, but even more importantly come with an adjustable elastic Velcro strap to easily hold during a run or exercise.

And lastly, an underrated criterion for runners is that their OC should be a stream spray pattern. Running or jogging at a fast pace and needing to quickly spray an attacker will undoubtedly result in a blowback. Having a tight stream pattern will decrease this potential as it’s a tighter aerosol dispersion and will help to keep it out of your face as well.

Overall, we highly recommend the Sabre Red 3-in-1 Runner Pepper Spray because surpasses all our critical specifications for jogger personal defense. Sabre Red is one of the top brands, and their 3-in-1 collection is comprised of OC, CS tear gas, and UV marking dye. It is the gold standard for people on the go.

A close second is the Mace Sport Jogger. This ½ oz Mace is lightweight, compact, and hot! We found their 10% OC is not quite as hot as the Sabre Red 3-in-1 formulation, but it will certainly put any perp on their knees crying and begging for it to stop. The elastic Velcro strap is of high quality and will allow you to jog and forget it’s even there (unless of course, you need it). Both Mace and Sabre come with pink color options, perfect for women joggers who want to stay fashionable.

Best Keychain Pepper Spray


Wildfire Keychain Defense Spray Sabre 3-in-1 Hardcase Keychain Mace Keyguard Spray


Wildfire Keychain Pepper Spray Sabre 3-in-1 Hardcase Mace Pepper Spray Mace Keyguard OC Spray
Rating 4.9 / 5 4.7 / 5 4.6 / 5
Price $14.00 $12.99 $19.99
Sizes .5 oz .5 oz 1.8 oz
Spray Pattern Stream Stream Stream
Range Up to 8 ft. Up to 10 ft. Up to 15 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product

One of the most popular places to keep our pepper spray is on our keychains because it allows us to carry it every day, yet is still somewhat out of the way. It’s also a natural place to tote a very small personal defense item and gives us peace of mind when we’re constantly on the go. In our experience here at Guardian Self Defense, the best keychain pepper spray will have a keyring breakaway mechanism, have greater than 1.1% MC, and be .5 ounces or less. Let us explain.

The most imperative thing when looking to purchase keychain pepper spray is to make sure the unit has a breakaway mechanism from your keyring. This is critical to personal protection because attacks often happen in a split second, and the victim fumbles with keys while trying to find and use the spray. With a breakaway piece, the spray can quickly become detached from the keys, and within seconds can the victim acquire the target and disperse the spray.

We also want to share a pro tip that no one else will tell you - having your keys and pepper spray in separate hands is a huge asset because you can distract the attacker by throwing your keys at them with one hand, putting them on defense, immediately followed by OC spray from the opposite hand. Before they know what happened they’ll be on the ground and you’ll be able to safely get away. This is a distraction technique similar to what boxers do to successfully land a punch, and it's very effective.

It is also important for your keychain OC to have a major capsaicinoid percentage greater than 1.1% and be smaller than .5 ounces. Our experience shows the MC percentage needs to be high because keychain canisters are generally small, and your unit needs to be small if you’re planning to carry it on your keychain every day. Most ½ oz. units only have 4 to 6 one-second bursts, which means you will need to make the most of those bursts, so a high-heat spray is very important.

We especially love the Wildfire Keychain Quick-release Pepper Spray because it meets every piece of the criteria we just mentioned. It comes in a small .5 oz canister that is lightweight and easy to attach to keyring. With 1.4% MC is it one of the hottest sprays you can buy, and has an effective range of up to 8 feet. The stopping power of the Wildfire line is unlike anything we've seen from other keychain units. It also comes in different options with either a hard case, a soft case like plain leatherette or leatherette with some bedazzle, or halo leather cases which offer more protection over the firing mechanism.

A close second is the Sabre Red 3-in-1 keychain unit. This popular formulation is Sabre's best-selling line and is well known amongst people who have been hit by it as being the most excruciating 30 minutes of their lives. We love the hard case as it's plain and simple and doesn't draw attention to the unit.

