Table of Contents
|What is a Tactical Pen?||Why the Tactical pen?|
|Tactical Pen Uses||What to look for when buying a Tactical Pen?|
|Best Tactical Pens 2017||What is the Tactical Pen for You?|
|What is in Mike’sGearReviews Bag?|
There is a noticeable rise in EDC small self defense items; simply put, these are Every Day Carry items in our lives that can be used as weapons. A lot of our everyday things can be used as a weapon. I married an ex-military adventure junkie, and he is deathly suspicious of everything. He suggested that for my own daily activities, to get me a self defense pen, not just an ordinary pen, a tactical pen . I take public transportation plus a short walk everyday for work and errands, and as he says “you can never be really safe.” He insisted that aside from a self defense pen, I already have some stuff I can use for self defense:
- My phone : I would rather call for help instead, and much like mace, I might be shaking so bad to actually place the call.
- Keys: if I can find them…
- Umbrella: yeah, I don’t really carry one daily, unless it is already raining (this may launch another topic about being prepared).
- Lipstick: he explained a great deal about marking locations and chemicals but I zoned out.
- My bag: yes, I can use it, but it can also be easily used against me, increasing the chances of me being completely helpless, and what if it’s a Prada?
The internet is crawling with hacks and suggestions on how to use these simple, everyday items as weapons but it and of course, I went to town scouting my options…
I grew up in a sheltered nun-schooled, village life, I was not introduced to the danger of streets in my young life, I thought that like all my soaps and series, danger will stay inside the television. With social media as our crystal ball to the outside world, news about all sorts of chaotic moments and hard to believe incidents proliferated our everyday consciousness. I took women’s self defense class during college but, whatever I learned from that class, left me the moment the bell rang. I used to carry my keychain mace around campus and during my post-college yuppie years, the problem is, when placed in THAT situation, the simple act of getting the mace, releasing the safety and pressing it requires multiple actions to be effective.
Imagine an ordinary Jane Doe with the defense skill of a sock and survival skill of mobile charger, promising… This needs to change. Since monotony in daily living is dead, being prepared and ready is the key. I may not have the technical skills of a black belter nor can I have lessons with Mr Miyagi, but I can channel my inner millennial hacking and with a tongue–in-cheek check, cheat.
What is a tactical pen (or self-defense pen)?
The tactical pen is simply a pen that can be used also as a survival tool and for self-defense. The tactical pen can be used as a survival tool in outdoor excursions or outright jungle survival. It is a simple small item but when used properly, can also be dangerous.
Self defense classes can prepare you for specific scenarios, and help you learn to react, but let’s face it, the chances of those lessons sticking in our minds and the making the “correct” response is close to nil.
Most people’s reflex in a dangerous situation is fight, flight or freeze. Fight is to face the danger and try to overcome it while flight is to evade danger by extracting yourself away from the situation. Keep in mind that there are times that both are applicable and there are times where you can just wish for a miracle. As humans, having some sort of weapon can be a blessing in these kind of situations.
Why the Tactical pen?
- It is not illegal (in most cases), no papers, no legal documents,
- It is usually inconspicuous and can pass airport checks and body frisking.
- It is multi functional, hey, it’s a pen plus a self defense pen, plus plus.
- Relatively affordable. Costs a lot less than an armor and weighs less too.
- Easy to carry and a bad-ass accessory for land travels
- Historically effective.
But seriously, WHY? Tactical Pen Use
The survival pen is fundamentally a combination of a pen and a simple weaponized stick. Some of the more common terms of weaponized stick are the Kubotan from the Hashi stick, Koppo stick or Yawara stick. Historically, a common wooden stick or a variation thereof is a simple everyday item used in martial arts. As a handheld weapon, it could be used in a close-quarter encounter; in the movies, long-pliant bamboo is usually used to inflict pain and ward-off the antagonist. The seemingly well choreographed moves imitates a dance with the ever present elements of hitting the head, shoulder, limbs and striking the midsection. A shorter version, the stick, may be used the same way to strike or poke or even render someone immovable. The survival pen a descendant of the weaponized stick.
These days, we do not have ninjas per se, but we still have martial arts. The use of stick or a cane as a weapon is still widely popular. It is in movies, in literature, and is even a worldwide sport.
We do not fight ninjas now and modern day assailants are equipped with much more dangerous weapons and darker intentions. One of the modern day variation of stick – the self defense pen – is still based on the foundations laid out from its historical perspective. You would be suspicious too if you see a man carrying a fighting stick daily, or an able bodied person carrying a cane. So let us find ways to be instinctively normal but intuitively radical.
Who is going to ever ask you why you are carrying a pen?
