Category Archives: Self Defense

I Use A 5.11 Select Carry Pouch To Conceal Carry My Glock 29 Gen 4 When Hiking

I recently wrote about my Glock 29 Gen 4 and carrying it while hiking. A fellow asked me for more details on what I was using to carry it ands I told him I was using a 5.11 Select Carry Pouch – which is a fancier product name than “tactical fanny pack”. Joking aside, it really does a great job.

Ok, why the fanny pack? I’m on the heavy side and when I go hiking I am usually wearing shorts or sweatpants depending on the weather. Jeans are a “maybe” but I’m at the point in life where I go for comfort. I’m sure not dressing to impress anyone.

If I am wearing jeans and can use a pistol belt then I might use a holster but it depends on the weather. I’d rather conceal the firearm vs. dealing with people staring at my pistol as we are walking along. If I am wearing a coat or open long sleeve shirt then I might wear a belt holster. My preferred option is a Galco shoulder holster.

What I find is that I am often hiking or fishing and it’s too hot for a coat or loose shirt so I had to figure out what to do. I knew a fanny pack might look goofy but would work great if I could find the right one given how it could distribute the weight while concealling the pistol.

The Glock 29 gen 4 is relatively compact but it is not tiny by any means and once you load it down with 10 rounds of 10mm and have a couple of back up mags of 10mm, you’ve got a lot of weight to deal with.

A couple of years ago I ordered in some different models of the no-name import fanny packs that claim to support concealed carry and the quality was very disappointing – light fabrics, lousy sewing and poor zippers across the board. They weren’t an option for the Glock 29 gen 4 because they would never hold up to real world use.

There are a lot of carry options out there but I think I can make the blanket generalization that you get what you pay for – you need a well thought out design, rugged materials, a rock solid zipper and these aren’t cheap.

One company I like is 5.11. Their gear is reasonably priced and has never let me down. Yes, I am getting to my point – their 51804 Tactical Select Carry Pouch is very well made, looks good and doesn’t attract attention. It’s a tight fit but I can squeeze in my G29 with the Pearce magazine base plate so I have a place to rest my pinky finger, two more 10 round mags and a Streamlight TLR-8 that I keep in a side pouch.

The main pouch is a tight fit but I can squeeze in what I need. It’s symmetrical so you can insert the pistol facing either left or right. I have mine set up to rip open with the left and pull the pistol out with my right hand.
Here’s another angle. When you have the load shown, there is very little extra space.
I keep a TLR-8 stored in the right side pouch. It’s a snug fit also.
They call that thing sticking up a “hot pull strap” that you can use to yank the compartment open in a rush. Now that folks is one heck of a good idea. If you are in a hurry and the adrenaline is kicking in, fumbling with a zipper is going to suck. Grabbing that pull strap and yanking open the pouch is very do-able.

To give you an idea of real world sizing, a G29 Gen 4 is about 7″ long andjust over 4.5″ with a regular mag. Let’s just round that to 5″ in my case with the Pearce base plates. You can see in the photos that it is a snug fit. My Sig P365 fits no problem.

It works great for me. If you are interested, here’s the link to the pouch on Amazon – click here. Also, here are other sources for you:


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



The Ruger LCP Max – Compact, Reliable, & Chambered In .380 … But That’s Ok

I’ll put it right out there – I am a pistol cartridge snob. My favorite is 10mm Auto and my second is 9mm Luger. I held .380 in about the same regard as .22 LR for self-defense but then I ran into a weight problem. Yeah, I am overweight but I also wasn’t liking the weight and size of my Every Day Carry (EDC) pistol in all situtations – the SIG P365, which I think is an amazing pistol – but I wanted something smaller and lighter.

I looked at derringers and .22 pistols and just none of them really struck me as something I wanted to carry – I normally had Hornady Critical Duty 9mm +P in my P365 but it just weighed too much. Some derringers weigh a ton, some weigh less but you still have just two rounds. I read a stat once that most gun fights conclue in 5 rounds or less … just having two rounds didn’t sound appealing not to mention my big hands trying to hold a way too small pistol. Everything kept pushing me back to the P365 despite its weight. It was reliable and packed a heck of a punch.

Then my friend and FFL dealer, Scott Igert, of Michigan Gun Exchange, recommended I take a look at a Ruger LCP Max. It was light, compact, got great reviews … and was chambered in .380. Uh…. what?

The words “.380” and “amazing stopping power” will never be next to each other in the same sentence – at least not in a serious discussion. Let’s think about this for a minute. Depending on the load, a .22 long rifle cartridge will generate 120-160 foot pounds of energy. A .380 is maybe 190-294 foot pounds. The Critical Duty +P 9mm generates 369 foot pounds and 10mm Underwood 180gr is 676 foot pounds — all at the muzzle.

So, .380 has more energy than a .22 but pales in comparison to modern 9mm and 10mm loads. As I was feeling snobbish, I actually recalled a story the Kyle Lamb told about meeting a guy in a pistol shop and talking about the best pistol. Kyle told the fellow he had a Bersa .380 in his pocket and the other fellow started putting it down. Kyle then asked him where his pistol was and the guy stopped dead in his tracks – it was in his truck. The whole point is that carrying a pistol beats not carrying a pistol.

With that memory it dawned on me that having a .380 with me that was light and small beat not having anything with me due to complaints about weight, size, etc. So, I shut up and had Scott order me one while I started digging into ammo choices.

After doing some reading, I ordered in SIG, Federal, and Buffalo Bore ammo to give it a try. Then whent he pistol arrived, I field stripped, cleaned and lubricated it before heading to the range.

Time for me to do the safety briefing thing. First off, always clean and lubricate a new firearm. They are not good to go right out of the box. Second, not all pistols like all magazines or forms of ammunition. Be sure to thest your pistol with your different magazines and ammo before you rely on them. For most pistols you will find one or more combination that you need to steer clear of. Reliability doesn’t magically happen – you need to help it happen.
The Ruger LCP Max is a little pistol. Note on the lower right side of the photo the relatively big 10mm round on the left next to the small .380 round on the right,
This is my Glock 29 Gen 4 10mm on top and the LCP Max .380 under it for size comparison.

At the range, I put a few hundred rounds of 10mm through the Glock 29 and my RIA 56862 Tac Ultra HC. After shooting them, just picking up the little LCP Max made me realize it was a mouse gun. Then I loaded the little bullets into the little magazines and made little pew pews.

Okay, joking aside, I did not have one failure to feed, fire or eject. The litttle pistol did its job. After shooting the 10mms, the .380 recoil was very light to non-existent. I was shooting plates and bowling pins at about 30 feet. It knocked over the plates but the bowling pins would often just jiggle a bit and not fall over.

Tip: Want to have a fun first range session? Read your instruction manual, clean and lubricate your pistol and then cycle the slide back and forth a few hundred times to help things break in. It may sound goofy but it will make a world of difference for most firearms.
The LCP Max shot every type of ammo I brought with no problems at all.

A Compensating Ammo Load Out

`As I jokingly stated earlier, the .380 round is not a power house and there is not a SAAMI specification for .380 +P. Now maybe you have seen vendors say they load .380 +P but bear in mind it is their own recipe that will generate pressures only they know. How did I find this you? The Ruger LCP Max manual states in big bold letters not to run +P and I couldn’t figure out why so I started digging.

There are only four cartridges where SAAMI created a specifications for the higher pressure +P loads: .38, .38 Super, 9mm Luger and .45 ACP. That’s it. The shooting industry loves marketing and appealing to the guys that want the hot rod ammo so there are groups out there – both who sell ammunition and make firearms – who will stamp +P on everything but the end of the day, outside of the four rounds previously listed, there are no standard +P loads so watch out.

