How Effective is Pepper Spray?
Pepper spray is effective in stopping an attacker in his tracks. When the spray gets into the eyes and face, it is intensely painful, causing a burning sensation. The facial skin, eyes and mucous membranes inside the mouth start to burn and itch intensely. The attacker will also start to cough and experience a choking sensation. Problems are aggravated when the burning areas are rubbed. Just a one second burst is enough to adversely affect the attacker for about forty five minutes. The severe discomfort, along with the searing pain, causes the person to withdraw from the intended attack. The worst symptom caused is the loss of temporary vision brought on by dilation of the capillaries of the eyes. This temporary vision impairment creates a distressed state, making the attacker forget all thoughts of inflicting violence.
Normally, pepper spray is about one quarter effective. This means that in the initial few seconds the attacker is rendered immobilized. Since the peak time intensity induces multiple uncomfortable reactions, it buys you time to get into escape mode. It's in the first few minutes when the assailant is incapacitated due to the swelling of the mucous membranes. Take advantage of this window and get to safety.
Although it may not cause any permanent damage, it will effectively put an intended victim out of harm's way, allowing time to run or call for help. Pepper spray does not paralyze an attacker. Sometimes, crazed with pain, assailants have been known to grab and lash out, but most go down kneeling and clutching their face or rubbing their eyes.
There is often a difference in reactions due to varying distances and amounts of pepper spray used. Factors like wind-speed and direction affect shooting the spray directly on the face. Effects could also vary depending on whether the assailant's eyes were open or shut. Additionally, effectiveness is altered due to elemental conditions like wet, windy or rainy weather. Yet, the end result is usually temporary incapacitation.
You can expect pepper spray to be most effective in the first few moments when the assailant is usually at their greatest discomfort and disempowerment. Briefly thereafter, the spray creates an intense discomfort that peaks for a few seconds. The duration of the effect of pepper spray to debilitate the person could be 10 or 15 minutes, after which the pepper spray effects begin to wear off. If you use the 2 or 5 percent pepper sprays, the effect lasts up to 35 to 45 minutes.