Here's the military's incredibly painful 'OC spray' training

total recall oc spray

Being “OC sprayed” is an absolutely terrible experience.

OC, or Oleoresin Capsicum — better known as pepper spray — is used to train military and law enforcement personnel as a necessary exercise, so they know what it feels like and can continue to function if they are sprayed.

“It may be the greatest pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” former Marine Ben Feibleman told WATM. Echoing this sentiment, WATM’s own Mike Dowling described it as “the worst day of his life.”

Despite the suffocating and searing sensation of the face, it’s a non-lethal form of policing, riot control, and personal self-defense. In most cases, the worst that will happen is irritation of the skin, temporary blindness, pain and the psychological effect of fear, anxiety and panic. As part of their training, troops are subject to voluntary OC spraying and asked to perform crowd restraint exercises.

The active ingredient in most OC sprays is a high concentration of pepper and alcohol, which is why “pepper spray” is commonly used to identify the spray. The only way to mitigate the spray’s effect is a direct stream of water to the eyes to flush the chemical out. In most cases – depending on the chemical concentration – the average effect lasts 30 minutes, according to SABRE, a brand of OC spray.

Here’s what a typical OC spray qualification is like:

The spray is voluntary. He may look calm …

marine oc spray qualification on ship

Photo: Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada/USMC

… but here’s what he’s really feeling.

oc spray qualification marine on fire

Next, nearly blind, the trainee must take down a threat by submission.

sailor oc spray take down submission

Photo: Seaman Apprentice Brian H. Abel/US Navy

Then, the trainee must simulate fending off a potential threat.

oc spray qualification fighting off

Photo: Cpl. Manuel A. Estrada/USMC

Once training is complete, it’s off to rinsing your face with water.

Photo: Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn/USMC

Photo: Gunnery Sgt. Scott Dunn/USMC

Proper training prevents this from happening:

No matter how much it hurts, don’t be this guy:

https://youtu.be/UmJuMStuhC4