Lead photo by Dave Merrill for Concealment Magazine

A concealed firearm is a powerful tool for self-defense, but there are many defensive scenarios which may not call for lethal force. It’s therefore a good idea to diversify your defensive options with a less-lethal tool such as pepper spray or OC spray. These chemical compounds can inflict immediate pain and disorientation upon an attacker, creating a window for you to escape or prepare a lethal response if it becomes necessary.

In a recent article on Active Response Training, Greg Ellifritz wrote about an incident involving pepper spray that was captured on a convenience store security camera in Canada. In this incident, two masked men entered the store and demanded cash from the register. The owner told the Ottawa Sun that he thought it was a joke at first, but then one of the men pulled a knife. The store owner grabbed a can of pepper spray (reportedly bear spray) and used it on the robbers, scaring off one of them and disorienting the other.

The original video in the Ottawa Sun article appears to have been deleted, but you can get the gist of it from the second-hand recording below:

Thankfully, the store personnel weren’t injured, but as Ellifritz noted, this situation wasn’t handled as well as it could’ve been. He expands on a few basic tips in his blog article:

  1. Keep your spray accessible, not set aside on a cluttered counter or buried in a purse.
  2. Practice with your spray, especially with inert training canisters.
  3. Have a backup plan in case the spray fails to stop the threat quickly.
  4. Know your reaction to inadvertent exposure or overspray.
  5. Be ready to decontaminate yourself after the fight.

For more details on each of these points, we’d recommend you read the article in its entirety on ActiveResponseTraining.net.

Also, be sure to check out this article from Concealment magazine, which provides an overview of pepper spray selection and use.


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