Pepper Spray: Effective But Not Easy

This post from my experience at FPF Training’s Concealed Carry: Advanced Skills and Tactics (CCASAT) course, taught by John Murphy last summer, got lost in my drafts folder. Well, as we used to say in Californian, mas vale tarde que nunca. Better late than never.

Pepper spray is a widely-accepted and (potentially) effective tool of self-defense. It is (perhaps) useful in more situations than a firearm, and even those who don’t believe in armed self-defense don’t balk at suggesting people carry pepper spray.

My daughter, my wife, and I have all been carrying pepper spray for years, but did we have any idea how to use it? Absolutely not.

Using pepper spray trainers at FPF Training course, June 2019. Photo by David Yamane

An incredibly valuable part of CCASAT, as noted previously, was the opportunity to practice carrying and deploying pepper spray.

Everyone in the class was given a Sabre MK-6 inert training spray that we had the opportunity to test fire on a static target: Murphy.

Deploying pepper spray is nowhere near as easy as it seems. This was evident when Murphy upped the stress just a little bit by walking slowly toward us and having us get the pepper spray out and use it.

In the video below you can see a slight fumble, followed by a hand change, and then the nozzle got blocked by the index finger.

The three major takeaways from this component of the class for me were:

1. Definitely carry pepper spray.

2. Definitely practice using it.

3. Take a pepper spray class with someone like Chuck Haggard.


  1. When I am teaching personal safety seminars, I ask women if they carry OC spray. Many of them say yes. But when I ask where they carry it, “It’s in my purse” or “on my keychain.” Getting to in a situation of duress is tough. I also ask if any of them have ever used it to see how far it propels or how they would deploy it when the time is needed. I have yet to have a woman in a class say they have tried it before. This is a great post with the vids to back it up. I found your blog through Active Response Training. Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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