Pepper Spray ~ The Must-Have ‘Accessory’ That Could Save Your Life

Touchwood. I hope you may never have the opportunity to use one but I am fully behind every girl carrying a pepper spray as one of the must-have items in their handbag or pocket. It could save your life.

American Defender Red Pepper Spray

American Defender Red Pepper Spray

{Image via SKL DIY Uptown}

Essentially, a pepper spray is a weapon intended for use as a tool of self-defense. Each one is pre-loaded with a noxious cocktail of red pepper fluids (oleoresin capsicum), a substance that when properly dispensed, will cause discomfort and irritation to the target’s nose, eye,  mouth areas or skin;  temporarily incapacitating him or her.

Pepper Sprays of all sizes.

My own personal collection of Pepper Sprays of all sizes. These are as important to me as my makeup.

As you can see, I have quite the collection but different sizes are handy for different situations – the bigger sizes dispense a more powerful jet of spray but the smaller sizes are handy and discreet enough for you to carry in your hand, purse or pocket.

The opportunity to incapacitate your attacker could be the single vital chance for you to break away from your attacker’s clutches. It might be the only chance you have so make it count.

Be ready, read the instructions carefully and train yourself in the operation of this essential piece of defense arsenal beforehand and you could very well save your own life in dire circumstances.

Press & Fire - Simple and easy to use self-defense device.

Press & Fire – The Pepper Spray is a simple and easy to use self-defense device.


Basically, if you find yourself in a situation where you may have to actually use your spray to ward off a real attacker, press hard on the trigger mechanism, aiming for the face and get ready to run and get help. If correctly used and with a bit of luck on your side, you will have bought yourself enough time to get yourself away and to somewhere safe.

The worst thing about personal crimes is that most victims are unwitting, shocked and almost always ill-prepared for the situation.

Perpetrators are usually well-prepared opportunists. Attacks are ambushes so the perpetrator will have the advantage of preparation. He or she will usually have the tools and the mindset ready to commit the assault. On the other hand, a targeted victim is almost always in a position of disadvantage; oblivious to the trauma that is to come. Victims are just like you and I –  going about our daily life – going to school, parking our cars, walking home, browsing the shops. Most of us won’t know what hits us until it does.

Generally, attacks are more likely to occur when you are alone. The other likelihood is that he/ she is armed. Whichever the scenario, the person who is going to attack is likely to have that upper hand. Why not reduce that advantage by being armed yourself? This surprising turn of events may even scare a would-be attacker off before he or she has the chance to do any serious damage.

I’m not saying that having a pepper spray is a guarantee of saving yourself during an assault. That would be too simplistic because there are way too many variables in most criminal situations for this to be the single way out but, given everything else, having your own self-defense device on hand can certainly raise some of the odds in your favour.

Not fatal but lethal enough to cause some serious discomfort.

Not fatal but lethal enough to cause some serious discomfort.

I’ve actually met many women who already have one of these sprays in their handbag. It gives many girls a sense of security to carry one. Or it was a gift by their mother or partner who wanted them to be armed against danger.

The problem for most of these women it that it stays in the handbag – lost in the sea of makeup, knick knacks and daily essentials. In a desperate situation where you are under attack you are certainly not going to have the luxury of rifling through you bag to look for it as your attacker goes about the evil deed of attacking you.

Give yourself an advantage – carry your pepper spray conveniently in your hand or pocket and always be mentally prepared to use it. I always carry one of these on a detachable cord attached to my bag. I simply detach and hold it in my hand when walking alone or whenever I think it is necessary so it’s ready for me to use. My favourite is this one – the American Defender key-ringed version. It comes in it’s own plastic ‘armour’ or casing to protect it from daily wear and tear as I carry it in my bag.

The key ring makes it possible to attach to your keys or you can attach your own strap like I have.

The key ring makes it possible to attach to your  car or house keys. Or you can attach your own strap and attach to your handbag like I have here.

Ironically, a part of me feels sad to say that I have to be writing about this but making it to tomorrow’s papers as the latest victim of crime is something I would wish that both you and I can avoid.

I’d rather be armed than sorry and this pepper spray may just be the thing that holds the odds in my favour so I’m adamant about recommending this to as many friends as possible and anyone else who will listen.