Personally, I will stick with name brand ammo and not push the envelope. Ti m Sundle, who owns Buffalo Bore ammunition, posted the observation that your typical .380 hollow points aren’t going to penetrate very far so consider using hard cast bullets for greater penetration. I always find his write ups about his ammo very interesting and click here for this standard pressure .380 ammo listing and his thoughts. Note, his real word testing with a Colt Mustang with a 2.75″ barrel ought to be close to the LCP Max because the LCP Max has a 2.8″ barrel – close enough to get an idea of the muzzle velocity of 910 FPS and about 193 foot pounds of energy.

Okay, rather than enter the world of ballistics calculators, let me put it this way – the relatively short 2.8″ barrel of the LCP Max will mean most ammo will not generate the velocities and energies they post. For example, Hornady lists a 1,000 feet per second and 200 foot pounds of energy but that is with a 4″ barrel and depending on other factors such as how long the slide will remain closed before beginning its rearword travel and releasing pressure will all affect the velocity and energy you actually realize.

If a person enters into a self-defense situtation with a .380, I doubt one round will end the fight – maybe it will but probably not. This is where the doctrine of shooting until the threat is ended enters in. I also run an alternating loadout in my mag. The first round is a good hollow point (such as Hornady’s Critical Defense or Sig’s VCrown) followed by a Buffalo Bore hard cast load, which is then followed by another hollow point, another hard cast and so forth.

Consider loading your mags alternating with hollow points and hard cast bullets. That is a Critical Duty load that will go in first and the a Buffalo Bore hard cast solid underneath it for penetration.

Carrying The Pistol

In terms of the ability to carry the LCP Max in a concealed manner, this is where the LCP Max shines. It is less than an inch thick (0.81″ actually), has a an overall length of just 5.17″ and weighs 10.6 ounces empty.

You can carry it in your pocket – mine came with a pocket holster – or wear and inside or outside the waist band holser. Because it is small you have a ton of options not to mention it doesn’t feel like you are carrying a boat anchor.

Hickok45’s Video Review

In this day and age, I realize a lot of folks like watching videos. I’m a writer and not really not into making videos but I do watch them when I am researching firearms. Here’s a good one from Hickok45 (his videos are always worth watching on YouTube – I subscribe to his channel):

Summary

There is no magical pistol or round that is perfect for every situation is what you should always bear in mind. You need to think and the pros and cons and select accordingly. The LCP Max is a reliable pistol and can serve defensively in urban situations where weight and/or size concerns limit what a person can carry. My preference is still the Sig P365 for normal self-defense duties and I do carry a Glock 29 10mm when traily hiking these days but the LCP Max has filled a niche for me when I need something small and light.

I hope this post helps you out!


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



PSA Has a Good Deal on the SIG P365 Tac Pac With 3 12-rnd Mags and a Holster

Folks, Palmetto State Armory has a deal going on where you can get one the excellent SIG P365 pistols in what they call a “Tac Pac”. Normally the Tac Pac just has a couple of mags but this deal includes three real SIG 12-round mags that often go for $35-45 each and a combination Inside the waist band (IWB) or outside the waist band (OWB) holster.

This is the PSA deal. Note, the photo in the ad shows a 10-round magazine loaded and the three 12-round magazines but to be clear, the deal is for three magazines and not three plus one. The photo at the top of the post is my personal P365 with a 12 round magazine inserted.

The Sig P365 is rated for +P 9mm ammo and is my every day carry. I can tell you that I have never had a failure to feed or extract with the pistol and have fired Hornady Critical Duty +P, Federal HST +P, all kinds of 115gr and 124gr FMJ ball ammo, etc. It just east whatever I give it and is reliable – that’s why I rely on it to protect my family when we are out and about and discretion is required – it’s an ideal concealed carry pistol.

