When purchasing self defense items like stun guns and pepper spray, it is important to learn how to carry and use them safely. Although the media often focuses on the dangers of guns and knives, lesser-known self defense weapons like pepper spray and stun guns can also pose a danger if you are not educated on their use. If you have any questions about their use, ask your local police department; if they do not offer training, they will know where such training is offered.

Pepper spray comes in a can, like spray paint. Unlike spray paint, it has a safety mechanism that must be turned so that the contents can be sprayed. Always carry your pepper spray with the safety mechanism engaged. However, examine it carefully so that you know how to turn off the safety quickly while it’s in your purse or pocket, in case you ever need to use it. Otherwise you’ll have to pull it out, look at it, and turn off the safety, all while your attacker is coming closer. Once the safety is off, it can be sprayed just like spray paint into your attacker’s face.

Keep pepper spray at room temperature, and never leave it in your car during the summer. Otherwise, the high temperatures can cause the canister to leak. If you do come in contact with pepper spray, flush the area with cool water, and take off any clothing that has been sprayed. Do not use warm water or touch your face.

Stun guns must be pressed directly to the skin of your attacker in order to be effective. Keep in mind that it is possible to use the gun multiple times on one charge, so be very careful when picking up the gun after using it on an attacker, so that you do not stun yourself. However, when used correctly it is extremely difficult to shock yourself; even if the attacker is touching you, using the stun gun will not cause the current to pass through to your body. Although a permit is usually not necessary for carrying a stun gun, you should still consider training if you plan to carry one. Training can ensure that you know how to use it if the time comes.

If you opt for a stun gun, look for models with disposable pins. If the attacker tries to grab your stun gun away from you, the disposable pin will pull out, and the stun gun cannot be used against you.

After using pepper spray or a stun gun, do not wait to watch your attacker’s reaction to it. Instead, flee the area quickly, while the assailant is temporarily incapacitated. Pepper spray’s effects last at least 45 seconds, while stun guns may last from 5 to 10 minutes for full recovery.

Always remember that stun guns and pepper spray can cause pain, even though they are very unlikely to cause permanent damage. For this reason, keep them out of the reach of children, and teach your children that they are not toys. To a child, your pepper spray and stun gun may look like spray paint and a toy gun. Never use these items if there is no emergency, as misuse may be a crime. Although using stun guns and pepper spray for self defense is legal, using them when there is no threat is not.


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