Is Pepper Spray Legal in Wisconsin?

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The Badger State has a lower crime rate relative to national averages.

That said, it wouldn’t be too outrageous to ask, is pepper spray legal in Wisconsin?

Carrying a self-defense weapon is a good idea in this day and age, wherever you are in the US.

When it comes to personal protection, few devices can match the effectiveness of a legitimate pepper spray.

Note that the operative word here is “legitimate,” and you must not run afoul with Wisconsin lawmakers.

However, before we discuss the legality of pepper spray usage, let us discuss what makes a popular self-defense tool.

What Makes Pepper Spray Products Effective?

A pepper spray canister contains an inflammatory substance called capsaicin, which is commonly found in hot peppers.

However, this chemical is present in a pepper spray unit at a much higher concentration.

It is enough to cause temporary blindness, pain, and burning sensation upon contact with the face.

Some even report feeling like they are boiling or bubbling.

All of these effects are enough to stop most people cold.

So if someone attacks you, you could use it to temporarily disable your attacker, giving you enough time to escape.

Another reason why civilian carry of pepper spray is very popular is that these devices are very portable.

You can just store it in your bag or purse, ready to be pulled out when needed.

It will allow you to enjoy a similar level of security that you can get from electric weapons and other devices.

Finally, pepper sprays are relatively easy to find, and you could easily buy one, granted that you are eligible to do so.

Also, pepper spray manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure that their products are ready when called upon.

That said, they also ensure that they follow all laws for manufacturing pepper spray.

These personal protective tools may seem simple, but they are quite potent.

You must use it only when absolutely necessary and exercise every caution when you do.

What Are the Drawbacks of Using Defense Sprays

While the civilian carry of pepper spray comes with a long list of benefits, it is not without its caveats.

The first thing you need to consider is that you can only use it in certain situations.

That is because you can’t inflict bodily harm on anyone unless it is absolutely necessary.

So when you do use it, you need to be able to justify yourself to avoid facing criminal charges yourself.

In addition, while pepper spray looks like a common item, using it is not as simple as you might think.

There is a proper technique that allows you to maximize its effectiveness and, more importantly, safety.

You need to master the proper grip until wielding it becomes instinctive.

It is the only way that you would be able to operate it even under duress.

Aside from this, you also need to master the pattern and distance of the spray.

Doing so will make it easier to hit your target, which is your attacker’s face.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to disable them temporarily.

Finally, Wisconsin has one of the worst pepper spray laws in the country.

You need to know a long list of restrictions, and missing any of them could land you in trouble.

That said, if you are dead set on using it for personal protection, there are many ways to prepare yourself.

An excellent start is knowing what you’re allowed and not allowed to do with pepper spray in Wisconsin.

is pepper spray legal in wisconsin usa

It is now time to answer the burning question, is pepper spray legal in Wisconsin?

The short answer is yes, but you should always read the fine print.

As mentioned above, the Badger State has one of the worst pepper spray laws, even compared to New York or Massachusetts.

It has a slew of limitations you should know by heart before you carry pepper spray.

First, the use of tear gas or what you may know as “Mace” is not allowed, although UV dyes are no longer banned.

That said, tear gas blends are also prohibited.

Another thing that you need to remember is that you are allowed to carry only two ounces of pepper spray.

The bigger canisters are strictly for the use of law enforcement officers.

Aside from size restrictions, there is also a limit to the concentration of the active ingredient.

Legitimate pepper sprays do not contain more than 10% of oleoresin capsicum or OC plus the inert ingredients.

This puts you in the range of 15 to 60 grams for canisters between 1/2 and two ounces.

Also, you are not allowed to camouflage the appearance of your pepper spray.

It means that you can’t disguise it as lipstick, pen, hairspray, or any other everyday item.

On top of all these, pepper sprays should have a safety feature that eliminates the risk of accidental discharge.

Anyone aged 18 or older could buy pepper spray in Wisconsin unless previously convicted of a felony.

That said, minors can carry it if it was given to them by their parents or legal guardian.

As you can see, there is a lot to take in regarding pepper spray laws in Wisconsin.

However, remember that the state designed these restrictions to protect everyone but the would-be attacker. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Pepper Spray Usage

It is understandable if you still want to carry pepper spray even after knowing all these restrictions.

After all, it can be a very potent personal protection tool, especially if you put it in the right hands.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure your pepper spray’s effective and safe deployment.


If you decide to carry pepper spray, keep it close to you so you can access it immediately.

Remember that an attacker won’t wait for you to dig around in your bag or purse to get your canister.

Before buying one, make sure you do your due diligence and find out which type of pepper spray is best for you.

Different options are available, including stream, foam, and gel models.

Also, practice using it before you carry it around.

It includes familiarizing yourself with the distance and pattern of the spray.

Once you master these things, it will be easier for you to hit your target, specifically the face of your attacker. 


Note that you shouldn’t use your pepper spray against the wind.

Otherwise, you run the risk of hitting yourself if the breeze is strong enough.

Also, don’t let your attacker close the distance.

Manufacturers design pepper sprays to hit their targets from several feet away, not up close.

Finally, do not turn your back on your assailant, even when they are down.

Try to keep your eye on them as you try to make your escape.

Pepper sprays are effective and, more importantly, legal defensive tools.

This is true whether you are in Wisconsin or any other part of the US.

That said, you need to make sure that you follow all the guidelines on how to use it properly.

It is the only way that you will be able to enjoy its benefits to the fullest.