First up: Sabre Advanced 3-in-1

Sabre Advanced Defense 3-in-1

For the first installment of my little OC defense spray review series, we have the old standby, the warhorse of the NYPD and damn hot stuff to experience: Sabre 3-in-1 Advanced Defense Spray. More to come twice a week, so be sure to tune-in! Or online-in, whatever, just educate yourselves, ya plebs!


Active Ingredients: OC/CS 1%/1%; OC is 3mil SHU @ 10% for 300,000 NHU (Nozzle Heat Units); CS (military tear gas) @ 1%.

Onset: 8/10
2-5 seconds, as the CS tends to cause a much more immediate and involuntary reaction when used in conjunction with OC. The classic sting of Sabre Red meets the snot-monster virus that is CS gas equals a fast-acting and highly disorienting product, an ideal for any defense spray out there

Potency: 9/10
This is the real deal, folks. Sabre Red proudly lays claim to have been “making grown men cry since 1976″ with authority, being one of the most popular and widely-used brands available to both civilian and LEO/CO use. It’s claimed to be a water-based solution with over 3,000,000 SHUs in it, making the nozzle heat around 300,000. A fresh, cultivated, hot-as-it-gets jalapeno is roughly 6,000 SHUs, so do the math. Hot. Hot. HOT. Note the non-flammable forumla. Alcohol-based sprays in the past, when used with a stun gun or tazer, will set the target on fire. Not “haha some flames woo take that” kind of fire, but the cruel, overkill kind that can (and will) make your defense in court that “setting a mugger on fire that horrible way was necessary” run a bit thin. So, Sabre is the kind, gentle OC spray, if that’s remotely possible.

Duration: 8/10
Sabre sticks around well enough alone, but the tear gas is what makes this stuff such a nasty concoction. The primary effects of OC wear off in an hour or so, but CS clings to just about everything for around a week if not removed during decontamination. It is NOT a good idea to use it indoors (unless it’s in a foam or gel, and even then…) as it makes the affected area uninhabitable- obviously not the intended effect when defending yourself. Use caution with any CS spray, especially when you’re going to have to literally live in it! I’ll have to elaborate more on this in the subsequent article, but trust me: this turns a hard-assed criminal into a crying, bubbling, snot-dripping bag of “WATER! WATER! HELPHELPHELPHELP” in moments. It works as it says. Period.

Size: 10/10
The pink keychain units are incredibly popular for a number of reasons: it’s small, easy to hide in your hand, looks more like lipstick or candy than liquid hell and costs less than $8. Of course, just about EVERY company offers these sizes, but Sabre is easily the most commonly found, purchased and carried. And for you macho-men out there: ain’t nothing wrong with the color pink, and if it honestly bothers you that much then you’re missing the forest for the trees (and compensating for something, I bet)!

Patterning: 7/10
Cone is the ideal for most situations, and there’s little difference between it and any other leading brand. The propellant, while not as top-shelf as Freeze +P, allows roughly 25 half-seconds bursts or 10 seconds of a constant stream from one of the tiny keychain models. That’s a hefty bit of spray for the compact size, and it delivers every time. Plus, the body has an involuntary reaction to CS exposure, immediately coughing, opening the eyes and gasping for air. This is a very, very bad idea when you have a gaseous root canal in your lungs and all over your face. Damn. Take a second to YouTube that. I’ll wait.

Alright, cool. See how the OC gives a couple seconds to kick in, while even the training Marines often drop from the OC/CS combination? Proof is in the pepper-flavored pudding, y’all.

Reputation: 6-8/10

Allow me to explain this peculiar rating: as multiple independent studies have show the potency and consistency of Sabre in terms of fluctuating MCC ratings, I sadly have to dock a couple of points for QC errors with a product that needs to be formulated exactly as advertised and labeled. However, these sources are still questionable, and as I have yet to run a full HPLC test on it I cannot say for sure that these rumors are true, so (for the time) please disregard them. If I learn something new, I’ll post it here immediately. For now, read below.