I really like the 12-round magazines. The small plastic fitting on the bottom is ideal for my to put my pinky finger on and I wear size XL gloves. The 10 round magazines are even shorter. Most of the time I am carrying using a 12 round magazine. They do make a 15 round magazine but that sticks out a tad more than I care for.

Note, go for real SIG magazines. Some of the aftermarket ones, such as Promags, don’t get as good of reviews.

I can’t speak first hand to the holster they are including though – I use a soft Desantis 106 IWB holster and a High Noon shoulder rig. Given the holster is from SIG, I would expect it to be good enough to get started with.

At any rate, it’s a very good deal so click here to learn more.



Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



The following are various listings for SIG P365 pistols and accessories so you can scroll through and look at prices.


Gorilla Ammunition – Quality Ammo From Florida And They Have Rounds In Stock!!

Everyone is trying to find ammo and some prices have gone through the roof when you do find some. An option you may not know about is Gorilla Ammunition located in Vero Beach, FL.

Mrgunsngear visited their factory in 2017 and shared a video showing their ammo, AR-10 and AR-15 rifles.

Kit Badger visited in 2018 and talked to both sides of the house – brass case and their polymer case ammo. His coverage of the polymer ammo was very interesting and he assembled the following video:

Good to Go

So, from everything I have read and watched, their ammo is reliable and accurate – by all accounts I read, very accurate. They aren’t the cheapest but the quality in terms of reliability and accuracy are there and that’s what I want these days.

Now here’s the kicker – they also sell direct and they have ammo in stock as well as waitlisted on their website!! For example, they have their 9mm Silverback self-defense ammo in stock right now. Check them out:


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



New Gun Owners: You’re Not Safe Yet – Read This

According to statistics, there almost 5 million new gun owners in 2020. I think there are a ton of reasons and certainly concerns over the safety of one’s self and loved ones is in the minds of a lot of people these days. With that said, there are a few things I want to pass along and will do so in a series of blog posts. We’ll kick things off with some comments on safety and getting your new firearm ready.

Learn About Your Firearm & How To Use It

Please take the time to learn about your firearm and how to use it. I can’t stress this enough – take a class on firearms and self-defense. Ask around and odds are any number of groups in your area holds classes and you need to find a good one. Like any subject matter, there are good teachers and ones who candidly suck so ask around. If you have no idea where to start, ask your dealer, local sportsman’s club, shooting ranges, friends, etc.

My Short List of Safety Rules

I’ve been shooting since I was so little that my dad had to hold the rifle and help me so literally almost fifty years. I’ve shot with a lot of great guys and one thing they all stressed was the need for safety. Here’s my list of key safety practices that you can always add more to:

  1. Treat every firearm as loaded and pointed in a safe direction. Assume nothing – verify the state of your weapon. Tons of accidents have happened because of an accidental discharge.
  2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire. It is very easy to trip or be startled and accidentally squeeze the trigger. You can avoid this by keeping your trigger finger flat against the trigger guard or side of your weapon and off the trigger!
  3. Be certain of your target and what lies beyond it. There are two safety point here – make sure of what you are shooting at or you risk making a mistake – potentially a horrible mistake. Second, bullets do not necessarily stop in the target or you may miss the target. What lies around and behind the target?
  4. Your firearm’s biggest safety is you. Don’t rely on a firearm’s safety to prevent a mistake. Think. Anticipate. Your mind is your biggest safety. Think safe, be safe.
  5. Know your weapon. An awful lot of tragic mistakes have been made as people fumbled with a firearm they did not understand and had not sufficiently practiced with. A crisis is not the place to try and figure out what to do or not do. When the adrenaline is flowing, you will forget a lot of academic details and stand better odds of remembering what you have physically practiced.
  6. Take care of your weapon and it will take care of you. Make sure it is cleaned, lubricated, using proven magazines (if it uses them) and proven ammunition.

