Hardening the Home: Front Door Pepper Spray

This is the first in a series of short posts about specific security projects I’ve completed over the last few months upon moving into my new house. Some are simple projects, while some are slightly more involved. This will be a simple one.

Many home invasions start with an innocuous knock on the door and the home owner blindly opening the door  like a gracious member of society should for another person. The bad guys count on this and will then force their way in (Example one, two, three). We can upgrade our home’s security and spend a small fortune on cameras, locks, doors, alarms, and guns, but if we bypass all of our security from the inside when we open the door for any Random who knocks, it’s all for naught. The same goes if we leave our doors unlocked. Here’s the Mighty Greg Ellifritz with some information on that topic. Lock your doors. Don’t open the doors unless you’re expecting company. Have a peephole. Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t let people in your home to borrow a phone if their “car has a flat”. Let them know you’ll call the police so they can help. All of the stuff you already know.

All that said, I know you’re a good person and you want to help. You might find yourself opening the door from time to time. This post is for you.

If you read The Babysitter Home Invader Plan post, you know that having a large can of pepper spray in your safe room is a pretty good way to create a very uncomfortable gauntlet for the home invaders to navigate to get to the safe room door. I was thinking about the likely scenarios that would result in a home invader getting inside when I’m not home. Considering that my mother and wife are home with my son (when I’m out) on occasion, and they are not as distrusting as I am, there might be an occasion where they answer the door to an unknown person. We’re in the suburbs now so there are plenty of Jehovah’s witnesses, gutter cleaning services, and possibly home invaders probing for easy marks. So my wheels were turning and I decided to stage pepper spray at each of the doors that people would logically knock on.

Instructions for Use

Edit: I have since learned that the 3 in 1 can be problematic for decontamination due to the C.S. component. It is better to get Sabre Red (Pure O.C.) because it’s just pepper extract.

If you’re going to open the door, the hand that will be behind the door will grab the pepper spray from the door frame and keep it at a ‘covert ready’ (behind the door or casually hanging behind the thigh) and a foot acting as a door stop a few inches behind the door. If things go south, you can quickly actuate the safety and spray him (them) down while forcing the door shut. I realize this isn’t ideal, but it beats having to go muscle to muscle against a possibly stronger person on the other side of the door. If it’s nothing (pizza’s here!), you can just as quickly and covertly stow it on the door frame. That’s it.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pepper Spray of your choice. I chose SABRE Red Pepper Spray. It’s an effective formula, and the price is right.
  • Adhesive backed hook and loop strips. I had Velcro Industrial Strength left over from a previous project. Use whatever you can get for cheap. Make sure the adhesive is holding up over time, because having your little kid find a pepper spray can on the ground and accidentally discharging it would make for a lot of nights sleeping on the couch. You could staple the velcro to the wood to assure it stays in place. The industrial quality velcro’s adhesive is very durable, in my experience.

All you need to do is cut a 2″ strip to wrap around the can, and a 1″ strip to adhere to the door frame. Stage it wherever makes sense. I put mine on the hinge side of the door on the door frame.


I hope this is getting your wheels turning. This is a cheap way to get some peace of mind if you have caretakers at home with your child while you’re out.

Protect the Brood and resist the urge to pepper spray Jehovah’s Witnesses,

Defensive Daddy

More Reading on how to behave around doors:


10 thoughts on “Hardening the Home: Front Door Pepper Spray”

  1. Although Sabre doesn’t talk about it, decontaminating CS is problematic. CS will not degrade for months and requires a HEPA filtered vacuum to remove. While that’s not an issue if you have to paint some nitwit orange on the street, it is a problem in and around the home. The 3-in-1 formula contains CS.

    I would recommend using the SabreRed formula instead. Pure OC biodegrades shortly and represents much less of a decon issue than the 3-in-1 formula.

    1. Thank you for that bit of info. I’ve updated the post to reflect this information. I also have some SabreRed on order now and will figure out where to put these other units.

  2. Thanks for the link, Mark! One of my students just showed me his new idea along this vein. He covered a large industrial magnet in felt that was the same color as the surrounding wall and then mounted it near the door. He attaches puts a gun or knife on the magnet when he’s home alone or with his family. When guests come over, her removes the weapon and no one even notices the magnet.

  3. Very interesting contraption. (or is the correct term booby trap?) Always interesting to see new lines of home defense being innovated, even simple/stopgap ones. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Not a booby trap. That implies it’s got a mechanism that sets it off automatically. That would also be illegal. This is just a way to store oc in such a way that it’s always handy when needed at the home’s main entrances.

  4. One thing that some people might consider is bear spray. It can handle multiple goblins and is very effective. About $50 a can and it all goes in about 4 seconds (1 time, 1 shot use), but it produces quite a blast. Definitely not what to carry for normal defensive purposes, but I brought back a couple of cans from my last trip to Montana and Wyoming, and I keep it handy for door crashers. It is an OC base, as CS & CN do not affect animals. OC is an irritant, but CS & CN affect the lacrimal (tear) ducts (animals don’t have tear ducts). OC just burns like heck and affects all mucous membranes and skin. Saw a video of use of OC into the ear canal of a combative subject. No way to wash that out! I know of an officer that shot a stream of OC up a subject’s nose and it stopped all resistance immediately.
    The deputies and Correctional Officers in our county jail prefer OC over the taser since there is a lot less use of force paperwork involved. We use foam so we don’t contaminate the entire area, but you always get a little dose of it yourself.
    And as a bonus, if you get the pure OC without foaming agents or CN/CS additives, it will make your bowl of chili sit up and howl.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *