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Kimber Pepper Blaster II unintentional test and review

A few years back, a reader and friend gave me a Kimber Pepper Blaster II. I’d seen them favorably reviewed in S.W.A.T., and knowing that S.W.A.T. has a no-BS review policy, I was sold.

I’m a believer in “two is one and one is none,” but I can’t afford a second carry gun, so this seemed a good backup choice. Besides, I wanted something non-lethal against aggressive stray dogs.


Of course, you don’t go out and just use pepper sprays. You carry them around until you need them — or until they go bad and you try to use them and they don’t work. Or you use them on a windy day and they blow into your face, not the bad guy’s. So it’s hard to be quite sure of them.

The gifter also gave me this carry pouch, which was great for keeping the blaster handy, but not for quick access. So eventually I ditched the pouch and started sticking the Pepper Blaster in my pocket.

Yesterday afternoon, out in the woods, I spontaneously decided to give it a test. You know, what if it was all filled with pocket lint or something and wouldn’t work? So I aimed down the road (and down at the road), nudged the guard aside, and pulled the trigger.

Shazam. I had forgotten the Kimber Pepper Blaster is not a pepper spray device. It’s a whole different animal.

I pulled the trigger and heard a spronnnng and a snap, a lot like an old BB gun (as one Amazon reviewer described it). Instead of the steady spray I was anticipating, the blaster … well, blasted is the only word for it … a shot-like mass of red glop. One discrete blast, one discrete mass. Definitely not a spray. But damn, it was powerful! It hit the road with approximately the spread I’d expect from a shotgun at that range. And I certainly wouldn’t want to be the bad guy who got that stuff blasted even onto my clothes or my hair. A direct hit to the face would be crippling. I had to use Mace on a dog once many years ago, and this stuff was nuclear compared with that.

On the Pepper Blaster website Kimber says it shoots 13 feet and has little danger of blowing back on the shooter. This I believe.

The site also reminded me that the Blaster gives you exactly two shots, another fact I’d forgotten. My shot emptied the lower of the two cartridges you see in the photo. So my test used up half the capacity of my backup weapon. But it impressed me enough that I’ll eventually order a replacement blaster. This is serious pepper weaponry.

At first I was disconcerted with myself for having forgotten that this was a two-shot-and-done weapon. I expected to test via a quick squirt of spray that would barely affect the weapon’s capacity. I felt dumb. But quickly I got to feeling good for carrying something so superior to standard $10 hardware-store pepper spray.

Sprays do have one advantage, in that you can sweep them past an attacker’s eyes and spray will keep coming out until the canister is empty (or something fails). As you’ll see in the video below, with the blaster, at a distance you can miss. But the spread I observed was pretty decent and up close, a miss seems unlikely.

For quick access, I believe I’d go for this concealed carry belt holster or a belt clip or an inside pants/IWB holster, all made specially for the Pepper Blaster II (and none of which were probably available when I got the original gift).

However, it’s quite well-sealed against invasions of pocket lint and now that I know what it can do, I won’t worry about its effectiveness should I ever need it, even if it travels several years inside a pocket.

Here, BTW, is the kind of test I hope never to give it.


  1. Pat
    Pat December 29, 2015 4:25 am

    Brave man in the test.

    So with two shots, theoretically it might handle two muggers (if shot fast enough and accurately enough)?

  2. David
    David December 29, 2015 7:35 am

    Nice! I’m sharing this with all the folks I know who aren’t comfy carrying a gun.

  3. Claire
    Claire December 29, 2015 7:41 am

    Thank you, David. That’s great. It’s truly an amazing little device.

    I’ve watched that video a couple of times and shake my head at that guy being willing to take a full blast to his face, especially given how long the effects last. I wonder if he had any idea how bad it would be?

    Pat, this wouldn’t be my weapon of choice for dealing with multiple assailants, but yes, with a good aim, it could take on two bad guys. Or multiple mad dogs.

  4. Claire
    Claire December 29, 2015 7:45 am

    BTW, I didn’t actually set out to write a review of the Kimber Pepper Blaster II. This was intended to be a post about small but embarrassing fails of security, preparedness, etc. Then I got carried away. Might come back to the “fails” theme in a later post.

  5. peter connor
    peter connor December 29, 2015 9:55 am

    I like the gray version…

  6. Claire
    Claire December 29, 2015 10:20 am

    The gray one does look a little more seriously weapon-y, doesn’t it? I linked to the red because it was at a lower price and because personally I’d like any potential bad guy to see the thing and know I have it. But nice to have the choice.

  7. MJR
    MJR December 29, 2015 11:00 am

    The way the Peper Blaster II works sounds a lot better than a simple can of pepper spray. I think the concentrate glop as opposed to a spray (that can bloww back in your face) would incapacitate a bad guy better, depending upon the felon’s mindset. The Kimber Pepper Blaster II reminds me of the paintball guns I used for animal control at work. I used a combination of pepper balls and wax balls. The pepper balls, like the name suggests, were full of capsicum extract and upon impact would break open and shower the target with the pepper. The wax balls were solid compressed wax and would sting upon impact causing the offending animal to run away.

  8. Claire
    Claire December 29, 2015 11:51 am

    Good voice of experience, MJR. Must admit I’ve never given much thought to how zoo cops controlled animals (or for that matter, troublemaking people). Pepper balls. Interesting.

    I agree sprays are problematic for a lot of reasons — blowback, short range, cans losing their pressure, clogging, besides often just not being as strong chemically as the “juice” that’s in the Pepper Blaster. That wad of glop traveled impressively fast. It surprised me. I can only imagine how it would surprise somebody who suddenly got it all in the face.

  9. Shel
    Shel December 29, 2015 6:20 pm

    As a disclaimer, I admit that I carry a Fox key chain unit, but I wonder if it is doing anything other than taking up pocket space. I recently had a put bull take what looked like a very serious run at my dog in the neighborhood. Fortunately a shout and a step forward prevented further problems. The pepper spray certainly would have been useless; only the old man’s classic solution would have worked. I’m very glad it was unnecessary, for the owner turned out to be very decent.

    Hardened criminals train to inure themselves from pepper spray. If hit, they still may get to the shooter, who is then also experiencing the effects, likely for the first time. Other problems include trying to hit a moving target, especially trying to hit one in the face. Having both pepper spray and a firearm brings both flexibility and complications. Which one is best to use? If the firearm is used first, there’s no reason to go to the pepper spray unless out of ammunition. If the pepper spray is used first, what happens if you miss (especially with only one shot)? Will there be time even to get to the gun? If there are two potential assailants, which one should be used? “Why did you shoot him (sexist, I know) if you had pepper spray?,” asked the prosecutor.

    As with any self defense device, practice is needed to minimize the reaction time from threat recognition to glob on target. On Kimber’s website they list a Pepperblaster II Trainer and a Pepperblaster II Demonstration Device. Both are out of stock.

    As you noted, failure to keep skills up is undesirable. When I haven’t shot for a while, the inescapable obvious deterioration provides a clear unkind reminder.

    Completely OT: Speak kindly of dogs, or else.

  10. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2015 6:51 am

    Re that video: Interesting, but I notice that in the first example the spray barely even touched the guy, where the second kid got a direct faceful of it.

    No doubt there are a lot of differences in how people respond to pepper in the face, just as there are differences in how people respond to being shot with a gun. Mythbusters (I think it is) has a clip showing I guy getting a full-face blast, then stepping over to a punching bag and delivering several hard blows. But the guy is also gagging and retching and after just a few seconds has to dunk his face in icewater.

    Shel, do you have something to back the claim that hardcore badguys “train to inure themselves from pepper spray”? My guess — and it’s just a guess — is that a very tiny minority might do so, but that most hardcore criminals have so little sense of personal consequences and are fundamentally such cowards that they wouldn’t even think to do something like that. Most criminals are either impulse-driven, dumb, or are psychopaths who see themselves as so far above the rest of humanity that they feel no threat from potential victims.

  11. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 30, 2015 7:16 am

    I’ll pass. 🙂

    Seriously, seems better to keep things simple. The more decisions and choices one would have to consider in a real emergency, adrenalin pumping… I’ve already made up my mind what would likely constitute a deadly threat, and I have some pretty simple solutions worked out to take care of them. I might be wrong…. but the one time I did have to respond to a lethal threat, the simple answer turned out to be the best one.

  12. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2015 7:29 am

    You have more experience than I (and in fact, than most of us) in self defense.

    I’ll just note that I don’t see it as having to make an on-the-spot choice “do I use a firearm or a pepper blaster?” The gun is obviously the choice if I’m attacked by a human being or an animal in the woods. The pepper blaster is the backup in case the gun fails or becomes unaccessible. “Two is one and one is none.”

    And the pepper blaster is the one I’d draw if a hostile dog was running at us in town.