How Big Is It?

To give you some idea of how big they are, here are some pictures comparing several models of the American Defender to a standard lipstick.

The basic 15gram version without a key ring.

The basic 15gram version without a key ring.

The plastic-amoured key ring version. My favourite for the handy key ring.

The plastic-amoured key ring version. My favourite because of the handy key ring.

I really like this one because the key ring is at the base. I have seen other brands include a key ring but the ring was placed too close to the nozzle and is fiddly and likely to interfere with the spray stream.

The super 70gram size - dispenses a range of up to 10-12 f of spray.

The super 70gram size – dispenses a range of up to 10-12 feet of spray.

The extra large size is handy to keep at home or work.

So What’s Inside the Pepper Spray Cannister?
I carefully dispensed some of the pepper spray onto a piece of paper to show you the pepper fluid itself.
The pepper spray fluid. A greasy concoction of spicy capsicum oils intended to irritate the olfactory areas and skin.

The pepper spray fluid. A greasy concoction of spicy capsicum oils intended to irritate the olfactory areas and skin.

The fluid isn’t fatal and the effects of the spray can be watered down but on contact, it should give the target a few minutes of intense discomfort to the face and skin – enough to make them move attacking you down the list of their priorities and time for you to make a run for it.

So Where Can I Get One?
Pepper sprays are available at most army surplus stores, some online retailers, top drugstores and hardware shops in Malaysia. They retail for around RM50 for the smaller ones to just under RM100 for the super sizes.
This may seem pricey initially but when you consider that they are potent for about three years from the manufacture date then a few cents a day is a great investment for a little peace of mind.
Ace Hardware, with stores across the Klang Valley including IPC Mall, 1-Utama, and Great Eastern Mall , stock a very decent brand of the pepper spray called American Defender. I prefer this brand above the others. I’ve seen some cute ones with bunny rabbits on them at Watsons but I personally bypassed these due to their miniature size and childish motif. What I am looking for is a self-defense weapon not a whimsical key ring so looking ‘cute’ isn’t a requirement.
That said, American Defender have recently released a rather cheerful pink model of their popular key ring Pepper Spray for people who dislike the basic black versions.
The American Defender Key Ring Version in Pink

The American Defender Key Ring Version in Pink

There is a great article you can read here that talks about how to choose the ideal pepper spray, how to operate one and some of the issues you need to be aware of as the owner of a pepper spray.

If you haven’t already got one, consider adding a pepper spray to your handbag today.



  1. This is a great article ShopGirl and you hit it right on the nail.. this information is definitely more important and timely than my usual fare.. I do have a couple of pepper sprays but not the travel sized one’s ..time to shop for one but will need to keep it off the handbag lest the kids decide to ‘test’ it out

  2. Thanks, Sharon. I recommend these sprays to everyone. Even the hubby, brother and boyfriend. They’re really handy and legal.
    Would you believe I was once confronted by a man in a threatening situation with their pepper spray and so I whipped my own out – but mine was the bigger version (hahaha) so he left. Size does matter!
    Yes, thanks for mentioning your kids – these pepper sprays are a good idea to keep away from curious children. I forgot to mention that in the post.

  3. I so adore the way you write! And what a great reminder. I have yet to get a pepper spray for myself, and if not for your reminder to not let it get lost in the sea of girly things, I’m sure I’d be guilty of it when I do get it. I had no idea it was so expensive though! For some reason I always thought they were only in the range of RM10!

    Following your awesome blog!

  4. Hi Sabrina,
    Thanks for stopping by, I’m really flattered – you’re the amazing Vixen Deity! I love your blog! Yes, I am floored by the price of these sprays but if you consider that they last three years from the date of manufacture then it works out to be only a few cents a day. It’s a relatively high initial outlay but worthwhile if you drive or walk alone often. I often give these as gifts to friends and family – not very romantic, I know 🙂

  5. I think I am going 2 get a few 4 my daughter & myself, after all crime rate in our country is escalating. I just love reading ur blogs as they r interesting, Informative & so far I can say the best I have come across.

  6. @linda, thanks for your kind words…*blushes*
    I do hope you get a couple of the pepper sprays – even though I pray you’ll never need to use them. Stay safe and thanks again for dropping by.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s