Sabre Red versus Fox 5.3 pepper spray

Sabre Red versus Fox 5.3 pepper spray

This is a discussion on Sabre Red versus Fox 5.3 pepper spray within the Related Gear & Equipment forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been researching pepper sprays for personal civilian defense use and the two big names that keep coming up are Sabre Red and Fox Labs. ...

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Thread: Sabre Red versus Fox 5.3 pepper spray

  1. #1
    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    Sabre Red versus Fox 5.3 pepper spray

    I've been researching pepper sprays for personal civilian defense use and the two big names that keep coming up are Sabre Red and Fox Labs. My question will be pertaining to these two brands specifically.

    On paper, Sabre Red looks like the much hotter formula at 1.33% major caps versus Fox labs .66%-.71% caps (I read that one test showed .33 caps with Fox). Also, Sabre Red tests their stuff in their own lab and seems to have better quality control and also a better spray delivery system/propellant, allowing for more shots at a consistent pressure that doesn't deteriorate much over time even when expired. Sabre is also used by all the major PD departments and has an impressive list of endorsements of all sorts.

    Fox doesn't advertise their major caps with their 5.3 formula, only with their mean green (1.2 caps). They focus their marketing on the 5.3 million shu at 2% and talk about 35% major caps (of the pure resins), but omit mention of major caps of the whole formula (which seems odd) which in reality is about half that of Sabre Red. However, Fox has a good reputation for being effective quickly and for burning hot. Some claim it incapacitates faster than Sabre Red (1.33 formula). The reason given is that it has less pepper filler in it at 2% versus Sabre Reds 10% and also has a carrier that is especially effective at removing skin oil allowing the OC quick access to pores.

    Ok. So my question is this. My assumption is that probably both of these are very good with maybe each being a little stronger that the other in a certain use. Based on your real world experience, it you had a 2oz can of Sabre Red (the full strength version - 1.33%) and a can of 2 oz of Fox 5.3, which one would you carry on you (if you could only carry one) and keep in your pocket, and which would you use as a home defense, by your dresser when you go to sleep? Also, would you use a stream or cone spray in either situation. Thanks in advance!
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    Having been sprayed with, and used, various pepper sprays... I would use either. From experience, SHU measurement is fine and dandy on paper, but when the spray hits the face, effectivity is really based on the recipient. Some people, such as myself, are almost instantly incapacitated. Other are not affected at all. Others fall in between. From use in fights, traffic stops, domestic disturbances etc, I have found that when it works, it works well and when it doesnt, well, you better have a plan B. Spray incapacitation is as mythical as "knockdown power" and bullets. Pick one from a reputable brand and roll with it.

    As far as wether to use a stream or cone sprayer... I would use stream. In my experience, cone sprays atomize too much causing everyone to be affected. Yes they cover alarger area, but streams are direct to the face allowing for 100% contact. The most "effective" spray I have found, as far as ability to contact a target, consisted of a heavy foam like spray with a dye agent that stained skin yellow red, allowing for easy identification of targets even if it washed off. For the life of me I cannot remember what we used now...
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  3. #3
    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    That makes sense. Fox or sites that sell it stress its overall effectiveness. There was one testimonial by some police officer that claimed that it has never failed in many uses. And I kind of get that vibe from many of its proponents. That it will mess up anyone, even resistant people. However, I did read one or two reviews that were disappointed with its effect, that it was not effective in their situation the way they expected.

    I still would like to get an idea of what people think of these two overall, but as far as plan B goes, if you are a civilian, what do you think would be a good plan B besides/in addition to running?
    This would assume total failure of the spray and the person just continues coming at you.

  4. #4
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    I like OC/CN/UV spray mix . I am not a cop/lawyer but as I remember some people just are not effect at all by pepper spray either genticly or they have been sprayed so much it does not really bother them Phenacyl chloride on the other hand is not a good day at all. Yes CN is not as fast acting as OC but when they are mixed I really hate to sprayed by it imop.

