The Difference Between Mace vs Pepper Spray

In the present market, Mace is actually just one brand of pepper (OC) spray — just like Kleenex is a type of tissue. So really there is not much difference between Mace and pepper (OC) spray, since they both contain the same active chemical. You can purchase mace or a different pepper (OC) spray — both work great.

Some other brands of pepper (OC) spray include:

For a comparison of mace sprays and other pepper (OC) sprays click here.

Mace and pepper-spray both contain oleoresin capsicum (OC), the intense irritating and incapacitating chemical that is found in chilli peppers. They are both self defense weapons and both are legal in all States — although there are some restrictions on amount, license requirements, and concentrations.

Mace does produce some pretty unique OC spray self defense products, such as this awesome pepper-spray gun (20 foot range!):

Mace Pepper-Spray Pepper Gun (Pink)

This Mace pepper (OC) spray gun packs a super punch! It comes in black, blue and grey as well, for those of you who are too embarrassed to carry a pink gun. For more info on using this fearsome pepper (OC) spray weapon, click on the link above.

The History of Mace and Tear Gas

The confusion between the difference between mace and pepper (OC) spray comes from the history of the Mace product. When Mace was first invented in the 60’s, it was actually a chemical different from pepper (OC) spray, called phenacyl chloride, or CN tear gas. CN mace tear gas has properties very similar to pepper (OC) spray but had some severe disadvantages.

Disadvantages of tear gas

  • Ineffective against intoxicated individuals: Tear gas does not work on targets that are intoxicated by large amounts of alcohol. Pepper (OC) spray on the other hand works well on drunk or sober threats.
  • Possible toxic effects: Mace tear gas was found to be potentially dangerous toxic in large concentrations. Pepper (OC) spray on the other hand is very safe and is non-toxic, and non-lethal.

Since pepper (OC) spray was just a much better chemical for safe incapacitation of threats, the Mace company decided to start manufacturing OC spray instead of tear gas. So now in our present day, Mace is a brand of pepper (OC) spray.

However, Mace also presently manufactures a mace pepper (OC) spray “Triple Action” product that combines OC spray with a small amount of CN tear gas and UV dye (for identification). While UV dye is nice for identifying the perpetrator after he has been sprayed, I don’t think the addition of CN tear gas is necessary considering how effective pepper (OC)  spray is. It is one of the most effective self defense weapons out there!



Last Words

As of today, there is no difference between Mace vs pepper (OC) spray in terms of their active chemicals. Mace is just one brand of pepper (OC) spray. There are many different pepper (OC) spray products– you can find a comparison of all the different  sprays here: