My first thought was does this stuff stop a bear, of course. Then questions start to flow, like legality and effectiveness. Is it legal to blast someone with a spray designed for animals? Can you carry it open or concealed? Does it really stop a bear or 2 legged predator from doing you harm? Personally from a father’s perspective, I like the thought of my girls having this option. It is supposed to be non-lethal, but after reading about its strength and what it can do to your senses, I could see it being life threatening to someone who has less than stellar lungs.
Bear Spray For Self Defense
The active ingredient in pepper spray is oleoresin capsacum, which contains a compound called capsaicin, the stuff that gives it the spicy kick. It doesn’t take much of the stuff to make you feel pain. The ‘heat’ content is measured by the Scoville scale, developed by an American named Wilbur Scoville. Once you look at the levels of ‘heat’ in certain foods, you get the picture of pain that can be inflicted by concentrates of these peppers. I love Scotch Bonnet and Habanero sauces, they get me sweating, but they are on the wimpy side of the scale, around 200K. Jalapeno’s, child’s play. Udap bear spray is playing in the 3.3 million range.
Some of the peppers grown for sprays can’t be handled with bare hands without great risk. We are talking peppers with a rating in the millions on the scale. If the smell of Tabasco makes you pull away, then this stuff will make you run for your life. This stuff is rated around 3.3 million, on the Scoville scale. Some cop sprays go to 5 million, or so I have read.
The effectiveness of UDAP bear sprays is well documented. The Forest Service issues this to its people instead of a RPG, so I’m going to go with the fact that it works. So the question begs to be asked, ‘Is it better than a gun?’ As much as I love my big magnum revolvers, I would go with the spray for the big predators. Blasphemy you say, the fog pattern is better than a 12Ga, and the fact that you don’t have to think about ricochets, background targets, and wall penetration, makes it a viable consideration, and its non-lethal. In reality, both would be the best option. The UDAP canister with holster weighs about a pound, my 7.9 oz net can weighs 11.2 gross, and costs around $60 with carry option, that sounds like bargain security. What if you get some on you? By accident or wind or …DON”T RUB IT! You are just grinding it in. Read this great info page (click here).
In Your House?
Basically, you don’t want it on you if possible. So here is the disclaimer, I don’t think you can use bear spray in an enclosed area without getting intimate with the spray. Using this inside your home for defense could get dicey. Airflow in your home would have to be taken into consideration before deciding to use this as an option. If you could deploy this down a hallway and close the door behind you, it would be an option. Walking through a cloud of this doesn’t sound like fun. All that said, think what it would be like to have it used on you. A deputy friend told me that many of his fellow deputies have quit carrying spray due to the clean-up, putting a sprayed suspect in the car, and potentially wrestling with said suspect, all that puts you in contact with the stuff. So all this might sound like reasons not to include this in your arsenal, but I think the opposite. This stuff will deter an attacker, period. When the chips are down, it is all about you getting away alive. Bear spray is easily deployed, carried, and purchased.
Legality. Personal defense sprays are legal to carry in all states, some municipalities may ban it or limit the size of the can. D.C. requests that you register it, but I think that you might have to register your salad forks in Washington DC too. Where does Bear Spray land on the legal issue? You can buy it online in most states, but using it on a human is not encouraged. If your safety is in danger, blast away I say. If you are in the right to defend yourself, I am guessing the potential penalty, if a jury doesn’t sympathize with you, would be worth the risk. Better judged by 12 than carried by 6. If you think that carrying this with is an option, do your research for your AO. We could not find any volunteers for field applications, wussies. I even tried money,$20 doesn’t buy what it used to.
Not A Volunteer
One of the guys who works on this blog (not to be named) had a nasty run in with UDAP Bear Spray. Late one night after a show, he decided to drive home rather than stay in a hotel. By the time he got home, his wife was in bed. He ate a late dinner and decided to go to bed. Unfortunately his wife had locked the bedroom door. So being the smart survival guy and not wanting to sleep on the couch, he decided to pick the lock. He assumed that his wife would know it was him. Bad idea. With the lock almost picked, his wife swung open the door and sprayed him with UDAP Bear Spray. Luckily for him, it just hit his arm and shoulder but that was enough to make him a true believer. “This stuff is 10 times worse than the riot gas they use in the Marine Corps. My arm hurt for four days and even though it did not hit me in the face, I could barely see out of my eyes for almost an hour. It literally felt like my arm and shoulder were on fire. I can’t imagine getting hit in the face with this stuff. This is why I don’t give her a gun, she is crazy.” It made for a great story the next day.
When writing this review, we had a few laughs thinking about dusting some aggressive beggar or used car salesman, but those pesky laws about hurting people for laughs, keep getting in the way. So as a replacement just check out youtube, wow people do the craziest stuff. I did go out with a friend and tried to get some good pics and a short video. Notice I said tried, the wind was swirling just enough for my friend to get a taste and so did I, but my friend got a bigger sample. The canister worked flawlessly dispensing an even fog/cloud of repellant. It comes out fast and furious, just what you need when you need it. My first blast was more than what I guess I expected, in the aspect of effective range. Just the sound of this canister alone would be enough to give any person pause, then reality hits them square in the face. A normal person can’t miss the target with this item. At 10 feet away the spray pattern is around 3 feet in diameter, at 20+ feet it will envelop you.
Bringing us back around to shifting winds. Be ready to keep moving after hitting the trigger, which should be a natural thing anyway. Storage, don’t leave this canister in the sun. It is under some serious pressure, so baking it on your dash might be asking for trouble. A couple of sites describe storing this during travel in a Nalgene bottle. Drill a small hole in the top, to relieve pressure should a rupture occur, and cover the hole with some foam or cotton material to keep the leak to a minimum.
This product is called a deterrent. Earlier we were talking about strengths according to Mr. Scoville, cop or personal defense sprays are stronger than this stuff, why? After thinking about it for a few minutes or hours, it dawned on me as to maybe why. Bear sprays are meant to deter an attack, not encourage it. If you hurt an angry momma bear, wrath be upon you. Better to discourage than provoke. Personal defense sprays are meant to disable an attacker, and they do a good job. Even if you nail the most violent drug crazed thug that exists, he will slow down and probably have a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment, giving you enough time to retreat or treat them to your version of neutralization.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line is that UDAP Bear Deterrent is a great product that will give the security you desire whether hiking down a trail in Alaska or just camping around your locale. I could also see this in your kit for crowd control or an urban bug out where a firearm is not an option. The biggest advantage that this stuff has over personal defense sprays is the fog pattern and distance, you just can’t miss. And if you do miss, you got a whole canister to track your target down.