Tactical Pen Uses
Surprisingly, the tactical pen makes a pretty good self-defense weapon. Yes, it may not spew 100mph fast bullets or lash out laser beams but it will not leave you, intentionally. Since it is a derivative of historical hand-held weapons, the tactical pen is ideal for close-quarter situations.
The idea is that the pen is held in your dominant hand, grip the pen’s body for stability and in preparation to strike the attacker. It is important to note that the tip of the pen points downwards.
Basically and practically, tactical pen uses are:
- For bluffing. This is actually a pretty good idea: do not engage unless you really need to. I have heard that if the prospective target is prepared to give the assailant a hard time, chances are, they will not pursue and would look for an easier target. There are survival pens that are made to look somehow intimidating, metal finishes can create a dangerous glint when it catches light. A note to remember on tactical pen use, bluffing can work both ways, so calculate when to push through with the bluff or go the other way.
- For creating a leverage. Wielding the tactical pen in a cross pattern in front of you even before the assailant is within striking distance increases the chances of escape and makes you seem dangerous. This is somehow a bluff but a more proactive form. By creating a personal space with the action of speedily striking the pen in a criss-cross pattern in front of your body, this action creates the illusion that you know what you are doing by assimilating the protective area around your body. This is also the perfect diversion to prepare yourself and your weapon of choice, in this case, the pen, for possible contact with the attacker, you have bought yourself some time to assess the situation and plant your next move.
- For striking. This is not a knife or a sword, but it is a self defense pen; you need to know which parts of the body to hit with minimum effort with a maximum effect. With this in note, let us see how a tactical pen can actually assume the purpose of a knife or a sword. A tactical pen can wound, specially those that is designed to graze just above the skin enough to cut and collect DNA. This tactic is also illustrated lightly in a movie. If you have seen Jason Bourne, one of the fight scenes is between a knife and a regular pen. The only difference is, in this movie, he is Jason Bourne, who has a regular pen but with the strength and adrenaline to fight, while I just might have the tactical pen to fight for me.
- For stabbing, multiple times. Self explanatory, My plan of action is this: the first hit is a surprise but next ones are the party, then escape to safety. There are tactical pens that have a blunt edge. The purpose of this is to initiate a stabbing pain against the assailant. The best way to use this is to know what is a tactical pen’s intended use for stabbing and then utilize for the best parts of the body that are most vulnerable and just go to town stabbing in fast and in succession. By doing so, you may incapacitate your attacker, released some energy to be conscious and the ultimate goal, defended yourself. Below is an illustration of the suggested best pressure points to strike.
- For writing. what is a tactical pen without a writing function? of course, these are pens, they are intended for writing. Blue and Black ink. Some may be good choice for writing but some have shortchanged this feature.
- Breaking glass. There are survival pens that are made with carbide steel tip. This function can come in very handy when a route to safety or escape has a glass. If the tip can stab, it can also break glass. Proper precaution when trying to break glass should be kept in mind. I would not say observe safety precautions because let’s face it, for all the scenarios in this piece, nothing is a walk in the park.
- DNA Collection. One of the tactical pen uses that is out of the ordinary, is to stab or wound the assailant, and since there is contact with the assailant, an equipped tactical pen can collect DNA of the attacker by using the tip of the pen. This can come in handy for future references and evidence for court cases.
A regular pen may be used the same way, much like what Jason Bourne did in one of the instalments of the Bourne series, but I am not sure if it would yield the same results. In that movie Jason Bourne has the knowledge of multiple martial art techniques and the strength of a well trained athlete. On the other hand I am a desk slave who considers chewing my food my exercise and shopping during mall sales sports. When I carry my tactical pen I sometimes have Voltaire’s ironic words in my head “To hold a pen is to be at war.”
I searched the internet for reviews and tips looking for the inside scoop on the best tactical pens, and after reading through numerous paragraphs of suggestions, metal type, reviews and comments from people who actually have tactical pens, I came back to “what is a tactical pen for me?” I suggest fitting the pen to the user, the use and the budget.
A lot of the sites talked about how stealthy and inconspicuous a tactical pen is, how it can easily be carried and is not illegal (in most cases) that it passes security checks and common frisking. Nevertheless, reading between the lines, no matter how small or as common it is, there are still non-negotiables factors in a tactical pen. I am a common Jane Doe, my tactical pen requirements should not be that technical but it still needs to work when I need it. I am no expert so I research. Let’s break down the expert’s punch list for the best tactical pens:
What to look for when buying a Tactical Pen?
1. Pen Quality AND Grip: Tactical pens are commonly made of military grade metals. I am not familiar with steel but if it is used in aircrafts and missiles, these pens may be close to Wolverine-grade strength. Since these pens may encounter flesh and bones, glasses and what nots when used for striking and stabbing, the assurance that it will not easily break is a comforting thought. Grip options for writing and for action. The best tactical pens have amazing grip options. You need to be able to hold the pen well. As stated earlier, a solid grip on the pen is best when it is intended to be used as a weapon. Again, the assurance that it will not slide off easily during the most stressful time is a much needed requirement. When used as a common pen, a good grip is also needed for stability and ease in writing. Since most of the time you’ll be actually using the pen as, well, a pen, it’s important that it’s a good quality pen.
