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Mace/Pepperspray & Tasers; #1 – Do They Really Work?

Mace the goods, the bads, the uglies.

A few weeks ago I was having a great conversation with a buddy of mine who, besides his normal business, decided to sell tasers  as well.  I listened to him talk and was also able to play “devil’s advocate” during the conversation.  The thing I learned the most about someone who is not in the “loop” when it comes to self defense and defensive tactics, is that the concept of these two things, Mace & Tasers, is quite misleading.  It would appear that those selling such items would have you believe that they are a substitute for real knowledge and training.  I won’t apply that to my good buddy, because he has a better brain than that, and does understand the application of a taser.

I saw a commercial on TV a few months ago that just made me mad!!!  It was for a taser company, who was selling hard.  They mentioned the “dangerous” and “bad” gun problem and one should use a taser for protection instead.  The problem is that this company obviously didn’t have much of a budget for a well shot commercial, because it looked like an infomercial instead.  I certainly don’t recommend that type of format for something as important as your safety.  But money talks for them I guess…I hope they go out of business.  The fact is that if you think you can substitute a taser, or even mace for that matter, for a firearm and the knowledge of how to properly and responsibly use it…you are CRAZY!

So after thinking about it and doing some research…and finding out that the technology for mace and stunguns or taser as they are also called, is pretty impressive.  There is alot out there to choose from, but the problem I have encountered is that the advertising is very misleading.  The ads would have you believe that if you are in possesion of a taser or a can of mace…you are protected for sure.  Well that is just bunk.  The fact is that if you have a firearm, you still are not completely protected…because you have to know how to use it as well, and that goes for any device used for protection.

I have decided to look at the in’s and out’s of these two items.  Mace & Tasers.  I am going to break them up into a couple of posts so I don’t go on too long with each one.  So stay tuned for the next one as it comes your way.

I am just tired of hearing those people who mislead and decieve in order to make money.  Heck… you would have thought a politician was running that company by listening to their commercial.  The fact that such items do have a use and they do have their place in the “safety” industry.  Lets take a look at the facts of mace and tasers:

1.  Mace – can work well, IF applied to the eyes, face, or close to such.  The simple fact is that it has to get into the nasal or visual area to be affective.  The problem is that it doesn’t care who is in the area when it does it’s business.  Mace will mess with anyone who is in close proximity.  So if you shoot someone with mace and you are close enough…you get hit as well.  So now you are trying to get away from your attacker but the problem is that your own nose and eyes are burning, just like the one who tried to attack you…is that very smart?  I have a problem saying “yes” to that question.

2.  Mace at Close Range – As mentioned above, you have to be fairly close to make it affective as well.  Being close is a must in order to hit anything and therefore…be affective enough to “escape” the criminals grasp.  The only problem is that if you try to shoot it too far away, you then risk not hitting the attacker.  Some types of mace only work for a short amount of time.  The pressure will be gone and since you shot it from so far away…you missed and now you are in real trouble for sure.   So what is the risk?  Only your life.

3.  Mace Practice Time & Location – You can’t go out to the range and practice ”macing” people.  In fact…if you go and practice on anything, like a target or dummy, you could get “blow back” and the mace will get into your own face and nose…and trust me…you’ll never do that again.  I personally don’t know of, or have never heard of a “practice range for mace.”  This is the problem once again…proper training.  Where can you go to practice and how can you effectively train yourself on the tactical use of mace?  Good luck finding the answer to that one.   And if you are thinking, “I can just go out to the mountains and practice” then great…that may not be a bad idea really.  I would recommend that you not use up all of your mace just in case you get attacked on the way home.  In addition…don’t tell any of your “hippy” or “tree hugging” friends you’ve been out in the woods practicing with your mace…they will call the authorities and you’ll get arrested for endangering the wildlife with your “evil mace.”  So…good luck with that!

4.  Mace – The stuff you and I can buy, is different from the stuff that law enforcement has.  It will still do a job on someone, but it isn’t as strong and not as effective either.  So if you are serious about your own safety, then why go with a watered-down formula that has less potential for actually protecting you?  I don’t get it personally…but that is nothing new.  I did see an email once about using wasp spray for the same objective.  I can only imaging getting that crap in your eyes…but once again…the same problem can occur; blow back and also carrying that can with you all day.

5.  Mace, “Can Size” or Carry Size – If you have a small mace canister size, then that is great, but my guess is that it is on your key chain…right!  I thought so.  Well maybe you have a bigger can for a longer shot and a longer lasting spray???  OK…so you are going to carry that around with you all day in your purse or back pocket??? RIGHT!! I don’t believe it.  I have seen the “key chain” versions for years and I must say, that is not a bad idea really.  But let me dive into it a bit more.  Let’s say you have it on your key chain and it’s even in a nice little leather case…now your keys are in your purse right???  Well, that is the first problem.  Have you ever seen a ladies purse that was a quick access mace purse?  NOPE..I didn’t think so.  When you are serious about protecting yourself, you don’t go out and get something that will be a hinderence to your needs.  When the adrenaline gets pumping and your fear for your life, do you really think you are going to be able to get to the “protective mace” can and use it with any effectiveness?  Maybe..but probably not.  Finding your keys, let alone getting the spray ready to use BEFORE you get mugged or attacked is pretty unlikely.  It’s about quick access and having a system that is “readily available” for protection, that is going to save your life in the end.

6.  Mace is not an “end all” – Just so you are aware, the purpose of mace is simply to buy time so you can “get the heck out of there.”  It’s a time buyer, and that may be all you need (we hope).  So when you have to use it…I also hope that you have your running shoes on as well.  It can get you enough time to get help or just get out, or drive away…IF applied correctly, otherwise, you could be in a world of hurt.

So before I have dashed all of your hopes in using the mace you have had in your purse for 10 years…let me say this;  Mace has its place in the protective items list.  You just need to face the positives and negatives of its use.  Facing the facts, whether good or bad, is the first step in the realities of self preservation.  Time is of the essence, so finding your mace on your keys, in your cluttered purse, while your adrenaline is coursing through your body due to the natural “fight or flight” instinct, isn’t a real “time effecient” activity or game plan.

The first step in being affective with mace, is to be alert and aware of the situation, or a potential situation, before it happens.  Good luck with using mace…but I’ll keep my 9mm instead…just weighing the pros and cons…and the pistol is much more fun and I can actually get the training I need to use it properly.

Damon Thueson

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One Response to Mace/Pepperspray & Tasers; #1 – Do They Really Work?

  1. Melissa July 14, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Wow, those are really good points. Some insights I never even considered. Thanks. =)

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