David Nance of Security Equipment Corporation presents a variety of chemical agents that can be used as self-defense tools. Three chemical agent aerosol irritant projectors are available to the general public.
CN tear gas was the first one on the market. It causes profuse tearing of the eyes and mild skin irritation. Though useful, it is not very effective on persons under the influence of drugs or alcohol. CS tear gas was introduced next. It takes effect more quickly and is more potent and less toxic. It provides a much more intense burning sensation to the facial area, as well as tightness in the chest.
An FBI study circa 1990 found pepper sprays (oleoresin capsicum, or OC) to be more effective than either type of tear gas because they do not rely on pain to incapacitate. Pepper spray is an inflammatory, meaning it causes things to swell, such as the eyes and mucous membranes, resulting in a loss of breath sensation and involuntary eye closing. This involuntary physiological response makes pepper spray more effective on those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Also available as self-defense tools are blended sprays, which give the benefits of both CS tear gas and OC. They combine the irritant effect of the CS with the inflammatory effect of the OC, to produce a synergistic effect that will be stronger than using one type without the other.
Three or four different spray patterns are available. Stream delivery is the most popular. Cone delivery is more of an aerosol form with microscopic droplets. Fog is a greater distance, greater diameter variation of the cone delivery. Lastly, foam is for indoor use.
Which is right for you to employ as one of your self-defense tools? This video offers valuable tips.