What Pepper Spray Do Police Use?

Pepper spray was originally formulated for use against aggressive animals such as bears and dogs. However, over the years, this tool has been innovated to cater to the needs of women, men, and law enforcers. Pepper spray comes in different formulations and styles. It’s therefore important to understand what pepper spray do police use?

Pepper spray is an essential tool in law enforcement. It helps in crowd control as well as apprehending law breakers who try to resist arrest or escape. It’s critical to understand the types of pepper sprays that are most suitable for law enforcers. You must also understand the aspects that influence these choices.

In this article, we discuss the various law enforcement pepper sprays. We will also explore what pepper spray do police recommend and why.

Pepper Spray for Law Enforcement

Selecting a pepper spray for the police depends on a number of factors. The main focus when picking these tools is ensuring they are effective and safe to use. Police agencies focus on finding pepper sprays that are non-lethal and only have temporary effects. This is because they mainly use this tool to control crowds. They have to be able to control situations without causing any permanent or lethal damage.

One of the most common pepper spray brands used by police officers is Sabre. Sabre has a specific law enforcement friendly pepper spray known for its potency and reliability. This pepper spray is called the Sabre Red Formula. It’s infamous for its high concentration of Oleoresin Capsicum which is the active ingredient in pepper spray. Many police departments opt for this pepper spray due to its concentration as well as its delivery system

Another popular pepper spray used by police is Fox Labs. Fox Labs has specifically designed pepper sprays for police agencies. These pepper sprays have intense heat and a quick incapacitation time. One of the common subsidiaries of Fox Labs is Fox Labs Mean Green pepper sprays. It’s known for its UV dye marking as well as its impressive range. UV dye allows police officers to identify individuals they have pepper sprayed.

Which Pepper Spray Do Police Recommend?

Police recommendations on pepper sprays rely on various factors. They focus on products that have proven efficiency, ease of use, and reliability. Police agencies recommend pepper sprays that are less likely to experience accidental discharge. This is because they use these tools in high-pressure situations and accidental discharge may lead to severe damage.

In addition to Fox Labs and Sabre, police agencies also recommend brands such as ASP and Defense Technology. This is because these brands are specially formulated to cater to the needs of law enforcers. They also offer pepper spray training where officers can learn about pepper spray and how to handle them. These classes emphasize on proper deployment techniques that officers should use.

How Pepper Spray Works

Pepper spray is a non-lethal self-defense tool used to deter attackers, control crowds, or stop aggressive animals. The active ingredient found in pepper spray is called Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). OC is derived from chili peppers and is responsible for the pungent smell and burning effect of pepper spray.

Once sprayed, pepper spray causes irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and skin. It causes tearing of the eyes, choking, burning of the skin, temporary blindness, and paralysis. Although its effects are intense and cause a lot of discomfort, they are temporary. They last for about 20 to 45 minutes depending on the concentration of the pepper spray.

This tool is convenient for use in law enforcement. This is because they are able to subdue suspects and control crowds without having any long-lasting damage. Law enforcement pepper sprays have a higher potency than normal pepper sprays. This ensures swift and powerful responses that protect the officer.

Where Do You Aim Pepper Spray?

To ensure effective use of pepper spray, you have to know exactly where to aim. During training, law enforcement officers are taught to target the suspect’s face. This is especially the eyes and nose. Once you aim at the eyes there is an immediate effect and the suspect’s eyes start tearing and burning. It eventually leads to temporary blindness making it hard for them to navigate.

Although the face is the primary target, police officers also target the respiratory system. Directing the spray to the suspect’s nose and mouth maximizes the incapacitating effects of the pepper spray.

Is Pepper Spray That Bad?

Pepper spray is an effective tool used in law enforcement. However, concerns about its misuse and safety have continued to rise. The aim of using pepper spray is to incapacitate a suspect before they can escape. The effects should be temporary and last only until an officer can subdue them. However, as is with other self-defense tools, the misuse of pepper spray can have dire consequences.

In some instances, some individuals who may be non-combative protesters, have experienced severe reactions to pepper spray. In other cases, concerns have risen on the use of pepper spray in public spaces. This is due to the effects that it has on individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.

Police agencies are aware of these concerns. They are continually improving their training programs to avoid such incidents. Police officers must use pepper spray responsibly and justifiably. When do police use pepper spray? The tool must only be used as the last resort when alternative control methods have failed.


Pepper spray is an essential tool in the law enforcement arsenal. It offers a non-lethal method of incapacitating suspects and controlling crowds without causing any lethal damage. Some of the recommended pepper spray brands for police include Sabre, Fox Labs, ASP, and Defense Technology. They are specifically designed to cater to the needs of police officers. Pepper spray causes irritation, burning of the skin, and temporary blindness. This allows officers to subdue suspects swiftly.

To ensure efficacy, police officers must direct the pepper spray to the suspect’s face and respiratory system. There are several concerns surrounding the use of pepper spray and especially in public spaces. Police agencies are working to strike a balance between individual rights and personal safety.

Written by: Georgina Njoki
Freelance Copywriter and Travel Enthusiast.




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