We recently picked up one of the Pepper Blaster IIs by Kimber, with the intention of making a kydex holster for it. Most holster options for this unit are a soft nylon pouch, which doesn't offer much in the way of trigger protection or retention without the use of hook-and-loop enclosures.
Before we could safely mold with the unit however, we had to fire it. While we were going to use it anyway, we decided that it was a good opportunity to get some data for those that might be considering picking one up for either primary or back-up self defense. I know what you're thinking and no, unfortunately you are not going to see us get sprayed in the face with it. There are plenty of videos already out there showing the effect on a person, and we didn't feel the need to reproduce that. Our opinion: It really sucks and is capable of stopping a threat, and a quick search on YouTube will confirm that.
So what kind of data did we set out to collect? We wanted to measure the effective spread of the Pepper Blaster II from two different distances, to get a good baseline for what to expect for the end user. Once you know what the unit is capable of, it should be easier to effectively deploy on a threat when you can predict what will happen when you pull the trigger.
We also recommend that if someone is interested in picking up a Pepper Blaster II for carry, they buy at least two up-front. Granted, this is near to an $80 investment, however as with carrying a firearm for defense it is important to train with it to build familiarity and proficiency. Simply going off the information in this article or other YouTube videos should not be substituted for real experience. There are certain things that cannot be taught without first-hand experience, such as what the trigger pull feels like.
Before we get into the details of our test, here's some information about the Pepper Blaster II itself. The unit consists of a handgun shaped plastic shell with two pepper-gel canisters propelled by an explosive charge. This is in contrast to most pepper sprays that are pressurized and/or aerosol propelled. One important thing to note that isn't listed in the instructions or packaging is that it fires the bottom canister first. This caused our center-of-mass aiming to be a bit high compared to the point of "impact" on the target. Once the 6.5 pound trigger pull is made, the canister will dispense the sticky pepper gel which is claimed to be measured at about 4 million on the Scoville Heat Unit scale. After the first shot, releasing the trigger allows it to reset so the second shot can be fired from the top canister. This second shot is a bit more true to the sights as the equivalent of a height-over-bore ratio is less distance.
Kimber advises that the minimum safe distance from which to fire the Pepper Blaster II is 2 feet, with a maximum effective range of 13 feet. We decided to conduct our test shots onto a white torso target from 5 feet and 10 feet, providing a good middle-ground based on the minimum and maximum distances recommended. Below is a quick video of the test-firing and the results. We apologize, however the second shot was not captured due to a camera issue, but the result is pictured for both shots.
As shown above, the 5 foot shot resulted in the majority of the gel landing in a 9" circle. This is a pretty good dense shot for the face of a threat, and will ensure that if the aim is true a large portion of the pepper gel will make it into the eyes/sinuses/mouth of the attacker. The 10 foot shot yielded a larger 19" circle, which means that a shot aimed at a face may result in some of the gel sailing past the target. This is an important consideration if there are other persons behind a threat that you do not intend to spray.
Hopefully the data that we were able to gather will assist in one's decision to purchase and carry one of these units. Depending on the application, a spray or foam pepper product may fill the need more aptly. With only two shots, training with the Pepper Blaster II becomes even more important, and we would definitely not advise that it be purchased and carried without ever testing it first. This means that essentially the cost of training with it runs about $20 per shot, which is quite high compared to most firearms training.
If you or someone you know has one of the Pepper Blaster IIs for carry check out the holster that we make for it! At only $30, this is an affordable and secure way to carry the Pepper Blaster II. Details can be found at the following link:
Kinetic Concepts Tactical