In the spirit of campus safety education, I brought a Mace ® gun set to wonder twins Lucy and Grace over the weekend. You recall from our “Meet SafetyGirl” chat that these are the daughters of my boyfriend – we’ll call him Andy, suits him well. For safety’s sake I left the “live” mace cartridges at my house. Even though the water cartridges are color-coded blue and the mace, red, I didn’t want any accidents or on-purposes. While the girls baked the world’s best chocolate cookies with their friend Kay, their dad and I checked the units over. The guns have some heft that makes them pleasing in the hands, and the light illuminates with each pull of the trigger, as promised. The safety and cartridge release levers slid easily. Looked simple enough. Andy had the grand idea of setting up a scenario with one of the girls in a hoodie and one wielding the gun – brilliant! I have learned through age that what we plan and what we get are two very different things, and I have learned through this family that most of the time, that is a very good thing. However, not so much in this case. The plans went out the French doors with the girls when they ran out with the guns, anxious to learn. Their fatal flaw: they left the hot, gooey, chocolate cookies behind.
The devoted dad showed them how to open the guns to insert the water cartridges, which is pretty easy and intuitive. The triggers were a little stiff on the pull, and the water cartridges only lasted for about 8 brief squirts (or 2 or 3 long streams). Having the water cartridges for practice was great because the guns shot high. An aim at the heart on these units would take the mace to the attacker’s eyes. It is highly suggested that if you buy the Mace ® gun, that you also get enough water cartridges to be comfortable using the gun, should you ever need the actual mace. The shootout was over far too soon with just one cartridge per girl; because Andy and I didn’t want to waste the cartridge learning the gun ourselves, we had a pretty high learning curve on getting the nozzle seated right and how long each blast should last.
My personal recommendation is to definitely have two practice water cartridges for each person – one to learn the loading and feel of the aim, and another one to get comfortable with it. I would also recommend doing the same two-cartridge routine every year so if you ever do need to use the gun on an attacker (we hope not!), you aren’t going in rusty.
The good news is, I start my week off with two of the best cookies I’ve ever had.
(Afterward: Evidently the cookies vanished overnight. Andy and I did not eat them all, though we wanted to! When I heard they were gone, I was very glad I stole two. )