How To Actually Defend Yourself With Pepper Spray

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Keeping pepper spray in your purse ‘just in case’ is great, and a fabulous start to ensuring your personal safety. However, that being said, do you actually know how to use it?

Like many of you, I have a bottle of pepper spray in my purse that my mother insists I take with me everywhere. I also have no idea what to actually do with it beyond point and spray, which as I have recently been told, can completely backfire.

So we at women.com did some investigating, and here is everything you need to know to best defend yourself with pepper spray!

Step 1: Have the bottle on your keyring, or in your hand

It is only as useful as it is accessible. This is incredibly basic, I know, but if your purse looks anything like mine it could take several minutes (or hours) to actually locate the pepper spray among the hundreds of receipts, make-up, water bottles, and other random items stowed in there.

Carrying pepper spray around in your hand every time you leave your house is perhaps a bit excessive, but be sure to keep your pepper spray bottle on your keyring, or in a small pocket in your purse for easy access during your every day life, and keep the bottle in your hand when walking through an unfamiliar area, or if you feel you are being followed, or otherwise threatened.

Step 2: Keep your distance

Pepper spray is effective at a distance of up to 10ft, try and keep as much distance as possible between yourself and your attacker.

Step 3: Use Your Thumb

If you feel you are being threatened and need to engage with an attacker, unlock the bottle with your thumb by twisting the cap and pressing down (be sure you are pointing the bottle at the bad guy, and away from yourself).

Step 4: Aim for the eyes

Pepper spray’s main effectiveness comes from disorientation rather than the introduction of pain. When using pepper spray always aim for the attacker’s eyes, as this will temporarily blind them allowing you an opportunity to get away.

Step 5: Run

Fairly straight forward on this one, you want to put as much distance between yourself and your attacker while they are temporarily blinded by the pepper spray.

Step 6: Contact the authorities

Once you have put a comfortable distance between yourself and your attacker call 911, or contact your local authorities. The pepper spray will hopefully have been enough to deter the attacker from bothering you further, however, in any event that they continue to pursue you the authorities can protect you and levy charges against your attacker to help protect other people!

For a full demonstration of how best to use pepper spray check out this video!


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