Self defense substances

Mace vs Pepper Spray/ is there any differences?

March 7, 2019April 2, 2020

If I want to tell the difference between mace and pepper spray, technically I need to talk about differences between CN gas (mace) and OC gas ( pepper spray). ( check prices on Amazon)

Pepper spray is a product, Mace is a brand. Pepper spray is made out of a natural substance called capsaicin. Traditional mace is formulated from man-made chemical named CN gas, later it was replaced by CS gas.

Pepper spray is an inflammatory agent, mace is an irritant. Some people can build up resistance to mace. Pepper spray is typically effective on everyone.

Pepper spray vs mace

Mace International is the first commercial pepper spray producer, it started as selling home security products. Traditional mace was developed in the 60’s by Allan Lee Litman, it was an early type of self-defense spray. It originally consisted of an active ingredient called CN, which had been ineffective on those who had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For that reason, pepper spray becomes popular in self-defense. It works on everyone. Law enforcement agencies in the US started to use pepper spray in the 80s. Nowadays Mace brand produce self-defense sprays which mostly consist of oleoresin capsicum (OC).


Tear gas (mace, CS gas)

Traditional mace was made of man-made chemical. CN gas is the chlorinated form of acetophenone (chemical formula: C6H5-CO-CH2Cl ).

CN gas is not in use anymore it has been replaced with CS gas.

CS is 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (chemical formula: C10H5ClN2). As CS is a solid at room temperature a lot of techniques have been used to make it usable as an aerosol spray.

OC pepper spray

Pepper spray consists of oleoresin capsicum (OC), a natural pepper plant derivative, which is an environmentally-friendly ingredient. This is the principal component present in capsicums. It contains an inflammatory agent that plays an active part in initiating self-defense. It comes in various forms such as a fogger, foam, stream and even gel.


Pepper spray ( OC gas )

The effects are immediate, unlike CN and CS gas, it causes temporary blindness for up to 15 minutes. Other effects include intense burning feelings with shock, coughing and breathing restrictions. Pepper spray usually lasts for 30-60 minutes. After that, it quickly wears off without permanent damage.

Mace (tear gas/CN/CS gas )

Tearing, coughing, choking and irritation of the skin are initial effects of mace. CN and CS gases depend on pain to act effectively and take 5-30 seconds on average to get started.

It takes a lot of time to start to affect the attacker. The other problem is that by exposure you can build resistance against it. Procedures for decontamination are harder, as the chemical residue may last for several days.


Pepper spray

Pepper spray is legal in all 50 US states, some of the states regulate the quantity of pepper spray citizens can carry, some regulates the strength of the formula, most of country’s don’t allow it for those under 18 years old.


Mace (tear gas or CS gas) is not allowed in every US state. For instance, if you live in Wisconsin you are not allowed to buy or carry any of traditional mace (tear gas/CS gas), but you can use pepper spray (include “Mace brand” pepper spray).

Difference between Pepper Spray and Mace Combo

Mace is a brand just like Saber Red. Either OC pepper spray alone or with lactation gas combinations are all Mace’s products. Mace Combo contains CS gas and OC gas. The main difference is that OC spray and Mace Combo influence the human body in slightly different ways, as two different chemicals are involved. It is not only the brand that tends to distinguish the two.

Don’t confuse Mace Combo with pepper spray. Each perform differently, pepper spray has inflammatory properties and Mace combo will cause also irritation because of CS.

One more time about differences

Traditional mace refers to tear gas or CS gas which has a different properties like OC spray or pepper spray. Overall Mace is a brand which also produces pepper spray. If you are looking for effective self-defense spray, pepper spray is the best choice. You can buy it from Mace or from some other pepper spray manufacturer, one of the best is also Sabre red.

Some states have self – defense sprays restrictions. It is the customer’s responsibility to check any restrictions in your area with your local police department.

While pepper spray will be mostly legal, owning traditional mace (tear gas or CS gas) might have slight legality issues. It’s important to keep a check on expiry dates as well.


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