  13. Claire
    Claire December 30, 2015 7:59 am

    Please tell me if it’s just not my business, ML, but are you saying you don’t carry a backup weapon? Or you just don’t believe in carrying a non-firearm backup weapon?

  14. Joel
    Joel December 30, 2015 9:03 am

    Interesting. I’ve never heard of this gadget and now I want one. But having been maced in the face myself I distinctly remember how deeply unpleasant it was and I’d never seek it out – on the other hand I was not prevented from chasing down and beating the living hell out of the person who maced me, and I’ve never been more motivated to violence in my life. Since then I’ve been skeptical of pepper spray and mace as a defense weapon.

  15. MJR
    MJR December 30, 2015 12:41 pm

    ML is right that things are better kept simple. The less a person trains the more they run the risk of things going badly. I saw an example of this a long time ago while responding to a fire call. After the fire was out we found an extinguisher in the rubble with the handle crushed and the pin still in. The person who found the fire had tried to put it out but the extinguisher had not worked so in exasperation he threw it into the fire. There was nothing wrong with the extinguisher, the guy forgot to pull the pin.

    Shel and Joel also hit the nail on the head with the comments about mindset. If a bad guy is determined to do you harm, harm will come your way regardless of pepper spray. I have used pepper spray on animals at various times during the last couple of decades at work and it takes time to work. If you watched the video you saw the time it took for the product to work on the test subject. Yes it worked well but for 20 seconds or so the subject’s actions were not impaired. 20 seconds is time enough to do a victim serious damage.

    One thing that needs to be remembered here is when it comes right down to it this stuff is seasoning.

  16. Shel
    Shel December 30, 2015 1:39 pm

    I can’t remember where I read about criminals training themselves and can’t find it. It certainly seemed to make sense. Obviously it was the more serious gang members who were going to that much effort.

    Here is some more good info on pepper sprays:

    Other OT’s: dealing with drones, a subject discussed here in the past.

    And Happy Days

  17. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 30, 2015 2:43 pm

    Claire, I’ll try not to write a book here… 🙂 In my mind and experience, self defense goes far deeper – and weapons of any kind or number are secondary to the core requirement. I’m sure most of us actually understand this, and I’m only reminding us as an answer to your question.

    The most important “weapon” any person can have is their brain, the will to fight and survive, as well as some critical thinking done BEFORE there is any need to defend oneself. With those in play, almost anything can be a defensive weapon. A gun is a very good one, of course, but if a person only thinks in terms of guns or any one or two things for defense, they lose a tremendous advantage.

    When I teach self defense, the first hour is spent talking seriously about survival, being willing to do “whatever it takes” to live and keep others alive; making use of our adrenalin rush instead of becoming a victim to it. That takes some real practice and determination, but anyone can do it if they recognize how vital it is to surviving a dangerous situation.

    Then we tour my house and I ask the students to point out any object that could be used as a weapon, whatever the potential might be – and then I point out probably a hundred or so more that they missed. A poor weapon in the hand when needed is always going to be better than the best one locked in the gun safe, of course. How sad it is to read of home invasions where people are murdered … and probably never thought of the hundreds of things surrounding them that they might have used for defense. How many of those never even locked their doors?

    The better weapons we have handy, the more likely the best outcome, but to ignore potential tools is courting trouble. This is a big part of situational awareness, actually. Being aware of people and potential problems around us, as well as potential cover and weapons. Having several options, general plans, and having considered them before hand is essential. If you’ve already made up your mind to fight, that is essential simplicity.

    So, why did I dismiss the pepper goop gun? And remember, I only passed on it for myself. I can see how it might be a terrific thing for many others. Having looked at it carefully, and hearing the input from others here, I can’t see how it would be of any real use to me in MY situation. Just one more thing to transfer from pocket to pockets (I don’t carry a purse ever). And I don’t see it as a better option -for me- in any situation I can anticipate here. It would just complicate things for me.

    So, to finally answer your question, Claire… it depends. I sometimes carry two guns, always a good knife, and now a stout stick when I’m outside the house. Other than that… the world is full of alternate weapons, and I’ve spent the time and self training/ regular dry fire, range time and other practice to use them all to the best of my ability.

    I’m no rambo, obviously. But I can be a very mean old lady. 🙂

  18. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty December 30, 2015 3:28 pm

    In case anyone is interested, I wrote a book about all this. The first chapter is the story of the man I had to shoot to save my life… and what I learned afterwards. See the free book offer at the bottom of this page at my blog.

    I’ve emailed at least 9,000 of these so far, and would love to give it to millions more, especially women.

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