New Guns Aren’t Good to Go

Let’s expand on the last point above. Something that I think is often overlooked and not sufficiently explained to new owners is that most firearms will not reliably work out of the box. I’m not saying something bad about a given maker or model. The fact is that there are a ton of things that may cause your firearm to not work right when you need it most:

  1. Many firearms do not arrive sufficiently clean. You need to run a patch or bore snake down the barrel to remove any contaminants that have accumulated. I’ve seen new firearms with filthy bores, pristine bores and all points between. Read the manual to understand what cleaners are safe with your firearm. For example, some strong solvents can harm polymer receivers.
  2. Normally a person cleans and lubricates a new purchase at the same time. Read the manual on instructions for how to lubricate your new purchase. It’s not as simple as pouring on the oil. Indeed, too much lubricate can impair the operation of certain firearms. Note, not all lubricants are recommended on all firearms either. For example, penetrating oil can harm some polymer receivers.
  3. Just to reinforce the point – Read the manual for your pistol, rifle or shotgun. You need to understand how to operate the weapon as well as how to clean and lubricate it. Most manufacturers have websites with manual that you can download. There are often videos showing details. You can also ask your gun dealer if he/she can explain the details of your weapon to you.
  4. If your weapon uses magazines, test them at the range with the ammo that you plan on using. You may be surprised but some combinations of magazines and ammunition may work horribly in one firearm and perfectly fine in another. I can’t stress this enough – shoot at least 30 rounds (and the more the better) before you rely on a given combination of weapon and ammunition. By the way, you read and hear people recommend 50, 100, 200+ rounds before you rely on something and they are all right – the more you shoot something, the better your odds are plus practice is good.
  5. Speaking of practice, don’t just take a firearm to the range once, have a great session and declare victory. You need to also practice loading, unloading, recovering from a jam, etc. Don’t wait for an emergency as I mentioned earlier. The best firearm in the world will not help you if you forget how to do something during a time of need.

More Gun Safety Resources

There are tons of videos and web pages about gun safety. I’d recommend that you spend the time to learn how to be safe so here are a few more pages for you:

Conclusion

I hope this post helped you out. Whatever you do, don’t just buy a firearm and ammunition and do nothing until something happens and you need it. Shooting is actually a fun sport – it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. Spending the time to learn about safety, learn about your weapon and practice using it — these are all worth your time.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



SIG P365 Video Reviews Of This Excellent Concealed Carry Pistol

In the last post I told you that the SIG P365 is my concealed carry pistol of choice. I thought you might like to see some videos to see what others have to say as well.




And here’s one from SIG directly giving you an overview:


So you get the idea. It’s a pretty cool little pistol for concealed carry! If you are thinking about picking one of the models up and some magazines, the below links can take you to various seller’s web pages:


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



The SIG P365 Is My Concealed Carry Pistol

Given my work with tactical weapons I guess folks expect me to carry some exotic pistol. My every day carry (EDC) is a SIG P365 that I picked up some time in the early Summer of 2019 from my friend and FFL, Scott Igert who owns Michigan Gun Exchange. I don’t claim to be a concealed carry expert but Scott is. As a retired police officer and trainer, Scott knows his way around firearms.

He and I have known each other for years and he knows what I like. After I got my Michigan Concealed Pistol License (CPL), I asked him what pistol he would recommend given my preferences. He thought about it for a few seconds and then recommended that I take a look at the SIG P365.

The P365 trail blazed the category of micro-compact 9mm semi-auto pistols that was rated for +P ammo. The designers intended it to be very small, reliable and pack a punch. I’d say they succeeded. Yeah, there have been small pistols in the past but they had some very anemic chamberings and/or were low capacity such as the single or double-barrel derringers that could larger calibers.

The P365 has received a ton of rave reviews including Handgun of the Year from Guns & Ammo in 2018, NRA Golden Bullseye Award 2019, Ballistics Best Winnter 2018, 2018 Industry Choice Award and more. The reason is simple – it small, light, reliable and can deliver a hell of a punch.

