Just the Tip: Adjusting ASP Key Defender Inserts for Carry in a Pocket Shield

| August 14, 2017 | 7 Comments

We really like the ASP Key Defender OC spray. We like the size, the form factor, and the ability to switch between “hot” OC spray and “test” practice spray. We’ve since purchased dedicated ASP Key Defenders for force on force usage, but you can easily swap out live and practice spray canisters.

A combination of factors necessitates a slight adjustment to the OC spray insert for the ASP Key Defender. This won’t apply to everyone, but if it applies to you, the following information is important.

If you carry an ASP Key Defender (and only the Key size)

  1. and you carry it inside of your front pockets
  2. and you use a Kydex carrier for it
  3. and the carrier is mounted to Chris Fry’s PocketShield sold by Raven Concealment

then you will need to trim the nozzle by 1/16″ to avoid a slow discharge of the chemical irritant


Condition #1: Form Factor

The ASP Key Defender is just long enough to suffer from this issue when carried upright in a front pocket. The Street Defender is too big for most front pockets, and the Palm Defender too small to run into this issue. If you have either of those models then this article will not apply to you.

Condition #2: Carry Position

We believe that OC spray is a pre-emptive self defense tool that must be in hand and ready to use in order to be effective. This comes after listening to Chuck Haggard’s lecture on chemical irritants, attending Mike Anderson’s Landing the Plane class, and using / watching others use trainer OC spray in force on force classes.

In order to consistently and easily get OC spray into use, we believe that the spray must be carried in a consistent place and manner. Most women put OC spray in their purses, or on keys that are put into purses. Accessibility is compromised.

I keep my Key Defender in my right front pocket. This allows more immediate access. However, this also creates an environment in which the fabric of the pocket may consistently apply pressure to the plunger, even with the safety on. More on that under Condition #3.

Condition #3: PocketShield with dedicated Kydex spray carrier

I use the PocketShield to keep my tools in a consistent orientation in my pocket. I have a KA-BAR TDI knife and my ASP spray attached to my PocketShield.

I use a Kydex spray carrier made by Hawaiian Punch Industries, which is mounted to the PocketShield.


Add up all of these conditions and you have a slow leak.

I might be the only person in the world to employ this combination. The team over at ASP was exceptionally nice and gracious and helped me figure out what was going wrong. I sent them my EDC PocketShield, a trainer TDI knife, and my EDC Key Defender.

Over the span of a month they ran tests on my set up, and tried to determine exactly what was happening and why.

In short, the combination of factors put the Key Defender outside of its design parameters. My issue can’t manifest itself when the spray is carried on a duty belt, or free floating in a pouch, pocket, or bag.

ASP tested the optimal length of the insert’s spray nozzle and sent me a full, trimmed insert as a test. If you want to trim the nozzle yourself, cut 1/16″ off.

Doing so does not effect performance, and has kept my Key Defender from leaking.

Designing products is part of my job, and sometimes I roll my eyes when someone does some crazy shit I never thought of. Thanks to ASP for working with me on what is surely an edge case that they did not conceive of during product development.


ASP provided additional “Heat” and “Test” inserts and another Key Defender body as part of the troubleshooting process. We purchased our EDC and FoF units with our own money.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

7 Comments on "Just the Tip: Adjusting ASP Key Defender Inserts for Carry in a Pocket Shield"

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  1. John says:

    Interesting. I’m curious – what were the symptoms that led you to discover the leak? Staining or dampness in your pocket? Burning? Odor?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      I “pre-flight” all of my gear when I put it on for the day. Check lights, check red dot, check mounting screws on my Clinch Pick sheath, TDI sheath, etc.

      Chuck Haggard told us to gently shake our OC spray periodically, so I started doing this as part of my daily pre-flight. I noticed there was some material on the end of the Key Defender. It was reddish in color, which I also knew from Chuck was spent irritant.

  2. Adam says:

    Do you have a website, link, or contact for Hawaiian Punch Industries to purchase the Kydex spray carrier?

  3. Brent says:

    This is tremendously helpful as I had a Key Defender recently leak and I was ready to ditch the system. I would like to see the valve stem trimmed on all the Defender inserts as they sometimes are tight fitting in the Defender and this keeps the brass actuator swivel from swiveling. Great article. What did you use to trim the valve stem without it discharging?

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      I am glad you found this helpful. I used a pair of sharp scissors. The tricky part was making sure the cut was straight up and down.

  4. Mike M. says:

    Good article. I carry a Street Defender every day tucked into my waistband, but have looked at using a Raven system for pocket carry.

    Do you have contact information on Hawaiian Punch Industries so we can make an order?

  5. Brent says:

    The last OC class I taught we used the ASP Key Defenders and another popular brand with a stream delivery. Students were given a key defender and a twin pack of ASP Test (Inert) inserts. Each student had to practice deploying the Defender in an adrenalized environment and follow it up with a key flail or strike with the end of the baton.. Every student was able to consistently deliver straight line activation of a cone shaped fog on target. The conical spray pattern covered the entire upper toroso and face. It also stayed suspended in air instead of falling to the ground like stream. My safety glasses I wore were coated in the Inert spray. We switched to the key chain stream unit with a twist lock or turn style safety and several students fumbled with the actuator or had trouble depressing the button because your thumb had to be perfectly in the center to get it to fire. Many missed the mock attacker completely with the stream pattern. It was an eye opening experience and the reason I now use ASP Defenders as the exclusive key chain/EDC OC and the MK 2 and 3 Sabre Red Flip Top cone fog delivery for a larger unit. Sabre Red also sells the identical ASP Key Defender unit. Great product.

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