A less-lethal / non-lethal option for personal defense is or should be an important component of an individual’s EDC. It’s all the more important given current events. One of the best options in this regard is oleoresin capsicum (OC) or pepper spray, as it’s commonly referred to. Choosing the right pepper spray is crucial. The one that I have settled on and recommend for EDC is the PepperBlasterI® II from Kimber Mfg.Inc., a company best known for its quality firearms.
The PepperBlaster II is a proven product that remains just as revolutionary today as it was the day it was introduced. Designed as a less-lethal / non-lethal tool for personal defense, the PepperBlaster II features patented Jet Projection Technology®, which is the most powerful and technologically advanced projection system for liquid irritant agents. It eliminates the shortcomings of traditional pepper sprays.
Jet Projection Technology was developed by two graduate Swiss engineers, Juerg Thomann and Raphael Fleischauer, the co-founders of Piexon AG. Winner of the Swiss Technology Award, Jet Projection Technology launches liquid irritant agent by means of a pyrotechnic power drive. It provides superior performance and reliability compared to pressurized canister sprays. Kimber is the exclusive US importer. It’s an exceptionally reliable system. I recently test fired several first generation units that were over 17 years old. I wasn’t certain what to expect but, much to my surprise, they functioned perfectly.
Most, if not all, readers are familiar with OC and have likely received training in its use. Nevertheless, let’s start with a few basics for a more complete understanding.
The use of pepper as a weapon dates back to at least ancient China, The Chinese wrapped up ground cayenne pepper in rice paper to throw at an at an opponent’s face. It also saw use in feudal Japan by Samurai police and ninja.
Pepper spray was developed by two researchers at the University of Georgia in 1960. It first saw use as an animal repellent. It was not until 1989 that the FBI endorsed its use by its agents as an officially allowed chemical agent. Law enforcement agencies across the nation followed the FBI’s lead.
Oleoresin Capsicum is a naturally occurring substance found in the oily resin of chili peppers (capsicum frutescens). The word “capsicum” is actually a horticultural term that refers to the genus in which chili peppers are classified.
OC is an inflammatory agent that works on the eyes, respiratory system and mucous membranes. Although most readers have probably experienced the effects during training and need no introduction, effects can include disorientation/impaired vision through tearing, involuntary closure of the eyes, pain/burning sensation on exposed surfaces, gagging, coughing and impaired breathing.
The effects of OC are the result of a family of alkaloid compounds known as capsaicinoids. Capsaicinoids are what give chili peppers their heat. Because OC is an organic compound, it’s subject to variations in its composition. The main capsaicinoids in OC are capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, nordihydrocapsaicin, homocapsaicin and dihydrohomocapsaicin. The percentage of major capsaicinoids (MC) is the major determinant of the effectiveness of an OC product.
While the major capsaicinoid content is a major determinant of effectiveness, other factors also play an important role. The actual chemical makeup formulation of the spray (including the solvents, carriers and propellants) and the delivery method are also important factors that need to be considered.
In law enforcement applications, OC is a “low level” control and restraint tool to provide compliance to verbal commands when dealing with unarmed, hostile subjects. It’s also personal defense tool of choice for many private citizens in those situations where a higher level of force would be inappropriate or where the laws prohibit any other weapon options.
Although its use by law enforcement has waned with the surge in popularly of conducted electrical weapons / conducted energy weapons (CEWs), such as the TASER®, OC remains an important tool in the law enforcement toolbox.
Kimber PepperBlaster II
Most people know how to aim and shoot a pistol. The PepperBlaster II is designed to leverage those existing skills. It takes its design cues from a pistol. It has over/under nozzles much like the barrels on a derringer. It has a short grip and is equipped with integral pistol-style fixed sights for accurate aiming, although realistically, more likely than not, you’ll simply point it. It’s surprisingly ergonomic in the hand, points instinctively and allows for a secure grip. The bottom of the grip is equipped with a lanyard loop for attachment of a wrist strap...
The PepperBlaster II measures 4.5 x 3.3 x 0.9 inches (11.43 x 8.38 x 2.29 cm) and weighs just 4.2 ounces (119.07 g), making it convenient to carry. The housing is constructed a tough well-reinforced hard polymer. It’s rugged and water-resistant.
The PepperBlaster II is a two-shot, closed system containing two charges of ultra-hot 10% OC formulation at 4,000,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHU). It has a whopping 2.4% MC. No other pepper spray even comes close. For comparison, conventional canister pepper sprays range from 0.18% to 1.45% MC. As you can see, there’s quite a difference.
The formulation used in the PepperBlaster II has a benzyl alcohol carrier. Many experts believe that alcohol-based OC formulations are more effective than non-alcohol-based formulations and reduce the time that’s required for the OC to take effect. They also feel that alcohol-based OC products work better under all temperature conditions. The effects of the PepperBlaster II OC formulation are immediate and last approximately 30 to 40 minutes without treatment.