The Magazines

The P365 has a novel way of stacking the rounds inside the magazine wherein the can fit 10 rounds in a very short magazine. The pistol comes with this 10 round magazine but you can also get 12 and 15 round magazines as well.

My P365 with the three magazine sizes – From left to right: the 15, 12 and 10 round models plus you can see the Desantis #106 Sof-Tuck holster that I have been using for a few months now. I like it more than Kydex because it doesn’t poke me.
Here’s a close up of the three sizes of magazines. I own two of each so I have a lot of flexibility in terms of what I am going to carry. That’s Hornady Critical Duty 135gr +P ammo peaking out.

I wear XL-size gloves and the pistol with the 10 round magazine has a very short grip. It’s not comfortable for me and I wouldn’t target shoot with it but it makes for a very concealable pistol. I was told once that the best pistol in the world will not save you if aren’t carrying it for whatever reason – it’s too heavy, it’s too long, it sticks out, etc. My point is that there do need to be trade-offs at times. There are definitely times I carry with the 10 round magazine due to the weight and size reduction.

Here’s the P365 with the 10 round magazine installed.

For me, the 12 round magazine is ideal. It’s just a tad longer and they’ve added a small grip extension to the bottom. This is what I use most of the time because it adds just a bit more weight and size plus I find it far more comfortable to hold.

They do offer a 15 round model and while I may have it as a backup somewhere, it is longer and heavier than what I really want to carry around. I have carried with it but rarely. The nice thing besides the higher capacity is that you basically have a full-sized grip.

Here’s the P365 with the 15-round magazine inserted. Plenty of grip space but it is heavier and longer.

The Holster

I’ve experimented with a few holsters and the most comfortable one I have is the Desantis Sof-Tuck model 106NA8JZ0 – this is the right handed model at it first the P365 and P365 SAS (the model with recessed sights and a ported barrel).

What I like is the softness – it doesn’t poke me when I sit down, bend over, etc. It keeps the pistol secure in my pants and really meets my needs for a basic holster.

Here’s a closer view of the Desantis #106 Sof-Tuck holster and the belt clip.
Here’s what I had with me the other day – you see the P365 in the holster with the 12 round magazine, one of the Streamlight 66608 350 Lumen USB rechargeable lights and a Kershaw 1600 Chive pocket knife. In the back are spare mags that were in the car.

Ammunition

What I am using is Hornady Critical Duty 135 grain +p ammo. Yes, it is rated for +P ammo but I wouldn’t shoot it all the time at the range. Critical Duty is not for everyone as it is designed with a degree of barrier penetration in mind. (Hornady has a nice summary on their website if you are interested click here.) I have run a number of types through the P365 including Federal HST 124gr and a variety of 115gr FMJ loads and the little pistol handled them all just fine.

I really want to put one thing out there for you to bear in mind though – always, always, always test your pistol with the ammo and magazines you plan to use. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a pistol not function correctly due to some combination of magazine and ammo but work perfectly fine with others. Sometimes folks new to shooting don’t realize this and it would be devastatingly bad in a self-defense situation to have your pistol jam when it tries to cycle.

How many rounds should you try? You’ll get a ton of answers on this. Statistics would tell you that at least 30 rounds is a fair sample and going past that is better in my opinion. Some guys will tell you 100 rounds, some will say 200 … they are all right in my honest opinion – shoot as much as you need to in order to become familiar with your pistol and that a given combination of magazines and ammo is going to work.

Also, to put it bluntly, shit happens. Practice clearing your pistol plus slapping in a new mag and continue firing. You just never know and if you’ve not practiced enough you are liable to fumble around under stress.

If you’d like to check out some video reviews, click here.

