After now carrying this exact ASP Key Defender unit for over two years, I have some further thoughts on it and pepper spray in general. As you can see, this unit now has some city miles on it. Being attached to my keys, it takes constant abuse. It has been dropped numerous times on pavement. The finish is well worn and there are a lot of scratches and dents on it. Still, it functions perfectly. No amount of abuse has harmed the function and the integrity of the safety or deployment mechanism. The Key Defender is such an integral part of my carry that I have a spare on hand even though this one shows no signs of giving up any time soon.
In two years of carrying it I have not needed to spray a person with it, fortunately. I did, however, spray a raccoon with it. Yes, you read that right. Living in suburbia I can hardly exterminate such a pest with a firearm. After seeing a particular raccoon raiding my trash cans several times over the course of a week, I found him one afternoon again ripping up trash in my yard. I yelled at him and he just snarled at me. Fortunately for him, I can’t discharge a firearm in town. So, I sprayed him with the Key Defender. He was about six feet away and the Defender had enough range to dowse his face. He ran up a tree and frantically shook his head, some of the red liquid flying off his face. He dared not come down while I stood there, so I went back inside. I don’t know where he went, but in two weeks since, he has not been back. It appears the ASP OC formula was convincing for him.
For my use, the Key Defender proves the best key chain pepper spray unit. It is rugged and does not break. The safety mechanism ensures that it will not accidently deploy on you. It also retains the keys well just by shoving it in your belt line. The OC formula is potent, and the kubaton design is great as an impact weapon to provide another level of force should the OC not cease hostilities. The greatest limitation is range; a larger canister would provide more reach. The cone pattern of the Defender is indeed subject to the wind and if you deploy it outdoors and the wind is in your face you might contaminate yourself. The benefit to the cone pattern, however, is that it is much easier to hit the target than it is with a stream.
Overall, this unit strikes the best compromise of effectiveness, safety, and ease of carry that I have yet found for an OC spray solution. Highly recommended with one condition: take a half-second test with the spray insert that you have in the defender because some have proven to be duds. If the liquid just dribbles out, the insert is no good. You should see a solid and expanding cone pattern that travels five or six feet in distance. As long as the insert is good, the unit is rock solid. I have found that you need to replace the inserts every year. When I sprayed the raccoon I got about six feet of distance but the cone was more of a spurt. Sure enough, when later testing the insert was not working properly. I ordered a new insert, did a half-second test shot, and had a nice cone pattern.
Just as you periodically cycle through your carry ammo, so too cycle through the insert. Use the remaining spray for testing and practice, then replace the insert. I really think you should do so every year. Carry OC, not every problem requires or justifies shooting.
Thanks for this article.
I have been trying to figure out a defense method/tool between hands on and deadly force.
Our issued Sabre Red canisters are too large for off duty carry.