In South Africa, there are various pepper sprays available, but no regulations governing the industry. Pepper spray manufacturers are left to make unchecked and exaggerated claims with regards to the heat and implied effectiveness of their sprays.

Before buying pepper spray, arm yourself with the knowledge that could save your life.

OC Percentage

warning-percentAn inflated OC percentage claim is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Brands claim they contain anywhere from 2% to 20% Oleoresin Capsicum (OC). By listing a higher OC percentage, some manufacturers hope to trick you into believing these high numbers mean their sprays are more effective.

The truth is that the OC percentage only measures the amount of pepper in the formulation; it does not measure the heat-bearing component / strength of the formulation.

Some brands outright misrepresent their OC percentage; it is highly unlikely that any pepper spray designed for protection against a human attacker contains more than 10% pepper (OC).

You can ask for an independent laboratory report confirming the OC percentage of the spray you are considering, but keep in mind the OC percentage does not indicate the strength or effectiveness of the product. Our suggestion is to stay away from any sprays which list an OC percentage as a reason to purchase their spray.

Scoville Heat Units (SHU)

warning-millionAnother popular claim is that Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) determine pepper spray strength. There are two problems with this claim.

The first is that some brands advertise the SHUs of the raw pepper rather than the SHUs of their pepper spray formulation. For example, if a brand advertises SHUs of 5 300 000 (raw pepper rather than pepper spray formulation), and has an OC concentration of 2%, the actual SHUs of the pepper spray formulation is only 106 000 SHUs.

The other problem is that SHUs are based on a taste test and are highly subjective. What's hot to one person could be rather mild to the next.

Major Capsaicinoids – The True Heat Indicator

Major Capsaicinoids are the true indicator of pepper spray strength. The only way pepper spray manufacturers can guarantee their Major Capsaicinoid content is through High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) laboratory testing. How critical is HPLC laboratory testing? The University of Utah in the US discovered that pepper sprays fail 30% of the time if not backed by HPLC testing.

Have you noticed the tomato you buy in July — even though it is 100% tomato — doesn't taste as good as the tomato you buy in December? Peppers are the same way. Because they are grown naturally, their strength is determined by everchanging climatic factors, such as sunlight, precipitation, soil nutrients, etc. HPLC testing is the only way to guarantee that Major Capsaicinoids remain consistent from batch to batch.


Security Equipment Corporation (SEC) is the only manufacturer which controls and guarantees the strength of its formula via in-house HPLC technology!

Choose any SABRE RED product and you will never have to worry about weak pepper spray or pepper spray failure due to a bad batch. Help protect yourself, your family or a loved one with a spray backed by the industry’s latest technology – SABRE RED!


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