Summary

Again, this is my concealed carry that I entrust my family’s safety to. My Glock stays at home now because the little SIG is easy to carry, reliable and packs a punch. The P365 has proven to be so wildly successful that SIG released a larger XL model plus the SAS that has integral sights and barrel porting. While I don’t have first hand experience with them what I hear is very favorable and I definitely recommend the P365 to folks looking for solid concealed carry pistol.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



Research On Home Made Pepper Spray – Tread Carefully. Something Reliable and Effective Is Not As Easy As You May Think.

Up front, please let me stress that this post if for informational purposes only. The author will not be liable if you decide to attempt to make or use pepper spray. You assume all liability going forward.

Please abide by all laws and regulations in your area – it is illegal to possess pepper spray in some places let alone use it.

Last but not least, please follow safe practices if you choose to attempt making pepper spray.

Pepper spray irritates the eyes, lungs and skin. The intent is to cause extreme temporary discomfort and allow the defender a chance to get away or the police officer to more easily restrain a subject. The reason I researched and wrote this post is that a number of people are worried about personal and family safety and how to ward off attackers given the craziness with people panicking over COVID-19.

For one reason or another, not everyone can buy a firearm and. thanks to government regulation, many law abiding citizens can’t even purchase pepper spray. Now, machining a firearm and its costs are beyond many but making pepper spray is something people might want to consider but there are a whole lot of potential issues I want you to think through before you make some home brew and pour it in a spray bottle.

What is pepper spray anyways?

As you can guess from the name, the main ingredient is technically known as oleresin capsicum (OC) is derived from peppers. OC is an oily organic resin obtained from finely ground chili powder where the capsaicin of the pepper is removed using an alcohol – typically ispropyl or ethanol. The capsaicin is most concentrated in the parts of the pepper that hold the seeds and the rest of the pepper to a lesser extent.

The following video does a great job explaining how pepper spray affects the human body and how it is made:

How do you make a pepper spray?

Do not rub your eyes and be careful breathing any airborne powders or liquids. I’d recommend wearing nitrile gloves, eye protection and a dust mask – even a basic nuisance dust one.

Please abide by all laws and regulations in your area and follow safe practices if you choose to attempt making pepper spray.

Let me tell you up front that I am not incredibly impressed by anything I have read or watched. Do you research and be very, very careful.

The “heat” of pepper varieties is measured by the Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The SHU value of a given pepper is measuring the concentration of capsaicinoids, which is premoninantly capsaicin – the part of the pepper we need. So, the higher the Scoville rating, the hotter the pepper is and the stronger the pepper spray will be.

The above is a Scoville Scale with popular peppers rated. You can see that Cayenne is in the middle with some god awful hot ones at the top.

Note – Focus on the peppers not some of the weird home brews folks are making where they are adding in other ingredients because they seem to be irritants based on their own past experience – for example, people adding salt, black pepper and even curry.

Going back to peppers, bear in mind that commercial pepper sprays range from 2-5.3 million SHU. Just because you think Cayenne pepper (30-50,000 SHU) or a Jalapeno (2,500-8,000 SHU) is hot does not mean it is adequate. You need to be thinking about the hottest peppers you can find and using them. Let me give you specifics of the 10 hottest peppers

Safety comment – you do need to realize pepper sprays made by the hot peppers over 80,000 SHU are dangerous and may cause permanent damage to eyes, etc. You better not spray this hot stuff on anyone without real good cause and be extra careful working with them!

With the god awful hot peppers, I have no idea how you can safely test your concoction. Honestly, at some point of capsaicin concentration, you are going to cause chemical burns. If you are trying to make liquid hell, you have some very dangerous stuff going on. Please don’t test it on other people, pets, animals, etc.

First extraction video

This gentleman does a good job showing you how to extract the the capsaicin that we need. Note, he uses acetone but I’d recommend an alcohol as it is less volatile and doesn’t dissolve anywhere near as many varieties of plastics as acetone does. There’s solid guidance other than that.

