I have carried bear spray since I first saw it at the Western Washington State fair in 1998, but until 2 years ago, I only carried it when I was hiking or camping in bear country. 2 years ago while walking my dogs near where I was living, a stray attacked one of my dogs and cut him up quite badly. Since then I always have my bear spray with me whenever I take the dogs out also. On the evening of the 25th of November I walked to the grocery store and on my way home I was approached my 2 young men, One pulled a gun and asked for my groceries the other asked for my wallet.
Fortunately I was wearing my dog walking coat which held a can of UDAP Bear spray. I handed the guy with the gun my groceries and then reached into my coat to get my wallet, or so they thought. Instead I popped the safety clip on the can as I was pulling it out as it cleared the pocket I was able to unleash the spray. The range was just over 2 arm lengths so the spray didn’t have a chance to spread out but it was enough to make the guy with the gun drop his gun as he fell into the gutter. The second individual was a little farther away but close enough to get a good dose with just a little flick of my wrist.
He also hit the ground dropping the gun that he had been hiding behind his back. I was able then to kick both guns away from them without any problem. When they tried to get up a second short burst convinced them that staying on the ground was a good idea.
When the Police arrived they called the fire Department to hose the 2 down prior to hauling them off to jail. (it was 22 degrees). Both individuals are currently being held for trial they were denied bail. I did have to toss some of the food out because it was covered with the spray even through the plastic bag and containers protected it. Also because of the closeness of the encounter I did get some spray on my cloths and hands…. Word of advice here, Don’t forget to wash your hands after using your bear spray, because it really hurts when you rub your eyes if you don’t.
It is also a good to practice popping the safety off the can beforehand. I have used practice cans of bear spray for that and when a can expires I take it out to the middle of nowhere and practice using it. Because of this practice time I was able to deploy the spray without even really thinking about it. I really like the fact that even at such a short distance I was able to take out both with just a little side to side flick of the wrist I was able to take out both attackers. I am also very glad that nobody died and I don’t have to deal with the psychological trauma of killing someone.
People say they carry a gun for protection but think about it…We know people can continue to shoot after they have been shot but with a good quick dose of bear spray they are down and out and if they could shoot they couldn’t see to shoot you. Also with the spray there is a lot less paperwork and grief. One other thing, at close range and with the good dispersal rate I wouldn’t aim directly for the face, especially with the bigger cans because the pressure could probably do some real damage to someone’s eyes. But that is just me.