PavaShot Stickshot Effective Less Lethal Tool

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Pavashot Stickshot in action from about 30 feet.

I tested the PavaShot Stickshot long range pepper powder launcher and I found it to be an effective less lethal tool. The Stickshot is a non-pyrotechnic defense product that looks like a stick and uses a nitrogen cartridge to fire PAVA powder at 170 miles an hour at an effective range of about 50 feet. Compared to similar type products, it has a much longer range, and potential effectiveness.

The Stickshot looks like a stick, or a medium sized flashlight. It has a knurled grip, and, once fired, the extended tube becomes a sharp pointy object for additional defense.

When it comes to testing products, I’m not considered the brightest person in the world. When PavaShot shipped this product to me, the first thing I did was look for a suitable pair of goggles to protect myself when I tested it, on the receiving end. I did take a hit with this product, and it did work.

The Stickshot has removable launch tubes. The kit comes with a blue trainer capsule, which is inert, and a live PAVA one, which is filled with 6 grams of PAVA powder. Most pepper spray delivery systems use a liquid product. The advantage with this one is that it can be slightly more persistent.


Dodging The Devastating Dust

The first thing I wanted to know was how effective this product was at 50 feet. Using the trainer tube, I stood at the receiving end at about 30 feet while my friend fired the training payload at me. I picked the distance of 30 feet to see if it was possible to dodge the incoming wave. I found it was possible, but not probable. The closer one is to the target, the lower the likelihood of escaping the devastating dust.

When the trigger is pressed, the nitrogen (N2) cartridge is propelled forward by a spring in the heel of the launcher. The tapered end of the N2 cartridge is pierced, and the gas propels the powdered payload inside the attached tube. The payload is expelled from the business end of the tube in a cloud.

The cartridge is not metered. The Stickshot empties the entire cartridge.

On the receiving end, the plume of powder expands quickly, in a shotgun pattern. 6 grams of powder doesn’t exactly engulf the assailant, but enough powder surrounds him to make it effective.


Reliable Just About Anywhere

Using nitrogen as a propellant for this product is a smart thing. This makes it very resistant to weather conditions, and reliable just about anywhere.

Here’s the thing: When we tested this tool, we had a full value wind at 10-15 MPH. If we had used a run-of-the-mill pepper spray tool, it would have been completely ineffective. In this wind, the powder hit the target, which was me, by the way. I wouldn’t have tried to use it at 50 feet with these gusts, but anything inside of 30 was within the victims grasp.

If I had been within about 10 feet, I wouldn’t have even been able to dodge the cap that flies off the payload in front of the tube.

The chance of reloading for another shot is rather slim, by the way. One unscrews the bottom and inserts another cartridge. After, a new tube is screwed onto the top. This time would be better spent getting into a vehicle and driving away, or running. As a last resort, the glass breaker on the heel, and the sharp pointy ridges of the tube seemed pretty effective. These ridges are literally teeth, not just DNA collectors.

The Stickshot uses a safety bail (or safety protector, to which it is referred in the instructions) that fits over the trigger, which is a simple steel button, to prevent it from firing in the pocket. The safety bail is retained by a rocker switch that acts as a collar for the bottom of this device. It works, but it is a little too complicated. I would have just supplied this with a pin similar to a grenade pin, using a hole drilled through the trigger button.

It is pretty safe to carry, and the payload itself is inert. The Stickshot is simple, and built to be carried around everywhere.

I can’t speak on the legality of this tool in every state, but it does not use anything like a primer or powder to launch, making it as simple as carrying as pepper spray. It definitely gives the user a stand off distance and delivers an effective payload.

The Stickshot is a little large for pocket carry, but it fits in cargo pockets easily. I see this as an effective way to fire and exit a sticky situation, or something that could be legally carried on a campus, depending on the local laws.

The Stickshot retails for $149, but is currently on their site for $99 at