Are Pepper Sprays Right for Self-Defense

What's pepper spray?

The key ingredient in pepper spray is Oleoresin Capsicum, which is a very inflammatory liquid derived from the concentrated juice of normal hot chili peppers. The chemical heat of pepper spray is measured on a scale called the Scoville heat unit scale, or SHU. For more details on pepper spray, you may head towards

The scale is called the Scoville heat unit in honor of its inventor, though there are now more advanced procedures for determining the precise quantity of chemical heat in a chili pepper.

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To put the strength of pepper sprays into perspective, consider this

1. A Sweet Bell Pepper has a heat rating of 0 shu

2. A Jalapeno Pepper has a heat rating between 3000 and 8000 shu

3. Cayenne Pepper and Tabasco Sauce have a heat rating of between shu 30,000 and 60,000

4. A Habanero Pepper (which is one of the hottest peppers in the world) has a heat rating of Between 100,000 and 350,000 shu

Most Defensive sprays have a rating between 1,500, 000 and 5,000,000 shu, with average pepper sprays ranging somewhere around 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 shu.

To put that into perspective, consider the most recent time you bit into a few really spicy foods or a pepper that is really hot. A lot of you know what I'm talking about.

You take a little bite, start chewing, and in about 2 seconds tongue and your lips begin to get hot. Drinking water only makes it worse, so you eat some bread or crackers trying to cut the burning down. If you are alright, your buddies are either asking, or they're laughing their butts off at how foolish you look running around in circles. After a couple of minutes, things begin to cool off and you're merely glad it's over.


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