Best Everyday Carry Pepper Spray


Fox Labs Mean Green Sabre 3-in-1 Hardcase Keychain Defense Technology MK-3


Fox Labs Mean Green Pepper Spray Sabre 3-in-1 Pepper Spray Defense Technolgies Pepper Spray MK-3
Rating 4.8 / 5 4.7 / 5 4.6 / 5
Price Starts at $19.99 $12.99 Starts at $17.99
Sizes 1.5 oz / 3 oz .5 oz 1.47 oz
Spray Pattern Stream / Cone Stream Stream / Cone / Foam / Gel
Range Up to 20 ft. Up to 10 ft. Up to 12 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product

Daily carrying of a defense spray is becoming more and more popular with each passing day. Many civilians don’t always feel comfortable carrying a firearm and many prefer a non-lethal product that can still stop an assailant in their tracks. When looking for the best pepper spray to carry every day, there is one main consideration – how you want to carry the defense spray. There are three realistic options: on a belt with a holster, on a keychain, or in a purse.

They each have their pros and cons, and it largely depends on personal preference. If you live in a high-crime neighborhood, it might make the most sense to have a belt holster pepper spray so it’s always quickly within reach. Keychain pepper spray is a great option for those who just want to have peace of mind but aren’t necessarily serious enough about it to want to attach to a new pair of pants every morning. We’ll give you a product recommendation for the best of both options.

If you’re interested in carrying on a belt holster, the best EDC pepper spray is the Fox Labs Mean Green personal defense spray. The formulation in this collection from Fox Labs contains a highly pigmented color spectrum, a virulent shade of green. The green spray marks your attacker for easy visual identification with no UV lights needed. Made with 3 million SHUs at a 6% OC concentration, it clocks in at 1.2% MC. As with most Fox products, it comes 1.5 oz or 3 oz canister and either a stream or cone spray pattern. The stream reaches up to 20 feet and the cone fogger up to 18 feet. It is our general advice for interested EDC customers to go with a smaller unit. Much like experienced concealed carry firearm holders, who generally prefer smaller pistols with a 6-round magazine as opposed to a larger 17-round magazine because it’s lighter and easier to carry and conceal.

If you’re interested in EDC on a keychain, then the easy choice here is the Sabre Red 3-in-1 keychain pepper spray with a quick-release key ring. Sabre Red is one hottest sprays and best-selling sprays on the market, and this .5-ounce compact canister is perfect for anyone looking to daily carry. It boasts an impressive 10-foot range and up to 25 half-second bursts. The quick-release key ring is very important for immediate access to the spray as it breaks away from your keys with a quick pull. Sabre’s in-house HPLC testing lab ensures that all of their product meets their heat standards and won’t fail, unlike some other big-name brands which have been reported to not fire or contain the heat consistency as advertised.

Best Pepper Gel



Wildfire Sticky Pepper Gel Mace Night Defender Pepper Gel Steetwise Sticky Pepper Gel


Wildfire Sticky Pepper Gel 4 oz canister Mace Night Defender Pepper Gel Streetwise Sticky Pepper Gel
Rating 4.9 / 5 4.7 / 5 4.7 / 5
Price $24.95 $24.99 Starts at $17.95
Sizes 4 oz. 1.5 oz 2 oz / 4 oz
Spray Pattern Gel Gel Gel
Range Up to 18 ft. Up to 18 ft. Up to 12 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product

Wildfire is one of the best OC collections you’ve probably never heard of, and it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Safety Technology manufactures and distributes Wildfire, and they have been quietly successful since 1986. The reason for this success is the quality of capsicum sourced specifically for their Wildfire pepper line. Among all the products in the Wildfire collection, including their disguised lipstick pepper spray, their keychain pepper spray with any holster design you can think of, their pistol grip foggers, and more, their pepper gel is easily the best. We'll explain why.

Pepper gels in general are relatively new formulas and spray patterns to the OC industry. Coming onto the scene in the early 2000s, they have been steadily gaining popularity with consumers for their inherent benefits over traditional OC spray. The thing our team likes the most about the gel formulation is that once it gets on an attacker’s skin it becomes nearly impossible to wipe off. The thick, sticky, glue-like gel substance smears across the eyes and face and permeates the mucus membranes instantly incapacitating the attacker with an unmatched burning sensation. In addition, gel streams have a longer range and are better in outdoor settings than traditional spray streams due to a lesser chance of blowback for you or others nearby. Many of the best pepper spray brands now have a gel in their collection because of all these reasons, but Wildfire stands out as top in its class.

