When citizens go about their daily lives armed against possible threats, they have to be aware of and follow certain laws. There is one law in regard to defensive handguns that should be completely avoided. It's known as the Law of the Instrument. Simply stated, the Law goes something like this: If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.
Handguns for personal protection are an important element of self-defense, but they shouldn't be the only element. Many of the potentially dangerous situations we can find ourselves in won't justify the use of lethal force. Kimber, one the top manufacturers of 1911 pistols, has teamed up with Piexon Co. of Switzerland to provide shooters and non-shooters alike with a rugged and reliable defensive option called the Pepper Blaster II.
Product Features Several features of the Blaster make it different from other pepper-powered products. The most noticeable difference is the Blaster's configuration. An aerosol canister can be difficult to grip properly under duress while being easy to aim in the wrong direction. The polymer housing of the Blaster provides an intuitive grip, trigger and sight system reminiscent of a double-barrel derringer. This design ensures the device is pointed at the threat instead of off to the side. The upper and lower "barrel" each contains a single capsule filled with 10 percent OC (oleoresin capsicum) gel. When the trigger is pressed, one barrel fires a tight stream of gel toward threats at 90 mph. The trigger is pressed again to fire the second charge. After both pepper charges are fired, the Blaster is empty and will need to be replaced.
The effective range of this device is listed as 2 to 13 feet, and the gel is said to be debilitating for up to 45 minutes. Because the Blaster is not an aerosol, which can lose pressure over time, the device has a four-year shelf life and will operate in both hot and cold situations. An easy to move swing-away trigger guard is installed in the trigger housing to reduce the risk of accidental firing and a custom carry snap-flap belt clip holster is available. This holster completely encases the trigger to prevent loose objects from touching it off and prevents undue wear and tear.
The durable polymer casing is thick, strong and well reinforced. In twisting and pulling on the units with my bare hands, I could find no flexing or bending in the frame. I was curious to see just how tough the product is because it's intended to be regularly carried for several years. Since I don't have years for testing, I took a blaster out onto my concrete driveway and drove over it with my car.
The only negative effect was some light scratching to the finish. But then again, the car we have is just a little econo-model. Obviously, I hadn't given the Swiss an opportunity to show off their dedication to precision engineering. With that in mind, I fired up our truck and drove over the Blaster again. This yielded the same results, just a bit of scratching. Is a torture test like this a bit extreme? Perhaps, but it's nice to know the Pepper Blaster II is unlikely to crack and leak into your clothing, purse or onto your skin.
Function Testing How exactly does one go about testing a product like the Pepper Blaster II for accuracy and trigger pull? Although most of us can think up a list of people we would like to pepper spray, volunteers are usually hard to come by. Kimber solves this problem by providing its customers with a training version of the Blaster. The training unit is functionally identical to the live version with the exceptions of an inert blue dye gel in place of the pepper and a bright orange case to allow for easy visual identification. For this review, two trainers were sent along with the live Blaster for testing.
With the trainers in hand, I set out for the north side of the garage in my backyard on a breezy spring day with the wind occasionally changing direction. Ready with 12 x 12-inch pistol targets taped up at a distance of 13 feet from the muzzle, the initial pull of the first trainer's trigger actuated the lower barrel to fire a stream of gel right on target. With the sights lined up with the center of the target, the gel was evenly spread over the target surface with some spray landing on the wall around and below the paper. The trigger was light and easy to press, with a short travel distance. The second shot from the top barrel yielded similar on-target results.
With the second training unit in hand, I was caught in a gust of wind when the lower barrel fired. The gust blew the stream of gel off target causing it to strike about 1.5 feet to the left of the entire target. The Pepper Blaster II website says the performance of this device is, and I quote, "Effective in rain, wind, etc." This was a good reminder that it's important to be aware of weather conditions when using a pepper-powered device. Rain or wind could render it ineffective. As luck would have it, I got gusted again while firing the top barrel but this was an informational event.
The wind did not push this shot off target. Instead, the gust came toward me as the gel left the blaster and hit the target. I learned what I wanted to know most about these units: The gel does not produce an aerosol cloud or spray blow-back that could potentially disable the shooter. If I had been using a traditional aerosol spray in this same windy situation, I would have been crying my eyes out—literally.
Final Thoughts No single self-defense option available is useful in every possible personal protection scenario. The Kimber Guardian Angel Pepper Blaster II is a reliable pepper spray option with excellent grip and trigger design. The pepper dispersion system successfully eliminates any spray or blow-back that could negatively affect the person firing it. When a less-than-lethal level of force is required, or a defensive handgun is not available, this offering from Kimber is a logical option.