Firing is by means of a trigger, with right or left hand operation. The device features semiautomatic switch-over operation. Pulling the trigger once fires the first blast. Pulling the trigger again automatically fires the remaining blast. The first pull of the trigger fires the lower nozzle.
The OC formulation is contained in two Jet Projection cartridges. Each cartridge contains a volume of 0.21 ounces (6 ml) of the liquid agent. In the inactive state, the liquid agent is held in the cartridge case by means of a nozzle seal. The nozzle seal can only be broken once a predefined nominal pressure is reached.
When the PepperBlaster II is fired, a mechanical firing pin ignites a pyrotechnic power drive, which powers a movable piston in the cartridge. The piston subjects the liquid agent to high pressure. The pressure then forces the liquid agent through the nozzle as a high-speed jet.
The chain of events in the Jet Projection liquid agent cartridge is as follows:
Pyrotechnic Power Drive —> Piston –> Liquid Agent –> Nozzle Seal −−> Nozzle.
After expelling the liquid agent through the nozzle, the piston is retained within the cartridge case. The gasses from the pyrotechnic power drive are then vented around the piston, blowing out any irritant residues on the nozzle.
The Jet Projection Technology provides a number of significant advantages over pressurized canister sprays. Canister sprays store the required pressure for the projection of the agent over its lifetime. The pressure is inconsistent over time and with use. They lose their pressure (propellant) through the valve over time and under high temperatures. Hot temperatures, such as those that may be reached in a parked car on a summer day, can lead to over-pressure causing the canister to burst. Cold temperatures reduce the range of the spray. As the temperatures drop, so too does the pressure in spray canisters.
Since the PepperBlaster II doesn’t work with a permanent pressure aerosol canister, it is completely reliable and unaffected by temperature extremes. The performance is consistent over the entire wide operating temperature range of -5°F to +176°F (-20.6°C to 80°C). You can leave it in a hot car without worry.
Unlike most pressurized canister sprays, the PepperBlaster II works effectively in any position and orientation. Most defense sprays only work with the canister in the vertical position.
The PepperBlaster II has a unique nozzle that provides a shotgun-like spray pattern that has the advantages of stream and cone sprays without the disadvantages. The nozzle is designed to provide spray pattern of approximately 12 inches (30.48 cm) at a distance of 13 feet, (2.96 m) yet still cover the face of an an assailant at the minimum distance of two feet (0.61 m).
The Jet Projection Technology also allows for a far greater range than pressurized canister sprays. The peak pressure build-up of the pyrotechnic drive is much higher than the stored pressure in a canister. The PepperBlaster II has an effective range of 13 feet (3.96 m). In comparison, most personal size defense sprays only have an effective range of around seven feet (2.13 m).
According to the Kimber website, the liquid agent is discharged from the PepperBlaster II at a velocity of 112 miles per hour (180 kph), which translates to 164.27 feet per second. (50.07 m/s). Since the jet elapse time is 0.08 seconds within the 13-foot range, and the average reaction time is 0.273 seconds, hit probability is increased as the subject doesn’t have time to react.
The high-velocity liquid projectile has a gel-like consistency and carries sufficient ballistic energy to make it relatively unaffected by wind and virtually eliminate blowback. Due to its energy, it also more easily penetrates around glasses, into eyes, pores and mucous membranes. Pressurized canister personal defense sprays contain almost no ballistic energy and are easily deflected by even the lightest wind.
The PepperBlaster II has a minimum safety distance of two feet (0.61 m). At distances closer than this, discharging the PepperBlaster II into an assailant’s face or eyes may cause serious and permanent injuries. This is due to what’s known as the “hydraulic needle effect” and can occur with all stream sprays at extremely close range. Additionally, the agent capsaicin and alcohol carrier can, in rare instances, cause corneal injuries, which usually heal up without any permanent damage. First aid for the PepperBlaster II is the same as with any OC spray.
The PepperBlaster II has been designed to provide a high degree of operational safety. Negligent discharges are far less likely than with conventional sprays. The only movable exterior parts on the PepperBlaster II is the safety and trigger. The trigger is centrally enclosed and equipped with a swing-away trigger guard safety device to prevent inadvertent firing of the device.
The safety has to be pushed sideways out of the way with the trigger finger before the trigger can be pulled. Due to the design, it’s impossible to grab the device the wrong way and accidentally fire it. The PepperBlaster II has a 6.6 pound, (2.99 kg) relatively short double-action only trigger pull.
The firing mechanism and switch-over mechanism of the PepperBlaster II are completely internal. The device is equipped with two internal safety mechanisms that prevent unintentional discharge of the agent, in the event that the device is dropped. It has been rated as drop-proof from heights up to five feet (1.52 m). The PepperBlaster II is weather-resistant.
The PepperBlaster II is equipped with a white mark on both sides of the trigger. If the white mark is visible on the outside of the housing, the device has never been fired and contains two live protection cartridges. If the white mark is covered by the housing, the PepperBlaster II has been used at least once.
When firing the PepperBlaster II, only the tip of the forefinger should be used to pull the trigger. The trigger should be pulled in a slow, steady manner in the same way that one would pull the trigger of a firearm.