    Also look at the kimber peper blaster or the cpx or the such pepper laucher . I say thouse two as they fired peper spray either by gun powder or air at eithr 70 or 300 mph little if any blow back and I dont know about you but I rather not get hit by pepper spray going 300 mph ...


    But back to your question the higher the heat the better . And of the two both are great . I would say Fox as they have the flip top laucher I like I dont carry the ones when you turn the button to fire I have that nearly casued problems too many times ..

    Also I dont know waht state your are in but some will not let you buy OC if it is over a certain strangeth or oz size bottled or you can not buy it online etc. So bear that in mind


    And if you ask plane b I like blackjacks which are lead weights that are spring loaded they will end a fight with one blow in most cases . But they tend to not be legal in most places to even own so if we are talking I dont have a gun and spray fails I would used a taser the real police kind that tends to work ... Or if I have the training a karmbit knife

    But bear in mind that some of the older spray were alcohol based and will set someone on fire if you spray them with it then taser them. So bear that in mind

  5. #5
    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    The first spray I ever carried was a sabre 3 in 1 a long time ago. I think (didn't know at the time though) that it had a .33 MC OC strength which I think is on the weak side in terms of OC. I remember test spraying it in a sink and taking a smell it did not seem strong at all. It turned me off to the OC/CN combos. But, I like the idea of it, if one doesn't get you the other will. I have read some good reviews of this type of spray.
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  6. #6
    Member Array Bmoliv66's Avatar
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    From what I read they are both good brands. The police around here use Fox I do believe. I have a 2 oz can of the cone spray, foam and training spray for the Fox. The training spray comes in all different size and spray patterns, same formula minus the pepper. This is a good idea to see how far your type will spray and what size pattern.
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  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tensy View Post
    I've been researching pepper sprays for personal civilian defense use and the two big names that keep coming up are Sabre Red and Fox Labs. My question will be pertaining to these two brands specifically.

    On paper, Sabre Red looks like the much hotter formula at 1.33% major caps versus Fox labs .66%-.71% caps (I read that one test showed .33 caps with Fox). Also, Sabre Red tests their stuff in their own lab and seems to have better quality control and also a better spray delivery system/propellant, allowing for more shots at a consistent pressure that doesn't deteriorate much over time even when expired. Sabre is also used by all the major PD departments and has an impressive list of endorsements of all sorts.

    Fox doesn't advertise their major caps with their 5.3 formula, only with their mean green (1.2 caps). They focus their marketing on the 5.3 million shu at 2% and talk about 35% major caps (of the pure resins), but omit mention of major caps of the whole formula (which seems odd) which in reality is about half that of Sabre Red. However, Fox has a good reputation for being effective quickly and for burning hot. Some claim it incapacitates faster than Sabre Red (1.33 formula). The reason given is that it has less pepper filler in it at 2% versus Sabre Reds 10% and also has a carrier that is especially effective at removing skin oil allowing the OC quick access to pores.

    Ok. So my question is this. My assumption is that probably both of these are very good with maybe each being a little stronger that the other in a certain use. Based on your real world experience, it you had a 2oz can of Sabre Red (the full strength version - 1.33%) and a can of 2 oz of Fox 5.3, which one would you carry on you (if you could only carry one) and keep in your pocket, and which would you use as a home defense, by your dresser when you go to sleep? Also, would you use a stream or cone spray in either situation. Thanks in advance!
    % means nothing. Look at the scoville heat index rating for the OC. That tells you how hot it is.
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  8. #8
    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    Based on my research what I have learned is that Scoville Heat Units (SHU) and OC percentage mean little separately though both numbers may be able to give you an idea.

    What really matters is total major capsaicinoids % (MC). For example, SHU and OC percentage are I think I read not even put on bear sprays, the law only cares about total caps (MC). That's what creates heat.

    For example, you can claim that a pepper spray has an SHU of 4,000,000. But the only way you can really claim MC percentage, which are the hot parts of the pepper, is to actually test it with lab equipment.

    Shu-wise, there are two types of shu. One that goes in the formula, one that comes out.