Major capsaicinoids are the true measure of heat in all pepper products. We’ll say it time and time again, forget OC percentage and SHU numbers. Nine times out of ten times they’re advertising numbers that aren’t indicative of the true heat. Wildfire sticky pepper gel comes with an astounding 1.4% major capsaicinoids making it one of the hottest gels on the market. The OC gel comes in two different size canister options: 2 oz and 4 oz. The 2 oz canister has a range of up to 10 feet and contains about 8 one-second bursts. The 4 oz canister has a range of up to 18 feet and contains about 18 one-second bursts. In our opinion, the 4 oz bottle is a far better option if you have enough space where you typically keep your pepper spray. The bottle profile is thinner than most 4 oz canisters so it can still easily fit comfortably in a purse, pocket, glove compartment, center console, nightstand, or holster. And you get the increased range to keep enough distance between yourself and the attacker.

The flip-top actuator offers the perfect combination of safety and convenience. Just flip up the lid with your thumb and press the actuator down to send an instant stream of gel hell-barreling toward your attacker’s face. We promise anyone who gets sprayed with Wildfire Stick Pepper Gel will have their world turned upside down for the next 45 minutes.

Best Pepper Spray Gun



Pepperball TCP Launcher Mace Pepper Gun 2.0 Mace Pepper Spray Gun


TCP Pepperball Launcher Mace Pepper Gun 2.0 with LED Light Mace Pepper Spray Gun
Rating 4.8 / 5 4.4 / 5 4.3 / 5
Price $399.99 $59.99 $59.99
Sizes 6 Rounds 1 oz 1 oz
Spray Pattern Projectile Stream Stream
Range Up to 150 ft. Up to 20 ft. Up to 20 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product

OC spray innovation doesn’t end with better product formulations and more heat. With great industry minds and brilliant engineers have come incredible products over the last few years like the pepper spray gun. What used to be a space owned by the Mace brand with their one-of-a-kind Pepper Gun and Pepper Gun 2.0, they are now being overtaken by niche brands focused exclusively on non-lethal self-defense guns that fire pepper projectiles.

In our opinion, the best pepper gun today is made by Pepperball. Pepperball’s roots can be traced back to the mid-1990s and is the product of a US military defense contractor developing a product for use in non-lethal missions. The brand has since grown like wildfire thanks to the features and functionality of its products that we will touch on below. As a result, Pepperball is now the preferred non-lethal self-defense device for prisons, correction facilities, and border patrol agents.

Pepperball manufactures two main products for civilian use. The first is their Tactical Compact Pistol (TCP) Launcher. Resembling an appearance to that of a standard pistol or firearm, the TCP fires up to 150 feet with LIVE-X projectile rounds with incredible accuracy. The 6-round magazines hold enough projectiles to ensure you will safely deter your threat. The TCP Launcher takes an 18-gram CO2 cartridge, or for cold weather climates a nitrogen cartridge.

The second product is the Pepperball LifeLite, which takes the appearance of a flashlight-like unit but offers much more functionality than your standard flashlight. Equipped with a 350-lumen LED light, the LifeLite launches non-lethal pepper projectiles up to 60 feet away. Best yet, there is a built-in laser guide that helps the shooter find and hit the target easier. We love this pepper spray gun.

Both the TCP and the LifeLite project paintball-like rounds, deemed LIVE and LIVE-X (extended distance) rounds. The active ingredient is a chemical agent called pelargonic acid vanillylamide (PAVA), a synthetic capsaicinoid. PAVA is considered significantly more potent than CS tear gas, however is well-documented to be less reliable than OC on drunk and drug-fueled assailants due to its synthetic nature.

Overall, you can probably see why Pepperball launchers are the best pepper gun and the preferred option for professionals in search of non-lethal defense products. The long range makes them ideal for anyone wanting to keep a larger distance between themselves and an attacker than the typical 15-20 foot range of a typical pepper spray.

