Mace/Pepper Spray vs. Firearm

My wife and I were discussing purchasing her another handgun. She normally carries a M&P EZ shield .380. I was thinking that I should purchase her a compact or subcompact .380 as a secondary carry option.
Being the “ever frugal” woman she is, she was thinking to opt for Mace or Pepper Spray as a secondary carry option (which we used in MD doing some dangerous work - fortunately never having the need to use it). We no longer live in MD and are now in UT so there are many available options to us.
I’d love to hear from all of you, your opinions regarding (even dissenting from firearm carry) secondary options and reasons for each. Thank you all in advance!


Pepper spray is a good option. Options are good. Sometimes you just can’t carry, sometimes you just don’t want to shoot. Small, easy to conceal, handy. Guessing gel is the best. Indoors or out.


Pepper Spay is my PRIMARY carry option. Handgun is SECONDARY.
Most of the situations I’m seeing around me in public, seems to be fixable with non lethal tools.

Remember the rules:
first - avoid, second - use proportional force. Pepper spray is the magic tool that can solve most of the problems.


Yes I agree 100 percent because it gives you time to escape and avoid. But just remember that person you just sprayed is pissed :triumph: as all hell so get out quickly. Also you may want to notify law enforcement that you deployed it and give them the details.


It may not be a person - one of the reasons I carry it is in case a dog starts advancing and won’t back off.

Good point though @Johnnyq60 - OC isn’t magic. I know getting OC’d was part of FPFT in the Navy 15 or so years ago. You can fight through it.


Not everyone reacts the same to pepper spray. Know how it affects you when you carry it.

Train using it and when to use it as well - be able to draw and “shoot” quickly and efficiently.


Looks like the magic has few meanings… :wink:


If OC spray is deployed on target, your threat will be stopped.
The recipient of the spray will immediately have very limited or no vision.
Their throat and nasal cavities will swell almost to the point of closure.
They will physiologically shut down and literately think they are going to choke to death and die.

They should be collapsed and on the ground at this point. You can leave them lying there while you contact LE, and/or assure them that they are not going to choke to death and die. They should be in a panicked state of duress. If you have " Fox Labs, Sudecon - OC, CS, CN & Pepper Spray Decontamination Wipes" you can… offer this to them.


With what’s going down these days in my state (CA) I bought pepper spray for everyone in my family. After consulting the internet experts, I equipped them with POM spray.


I thinking having a second option is always a good idea. A gun is not always needed. If someone is starting to become agitated with you, sometimes a gun is to far. I’ve said this before, taking a life needs to be the last option.


Here’s another idea I’ll throw in…

Having the spray INSTEAD of carrying her firearm. A secondary option to be carried alone.
If she does not carry her firearm at all and only carries PS she then leaves herself open for a potentially more aggressive attack whereby PS won’t be sufficient?

Also, carrying PS, if the attacker dodges the spray and is able to get hands on the victim, the dynamic changes to a more vital encounter for a stronger user of force to stop the attack, now without the few seconds that were used to deploy the spray?


Forget the pepper spray, but wasp spray keep a can in each vehicle. Good for all kinds of pests👌🏾


Wasp spray has been proven ineffective. There are tons of videos out there on YouTube that proves wasp spray is ineffective.

@Matt_W not every situation calls for a gun. If she uses a gun and a situation didn’t call for it and she could be prosecuted. We need to assess every situation for the value of what’s in front of us. I understand where you’re coming from. Losing precious time to draw the gun. I get it. That’s why you use your non-dominant hand to spray the pepper spray while your dominant hand is on your gun. This is possible and I know it is because I train this way. In fact you can find police talking about doing this.

Look, we have to protect our rights as much as our life. If we think the gun is our first line of defense in every situation then we give the gun hater’s a reason to crucify the second amendment. We have to think before we shoot. If there is training we can do to prevent shooting or at least try something before we have to shoot, then we’ve done our duty to protect the second amendment because we’ve tried to use other ways first. Yeah a dude coming at you with a gun or breaks in your house with a weapon we know there’s no other choice. but not every situation is like that.

We are responsible for protecting the second amendment by having more than one option to assess the situation the proper way and train and train and train.


Pepper spray is generally good for a single attacker. Maybe for 2 attackers depending on the situation. Not so good for 2 attackers that coordinate the attack or more than 2 attackers.

You also can’t deploy the spray indoors or in your car without risking exposure.

Make sure you get training on what ever you carry and use the right tool for the right job.

Learn the difference between a range problem and an azimuth problem and to defend against both.


A small secondary ‘backup’ firearm is always a good idea and can be anything… including a .22LR, a .32 ACP, or even a .25 though I would not actually go with the .25… or another .380…


Pepper Spray and a good metal ball point pen are also good options that do not take up any room and do not really add much weight to your EDC.


Not a viable option. It might be good for an emergency at home to get away and delay the attacker and get to cover… but it really is not effective, other than being a spray that gets in their eyes and anything will work…
Or you can light a fire and have a flame thrower, though that might lead to legal problems.

It is also difficult to carry a can of wasp spray on your belt.

We already had this discussion in another thread.


Thank you for all the feedback👍🏾 I thought wasp spray would be good (of course I haven’t tried it!) I guess I’ll take them back out of our vehicles and keep them for the backyard. I don’t do much YouTube, it always seems there are answers that agree with whatever you are looking for…


Justin47, I totally agree that most situations won’t call for a gun. This question is more about downgrading to a non-lethal carry weapon vs. getting a more compact sidearm.

It’s not so much about what to use in different situations. We both (my Wife and I) have had lots of encounters that we have dealt with using non-lethal tactics. I think having the form of protection a firearm can offer is better (although not preferred in outcome) than risking personal injury or death from an insufficient deterrent such as Mace/pepper spray.



OC spray does not always incapacitate and sometimes not at all. Just train with it and think about how you would respond if you were sprayed because it happens. It takes a while for it to take effect as well. I’m not sure about wasp spray, I do know most defensive OC sprays come with some sort of dye to make ID a little easier. Also be careful using the restroom after training with pepper spray :rofl: :+1:


Do not even think about WASP spray…
It has been discussed already as NO GO !!!