2. Self-Defense Features: Glass shattering tips, DNA collection capacity, blunt tip, etc. This is a self-defense pen, an EDC tool. What is a tactical pen? What sets it apart from a common pen is that it has functions that are designed to aid the pen holder in a situation that requires self preservation. The features that can help in defending the pen holder from danger is a requirement.
3. Size and Weight: Relative to grip, you need to be able to hold it properly to use it effectively. Not too heavy, sized just right to write and otherwise. Since it is considered to be an everyday item, it needs to answer to the basic requirements of any person who will proudly own a tactical pen, an almost oblivious effect to the owner. Based on tactical pen reviews: A ribbed grip ridge is also a helpful feature, not only for writing but also when in action. Weight close to a regular pen. Many tactical pens are made up of military grade steel, plus additional functions that can weigh down the tactical pen. Lightweight pens regardless with additional function and great make is a plus for many tactical pen experts.
4. Price: Consider quality vs low cost choices. The price range usually depends on the make, additional functions, even shipping cost, It is still best to have the best bang for your buck, even for a pen, specially for a tactical pen. Though these are relatively inconspicuous to pat downs and security checks, there is a possibility of confiscation. You lose pens, it’s a given. Be ready to wave goodbye to your tactical pens whenever, be it from confiscation, loss or the most extreme scenarios in mind.
5. Pen cartridge and refill. This is still a writing tool, you bought it to write with and also because it can protect you, but would you keep a defective phone in your bag even because it can still take pictures even though it can call or send texts?
6. Pen tip (writing end – covered, tip is always out, twists out, or pops out). One of the experts pointed out a very good observation. The tactical pen tips can break glass or can cut or wound much as it can be used as a self defense tool. To protect the owner from possibly hurting himself, the tip should be secured. It is a writing tool, to aid in its common blending, the writing tip should be the primary face of the pen.Extra Features
7. Usability in extreme conditions. Some tactical pens are made not only as an EDC self defence tool, but also as a bug out multi-tool. The main point of having a tactical pen is being ready; being ready to defend one’s self against intruders and anyone or anything that has intention to hurt, or, being ready to save yourself from detention, or, being ready for the harshest of elements, just try to be ready.
What options are easily available in the market?
Scouring the internet for the best tactical pen can be futile since each expert has his own opinion and personal preference. Expert survivalist articles and tactical gear authorities like Everdaycarry, Gearpatrol and manufacturer’s sites provides standard and fact checking plus experience that makes us listen to what they dish out. Checking a minimum of 10 reputable sites for the available options, let’s weigh in on the comparative top 10.
The sites I visited listed their choice of tactical pens, their reviews vary but each has a valid point. From these and their tactical pen reviews, we see that name brands have yet again proven that they are named for a reason. Our top 3 best tactical pen contenders, Smith & Wesson Military and Police Tactical Pen, Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen, and Schrade Tactical Pen answers all the concerns, from functionality to fashion concerns, the price tag is also reasonable.
A lengthy research would be just a research unless we analyze what the experts are saying. we have listed the top 10 contenders:
|Defense Features||Glass Breaking Function|
|Size / Weight||6” / 0.96 ounces|
|Plus Factor||Available in Many Colors|
|Secured Cap and Clip|
|Stylus at One End|
This one ticks the all the boxes plus it is used by the “defense people” so we know they know what they are talking about. It has an aluminum body and a great grip design, lightweight and a great refillable tip for writing. The screw on cap received mixed reviews: others like the screw on so it would not come off accidentally while others think the screw on cap is a joke considering that this is also intended for emergency defense use. The glass breaking function is also there, and has a clip so it would be secured to the owner. The stylus end is also a modern feature that many appreciates. Also, a pen that has more commercial colors to choose from and a price that would not break the bank. Winner!
- Diameter of the pen is the same thickness as a fountain pen it will fit in a pen pocket
- The cap screws on and off and you can attach the cap to the back of the pen
- Writes fair to Good not blotchy at all
- Screws on the clip means you can replace it if it brakes
- The styles tip unscrews so you can replace it!!!
- The styles works on my smart phone + texting will be easier!!!