    In the sabre red case, what comes out is 200,000 shu, What comes out of fox is about 106,000 shu
    This is because sabre has 10% oc at 2,000,000 shu resulting in 200,000 out and 1.33% MC confirmed by test.
    Fox has 2% OC at 5,300,000 shu resulting in 106,000 shu out and .71% at best MC.

    That said, there may be other things as prev. described that make a spray strong and effective beyond MC or any numbers.
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    Senior Member Array patri0t's Avatar
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    This seems to come up every week. I have been hosed with Guardian, Sabre red and Fox Labs.
    I could fight through the "Sabre" fairly easily, but the "Guardian" (spray) did the job, but the Fox Labs 2% 5.3M SHU made me cry & blind.

    In LE, you cannot carry it until you have been properly trained (hosed) with the brand you carry. I use the 2 oz Fox Labs & do not care if it has UV dye or foam.

    The old 'mace', military 'CS' and 'CN' gas is near worthless, even as an additive. The Fox Labs 2% is very handy for vicious dogs.... don't have to wait until you get bit.
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  10. #10
    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    sorry double post
    Last edited by tensy; January 8th, 2014 at 11:37 AM.

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    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    That seems to be the majority opinion just reading around. I guess I feel a little uncertain about Fox for a few reasons.
    For one they oddly don't post MC numbers on 5.3 which is the standard and state nozzle heat is unimportant which doesn't seem totally accurate. Also, it seems that they use a cheap degreaser in their formula (TCE) that is somewhat controversial. That doesn't sound very premium. I wonder how much of its effectiveness is solely due to that.

    I guess in the end if it works it works.

    I'm thinking maybe carry the Fox and keep the Sabre Red at home this way I'll minimize exposure to any chemicals (besides pepper) at home being in a relatively closed space.

  12. #12
    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    I decided to "test" a few pepper sprays that I bought just to see what they do in terms of being sprayed in a semi closed space and how they affect the environment (I don't think I am going to test Fox based on what i have read other than to give it a test shot outside). The first one I tested was some brand called "Back-off", which claims it is 15% OC rated at 4,000,000 SHU. No MC stated on it. It's made by the same people who make Whoop-ass. I sprayed a half second shot of this in a bathroom sink. It created a very strong burning effect in the throat and eyes instantly. It was a little scary and actually hurt my throat briefly. Opened all the windows, took about a half hour to clear.

    Next up was a hot pink Mace brand rated at 10% OC at 1.45 caps. I thought for sure this would be killer but it did very little. It sprayed white and only when I put my nose right up to it did i get a moderate burning sensation. Next up was Sabre Red, the 10% 0.67 cap version. I was looking forward to testing this one. This was to my surprise very weak. I could put my nose right up to a good shot in the sink and it just smelled like peppers. I would have thought it should have been stronger and gave me some kind of burn. I'll have to test the 1.33 version when I get a hold of it and see how that goes.

    Am i correct in assuming that the way the spray affects the immediate surroundings can be a clue to its strength and effect if you were hit in the face?

  13. #13
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    When I was on the job we used a OC/CS formulation and when we were sprayed to be certified to carry it's effects were immediate and severe.

    Whatever you decide on using make sure you practice drawing it from your carry location and spraying it at a specific target.

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  14. #14
    Member Array tensy's Avatar
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    I've always carried Sabre Red, the weaker formulation, with the twist top. I'm very used to it - it feels like part of my hand. Little disappointed with that test. Don't know why I didn't do that sooner.

    Maybe I'll take a look again at the 3-1 formula. The one I know is from a very long time ago and I think it was actually the weakest defense version. There is a video on youtube of someone getting sprayed with Sabre 3-1 and he has the worst reaction I've ever seen to any spray.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tensy View Post
    I decided to "test" a few pepper sprays that I bought just to see what they do ...
    I'd love to see a double-blind study done with a couple thousand folks, one that seeks to find how it works across a standard population. No other way to tease out how it varies from person to person, other than that. "Double-blind" study ... ironic name for what'd have to be done to get it right. Zaaaap!
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