Video Two – The author makes and tests his pepper spray

This fellow both made his own pepper spray and then tests it while reporting the results. Notice how he points out the delay — keep that in mind.

Some mistakes I noticed during my research

When you look around on Youtube and reading blog posts, there are a lot of fundamental mistakes that people make that I want you to be aware of:

  • Your goal is to make a concentrate – start with the hottest pepper you can find
  • You need to extract the capsaicin so grind up the pepper – don’t just add flakes.
  • Focus on the pepper!! Folks adding in other stuff may sound cool but I am not convinced curry powder, salt, black pepper, etc. will help. One fellow even added in a pain killer (lidocain) for reasons I can’t begin to fathom.
  • Use a ton of powder/ground pepper. You want to make a concentrate and not something really diluted. Now is not the time to go cheap.
  • Use alcohol and not acetone unless you know your plastic can handle it – many household/cheap plastics can’t.
  • Allow the alcohol time to dissolve the capsaicins from the peppers. Use a sealed container and give it at least 12 hours to a day while shaking or stirring periodically. A sealed container makes the most sense to me unless you want the solvent to evaporate off and make a concentrate, which is a legitimate consideration.
  • You definitely need to strain the resulting mixture. Any type of sprayer will be at risk of clogging if there are solids in the liquid. The folks with a stew of materials floating around in their dispensers are at risk of a clog just when they need the spray the most. I was really surprised at the number of authors who had dispensers with solid remnants floating around.
  • Nobody seems to know how long this stuff will last – 3 months might be a starting assumption. It’s not indefinite.

Delivery mechanism considerations

I’ve seen everything from squeeze bottles, to squirt guns to home made single shot stream sprayers. Consider the following:

  • whatever you select needs to be leak proof or you will have an awful mess.
  • You don’t want it accidentally going off in your purse or pocket … or you will have an awful mess.
  • If you do a charged can of some type – ensure the propellant doesn’t slowly leak out and/or have a means to recharge it. Even commercial units will slowly lose their propellant charge.
  • Remember to strain the liquid you’re going to use or floating solids will likely clog up your device — and probably when you need the spray the most. Seriously, it blew my mind how few did this.
  • You need to test to see how far the liquid can travel. In general you want a stream and not a fog both to concentrate delivery plus you do not want the person near you! Also, bear in mind that a mist will float around and land on others – potentially even yourself.

More resources

How to treat pepper spray / how to decontaminate

Okay folks, the following is so you know what to do if you get this stuff on you. The short answer is saline, non-mint antacid in distilled water in a 50/50 mix placed in a squeeze bottle to neutralize the chemical or some form of water and mild soap.

This is not magic or the movies – Beware

Reality is not like the movies – especially with home grown pepper sprays. Expect attackers to respond differently to pepper spray.. Some will immediately lose visibility and the will to fight, some may have a delay before the react and some will keep fighting no matter what due to drugs or whatever. Do not expect an attacker to magically drop to the ground.

The best way to win a fight is avoid the situation – don’t walk alone, avoid dark allies, stay alert, and so forth. View this stuff as a last resort or part of a layered defense that you have thought about.

Conclusion

Someone casually making pepper spray without a lot of thought put into it will likely have very mixed unsafe unreliable results. I didn’t find one video or blog post that I felt addressed my concerns for reliability so I collected the above for you to consider. If you can buy commercial pepper spray, I would highly recommend you do so.

The information presented here is for people who need protection and home-made pepper spray might be their last option. Do your research, plan and build with safety in mind. Last comment, don’t rely solely on pepper spray – consider other things like loud personal alarms, clubs, saps, fake money clips, take a self-defense class, etc.

Again, please, please be safe if you make anything discussed here. Also, be aware of any laws and regulations that are applicable. In some locales, pepper spray is treated virtually the same as a firearm and civilian use is strictly prohibited.

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The following are commercial pepper sprays if you can legally purchase them