The Practice Pepper Spray
The practice pepper spray. Of the emails we get, I'm surprised by the lack of inquiries about practicing using your self defense spray. I've always recommended getting an extra one, or even an inert spray, to use for practice. It will not be helpful if you need to use your OC spray and have never actually used it before.
Sure, you can familiarize yourself with its use by reading the instructions, but muscle memory will be your best friend.
The Practice Pepper Spray
If you opt for getting real pepper spray for practicing, you don't have to get the same model that you'll carry every day. You can get the cheapest model. The most inexpensive model we have doesn't even have a case.
However, practicing with a real pepper spray adds value to the training because if you screw up and get yourself, you'll know it! If you would rather not feel the effects yourself, then the inert spray is what you will want to get.
The canister contains water and pressurized nitrogen (and although not near as potent as actual pepper spray, the nitrogen may cause some eye irritation, so be careful).
Using a Fake Pepper Spray
Practicing teaches reality because if you ever have to use your self defense tool in real life, you're in a real and possibly life-threatening situation. You want to have confidence that you can whip out that canister and fend off an attack in an effective manner.
Oleoresin Capsicum sprays are good for several uses, so you should definitely at least practice once with your everyday carry model. There are several more uses after a practice 1-second burst. You do want to make sure it works!
By practicing putting the spray into operation, you are familiarizing your mind and appropriate muscles with what needs to be done when necessary. Muscle memory is the phrase. Having an extra fake pepper spray lets you take several shots or lets a spouse or family member get some practice too.
In every demonstration or video I've seen, the test subject of a pepper spray blast has wanted nothing to do except getting to water.
If you can stop an attacker from several feet away, you have a great chance of escaping. The attacker can't keep their eyes open and won't be able to pursue you easily. They will be in severe pain as well. Get to safety immediately. Call the police to at least give a report and describe the suspect.
Once you've used your OC on a person, you should immediately run away. Once you are safe, call for help. Many of the models we carry have an ultraviolet dye or visible vegetable dye that police will be able to use to identify a suspect.
Getting back to practice, by practicing you are giving yourself the best chance to take appropriate action in a dire circumstance.