Is there a specialised training for self defense with pepper spray? Obviously, some techniques can be copied from self defense with a gun, but did someone actually worked it out?


1 Answer 1


From quickly browsing around various online essays on pepper spray defense, there seem to be:

  • As with any self-defense weapon, if you can't get to it quickly, it's useless.
  • Deploy the pepper spray with an outstretched arm to reduce the amount of pepper spray that will get back to your face. The advice is to have it on the level of your nose to ensure you're aiming for the face and that you're sighting the spray.
    • Some essays suggest holding the canister with your fingers and depressing the trigger with your thumb to reduce the risk of dropping it.
    • Your off arm should also be extended, a little further than the pepper spray canister, to fend off the attacker, to keep them from just snatching the canister or knocking it outside, and to help shield you from blowback.
  • Sweep the spray from side to size (some essays suggest a "Z" pattern) to adjust for poor aim and to account for attacker movement
  • Immediately move laterally and away from the attacker because the spray takes several seconds to act, and they can still blindly lunge at you.

That said, I don't know how pressure-tested these techniques are, or if people are just parroting each other.

  • I knew a police officer here in the uk. He told me that contrary to this the pepper spray was supposed to be applied to the chest area and not the face. Are there different types of sprays I wonder?
    – Huw Evans
    Mar 29, 2022 at 16:10
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    Hmm... I can't find anyone claiming that online, but I can see the logic that the chest is the larger target (same reason why police aim for the chest with their guns) and that the fumes can be as effective as the fluid. That said, I suspect this might be as much a matter of the police having more concerns about review boards for their use of the spray (direct spray to the eyes can cause permanent damage) and them feeling more confident on their ability to fend off an attacker until the spray takes effect. Mar 29, 2022 at 16:24
  • Side note, I haven't seen it stated recently, but I remember seeing police guidelines for use of pepper spray which suggested not actually spraying it (and risking collateral damage), but rather using it by spraying it on a gloved hand and then putting that end over the face of the person being subdued. Mar 29, 2022 at 16:26
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    Given it's the uk it may be because hitting someone in the face with a pepper spray will permanently blind them rather than just temporarily. But I can't be sure.
    – Huw Evans
    Mar 29, 2022 at 16:38

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