Opinions on BYRNA Pepper Ball Pistol

Has anyone had any experience with the Byrna Pepper ball System? Nancy is thinking of buying one. We watched some vids on YT and it looks viable. Thanks, Bruce and Nancy. :+1:


My first thought is it LOOKS like a gun. Everyone is going to see a gun and treat it as if it’s a gun.

So if she has to use it, someone else might think it’s a real gun and meet her at that level of force.


I completely agree with @Dawn. Someone pulls that out at me. My Ruger is leaving the holster. You have no idea that’s a none lethal weapon. I mean the idea is cool but I think this could cause all types of lawsuits and unnecessary deaths.


This is the only one I’ve seen that doesn’t scream “gun” to me and is recognizable by many as a pepper spray:

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Pepper spray and these pepper ball devices are good for somethings and not others.

Law Enforcement have been using the pepper ball devices mainly as crowd control. They can shoot the ground immediately in front of someone and that person can step back before being impacted.

They don’t use in any situations where you immediately need to neutralize a threat.

I think in addition to Dawn’s comments above about it being mistaken for a real gun, they could give her a false sense of security.

Pepper spray does not work on everyone,especially if the person is not in their right mind (drugs, alcohol, mental health issues), of regular spray you need to be really close, if pepperballs unless hit in upper torso the threat could pull their shirt over their face to limit exposure, is shot too close to yourself you run the risk of incapacitating yourself.

I had looked into getting one for my daughter in college. We opted for a small personal can of pepper spray and a decent knife. She has no illusions and knows to fight as if her life depended on it if she ever used them…because it will. We both felt with the pepper ball gun she had more chances of becoming complacent.


I’m a big fan of non-lethal options, this one included. Has the nice feature that it can be deployed outside the normal radius of a pepper spray canister. Downside to me is that I CC every day. Carrying my EDC plus this gun, which is bulky, wouldn’t be easy. Looks like it’s an “either-or” proposition for those of us who carry.

Either way, options are good, this is a good option. Kudos to Byrna for offering this.


@Paul1 I agree. :+1:

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Hey Bruce, I was often “volunteered” by my NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) buddy to demonstrate proper mask usage in our CS gas chamber for new recruits. I built up such a tolerance that I often walked in without a mask and tried to convince the other newbies to take their masks off because it was no big deal. It was always good laughs.

I’ve also been on the receiving end of pepper balls and pepper spray as well as bear spray and learned that while I certainly hated it, I was still able to function and fight. (soldiers are always getting into fights…what can I say).

So, with that in mind, if your wife was defending herself from someone who may also have a higher threshold or even on drugs, I would certainly be worried that the BYRNA may not completely incapacitate the threat. So from my point of view, I wouldn’t want to rely on something that might only “possibly” work to keep me alive or safe. Just something to think about.


I really like this tool in the right circumstances.

I would definitely not conceal carry this, or in place of a typical pepper-spray. As mentioned above, if you pull this out to “pepper ball” someone everyone will assume it’s a pistol and may react accordingly.

A good place for this is HD in a situation where maybe you don’t want a firearm.

There are several threads here related to people concerned with over-penetration in apartments or other places with thin walls and little distance. In addition to the actual pepper-spray effects, at close range this is effectively like being hit with a paintball. It will hurt. It also would affect several attackers due to area effect of the pepper spray material.

Another useful scenario is for homes with kids. You may keep your firearms locked up in a bedroom, but keep pepper spray near the main living areas. If a kid manages to get a hold of it, and uses it, it won’t be a lethal accident. A painful lesson, but they’ll be around to learn from it. And if you need it in a hurry it is closer than a firearm on another floor.

There may be places where you can’t have a firearm for various reasons. This gives you the ability to “shoot” with a familiar and accurate tool and maintain distance while using it.

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@Harvey Well laid out , we agree. Thanks. :+1:

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While I agree with the main thought of your post, the pepper ball devices can be lethal especially if hit in the face.

There has to be just as much care put into making sure kids don’t have access to these as a normal firearm.

Also you would have to be careful so the pepper spray does not impair you or your family when used indoors. If a threat is inside an average house or apartment and you are close enough to use this, how far away would the threat be? Ten feet? Fifteen feet?

It will all come down to training and preparation. Retreating to safety if at all possible would probably be best. If while doing that you fire some pepper balls at the threat…that to me seems most effective use.


You are absolutely right @Martin36 Less lethal isn’t quite non-lethal. But for folks who want something defensive a little closer to living spaces it may be a better choice than a firearm.

I’m not sure the “spread” once the ball explodes on contact. But an advantage this would have over a “normal” spray is that a normal pepper spray contaminates an area spreading between the device to the attacker. With the Byrna, it only contaminates an area around the attacker.

Now… if you are in a tiny NYC apartment that may not make any difference as you’d get splashback with either solution. But if you’ve got enough room, you can shoot from “here” and all the pepper effect lands over “there”.

Another option I like is the larger pepper sprays that look like fire extinguishers. This one is a gel, so you’d get less splashback in the example above, and would further reduce the danger if accessed by a child who shouldn’t be accessing it.

It’s good to have options you can fit to your particular situation.


Agree 1000% on having options.