As I mentioned earlier, this is an over/under “barrel” design. Each fires a single shot of OC so you get two shots from the tool. While that may seem unnecessarily redundant since the OC mix is so effective at disabling an attacker, accurate delivery isn’t always assured. Imagine yourself in a fight, moving around, trying to get loose, create distance, hang on to your purse, etc. and in the midst of that you have to line up the tool accurately to deliver the shot of OC to the attacker’s face – which is also moving. Two shots is good. More would be better but there has to be a balance between the effectiveness and the size of the tool. Because of the compact size of the Pepperblaster II, which makes it so convenient to carry, two shots is what can be easily designed in.
The Pepperblaster II does have a set of sights although you’ll probably simply point it and pull the trigger when under severe duress. There is also a lanyard loop in the base of the grip if you’d ever want to attach such.
With all of that knowledge gained prior to testing, I set about finding someone brave (or dumb) enough to let me expose them to this OC tool. After several months I finally found an OC weapon instructor who said, “Sure, I don’t care.” So on a cool day (temperatures were in the high 50sF) we prepared the necessary decontamination area an set about the exposure testing. To keep the test subject’s response and reactions in perspective, this man has previously been voluntarily exposed to several different blends and mixes of oleoresin capsaicin. He knew what to expect and was prepared for 30 to 45 minutes of burning discomfort on his face.
Decontamination involves copious amounts of cool water applied to the affected areas. The use of any type of salve, cream, ointment, etc. is not recommended and actually makes the decontamination time longer as it serves to seal the OC onto the skin, thereby preventing the easier removal of the irritant.
We chose a deployment distance of approximately eight feet. Two feet is the minimum safe distance. Thirteen feet is what Kimber publishes on their website with the implication that it’s the maximum distance. Eight feet seemed a sensible middle distance. There was very little breeze so wind was not a concern for effecting accuracy (although it IS something you should always try to take into consideration during actual defense use).
With my test subject’s mouth and eyes closed tight and while he was holding his breath, I lined up and fired the first shot. My first observation was that you cannot aim the unit prior to pushing the plastic safety tab out of the way. The safety tab has to be pushed out of the way – which requires sideways pressure from your trigger finger – and then you line up your sights for aiming purposes. I pulled the trigger and there was the hiss/slap of the unit firing. The OC blend impacted my test subject’s face with near total coverage of the exposed skin area.
I immediately safely stored the Pepperblaster II with its one remaining charge and led my test subject over to our decontamination area. He did not open his eyes and held his breath until he had run water in his face for several seconds. The intent was to minimize the amount of the OC product that he might inhale. After a few seconds of rinse and with his eyes still closed tight, he tried to articulate the “burn experience” and compare it to his other OC exposures. In short, he was impressed with the discomfort caused and commented on the impact of the OC blend that he felt. It was a much more noticeable impact he said, than his previous exposures to OC spray, fog or foam products. This OC blend was more like “a hot slap in the face.”
The warning label on the side of the unit says to seek medical attention if the symptoms persist or worsen after 45 minutes. As a certified OC Instructor myself, I can tell you that the symptoms will not clear up in just 45 minutes. In five or ten minutes the exposed person may be able to open their eyes and function rationally, but the burning sensation, redness and irritation can take well over an hour to clear up and requires fresh air after a good cool-water rinse of all exposed areas.
On the Kimber website the Pepperblaster II has an MSRP of $39.95. It’s available in red or gray and there is an orange training unit available as well (slightly lower price of $35.99). There are two carry accessories also available: a belt clip which essentially wraps around the tool lengthwise and has a hook for you belt or $8.49, and a carry pouch for $19.99. I did my usual Google search to see if I could find one any cheaper and I was successful, but the price was not significantly different. $33.99 was the lowest price I found and I saw some units priced as high as $50.65.