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What are mistakes that I don't want to make when I use pepper spray? Don't ever shut your eyes! You may have to correct your aim slightly. You should shoot the spray for 2 to 3 seconds, nether a short squirt nor a long drenching. After shooting your pepper spray, the assailant will normally stop within seconds, blinded and virtually helpless due to uncontrollable coughing spasms. Once the assailant disables, stop spraying. Continue backing and concentrate on getting away!