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The difference between law enforcement and civilian pepper sprays.

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  • The difference between law enforcement and civilian pepper sprays.

    I would like to examine the differences between law enforcement and civilian pepper sprays.

    To get things started, I asked a few police offers in my town what the differences are between civilian use and law enforcement grade O.C. spray.
    One police offer told me that it is the size of the canister. Other police officers have stated that it is the percentage of oleoresin capsicum. Such as anything being above 10% is for law enforcement.

    I then examined a few items that are available to the civilian market. Crime halter for example. They advertise a 17% mixture of oleoresin capsicum. Crime halter also makes a 4 ounce canister for the civilian market which is the equivilent of an MK4.

    So far, I have addressed canister size and percentages of O.C. Now I would like to compare SHU ratings. I also in the course of having a conversation with a police officer asked what the difference was in law enforcement pepper spray versus civilian pepper spray. He stated that anything above 2 million shu is for law enforcement. I question then what is Fox Labs doing offering civilians an O.C. spray with a 5.3 million SHU rating?

    While I am off duty and not patrolling the mall, I have toyed with the idea of carrying Defense Tech X2. There is one problem though. Since I visited DefTechs website, it stated on each of their products that they were for law enforcement or corrections use only. The reason I am interested in it is it has great stopping ability and it is FDA approved. I would feel alot safer carrying defense tech rather than the likes of Streetwise which has unknown canister content that could permanently harm the person I spray, or have a civilian pepper spray that would only piss the attacker off due to the low quality of the spray or not enough heat to do anything. It is my belief that if you protect yourself, why not do it in all aspects? Wouldn't Defense Tech, since it is FDA approved also be ideal for the civilian market? Civilians can get sued just as quickly as police officers.

    If anyone could explain the differences to me between civilian pepper spray and law enforcement pepper spray, I would appreciate it.
    Last edited by FlashLightCop; 02-12-2007, 09:43 PM.

  • #2
    Check your state laws on pepper spray. I've carried bullets marked "for law enforcement use only," carried pepper spray marked "for law enforcement use only," and carried both a straight stick and expandable baton that was bought from a company "that only sells dangerous items to sworn law enforcement officers."

    For example, in Wisconsin: Pepper spray may only have OC in it (no dyes or CS/CN), may be up to %10 percent, may have no more than 60 grams by weight of agent, and may have no less than 15 grams (I believe) by weight of agent. The container must be obvious, no concealed containers such as pens. (Concealed weapon, then...)

    I do not know of many agencies (i.e. none) that carry more than 10% OC. I do not count agencies carrying VEXOR, cause its pure capsicum.

    The concept of "law enforcement only" is for liability purposes. Just like the Ranger XLT "Black Talon" rounds. Just like the new (and WOW!) PolyShok rounds (which are for licensed security as well). Its distribution channel limited, not "against the law."
    Some Kind of Commando Leader

    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law


    • #3
      Missouri or the town that I live in does not have any restrictions on pepper spray that I am aware of. I double checked that. Thank you for the information.
      Last edited by FlashLightCop; 02-12-2007, 10:41 PM.


      • #4
        Numbers game.

        There is no difference in civilian or law enforcement as far the formulations are concerned. The design of the canister might be different but a 2 million SHU spray is what it is no matter who is buying it. Fox Labs is rated at 5.3 million SHU and is sold to civilians. Punch II and III are carried by many in LE and can be purchased by civilians. Freeze plus P and Sabre can be purchased by civilians and so on. Now, certain companies may only sell their products to LE but ShUs and so on are the same measurements used by everyone. Some companies measure the capsaicinoid content. There are different ways of figuring how hot a spray is. But such things really aren't written in stone. In other words some sprays may not be as hot as advertised. I have seen the hotness of sprays determined by multiplying the percent of OC by the advertised SHU. Like this, Sabre Red 10% x 2million SHU = 200,000. Some call this the Out of nozzle heat or ONH. So Fox Labs advertises 2% x 5.3 million SHU =106,000 ONH. Punch II advertises 5% X 2million SHU that = 100,000 ONH.
        My point is that the SHU is the same for most sprays. The Sabre Red that is legal to sell in Michigan can also be sold in any state. It claims to be 2% of a 5million formulation. Well, 2% x 5 million SHU = 100,000. See what I mean? I think it is all just a numbers game. I do know that most every spray I just mentioned is considered to be top of the line spray and are considered to be very hot.
        Last edited by Dam Guard; 02-13-2007, 12:41 AM. Reason: To correct typos.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Dam Guard
          There is no difference in civilian or law enforcement as far the formulations are concerned.
          I second that. Civ and LE pepper spray is one in the same. Fox labs is used by both civs and LE, its the kind I use. You can buy it with either the cop top or the flip top, and you can get it in several sizes and spray type. Same with sabre, it is carried by both LE and civs. There is no difference unless your state law designates this. Every spray I have ever carried says for law enorcement use only, but it is sold to civilians in several locations. the only less lethal weapon which there is a difference is the taser. you can buy the same batons, OC, cuffs, flashlights, et as LEO's.


          • #6
            In California, civilians canisters can not be more than 2.5 ounces, LEO is more than 2.5 ounces.
            If you don't like how I do my job...get the hell outa the Food Court!


            • #7
              In Minnesota, there isn't a difference. The most common spray in the metro area here is Aerko's Freeze+P. Same thing I have carried on my belt through the years in both the 2 and 4 oz sizes.


              • #8
                Originally posted by CorpSec
                In Minnesota, there isn't a difference. The most common spray in the metro area here is Aerko's Freeze+P. Same thing I have carried on my belt through the years in both the 2 and 4 oz sizes.
                Same here in Louisiana. I can carry the same thing cops can. In this case the aforementioned Freeze +P.
                Hospital Security Officer