While I am a huge proponent of the 2nd Amendment and am strongly in favor of every law abiding adult being able to carry a handgun for self-defense, there are times, places and circumstances that don’t permit the carry of a handgun OR wherein lethal force simply isn’t justified. For many of those places and times there is another option – and no, it’s not a knife, impact weapon, keychain flail weapon, etc. It’s the Pepperblaster II from Kimber and, put simply, it’s a derringer-style OC (pepper spray) weapon that’s highly effective.
When I say “derringer style,” I use the term loosely. I am referring to the fact that the Pepperblaster II has two barrels in an over/under configuration that it is shaped (roughly) like a handgun and that it’s a relatively compact unit. I measure my unit at 4.5” long, 3” tall and 1” wide. It only weighs a few ounces.
The unit fires an oleoresin capsicum based semi-liquid under pressure. The 10% OC mix has been proven effective over the past couple of decades as we’ve seen it used in numerous OC (pepper spray) products from multiple manufacturers. To measure how “hot” the OC mix is, however, we use something called Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). To put “hot” in perspective, your typical jalapeno pepper measures at 2,500-8,000 SHUs. Tabasco Sauce measures between 7,000-8,000 SHUs. A Habanero Chile pepper typically measures between 100,000 and 350,000 SHUs. Call me what you want, but I find the typical jalapeno pepper too spicy (although my family members love them).
The OC blend in the Pepperblaster II is rated at 4,000,000 SHUs. That’s over ten times “hotter” than a habanero chile pepper.
The 4,000,000 SHU rating puts the Pepperblaster II just in the high end of commercially marketed OC products in the United States. A common OC product will measure between 2,000,000 and 5,300,000 SHUs. (Just for informational purposes, pure Oleoresin Capsaicin, the base product, measures between 15 million and 16 million SHUs.)
The OC blend in the Pepperblaster II is delivered/fired when the user pushes out the plastic safety tab that fills and blocks the trigger space. It takes a conscious effort and a fair amount of pressure to press the plastic safety block out of the way before you can pull the trigger to fire the OC charge. A blast of compressed gas forces the OC mix out, according to the Kimber website, at approximately 90 miles per hour with an effective range of thirteen feet.
WARNING: Right on the side of the Pepperblaster II is a label that warns against firing this device into the face of an attacker IF the attacker is closer than two feet. Think about it: ANY liquid fired at that pressure and speed at such a close distance can cause permanent eye injuries. This is a common concern with virtually every non-lethal compressed-gas fired weapon though. You need enough space for safe deployment. The other consideration is back-splatter. You don’t want to be so close that anything splattering off your target might affect you. Push that attacker away to AT LEAST arm’s length with one had while you hold the Pepperblaster II close to yourself with the other. Insure that minimum two foot gap between the weapon and the attacker’sface.
Yes, the attacker’s face is your primary target for this self-defense tool. The OC mix will temporarily incapacitate him (or her) by causing an involuntary closing of the eyes, a burning sensation on the skin and lips, as well as on mucus membranes inside the nose and mouth if any gets into either cavity space.