Friday, December 5, 2008

Want to buy Mace? Here's what you need to know.

Before pepper spray, there was Mace: a chemical self defense product that people referred to by name. They didn't really think about what was in it, assumed that it was some formula called "Mace," or that it was an acronym for some special combination of chemicals. Now that people buy pepper spray as a standard chemical self defense tool, some people ask: "What happened to good old Mace?"

In fact, Mace is a brand name owned by Mace Security International, and has attached its name to an evolving line of self defense and animal repellent products. The old Mace was 1% CN tear gas dissolved in a mix of chemicals. CN gas is . . . not fun. It was originally developed during the First and Second World Wars and used in Vietnam. It's a lachrymatory agent (meaning that it causes tears) and irritant prone to inflicting toxic effects on susceptible individuals.

Most modern Mace is actually pepper spray: a substance that, when used properly, has more stable, predictable effects while maintaining excellent "stopping power" against most aggressors. We sell it as a separate category because the Mace brand is synonymous with quality. The company has excellent manufacturing standards and excels at making pepper spray (and its sticky cousin, pepper gel) that's easy to use. The company leads the way in designing ergonomic delivery systems - that means their sprays are easy to hold and aim. You can also buy dog repellent under the Mace brand that has the same great characteristics. And if you want a bit more "punch," Mace Triple Action Spray combines pepper spray, the old-style CN gas and dye to mark an assailant, making later pickup by the police much easier.

Like all sprays and other self defense products, you should check on local laws to make sure you buy products permissible under state law. Don't go looking for laws about "mace," since this can be misleading - it might refer to CN and other tear gasses. The laws surrounding pepper sprays are the same laws that affect Mace pepper spray products, so buy mace under the same advice you would use to buy pepper spray. Check out our page on pepper spray laws for a quick guide. If you still have questions, contact local law enforcement - they'd rather refer you to an answer than arrest you for making an ill-informed choice.