Lastly, the Mace gun has been a top seller for the last two decades and continues to impress. Unlike Pepperball branded items, this gun fires actual OC spray much like a traditional handheld canister would, except it is in the form of a pistol. The dual mode LED light on the Mace gun allows for either a constant light or a strobe pattern to distract and blind an assailant and makes the 20-foot stream spray even more effective as they can’t see what’s about to hit them. The pistol grip design is great for point-and-shoot accuracy and is easy to grab, aim, and fire. The Mace pepper spray gun has been a staple in this space for almost three decades.

Best Pepper Spray for Aggressive Dogs


Mace Canine Repellent Sabre Protector Spray Police Force 3 oz Fogger


Mace Canine Repellent Dog Spray Sabre Protector Dog OC Spray Police Force Pepper Spray Fogger for Wild Animals
Rating 4.8 / 5 4.7 / 5 4.6 / 5
Price $16.99 $16.99 Starts at $29.95
Sizes .6 oz 1.8 oz 3 oz / 9 oz
Spray Pattern Stream Stream Stream
Range Up to 10 ft. Up to 15 ft. Up to 16 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product

A common question we get is what is the difference between dog spray and human spray? Well the main difference is that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the maximum strength of dog spray, and by law, they only allow up to 1% MC in dog-repellent formulations. The reason is that dogs have much more sensitive noses and mucous membranes than us mortal humans, so the OC spray doesn’t need to be as strong. The average human spray has about 2 million SHU whereas the average dog spray has less than 1 million SHU.

While that certainly will not feel good on a human’s face, it’s entirely possible a drunk or someone on drugs will not feel the full effect and continue with their unlawful intentions should they be sprayed with dog spray. That is why we recommend that if you must carry just one type of pepper spray, make it human spray. It will not cause any long-term injuries or harm to a dog or coyote, and will still protect you in the event you’re out walking and encounter an attempted human attack. You will also gain a more effective range with a traditional stream canister which will allow you to place more distance between yourself and the aggressive dog.

With that being said, we understand that some people just feel more comfortable knowing they have a lower-strength spray for the routine problem dogs in their neighborhood. In this case, the best pepper spray for dogs in our experience is the Mace Canine Repellent. This Mace spray contains 1% MC and comes in a 17-gram canister with a Velcro strap, perfect for those neighborhood or trail walks. The effective range of 10-12 feet isn’t great, but is far more than a typical stun gun or expandable baton offers in these situations.

The second product we recommend is the Sabre Red Protector dog repellent. Also containing 1% MC, the most legally allowed by the EPA, the Sabre Red defense spray comes in a larger 1.8 oz canister that supplies 25 short bursts and offers an effective range of up to 15 feet. We wish this repellent had an elastic strap to fasten to the hand, but it does come with a plastic clip to attach to a waistband or belt which we do appreciate.

With either the Mace or Sabre brand, you will be able to safely protect yourself against any dog attack. If you wish to use a human spray, refer back to our top-rated units at the beginning of this article.

Best Bear Spray



Fronteirsman Bear Spray Fogger Guard Alaska Bear Spray GrizGuard Bear Spray


Sabre Frontiersman Bear Fogger Spray Mace Guard Alaska Bear Fogger GrizGuard Bear Spray Fogger
Rating 4.8 / 5 4.8 / 5 4.6 / 5
Price $49.99 $39.95 $49
Sizes 7.9 oz / 9.2 oz 9 oz 7.9 oz
Spray Pattern Heavy Cone Fog Heavy Cone Fog Heavy Cone Fog
Range Up to 35 ft. Up to 20 ft. Up to 30 ft.
Listing View Product View Product View Product

Anyone who spends any time in the woods hiking or hunting knows the threat of coming across a bear is very real, and you never want to be unprepared should it happen. And when it comes to personal defense against animals that are 4x the average weight of a human, run up to 25 mph, and have razor sharp claws and teeth, you don’t want to mess around or take your chances. And it doesn’t even have to be a grizzly, even small bears can cause severe injury or death.

