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Self-defense experts warn against using pepper spray in light of recent attempted robbery

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- After a Colorado Springs man successfully thwarted a robbery attempt by using pepper spray, local self-defense experts are warning that pepper spray isn't the right solution for everyone.

"The key thing to remember is that this could also have occurred with someone else who didn't know how to deploy it or hadn't practiced with using it or it malfunctions," self-defense expert Isaac Costley said.

Costley has military and police experience, but now he runs a martial arts studio called CFMAF with his wife, Heather Costley.

Costley said pepper spray can be an effective tool if used properly. If it's expired, the chemical may not be as strong and could result in a lesser reaction from an attacker.

Since most pepper spray is mass-produced, Costley also recommends checking that it's not defective. He recommends going into an enclosed space like a garage and spritzing a tiny amount into the air above you. The second you start to feel the effects, he recommends leaving the area immediately and closing the door behind you. If you don't test it out, Costley said it can fail on you when you need it most.

Costley also recommends putting the pepper spray in the same spot in your purse or bag, so you know where it is if you need to access it quickly. He also recommends practicing turning the safety on and off so you're better prepared in an emergency situation.

Even if you're as prepared as possible, Costley recommends being ready for the worst-case scenario.

"With anything that's chemical-based, there's a percentage of the population where it will not affect them. If that individual who was the criminal, if it didn't affect him, now he saw that you were willing to do some aspect of fighting back, you just increase your probability of him escalating his aggression and his violence towards you," Costley said.

In order to avoid needing to use pepper spray in the first place, Costley said it's important to always pay attention to your surroundings and to travel with someone as often as possible. He said if you're with someone else, the chance of you being attacked is much lower.

Costley is holding a free self-defense seminar on Saturday, October 23, 2021, at his studio. You can find more information about the event by clicking here.

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Sydnee Stelle

Sydnee is an MMJ for KRDO NewsChannel 13. You can learn more about her here.



  1. Very good, informative article. All the points presented are those that anyone carrying, or thinking of carrying, these non-lethal self defense weapons should absolutely perform.

  2. This is a bit strange, the headline basically states that one should not use pepper spray. The body of the article does nothing to support that. Frankly, if pepper spray is that confusing then would should really just carry a firearm instead.

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