“Making Grown Men Cry Since 1976!” It’s right there on the package. It’s commonly referred to as the flagship formulation for OC brands and carries with it a long history of use by the NYPD, DEA, LAPD and thousands of law enforcement agencies worldwide. It’s the Jay-Z of pepper spray: the news kids might have the attention of the public, but nobody can rock it quite like the original and “greatest rapper alive” that is the OC/CS nightmare. It burns, it lasts and 95% of the time, it works every time! *note: an estimated 5% of Americans have little to reactions to OC, CS or even CN. Always keep that in mind.

Potency DOES vary batch-to-batch (as with any manufactured product) as HPLC testing has shown various levels of both CS and OC. This appears to have been cleared up, whatever it was, but rumors persist that some cans are just plain crappy. Thus, test it (like you should normally do anyway) before using or carrying it. I mentioned this above, so it’s not really a drawback. You can’t fire it upside-down unlike their differently-propelled mixes, nut hey, you’ve already got canned “NO” in face-melting form. Be happy with that. The CS will contaminate any room or indoor area, but that’s to be expected. If you want something suited perfectly to use as a home defense tool, check out the upcoming Sabre Red and Sabre HD articles. Things get foamy, stick, and inconceivably bleak for the assailant!


I’m impressed with Sabre 3-in-1. It’s like the .357 of OC sprays: there may be more technologically enhanced and hotter, more intense stuff out there, but at the end of the day it’s what modern brands aspire to meet or exceed in their own developments while remaining a serious contender in the combination OC/CS market. Hot as hell itself with the added benefit of tear gas, reliable enough for most major agencies to carry, and readily available, this is what people think of first when they think “police-grade” pepper spray.

Sabre Advanced 3-in-1 can be bought at many sport suppliers and gun stores, though you’re likely to find the best deal online. This 4oz. can is $16 plus shipping ($6.99) while this other seller is asking $13 with free shipping. Shop around, browse the web and you’ll have no trouble finding a steal of a deal. I mean, $14 shipped for the Advanced Magnum spray with a cone pattern is an incredible bargain, especially when you’re ordering from a reputable, well-known site that can deal with RMAs, returns and any problems that might arise from a transaction. In summation? Buy a can of this and you won’t regret it. It’s what I personally carry daily and, as explained above, is powerful and fast-acting. Go buy some! And tell them I sent you!

And so this article concludes with strong recommendation and respect for Sabre, as well as the fear of having to test this stuff personally ever again. Next week we’ll take a look at Sabre Red and their famous pink keychain units that fight crime AND breast cancer! If you have any comments or question, leave them below or shoot me a message on Facebook, Twitter, email or whatever your electronic communication platform of choice happens to be and I’ll be more than happy to respond. Stay safe, stay calm, and remember: be good or be good at it!


Posted on November 11, 2012, in OC, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Ryan Jarcy, self imposed guinea pig for the masses. Kudos! Great stuff, man. Keep it comin.


  2. Thanks and will do! Fox Labs up next, as their “Mean Green” is some insane heavy green dye and a lot of kick. However, their “Five Point Three” (so named cuz it’s 5.3mil SHU) is the very best ever and is gonna be hard. It will melt through a styrofoam cup in minutes. DAMN.


  3. SABRE Advanced contains 1.5%CS, 2.5%OC and UV dye. It is 2million SHU. All formulas are guaranteed- the only pepper spray mfg that performs HPLC. SABRE is also an EPA establishment and ISO:9001 certified. A primary reason that tens of thousands of LE agencies across more than 24 countries rely on SABRE is due to the extremely low variability in heat per can. Why sell something that may or may not work? You WANT that cop to get his face bashed in by that drug addled psycho? You want that abductor to take your sister? See the point? Most pepper spray mfg only care about profits. SABRE cares about People.

    Still… its your choice what to use 🙂


  4. With all do respect, I am not sure what lead you to believe that Sabre varies in pungency. They are the only brand with their own in house HPLC lab. Even when other companies did independent lab testing the HPLC test results showed Sabre to be consistent in heat. Sabre also does independent testing on their products. I have found them to be one of the most consistent sprays on the market. Thanks so much for writing the reviews. It is great to hear what others think about pepper sprays.


  5. They do vary in potency and they really shouldn’t with the in house lab.
    See this highly respected independent analysis of Sabre Red USA formula which should be .67 capsaicinoids, It is off by .10%. There is no excuse for that.,600%20SHUs.pdf


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