I see folks carrying pepper spray and in come cases stun guns on a daily basis. I've stopped people on several occasions to ask them a simple 2-part question: Have you trained on how to use the product and have you been exposed to the results of its use? The answer far too often is NO.
These are tools folks. You must train with the tools you carry to prevent yourself from becoming a liability to yourself. That's right, you are your own worst enemy in some cases.
Pepper spray carriers love that little can but, it's my belief that they've been duped into a false sense of security and most have yet to realize it. Keep in mind that this example can apply to other tools and training as well. If you have yet to train in how to properly use the equipment you may use it at the most ineffective of moment. If you have yet to be exposed to it before then you'll likely freak out when you have to use it the first time and it hits you in the face.
Pepper Spray / OC
This particular product can become airated when sprayed which makes it very easy to contaminate yourself. The user must be aware of wind direction, the distance to the target / threat, and the location necessary for a successful contact of the spray, stream, cone, or foam. Each of those formats carries issues that you must be aware of, the most prevalent is that once pepper spray is in the air the immediate area is contaminated which means the user IS exposed to it.
The spray can seem like a mist and isn't as easily found as it once was.
The stream is a long stream of the liquid that often arcs towards the ground as distance increases due to gravity. This is the format that is easiest to see thorugh as it takes up very little of the line of sight.
The cone is a conical and forced airation format of the liquid that covers a broad area, often saturating the specific area and forcing a person to inhale it. Unfortunately, the cone also runs great risk of contaminating the user. This can take up a considerable amount of your line of sight, treat it like having tunnel vision when sprayed.
The foam is just like it sounds, a thick foam format that covers whatever it hits. The foam presents the possibility of having the foam scraped from the target and thrown back at the user. You also can't see through the foam very easily when it's sprayed. Treat this like having tunnel vision when sprayed.
Distance is very relative with pepper spray, but even more so with stun guns. We're not talking Tasers here folks, we're talking the hand held point-of-contact stun guns for personal protection. These have one of the most dangerous false sense of securities known when the distance required to use them is factored in.
The stun gun requires that you be within arms reach of the attacker to utilize it. Sure, you could just turn it on and discharge it to try to scare the attacker away. Know this, if the attacker has even a hint of intent to complete the task he or she started upon that attacker will simply separate you from the stun gun. After all, you were foolish enough to let the attacker know that you were armed in some manner and with what tool(s). You effectively gave the attacker the ability to formulate and implement a response. This is why it is better that you never give the attacker the knowledge that you are armed at all. The attacker should only find out your armed when it is time to pull the trigger, when you can employ your equipment to stop the threat.
Some might think like this: Well if I display and discharge my stun gun and the attacker leaves I've stopped that threat. Ok, you have done so. What happens the next time when your confidence is up that if you pursue the same employment tactic that it will work and then the attacker doesn't go quite so easily? What if your focus on that attacker caused you to overlook the most dangerous threat in the situation? You have become your own worst enemy by beliving that this type of tool employment will work. Make it up close and personal, the tool will require it anyway. Make it a surprise for your attacker. And by all means DON'T GO QUIETLY!
The most valuable part of this thread is that you must train with the tools you decide to utilize. With certain tools, like pepper spray or stun guns, it is important to be exposed to them so that you understand what they will do to you which gives you the power to fight through a future exposure rather than becoming panicked. You need to know the limitations of your equipment as well as yourself.