The good news is that there is extensive research on this very topic, and it has shown that bear pepper spray has proven to be the most effective deterrent against these aggressive four-legged furballs, surprisingly even more so than firearms. That’s right, according to a multi-decade study dubbed the “Efficacy of Bear Deterrent Spray” by renowned professors Tom Smith and Stephen Herrero, those who were carrying spray were uninjured in 98% of close-range encounters compared to 84% with handguns and 76% with long guns

So what is bear spray, why is it so effective, how exactly do you use it, and what is the best pepper spray for use against them?

Bear spray is an extremely intense OC pepper spray comprised of concentrated capsicum and capsaicinoids, the active ingredients in chili pepper. Much like OC spray for dogs, the EPA regulates bear spray and has guidelines that they must contain between 1-2% MC. For comparison, the average human spray has just over 1% MC. So it’s important to always make sure your unit is EPA-approved to ensure the best results.

It’s also important to note that bear spray is a deterrent, not a proactive repellent like insect spray. Some research has shown that it might attract animals because of the strong odor of the formulation. It should also be considered a last line of defense against bears. No one should substitute common sense, safety, and preparation because they have spray as fallback protection. With that said, we do believe a big reason bear spray is so effective is because it gives you a reason not to flee. While it’s incredibly difficult not to turn and run away in the face of imminent danger, everyone knows they should not turn and run as it’s a sure sign of weakness. Instead, having the spray at the ready and thinking through possible options might naturally exert the confidence and time needed to stand your grand, which in itself can deter an attack in most cases.

There are quite a few brands in this space, but the best is Sabre Frontiersman Bear Spray. A powerful magnum fogger with a 2% MC formulation, the strongest allowed by the EPA, and that delivers a cone blast spray pattern boasting a remarkable 35-foot range. This bear mace comes in a 7.9 or 9 oz canister with a finger loop handle to safely clip onto a backpack or belt loop, making it perfect for totting along in the backcountry. The 35-foot range is a result of the intense pressure inside the canister that once activated, dispenses the spray outwards at 70 mph and empties the bottle in about 6 seconds. For obvious reasons, the 35-foot spray distance is critical in all pepper spray use on bears.

The larger canister deploys the pepper spray fog at 1.84 ounces per second. This is very important as every fraction of a second matters as a bear is charging, and you want your bear spray to empty as fast as possible. We also love the glow-in-the-dark trigger which makes finding the trigger and dispensing the spray easy in low-light or dark situations.

Spray Patterns Explained

There are several different delivery methods and spray patterns that are used to expel a spray from the canister. In addition, different types of solvents and solutions create unique textures and viscosities, like foams and gels. Each has its pros and cons, and it's largely personal preference, but it's important to understand the difference so you can identify the best OC spray for you.

Stream: Provides a strong, tight spray pattern that allows for a greater standoff distance. Offers the longest spray range over another delivery. Best for outdoor conditions as the chance of blowback is reduced without the fine aerosols of a cone spray. Generally need to have better aim over other dispersions due to small target-specific shots.

Cone: Sometimes referred to as foggers, cone sprays provide a wider delivery pattern making it easier to quickly acquire your target. Cone spray sacrifices distance for increased coverage and is best for indoor use over outdoors as the fire aerosols increase the risk of blowback in windy conditions. Aim is considered less important which is critical in high-adrenaline encounters.

Gel: Provides a tight, targeted gel stream for reduced cross-contamination potential. Pepper gel has the lowest risk of blowback over any other spray pattern, making it great for indoor or outdoor use. Many new gels use low molecular weight gelators (LMWGs) which allow for longer distances despite the heavier weight of the gel. Gels are very difficult to wipe off as the thick, sticky glue-like substance smears very easily.

Foams: Powerful fast-acting foam that coats the face upon contact, and similar to gel it is very difficult to wipe off. Aim is not as important as pepper foam has a wider pattern making it easy to acquire and hit a target, but due to its dispersion, it does not offer great length. It is the least popular spray pattern for consumers as many brands do not offer foaming pepper spray.

