The Power of Pepper Spray as Part of Your Everyday Carry (EDC).

Having carried a gun for the majority of my adult life, I’m convinced that firearms are the supreme equalizer used for personal and family defense. However, a gun is a heavy hammer that cannot be applied to every self-defense situation. As the old saying goes, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Effective de-escalation techniques and less lethal tools should also be considered. This is precisely why we stress de-escalation and less lethal options in many of our courses. In fact, de-escalation and less lethal tools are key components of our church security team training classes. Still, some would-be attackers cannot be talked out of it. In those situations, several options must be considered: escape, empty-hand defense, the use of less lethal tools, and the defensive use of deadly force.

Here’s the problem. Many folks who legally carry firearms for self-defense have no other defensive skills or options. They either have zero training in empty-hand defense or are physically limited – making empty-hand defense extremely difficult or nearly impossible. In circumstances where neither de-escalation nor escape are available options, the only remaining option for such folks is the gun, unless they carry a less lethal option, such as pepper spray.

With the above in mind, I’ve detailed just a few reasons for considering pepper spray as part of your EDC tool kit. Here are some benefits of pepper spray as a self-defense tool:

1. Escalation Control:

One of the key requirements in self-defense is the application of an appropriate level of force to the threat you are facing. As I explained above, not every situation warrants the use of deadly force. In most jurisdictions deadly force is only justifiable when faced with a threat of death or seriously bodily harm. Pepper spray serves as an effective non-lethal option to potentially deter and incapacitate an assailant when the threat level is not high enough to justify using a gun. By having pepper spray on hand you have a graduated response option that can help prevent potentially fatal outcomes in less severe situations.

2. Protection Against Multiple Assailants:

There are circumstances when facing multiple attackers might justify the use of deadly force. However, there are a great many situations in which it wouldn’t. In conditions where the gun doesn’t apply, confronting multiple assailants can be overwhelming, particularly if all you have available are hands and feet. In such scenarios pepper spray provides an opportunity to thin out the crowd by disabling a number of your assailants allowing you to address multiple attackers more effectively.

3. Defensive Option in Prohibited Zones:

While carrying a concealed firearm is a right, it is not permitted in certain places, such as schools, government buildings, and private establishments with “no firearms” policies. Violating these restrictions can lead to severe legal consequences. However, carrying pepper spray is often permitted where firearms are not. Having pepper spray as part of your EDC allows you to retain a defensive tool in such areas while staying within the boundaries of the law.

4. Non-Lethal Protection for Loved Ones:

While you carry a concealed firearm, your loved ones may not. Pepper spray can be an ideal choice in such circumstances, as it is relatively simple to use, and provides a layer of protection for those who may not have a gun or may not be comfortable with firearms.

5. Effective Against Animals:

Obnoxious people are not the only threat. In California and Arizona where we live, encounters with aggressive animals, such as coyotes or dogs, are not uncommon, especially in rural areas or during outdoor activities. Pepper spray is an efficient deterrent against animals without causing them any permanent harm. It allows you to protect yourself and others when deadly force may not be warranted.


Pepper spray is no different than any other defensive tool in one respect. It requires training to be used effectively. We offer an online course that will give you a basic understanding of pepper spray and its uses. Following completion of that course, I highly recommend training in the use of pepper spray in our law enforcement simulator. The course is interactive and provides outstanding training in both de-escalation and the use of less lethal tools. It’s available to everyone and the cost is very low.


There are many reasons why you should carry pepper spray. Pepper spray fills the gap between verbal de-escalation and the use of deadly force for folks who may have no other non-lethal options. By carrying pepper spray along with your firearm as part of your EDC toolkit, you gain a versatile and non-lethal option to address a variety of self-defense scenarios.