Mace and pepper spray are both excellent personal protection safety sprays that offer portability combined with tremendous effectiveness. Both security sprays are loosely regulated and are legal in almost every state, providing a self defense alternative to those who may not be able to carry other protection devices such as stun guns or Tasers, or who is not permitted by law to own a firearm.
While similar in philosophy, there are differences between mace and pepper spray, causing each to have varied levels of effectiveness and slightly different first aid protocols.
The difference between mace and pepper spray begin with its ingredients. Mace is an aerosol irritant and inflammatory substance designed to cause extreme pain to the eyes. It is a one percent solution of CN tear gas particles suspended in a volatile carrier base. The particulate matter is designed to cling to skin and clothing, providing ongoing agony for the recipient.
Since Mace is particulate matter, it does not dissipate completely when it is dry. Rewetting the affected area can reignite the burning and rekindle the effectiveness of the product. First aid usually involves flushing the area heavily with fresh water to remove the particles.
Those who have been sprayed with Mace will experience a tremendous burning of the eyes, forcing them shut. The skin around the eyes may burn, particularly if Mace has been applied to the skin. The nasal passages and lungs will become irritated, causing difficulty breathing. This creates a panicky feeling and induces a dependency on others, making it easy to then overpower someone who has been sprayed with Mace. The effects of Mace can last for several hours, which is one difference between Mace and pepper spray.
Most states require that citizens participate in a class on the use of Mace prior to purchasing it.
Pepper Spray :
Again, the ingredients play a difference between mace and pepper spray. Pepper spray, also known as OC spray, is a liquid that is derived from hot peppers, and then suspended in an oily carrier. The oil causes the hot pepper mixture to cling to the skin, irritating it and causing discomfort. While there is a difference between mace and pepper spray when it comes to ingredients, pepper spray has many of the same effects as Mace, including burning eyes, irritated skin, and difficulty breathing. It will cause the nose to run.
In order to remove pepper spray from the skin, the affected area needs to be washed in a mild soap or detergent, or wiped with Vaseline. Fresh air will help dissipate the effects over time, and once deployed, pepper spray loses its volatility. This is another difference between mace and pepper spray, as the former is designed to cling onto the skin, while the other dissipates.
There typically are no special training requirements for citizens wishing to purchase pepper spray, which is another difference between mace and pepper spray.
The power of the safety sprays plays a role in the difference between mace and pepper spray. The effects of pepper spray, while strong, are not as crippling initially as Mace. Each product affects different people in various ways, though, so what works well on one person may not work as well on another.
Both products also offer limited effectiveness on those who are mentally ill or under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. In general, pepper spray has a greater history of effectiveness in those circumstances. Either product will provide the user with a reliable, easy to use method of providing personal protection. Pepper spray has rapidly become the most widely available on the market, but there is still a good case for the use of Mace.