Bear Spray vs Pepper Spray

Bear Spray Vs. Pepper Spray

What is the difference between bear spray and pepper spray?

Is bear spray the same as pepper spray? No, bear spray and self-defense OC pepper spray are not interchangeable and have key differences. It is illegal to deploy bear spray against humans. Bear spray is specifically designed to deter bears in the event of an encounter. Bear spray is formulated to have a longer range (Counter Assault Bear Spray can reach up to 40 feet) than pepper spray (designed to only reach about 10 feet). Most pepper sprays have a lower concentration of capsaicin, the active ingredient in both products, while Counter Assault has the maximum allowed at 2%. Pepper spray designed for self defense will not have the power or distance to deter a bear and they are not interchangeable.


Bear Spray

  • Illegal to deploy against humans
  • Specially designed to deter bears
  • Longer range (Counter Assault reaches 40 feet)
  • Higher concentration of capsaicin (Counter Assault is the maximum 2%)


Self Defense Pepper Spray

  • Shorter range, normally around 10 feet
  • Lower concentration of capsaicin – up to 1.4%
  • Most are not strong enough and will not reach far enough to deter a bear