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Mace (spray)

Mace is a tear gas in the form of an aerosol spray which propels the lachrymator mixed with a volatile solvent. It is sometimes used as a self-defense device. This form of mace is legal in very few countries, thus its use is becoming uncommon.

The original formulation consisted of 1% CN gas in a solvent of 2-butanol, propylene glycol, cyclohexene, and dipropylene glycol methyl ether. Some formulations now also include Oleoresin Capsicum (active ingredient in pepper spray).

Mace was originally manufactured under the name "Chemical Mace" by Lake Erie Chemical (a former division of Smith & Wesson) in 1962, but is now a registered trademark of Mace Security International. The Mace sold today by Mace Security International is pepper spray rather than tear gas. Many other companies now manufacture similar products.


Mace vs. pepper spray

Due to the current brand-name use of the term "Mace" to refer to pepper sprays and the fact that mace is illegal in most Western countries, it is very difficult to find information on traditional mace. "Mace" and "Pepper Spray" are frequently used interchangeably.


Most law enforcement agencies require that their personnel become certified on similar aerosol spray devices such as pepper spray before using them in the field. In some agencies, such as the FBI, chemically inactive versions of the spray are also available for training purposes.



The effect of Mace varies on humans. Most common is a burning sensation on the area affected with the spray. If in contact with eyes it causes automatic closing of the eyes due to intense pain if open. This along with a feeling of suffocating if inhaled it causes the person to be very vulnerable and dependent, resulting in easy overpowering (for example, law enforcement officials over a suspect). Effects can be minimal on those under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The duration of the effects vary from 30 minutes up to 2 hours, depending on the person and treatment.

Mace in History

During the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks Mace was supposedly used by the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 to prevent entry to the first-class area and keep passengers at the rear of the plane. The official 9/11 Commission Report states that "The hijackers quickly gained control and sprayed Mace, pepper spray, or some other irritant in the first-class cabin, in order to force the passengers and flight attendants toward the rear of the plane."[1]


  • Mace Product Information
  • Mace Security International.
  • 9/11 Commission Report
  1. ^ 9/11 Commission Report Chapter 1: We Have Some Planes
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mace_(spray)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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