Mace Brand Triple Action Pepper Spray - An Effective Component of Layered Self-Defense

There are times when the law abiding come under physical threat where deadly force is not justified for self-defense.

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Just as law enforcement officers don't rely only on their firearm for all their self-defense and subject control needs, neither should civilians. Both cops and civilians need defensive measures in addition to a firearm for the protection of themselves and others, since the use or brandishing of a firearm is not called for or legal in every threatening situation. In those less threatening non-life or death situations, the use of "less-lethal" measures are indicated. Less-lethal measures can mean the use of physical defense skills like martial arts, impact weapons, electronic stun devices, or chemical defense sprays. This is what "layered" self-defense means. You increase the options you have available in order to effectively deal with potential threatening situations that you may encounter.

When I worked for the Reynoldsburg Police Department in the mid-1980's, I was introduced the to a CN Tear Gas delivery system which eventually evolved into the subject of this article-the Smith and Wesson MK-IV.

The old Smith and Wesson MK-IV was loaded with CN teargas, which is the least effective of the three basic civilian legal chemical self-defense sprays available today. I sprayed a number of resistive subjects with it and found that CN teargas was reasonably effective, although on one or two occasions the suspects were able to wipe it off and start their undesirable actions again. Reapplication settled things down nicely however. What was really good about the MK-IV was the canister design itself. After all these years, I've found none better.

The polymer case of the MK-IV completely enclosed the aerosol spray canister, and had a pistol grip shape, leaving no doubt as to which direction was "towards the offender". This feature was combined with a flip-top cap, which protected the activation button from accidental discharge, and basically made it impossible to spray yourself. Sliding the thumb under the flip top cap directed the spray naturally and allowed easy activation of the spray. This design continues today under the Mace Security International banner.

Today, the MK-IV is known as the Triple Action Pepper Spray-Police. Unlike similar canisters in the Mace brand line, the Police version is exactly the same style as the original in terms of construction, size, operation and capacity. What is different is the formulation that it delivers.

OC (Oleoresin Capsicum) is the resin oil of ground red peppers. It appeared on the scene starting in 1972, and after adoption by the FBI around 1987, took the law enforcement world by storm after that due to its much greater effectiveness on violent suspects. At Reynoldsburg we switched from the MK-IV CN sprays to an OC preparation from a different manufacturer around 1989 due to the greatly increased effectiveness of OC over CN.

Mace's Triple Action Police Pepper Spray formulation begins with OC, which is a contact inflammatory agent that must be sprayed directly into the eyes, nose and mouth for maximum effectiveness. However if you don't hit those target areas and spray the attackers clothing instead, there will be no effect. In order to deal with this potential outcome, Mace combined CN teargas with their OC formulation. While CN is not the most powerful form of teargas (CS is), when combined with OC there is a synergistic "1+1=3" type of effect. In other words, the two substances combined together are more powerful than the individual substances alone. In various defense spray on police academy "volunteers" over 26 years, I've found that such combination products-including this particular one-are the most effective. The inclusion of CN into the mix also means that if you do miss the attackers face and hit clothing or skin below it, the CN gas crystals will rise up and be inhaled and enter the suspect's eyes, thus affecting both. The third component of "Triple Action"? An invisible ultraviolet marking agent designed to assist in later identification of an attacker. The formulation is also effective against aggressive dogs, though will not likely halt a pit bull attack. The spray is delivered in a pinpoint stream, which reduces the chance of the spray blowing back into your face.

The Mace Trip Action Police Model holds 18 grams of formula, and can deliver up to 20 one second bursts for a distance up to 12 feet. This means that more than one threat can be addressed in an incident. It can be attached to car keys and be carried in a purse or pocket without fear of accidental discharge, and taken into some places (mostly private establishments) where firearms are banned. It is also perfect for carrying while jogging or walking, and can be attached to the wrist with a lanyard. No chemical defense device may be carried into the passenger area of an aircraft. It may be packed into luggage and be checked in to the baggage compartment. Check with individual airlines before flying. Also check laws in other states and municipalities regarding chemical defense spray use.

There are times when the law abiding come under physical threat where deadly force is not justified for self-defense. There are also law abiding folks who do not wish to carry a firearm for self-defense. The Mace Triple Action Police Model Pepper Spray will assist in defending oneself in both those situations. Price is under $20.00.