If you want to have pepper spray for self-defense you will naturally want to buy the hottest and most effective product available to you. How can you tell which one is the best? Well, I’m going to explain this so that you won’t have to blindly take some one’s word for it or take a crash course in chemistry.
If you go to the supermarket you can buy salsa (pepper) sauce with varying degrees of hotness – Mild, Medium, Hot. I like mine hot! When you eat salsa the heat or burning sensation that you feel in your mouth is caused by a chemical component of the peppers used to make the sauce called oleoresin capsicum. This chemical is highly concentrated in defensive spray products to incapacitate an attacker by causing severe inflammation and irritation of sensitive mucous membranes in the eyes, nose and mouth thereby disrupting vision, breathing and causing a lot of pain.
The heat of pepper spray is commonly measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). So hot salsa sauce contains peppers with a much higher SHU than the pepper in mild sauce.
You will find all kinds of claims about SHU made by the manufacturers of pepper spray weapons. Here are some examples of the claims made to make their pepper sprays to impress potential buyers.
1) “We use a 2% formula of 5.3 million SHU of Oleoresin Capsicum (OC) resin.”
2) “We add a small amount of pure capsaicin (which is well over 5,000,000 SHU) to boost our Certified Head Rating to over 230,000 SHU.”
3) “We use 2,000,000 SHU raw pepper in our 18% formula.”
Do you know how to interpret those claims to choose the hottest pepper spray? I’ll tell you that the first pepper spray strength is 106,000 SHU which is derived from 2% X 5.3 million. The second one is 230,000 SHU on impact which means there is 4.6% oleoresin capsicum in their formula derived by 230,000 SHU / 5,000,000 SHU. The third claim is not clear because it does not explain exactly what is comprised by the 18%. A laboratory test revealed that the pepper spray contained 87,000 SHU. So based on this analysis pepper spray #2 would be the most effective. However, this is all very confusing to the average person who would not be able to make an informed decision based on these claims.
Some manufactures don’t even bother to make any SHU claims at all and just sell their products at dirt cheap prices and as the old saying goes , “you get what you pay for!”.
Now I will tell you the secret to easily determining the hotness of pepper spray. The concentration of major capsaicinoids, not the SHU, is what makes a pepper spray effective.
Major capsaicinoids (MC) is the chemical component of peppers that make them hot which is derived from the oleoresin capsicum I mentioned earlier. Measuring by MC in a specific laboratory test is the most accurate method for determining hotness.
Laboratory tests reveal that our Pepper Shot and Wildfire have MC concentration equal to or better than the brands of competitors such as Mace, Fox Labs and Sabre.
Pepper Shot contains 1.2% MC and Wildfire contains 1.4%. This makes them among the strongest pepper sprays you can buy. The FDA has determined that any defensive spray containing 2% MC or more will cause permanent eye damage which is not our intent as a marketer of less than lethal self-defense products.
To Your Defense,