Consumer News: Tips for Analyzing Bear Spray

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Security Equipment Corporation & Frontiersman help consumers learn lingo as bear attacks increase.

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When shopping for a bear spray, it is important to select the one that has maximum strength, and have the confidence it will work on contact.

With bear encounters becoming more prevalent in the United States, consumers want and need to become more familiar with reading bear attack deterrent labels. What is the active ingredient that makes one spray more effective than another? There are four bear attack spray formulations sold in the US and dozens of products.

Common terns used when comparing bear attack deterrents:

  • Capsaicin and Related Capsaicinoids (CRC): Pharmacologically active and pain- producing components of the hot pepper.
  • Oleoresin Capsicum (OC): Derived from the chili pepper, the oil extracted is the active ingredient in pepper spray.
  • Scoville Heat Units (SHU): Measures the amount of capsaicin present per unit of dry mass.
  • High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC): Separates the components in a mixture, to identify each component, and to quantify each component.

Things to consider when comparing bear attack deterrents:

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows a maximum of 2.0% CRC.
  • The EPA does not allow SHU’s or OC%’s to appear on animal attack deterrent labels because they do not indicate product strength.
  • OC%’s only represent the amount of oil from the pepper within the formulation, but not the strength of the formulation.
  • SHU measures the strength of the OC before it is diluted by inactive ingredients, but it does not indicate the strength of the overall formulation.
  • Major Capsaicoinoids is the most accurate measure of pepper spray and bear spray heat levels.
  • Major Capsaicinoids / pepper spray heat levels are determined via High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) laboratory analysis.
  • A University of Utah study showed that pepper sprays fail 30% of the time due to bad batches or inconsistent Major Capsaicinoid levels from different batches from the same manufacturer.
  • Security Equipment Corporation, makers of FRONTIERSMAN, is the only manufacturer operating an HPLC laboratory = consistent product and no bad batches.

How to compare bear attack deterrents:

  • Examine entire formulation of spray (compare CRC).
  • For those who insist on comparing SHU, compare Scoville Content (SC) instead as identifies the strength of the entire formulation.
  • Example: 10% OC @ 3 million SHU. 90% of formulation dilutes 3 million SHU, creating Scoville content of 300,000 (10% multiplied by 3,000,000 equals 300,000).

When shopping for a bear spray, it is important to select the one that has maximum strength, and have the confidence it will work on contact. FRONTIERSMAN bear spray not only has 2.0% CRC, but is also backed by its HPLC guarantee, to ensure maximum heat in every batch produced. FRONTIERSMAN eliminates the 30% failures found by the University of Utah by backing its products with HPLC Technology.

"Making Grown Men Cry Since 1975," Security Equipment Corporation (SEC) produces the safest and most effective line of defense spray products. Branded as SABRE, SABRE RED and FRONTIERSMAN, SEC is the global leader in the personal defense spray, law enforcement pepper spray and animal attack deterrent spray industries. FRONTIERSMAN, When Only The Best Will Do!

For more information about FRONTIERSMAN and other Security Corporation products, go to

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Katy Alberti
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