How to Use Pepper Spray

Pepper SprayYep. Who knew there’s more to using pepper spray than just, well, spraying?

Pepper spray is an important part of a runner’s self-defense arsenal, but in order for it to do you any good, you have to know how to use it. Self-defense experts suggest “rehearsing” using pepper spray to ensure proper usage is your natural reaction should you be confronted by an attacker. (Note: Do NOT use your pepper spray when you practice. Use an object of similar size, such as a Sharpie marker.) By following a few simple but potentially life-saving tips, you can be better prepared should an emergency situation arise.

  1. Keep your pepper spray where you can access it quickly and easily. If you store your pepper spray in the zippered back pocket of your hydration belt, it may take you too long to reach. Instead, keep the spray near your hand. Some pepper sprays, such as The Runner, come with a hand strap so you can carry the device easily and have immediate access should a dangerous situation arise.
  2. Become familiar with the safety mechanism on the device. Make sure you know how it releases (but do NOT actually release the safety mechanism). In an emergency, you should be able to grab the pepper spray and release the safety mechanism in one smooth motion.
  3. Attack stance frontDo NOT simply hold the pepper spray in front of you and spray. Your attacker can grab or knock your spraying arm, rendering the pepper spray useless. Instead, extend your empty hand/arm straight out in front of you. (If your attacker is close enough to grab you, his first reaction will be to focus on the extended arm.) The hand with the pepper spray should be closer to your body and aligned with your nose. Your elbow should be bent. Look at the attacker’s face while you spray in a zig-zag or “Z” pattern. The zig-zag pattern will compensate for poor aim and your attacker’s movements.
     Attack side view
  4. Yell and scream during the entire encounter. You should make as much noise as humanly possible. Yell “Stop!” or “Help!” Don’t stop yelling. (Believe it or not, you need to practice this part, too. Many times people are so surprised by an attacker that they can’t yell. Make screaming a natural reaction to being attacked.)
  5. After you spray your attacker, RUN. The effects of pepper spray take a few moments to kick in, so be prepared to shove or hit your attacker before running away as fast as possible.

FLEET FEET carries The Runner, America’s best-selling pepper spray. The Runner pepper spray is lightweight and comes with a fully adjustable hand strap.

Available in Black and Pink. $12.99

Available Pepper Spray

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