Non lethal weapons

Should Pepper Spray Be In Your Everyday Carry Arsenal?


Check your everyday carry load-out real quick. What’s in it? If you’re anything like our typical readers, you’ll likely have the following:

  • Concealed carry handgun & permit
  • Spare magazine
  • Flashlight
  • Pocket knife

Now how about adding yet one more thing to the load-out? Well, in this article, we’ll talk about whether or not pepper spray should be that additional tool in your self-defense arsenal.

Pepper spray is a non-lethal weapon that can be sprayed into the eyes and mucous membranes of an attacker to temporarily blind or incapacitate him.

A beefier cousin, OC spray, is generally carried on the belts of quite a few law enforcement officers and military policemen. The reason why it’s so effective is it severely irritates the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs to the point that a person cannot persist in an aggressive action and has to predominantly focus on mitigating the excruciating pain.

Yes, pepper spray hurts a lot. Outside of those with respiratory ailments, it offers considerably low risk of permanent injury.

As a concealed carry tool, pepper spray is often the first step for someone who wants to protect himself but doesn’t want to use deadly force. For those of us who understand the world a bit better, we know that nothing substitutes defending one’s self with deadly force.

If you have the choice of going home alive and well or going home injured or worse, most people will opt to go home alive and well.

So, in what occasion would you use pepper spray but you wouldn’t use deadly force?

Conflict de-escalation.

De-escalating a conflict means taking it down to its lowest level of danger. In many cases, words will do just fine. In others, non-lethal forms of weaponry may need to be used to defend one’s self and establish clear boundaries with others.


Pepper spray certainly establishes that boundary.

If someone is acting aggressively and getting up into your face, making violent gestures, or even intruding on your comfort zone, pepper spray can help establish that this behavior is not acceptable and is viewed as threatening.

It can also buy an avenue of retreat.

A concealed carrier should never be adverse to withdrawing from a potential conflict. It can save you money, hassle, and the welfare of yourself and the other person.

One thing that every concealed carrier can depend upon is running into at least one situation where he or she feels threatened. That is an inevitability.

Having options other than deadly force opens up how we can choose to deal with a situation. If all you have is your fists, a pocket knife, and a gun, it’s a “rock, paper, gun” situation. There’s nothing inbetween all or nothing.

Committing to a hand-to-hand fight in the attempt to avoid a deadly conflict is a lose-lose situation for all parties involves when one or both of those parties are carrying firearms.

For those that live in states that view self-defense much more stringently than others (i.e. no “Stand Your Ground” laws), finding non-lethal solutions that still neutralize an opponent may be the best idea.

It avoids a ton of legal problems as well as potentially offsets a conflict where you would be forced to use deadly force to defend yourself.

Pepper spray is a tool in the sphere of conflict de-escalation. It is not a solution. A gun is a tool. Your mind is the most powerful tool you possess. Giving your mind options rather than forcing it into a fight or flight situation will inevitably give you more options in dealing with an aggressive scenario.

Is pepper spray something you carry on your everyday carry load-out? Tell us your impressions in the comments section below.

Categories: Beginners Guide, General
About James England | View all posts by James England

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry…

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 36 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his CZ-75D PCR in an Alien Gear MOD holster.

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