Less Than Lethal Self Defense Blog

About Mace

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Mace is the genericized trademark of Chemical Mace, the brand name of an early type of aerosol self defense spray invented by Allan Lee Litman in 1965. The first product of this type, Litman's design, packaged CN tear gas, (phenacyl chloride) desolved in hydrocarbon solvents into a small aerosol spray can, useable in almost any environment and strong enough (when sprayed in the face) to act as a credible deterrent and incapacitant.  Tear gas is formerly known as a lachrymatory agent or lachrymator (from lacrima, meaning "tear" in Latin) is a non lethal, (less than lethal) chemical weapon that stimulates the corneal nerves in the eyes to cause tears, pain, and even blindness.  Commonlacrymators include pepper spray (OC gas), CS gas, CR gas, CN gas (phenacyl chloride), nonivamide, bromoacetone, xylyl bromide, syn-propanethial-s-oxide,(from onions) and (Mace a branded mixture).  It's popularity led to the brand name simply shortened to "Mace" for all defense sprays, regardless of the composition. Chemical Mace was sold to Smith and Wesson and manufactured by their Lake Erie Chemical division.  Smith and Wesson subsequently transferred ownership to John E. Goodrich along with the rest of the chemical division that is now Mace Security International.  Though the design has been expanded upon, the only Chemical Mace formula using only CN gas has since been discontinued, due to the potentially toxic nature of the CN and the generally superior incapacitating qualities of oleoresin capsicum (OC) pepper spray in most situations. The early CN has been mostly supplanted  by OC formulas in police use, although Mace Security International still retains a "Triple Action" formula combining CN, OC and an ultraviolet marker dye.

Tear gas works by irritating mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs and causes crying, sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, pain in the eyes, etc.  With CS gas, symptoms of irritation usually appear in 20 to 60 seconds of exposure and goes away in about 30 minutes.  With pepper spray, (OC gas)  the onset of symptoms including loss of motor control, is almost immediate, forcing the perpetrator to abandon the aggressive behavior in 90% of cases.

By: Lance Murray

Information form Wikipedia.

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