Pepper Spray UK

5 minute read

When it's a case of defending yourself, the laws in the UK are very strict and rightly so. This can cause a problem for the general law-abiding public, how can you effectively defend yourself from an attacker but still stay on the right side of the law? Mace is not legal to own or buy on UK shores, but there is a pepper spray alternative available in the UK which might just do the job and help buy you precious seconds to enact your escape. It's the perfect self-defence spray.

 Name Size Price
Safehaus Mini Self Defence Spray 85 x 34mm 40ml Check Price
TIW FARB Criminal identifier 85 x 34mm 40ml Check Price
SABRE DID19 19 ml Deterrent Marking Spray 242 x 24mm 19ml Check Price

Pepper Spray UK

The options and weapons which you can use to protect family members and yourself are limited and governed by strict laws in order to stop the defensive weapons from being used in an offensive manner. You can't, and should not, leave the house with a 50-inch sword attached to your waist, nor can you carry any other sort of offensive weapons, including handguns - even if it’s for defending yourself and your loved ones. In all fairness, I know I feel safer knowing that it’s very unlikely that I’ll be a victim of gun crime.

A weapon, no matter how you spin it, is still a weapon, no matter the stated intention of carrying it. If you’re caught carrying a weapon, then it’s implied that the intention to use the weapon was there, which can, of course, mean you were prepared to seriously injure or even kill another human being. Which no matter how you try to spin it, is simply not cool.

So, when you are faced with the challenge of defending yourself effectively, the choices and responsible options available to you are limited. The act of even holding and pointing a knife towards a would-be aggressor is against the law in the UK, the consequences of doing so can be very serious and are even worse if the worst happens and you're forced to use it.

UK crime statistics have been dropping steadily for the last 20 years, but that by no means that crime is not a problem. Muggings, theft, and breaks-ins are still a common occurrence, especially in the major cities.

So, what can you do to defend yourself? Since you cannot, under any circumstances, carry any sort of weapon with you to defend yourself, we’ll need to look into alternative and UK-legal methods of protecting ourselves, and our families.

One of the best non-lethal weapons that has been proven to effectively deter an attacker is pepper spray. Many police forces and other authorities around the world use these sprays, and they are an extremely effective deterrent. However, pepper spray, when used or owned in the UK is considered an offensive weapon, which makes it illegal to own and carry.

I can wholeheartedly empathise with the lawmakers in the UK - they have a very hard task of protecting the public from harm - but that task is made doubly difficult when we consider that any self-defence tool can be just as easily used for offence.

But what about the general law-abiding public, surely we can do something when we are required to defend ourselves in some way? The answer is there isn’t a whole lot we can do and unfortunately the criminal element will rarely if ever adhere to the same rules as the rest of us, meaning we’re already at a disadvantage.

The law is very clear when it comes to pepper spray being used or held in UK, it’s laid out in Section 5(1) (b) of the firearms act of 1968:
This act prohibits any weapon of any description, designed or adapted for the discharge of any noxious liquid, gas or other substance.

Basically, the law categorically states that any sort of pepper spray, which includes the sort used by law enforcement around the world, that projects an irritating gas or liquid, is, without a shadow of a doubt, illegal for any UK citizen to own or buy while on UK shores.

So, just what can we do if we want pepper spray UK-legal alternatives that any law-abiding member of society can use and buy?

The sole option that is available to that the average UK citizen and is, in some ways, the UK version of pepper spray would be one of the Deterrent Self-Defence sprays. These sprays are typically:

  • Non Toxic
  • Fully Legal to own in the UK
  • Can be owned and carried by anyone over 18
  • Compact & Discreet
  • Non-Lethal
  • Criminal Identifier Staining
  • Accurate to 4+ Metres
  • Proven to be highly effective

We’ve tested three different types of these sprays and we must say that despite their rather small dimensions, they are very capable of giving any would-be attacker pause for thought.

If sprayed towards the face, they are very capable of completely disorientating an attacker, giving even the most determined attacker pause for thought, and the spray kicks in the natural reaction to turn or move away from the spray. If the spray gets in the eyes, the attackers' vision will be blurred, and it’ll be very difficult for them to see effectively.

Our testing showed that someone sprayed with these canisters will have very little recourse other than to back off and try to protect their face, eyes, nose, and mouth from the stream. Any attempts to wipe away the gel can actually impair the vision further and lead to no small amount of panic, I can attest to this directly.

Having a foreign liquid sprayed in your face, then finding it very difficult to see is not at all fun. It’s even worse when you attempt to wipe the stuff away and you're left with blood-red face, arms, and hands. Your mind immediately goes into overdrive thinking that you're haemorrhaging from your eyeballs. It’s not at all a pleasant experience, even when one has prior knowledge of what’s about to happen. I can only imagine the sheer panic that would engulf an attacker sprayed unawares with this stuff.

To add insult to injury, the gel is very hard to remove completely and can remain on the skin and clothes for several days afterwards. Some varieties even come with a UV dye, so that even when the visible traces are gone, they are still going to light up under a UV light. Both of these factors can make police efforts to find the attacker much easier.

All the products we tested were cheap, under £15 in most circumstances, which for an effective self-defence tool is a brilliant price.

Safehaus Mini Self Defence Spray Criminal Identifier – Review

Safehaus Mini Self Defence Spray Criminal Identifier

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The Safehaus Mini Self Defence Spray Criminal Identifier comes in a compact but easily-handled discrete package. The spray container measures in at 85 × 34 mm, which means it can fit in most pockets and won’t take up much room in a rucksack or handbag. I found it very easy to manoeuvre and find the trigger, even when not looking at what I was doing. The spray is very powerful - I think it easily exceeded 4 metres, but the power is diminished at this range. The stopping power of the spray is good, and I can definitely see it stopping a would be attacker.

  • Great range and power
  • Small and easily concealed
  • Good stopping power
  • The gel makes it very difficult to see

TIW FARB Gel Spray Criminal identifier self defence – Review

farb spray

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This farb gel spray is very similar to the Safehaus version, other than the different packaging, I would say they are the same product. They share the same dimensions, range, stopping power, and the spray looks identical. That’s not a bad thing considering how impressed I was with the Safehaus version. Furthermore, it’s possible to get different buying options - such as holsters and multi-packs. All-in-all, a great product.

  • Good range
  • Small and easily concealed
  • Good stopping power
  • The gel makes it very difficult to see

SABRE DID19 19 ml Deterrent Marking Spray – Review

SABRE DID19 19 ml Deterrent Marking Spray

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The Sabre system utilises a purple dye, unlike the previous two sprays, and it additionally has a UV-sensitive component, which can make identifying the attacker easier for the police. The range was around 5 metres - exceeding the other products we tested.  It definitely has a lot of power behind the spray which  which is perhaps down the slightly larger volume of the canister. In my testing, the staining ability of this spray was superior to the other two sprays, it took more washes and scrubbing to remove all visible traces, and even then some spots still showed up under UV light. This spray definitely gets my Best Buy award.

  • Fantastic range and power
  • Great staining ability
  • Handy size
  • All-around brilliant product


The farb gel spray and the others have been specifically designed to be fully UK-legal, so they are completely fine to own and carry. Anyone that has concerns over their safety or that of their family members should consider buying one of these tried-and-tested defensive sprays.