Pepper Spray Strength Information
You have probably heard lots of different information regarding the strength, or punch, or heat of pepper sprays. We believe that the only accurate way to measure the strength is to use APPROVED SCIENTIFIC METHODS.
The measure of pepper spray strength is the percentage of capsaicinoids present in the spray mix. The capsaicinoid level in any product can be measured in the laboratory using an instrument called a High Performance Liquid Chromatograph (HPLC). Laboratory methods are established by both the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC), Method 995.03, and the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA), Method 21.3.
Capsaicinoids found in red pepper extract consist of three very similar chemical compounds. These compounds can temporarily produce severe skin irritation, cause the eyes to slam shut, cause spasms in the lungs, produce uncontrolled sneezing and large amounts of sinus mucus. This combination of physiologically catastrophic events can temporarily incapacitate an individual and eliminate the need for the use of lethal force.
Knowing or specifying the percentage of capsaicinoids contained in a pepper spray mix eliminates the guesswork when you are comparing or evaluating pepper spray effectiveness. For example, a pepper spray containing 0.2% capsaicinoids packs much less punch than one that contains .6%. The good pepper sprays will have the percent capsaicinoid content of the mix printed conspicuously on the label for easy comparison ... as all of ours DO! For more information about capsaicinoid measurement or Scoville Heat Unit measurements, download a copy of our technical note from the Publications page.