Upon firing, the manufacturer recommends that the operator should leave the PepperBlaster II in the firing position, check where the first charge hit and assess its effects on the assailant. The operator should immediately aim again, take a step forward, and then aim again, firing a second blast if necessary. If the operator is a private citizen, he or she should then move away from the danger as quickly as possible. If a law enforcement officer, the officer should follow appropriate procedures.
The PepperBlaster II is one of most effective OC products on the market.That being said, although it’s very effective on most people, OC won’t work on everyone. You can fight through its effects, as anyone who has been exposed to OC in training will attest. Be prepared to transition to another option. Always have an immediate backup plan.
Also, keep in mind that you only have two shots with the PepperBlaster II. This is something that needs to be considered. The PepperBlaster II is designed to be disposed of after use. It isn’t reloadable.
The PepperBlaster II has a four year shelf life. For comparison, aerosol products typically have a two-year shelf life.. Every unit bears a manufacturing date and an expiration date. An instruction and safety manual is included with every PepperBlaster II..
A training version of the PepperBlaster II is available for practice. The PepperBlaster II Trainier has an orange housing to differentiate it from the live OC version. It’s filled with a washable blue food grade dye instead of irritant agent. In all other respects, it’s identical to the live OC version.
Flying with the PepperBlaster II
The PepperBlaster II complies with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements for transporting in checked luggage. According to the TSA, “One 4 fl. oz. (118 ml) container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage provided it is equipped with a safety mechanism to prevent accidental discharge. Self-defense sprays containing more than 2 percent by mass of tear gas (CS or CN) are prohibited in checked baggage.” Also, check with your airline, as some airlines may prohibit it altogether. Another option is to purchase it at your destination. And always check the laws of your destination.
Kimber PepperBlaster II Holsters
Although the Kimber PepperBlaster II fits conveniently in a pocket or purse, Kimber offers two holsters for it — an ABS polymer PepperBlaster II holster by DeSantis Gunhide and the Kimber Kydex PepperBlaster II holster. I opted for the Kimber Kydex PepperBlaster II holster.
The Kimber Kydex PepperBlaster II holster is made of black KYDEX® and imprinted with a gold Kimber logo, it’s equipped with a heavy-duty black spring steel belt clip that fits belts up to 1.75 inches (4.45 cm) wide for IWB or OWB carry. The holster has standard size attachment holes, allowing for a variety of attachment options, allowing you to replace the belt clip with another style of attachment if desired.
The holster is precisely formed to the PepperBlaster II and retains it securely. The holster completely covers and protects the trigger and allows for a full firing grip and smooth draw. The holster features ambidextrous hardware attachment and is adjustable for cant and ride height for maximum carry flexibility. No special tools are needed for set up, just a standard Philips screwdriver. The holster comes set up for right-hand IWB carry. I carry the PepperBlaster II support side cross draw, similar to how I would carry a TASER on a duty belt and for the same reason. The Kydex PepperBlaster II holster is made in the USA.
The Kimber PepperBlaster II has a MSRP of $34.95 and is available with a grey or red housing. Although the grey PepperBlaster II is lower profile in appearance, some people prefer the red to clearly distinguish it as a less lethal / non lethal weapon and not a firearm to bystanders or law enforcement. The PepperBlaster II is also available from Kimber in a set of three (red) for $83.95. The PepperBllaster II Trainer has a MSRP of $35.99. The Kimber Kydex PepperBlaster II holster is also priced at $35.99.
The PepperBlaster II is NTOA Member Tested and Recommended. If your’re looking for a less-lethal / non-lethal option to add to your EDC or for a loved one, I would definitely check out the PepperBlaster II. The PepperBlaster II is available at authorized Kimber dealers or may be purchased directly from Kimber.
SpecificatuionsKimber Pepper Blaster II
Manufacturer: Made for Kimber by Piexon AGUS Distributor: Kimber Mfg. Inc.Model: Kimber Pepper Blaster IIAction: Double-Action with Automatic SwitchoverTrigger Pull: 6.6 PoundsSafety: Swing-Away Trigger GuardFinish: Red or Gray PolymerSights: FixedOverall Length: 4.7 in. (11.43 cm)Height 3.3 in. (8.38 cm)Width: 0.9 in. (2.29 cm)Weight: 4.2 ozs. (119.07 g)Water Resistant: YesCapacity: 2 Charges Per UnitCharge Velocity: 112 mph (180 kph)Effective Range: 13 ft. (3.96 m)Minimum Safety Distance: 2 ft.(0.61 m)Operating Temperature Range: -5°F to +176°F (-20.6°C to 80°C).Irritant Agent: 10% OC (2.4% Major Capsaicinoids)Shelf Life: 4 yearsOptional Accessories: DeSantis ABS PepperBlaster II Holster; Kimber Kydex PepperBlaster II Holster HolsterCountry of Origin: Made in SwitzerlandMSRP: $34.95
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.