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Apr 19, 2009

Although pepper sprays are still some of the best-selling self-defense gadgets today, there is another pepper-based tool that promises stronger stopping power. It's called the pepper gun. It functions in much the same way as a regular gun but with a big difference: it's non-lethal and fires only pepper ammunition.

What is a pepper gun?
A pepper gun, as its name implies, is a type of airgun that shoots pepper ammunition. It uses compressed air to propel its ammo. The pepper ammo is in the form of a hollow ball made from plastic material. The ball is filled with dry capsaicin powder, the component found in peppers and chili. It's a strong irritant, causing teary eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing and even difficulty in breathing.

How does a pepper gun work?
When fired, the pepper gun shoots the pepper ammo. Because it's made with breakable plastic, it will explode upon impact, releasing the capsaicin powder inside and creating a cloud of dust. Once airborne, the capsaicin powder goes to work, causing pain, irritation and extreme discomfort.

If you're familiar with the paintball gun, then you have a pretty good idea of how the pepper gun works. They use the same principle, although pepper ammunition is usually slightly bigger compared to the paintball projectile.

How long does the effect of a pepper gun last?
Once an attacker or suspect is hit, it will only take 2 to 3 seconds before the capsaicin takes effect. As long as the pepper ammo hits its mark, it should take an average of about 4 minutes before the target can recover.

Is it safe?
A pepper gun is a self-defense gadget. It is not a toy. Just because it is significantly safer compared to a real gun doesn't mean anyone can just play with it. When used, it can still fire a fast moving projectile. The plastic ammo may not penetrate the flesh but it can break and cause some damage if used at close range to target someone's eyes, for example. The plastic ammunition balls can also cause discomfort if swallowed.

What are the advantages of a pepper gun?
A pepper gun resembles a handgun or a rifle. One of its main advantages is that it is easy to carry, handle and aim. Like a gun, it can also be used either up close or from some distance away. Pepper sprays, for example, require the user to be relatively close to the target for a better aim. A pepper gun, on the other hand, can be used from about 50 meters away. This makes it very convenient and relatively safer (at least for the user) in case the target happens to be violent or mobile.


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