Pepper Spray vs. Mace

The adage that pepper spray and Mace are synonymous still incorrectly stands true to this day. Brands that are the first to successfully develop and market a product to the masses often acquire a term coined by genericized trademarks, meaning consumers see the brand as a generic product. The generic item in our case is pepper spray, and the brand is Mace. The same goes for Tasers and stun guns. All Tasers are stun guns, but not all stun guns are Tasers.

At face value, Mace was the industry pioneer and owned the defense spray market for a generation during the mid to late 1900’s. No one could match their pepper spray formulation and marketing power. Mace originally started as a CN tear gas but after years of research and testing it became clear that OC has superior incapacitating qualities over CN and other tear gases, so they changed formulas.

And with time came increased competition. Here we are today where the current Mace formula is relatively well known and established with 5-10% OC and 2-3 million SHU depending on the product lines. Newer brands are putting their unique twist on ingredients, solvents, solutions, and propellants to try to gain a competitive advantage over the gold standard for so many years, the Mace brand.

This is not to say that Mace hasn’t innovated. They continue to create new products, new canisters, new colors, and new dispersion methods. But newer pepper spray brands have pressed the envelope even further. We love most Mace products and the vast majority of consumers do also, but some of the brands we talked about in this article are starting to take over the industry.

What is OC Spray and Tear Gas?

Pepper spray is also known as OC spray, which stands for oleoresin capsicum. Oleoresin is an extract, in our case in the form of an oil, from the pepper plant species capsicum. The capsicum species is comprised of compounds known as capsaicinoids. There are a few different types of capsaicinoids, but the most common and the one with the highest amount of SHU is capsaicin, the active component of chili peppers and what makes them HOT! Because of this, capsaicin is the active ingredient in all pepper sprays. Note that we might interchangeably use the terms pepper spray and OC spray throughout this article, but they are the same thing.

Tear gas differs from pepper spray in that unlike pepper spray which derives from natural chemicals (capsaicinoids), tear gas comes from man-made compounds. Popular tear gases include irritants like 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (CS gas), phenacyl chloride (CN gas), and dibenzoxazepine (CR gas) which are most commonly used in riot control. Unlike their name, most tear gases are not true gases but rather liquids or solids that can be finely dispersed through the use of fog generators or grenades. These are typically the familiar grenade-like objects thrown by law enforcement into violent and disruptive crowds that disburse a plume of white fog as they roll along the ground or the large pistol grip canisters.

Many of the best pepper sprays like Mace Triple Action and Sabre 3-in-1 use a combination of both OC and CS because they complement each other very well in targeting different mucous membranes creating an exceptionally effective incapacitating spray.

Both pepper spray and tear gas are formally known as lachrymatory agents, which are defined by compounds that irritate the eyes and cause burning, pain, and temporary blindness. Fortunately for those in the dispersion area of tear gas, the effects generally wear off within a few minutes after exiting the affected area. But for those hit with OC, the effects are much, much worse.

Effects of Pepper Spray

Pepper spray works by the capsicum causing severe irritation and a burning sensation to mucous membranes in the areas of contact (eyes, skin, or nose), and takes effect within seconds of exposure. Even an indirect hit of pepper spray will result in the eyes tearing and burning, causing temporary blurred vision and blindness. Noses will start running, burning, and swelling. The chest will begin to experience tightness, resulting in excessive coughing and shortness of breath.

The first reaction of people sprayed with OC is to immediately close their eyes. This is an involuntary reaction as the capsicum overwhelms the body’s mucous membranes. The key is to NOT rub the eyes as this can cause corneal abrasions. If you wear contacts, take them out as soon as possible and avoid touching your eyes and face afterward. Many people experience fear as a result of feeling disoriented due to the lack of vision immediately after being sprayed.

How Long Does Pepper Spray Last

Depending on the brand and heat strength, the acute effects of pepper spray generally wear off within 30-45 minutes. A person exposed should immediately be removed from the affected area and taken to a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors with plenty of fresh air. Rigorously blinking and flushing the eyes with cold water will help to speed up recovery time, but anticipate at least 30 minutes of intense burning in the eyes and shortness of breath.

If problematic breathing does not resolve after 45 minutes, ‘bronchodilators’ which are generally used to treat asthma may be needed to prevent ‘bronchospasms’, an abnormal constriction and narrowing of the respiratory airway. OC supervisors or medical personnel should have these on hand should one be getting sprayed for training purposes.

