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Where Can You Buy Pepper Spray?

Since pepper spray is not a controlled substance it's pretty easy to find locally at most hardware stores, or large department stores, as well as online retailers.  If you live outside the city limits, pepper spray will most likely be available at your local farmer's co-op.

IMPORTANT PEPPER SPRAY FACT: Some people do not realize that pepper spray has a shelf life of 2-4 years, depending on the manufacturer. Often, there is an expiration date printed on the can itself. As a conservative measure it is smart to replace your can of spray about once per year. Then you can use the old canister to practice with. Set up a small target downwind of you, and spray away.

BUYING FROM A LOCAL STORE:  Buying pepper spray from a local store is the best option if you have to have the pepper spray right now. This way, you do not have to wait for it to be shipped and can have quick access to the product. The problem with this is that most local hardware stores or department stores know very little or nothing about the product. So finding the right pepper spray for your situation will be up to you. The thing to consider is that you can buy pepper spray from a local store, then go ahead and do some research online and have a can or two on reserve, in case you need it.

BUYING FROM AN ONLINE STORE:  The only disadvantage to buying from an online store is waiting for the pepper spray to be delivered. Normally, after you place your order, you can expect 3-5 days for delivery. However, there are many advantages to making your purchase online. You can shop around and find the most competitive pricing and discounts. There are several stores online that specialize in only pepper spray. Many of these have trained staff available to help you determine which pepper spray is right for you, and answer questions about how to use the sprays, etc. When buying online, make certain that you are dealing with a company that knows the product.

HISTORY OF PEPPER SPRAY: 1973 was the year pepper spray (also known as OC spray) was first manufactured as an aerosol.  At that point only law enforcement agencies and the United States Postal Department used pepper spray as an aid to:
1. Control suspects
2. Keep angry dogs at a safe distance

Pepper spray should not be treated casually simply because it is easily available; it is a very powerful substance and should be used with forethought and caution.  Pepper spray has the ability to help someone out of a life-threatening situation if used properly.  

While there are no proven long-term negative effects, pepper spray can be quite debilitating in the short-term, causing burning sensations, tearing, coughing, nausea and other symptoms.

If you decide to buy pepper spray, take the time necessary to learn its proper use, ensuring you'll know exactly what to do if confronted by an assailant or angry dog.  Most cities will have multiple self-defense classes, some in-depth others covering the basics and most discussing the pros and cons of using pepper spray.

Pepper spray is manufactured in various concentrations and comes packaged in different types of canisters depending on its planned deployment. Many sprays even have an expiration date. Pepper sprays often have a shelf life of 2-4 years. Details should be available on the packaging, if not discuss your needs with someone knowledge in self-defense.  One of the first decisions you'll make when buying pepper spray is the intensity of the solutions which varies between 1% and 10% with 5% being a good choice.

PEPPER SPRAY ILLUSTRATION: Pepper spray is derived from cayenne pepper, so imagine biting down on a single very hot chili pepper, it's likely to cause discomfort but the symptoms will quickly diminish.  The same experiment with 10 potent chili peppers is likely to invoke tears, coughing and more.  While not a scientific comparison, this is similar to the difference between a 1% solution, and a 10% solution.

While pepper spray is available (in most instances) over-the-counter, there may be state laws affecting it use.  Most retail establishments should have this clearly posted, if not be certain to ask.  Since your purchase is likely for all the right reasons, you wouldn't want to break the law inadvertently.  If you have difficulty determining the law, either do an online search or call your local law enforcement agency and simply ask.

When considering your purchase think about a scenario where the pepper spray must quickly be deployed, could you place your hands on it in seconds?  With that thought consider a "Hip Holster" (basically a belt clip) that makes grabbing the canister as easy as reaching for your cell phone.

When you buy pepper spray, you're in essence buying peace of mind knowing if danger does strike, you'll have defensive measures in the palm of your hand.

About The Author

Bryan Robinson, founder of has trained with pepper spray since 1994. His website specializes in the sales of only Pepper Spray. This enables him to help his customers with questions about finding the right pepper spray for the right situations, as well as questions about training and use of pepper spray.

Copyright © protected 2008. All rights reserved. Reprint permission granted by the Author as long as this entire footer remains with the article, and the article is not modified in any way.

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