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The History of Pepper Spray


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Pepper spray, a small canister also known as OC spray from Oleoresin Capsaicin, is a non-lethal spraying device that has been designed to irritate the eyes of an assailant by causing tears, pain and temporary blindness.

The use of the cayenne chili pepper as we know it today has been used for thousands of years with records showing that it was used in ancient China when the Chinese ground the potent pepper in rice paper before flinging it into the face of their enemies.

Click here to learn more on how pepper spray works

In 1960, a different type of compound was created at the University of Georgia by Professor James H. Jenkins and Dr Frank Hayes. Sold commercially in 1963 it was known as Halt Animal Repellent. Fast-forward to today and modern day use of pepper spray is a popular device often used for self defense.

In 1989, the Firearms Training Unit of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, finished three years of intensive research on the use and effects of pepper spray. After that, the FBI authorized the use of the spray canister to its special agents in addition to its SWAT teams. Unsurprisingly, the FBI were attracted to pepper spray simply because it provided the ideal answer to stopping an unruly suspect without the need for excessive force.

However, not only is pepper spray effective against hostile individuals, but it is also effective against domestic and wild animals without presenting any harm to them or the environment they are in. It has proved highly effective in preventing dog attacks in built up areas to bear attacks in bear country.

It was only in the 1990ís that the use of pepper spray began to circulate widely among law enforcement departments when over 3,000 police forces in the United States issued the devices as part of an officerís standard arsenal.

And today, it is widely distributed for the public to purchase as a way of protecting themselves from unwanted harm. Small and discreet, pepper spray has become the ideal self defense device for a person to use for their safety.