How to Get Pepper Spray out of the Eyes

Despite many assailants or law enforcement academy plebes best efforts to get pepper spray out of their eyes with water alone, capsicum is not soluble in water so while it might dilute the OC concentration it won’t wash it off. Ultimately there is no cure, but there are things to help minimize the effects. Perhaps the most common suggestion is to blink like hell to encourage the tear ducts to flush the irritant out of the eyes.

Assuming you are prepared to get sprayed and have time to gather some recovery aids beforehand, two other remedies are said to have helped suppress the worst of the effects. The first is a 3:1 ratio of cold water to Dawn dish soap. Dawn soap in particular is very effective in removing oils. Turn your head sideways so as to not let the solution run down your body carrying capsicum oils with it.

There are also disposable wipes that many police academies use to help get the spray out of the eyes and off the skin of their cadets on OC day. The most popular are Sudecon wipes from Fox Labs. These pepper spray remedy wipes have a patented formula to help decontaminate OC, CS, and CN exposure by stripping the chemical agents from the skin.

The capsicum oils can remain on the skin for several days after being sprayed. We recommend not showering for at least 24 hours as it can reactivate the capsaicin, also known as a ‘reflash’, and the water can carry the oils to sensitive parts of the body. Use a 3:1 Dawn dish soap-to-water ratio in the shower and scrub vigorously.

Does Pepper Spray Expire?

Yes, pepper spray does expire. Every manufacturer includes an ‘end of life’ or expiration date on the canister, and they’re generally 36-48 months from the manufacturing date. Pepper spray doesn't lose its potency over time, but the pressure in the canister degrades. To ensure the effective spray range or eliminate the potential chance of total propellant degradation, it is critical to maintain the expiration date and purchase a new spray when that date comes.

Is Pepper Spray Legal?

Pepper spray is legal to carry in all 50 states for self-defense, however, some states may have online purchasing or canister size restrictions. New York and Massachusetts are the only two states that prohibit the purchase of OC spray through the mail which prevents shipments from entering into the states. It is legal, however, for us to ship dog defense spray into New York and Massachusetts so we do recommend at the very least those interested in a non-lethal self-defense product carry a Mace dog repellent spray. We are legally not allowed to ship stun guns into either state as well.

Other states like New Jersey, Michigan, Florida, California, Hawaii, North Carolina, and Wisconsin limit the number of ounces in pepper spray containers. Essentially this is to deter residents from owning large amounts of OC, mostly in the form of big pistol grip foggers used in riot and crowd control situations.

For more information on the state laws surrounding pepper spray and stun guns, refer to our product laws page where we breakdown each state and identify if there are any shipping restrictions. We try to keep this as up-to-date with state law and current legislation as much as possible.

Can You Bring Pepper Spray on an Airplane?

Yes, you can bring pepper spray on an airplane but there are many caveats. The first is only for domestic flights, as many international countries view pepper spray as a weapon. The second is that one 4 oz. container of mace or pepper spray is allowed if it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge, but it must be included in checked baggage not a carry-on. If a defense spray contains more than 2% CS or CN tear gas they are prohibited even from checked baggage.

Check with your airline before checking your bag and going through security to prevent any mishaps.

Where to Buy Pepper Spray

Here at of course. We’re not just referring you to Amazon to buy the products and get a commission off your click. We have been one of the largest online sellers of self-defense products for the last 20 years, and we continue to offer the best products from the best pepper spray brands on the market. We have a state-of-the-art inventory system, and contracts with the best manufacturers, distributors, and vendors to service our customers and ensure a constant and uninterrupted supply chain.

The thing we’re most proud of is the relationship with our customers and the support we offer, pre-sale and post-sale. If you have any questions at all, our team is here to help in whatever that might be. If your product isn’t functioning the way you had hoped, let us know and we’ll be happy to get to the bottom of it or send a replacement.

We know just about everything there is to know about pepper spray, so please don’t hesitate to send us a message on our Contact Us page.

Prev Post
Next Post

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items