- It has a pointed end cap not too pointed for glass brake very nice
- Can be use as a kubaton very nice
- Does not come with a Parker pen cartridge I like the Parker cartridge over the Fisher space pen refills (I find Fisher cartridges are blotchy)
- When attaching the cap to the back of the pen it makes the pen 6.3/8 inches long, very long an difficult to write with (I leave the cap off)
- Smith and Wesson logo on it making it scream tactical pen
Other than those few cons the pen is great. I’m just worried about leaving the cap off during writing sooner or later I might lose the cap. “
A very objective review, if I may say so. The review shows how practical this tactical pen is, with its easily replaceable parts if the unfortunate loss or damage occurs, The stylus is again mentioned as a good feature of this pen, extending its use as pen for both physical paper and digital pads.
|Defense Features||Glass Breaking Tip|
|Size / Weight||5.59 inches/ 2.25 Oz.|
|Plus Factor||Ability to write even on wet conditions|
|Secured cap and clip|
|Made in The U.S.|
Much like the first contender, the Gerber name has long been trusted by those who know. It also has aluminum body and the glass breaking tip functionality. Although it costs a little more, it also clips on to the owner and has the ability to write in the rain. Great option for journal writing in the jungle. This self-defense pen ranks high in the list because of its versatility.
|Defense Features||Glass Breaking|
|Size / Weight||5.9” / 1.92 Oz.|
|Plus Factor||Fire Starter|
This is as loaded as they come – a defense EDC tool and a survival pen – and with the advertised price, it can be considered a steal. The only downside is that, being one of the best tactical pens in the market shows in its weight.
Now before we proceed on to the next tactical pens, I just want to focus on the top three that the experts have identified. These are great options for anyone, but as you read through these, the top three are used by the military and lightweight. The top 2 have glass breaking functions, showing that these two are, in fact, survival tools as well. In line with survival as the topic, the expert’s top three pick is somehow a surprise. Reviews have cited the Schrade tactical pen as a bug-out bag mentionable, but then again, this may have scored so much points for being a survival tool.
Keep in mind that experts, being experts, would rank on the basis of their standards for the best tactical pens but they recognize the pluses instantly which makes their tactical pen reviews a great guide for us.
|Features||Glass breaking tip|
|Size and weight||6.6” / .3 ounces|
|Plus Factor||Clip on Function|
|made in The U.S.|
Almost all the reviews raved about the glass breaking capacity of this tactical pen, and they should, it is right there in the name. This self defense pen has the glass breaker tip on one end and the writing tip on the other. It is a ball point pen and writes amazingly well. As a writing tool, the ink cartridge is refillable too. Like the first three, the UZI defender is made of aluminum steel so it is lightweight.
This one gives the other noted best tactical pens in the market a run for its money, an expert’s tactical pen review bravely challenged by stating that Uzi pen isn’t as slick as the Gerber Impromptu, but it is cheaper.
|Grip||Grooved for grip|
|Features||Metal striking end|
|Size and weight||5.3” / 1.4 Oz.|
|Plus Factor||Threaded Cap|
|Regular Pen Appearance|
The CRKT pen is made of space grade aluminum with a sleek sophisticated design much like a regular ballpoint executive pen. Because of its elegant and classy appearance it is popular as an office pen, a stealthily disguised tool when placed with other regular pens.
It is a popular choice for a pen for an office desk, discreet enough to blend in. Tactical pen reviews from experts mentioned that the grip grooves are perfect for writing grip as well as for defence hold. The threaded cap has received mixed reviews though, because of the difference in twist capability of the cap. The weight of the CRKT pen can cause discomfort when used for prolonger writing. All these being said, this tactical pen is still a great tool for quick note writing and also a probable self defense pen.
|Features||Bolt Action pen|
|blunt tip for striking|
|Size and Weight||5” / 2.9 Oz.|
|Plus Factor||Click action (no cap)|
|Made in China|
A unique pen in its own right. This tactical pen sports a bolt-action mechanism, much like a young kid’s toy, combined with the click open-and-close function, this could be a pen that would be almost impossible to put down. In a forum on tactical pen review, a member posted “I’ve been using mine for 2 weeks now as my work pen. I haven’t been able to stop playing with it!”. If ever you have those urges to let out a little energy when put under pressure, the clicking mechanism, however annoying to some, helps with that, and the bolt mechanism just makes it transformer-level fun. Oh, and this is a bad ass tactical pen, the click function means it is easier to transform from a pen to a weapon. Experts are divided on the clip on function of this pen, most of them relayed that the appearance, would easily make it recognizable as a tactical pen either on the desk or clipped on.
|Grip||Full Hand/Palm Grip|
|Features||4 Times Thicker Than Conventional Markers|
|Closest Tactical Pen to The Yawara Stick|
|Made in The U.S.A.|
|Size and weight||16 1/2″ / .7 ounces|
|Plus Factor||Felt Tip Pen|
|Screw on Cap|
|Pen Quality||High Impact Plastic ( Glass Reinforced Grivory)|
This option is what I can call, the novice tactical pen.
The main feature of this tactical pen is that this is a marker, a felt tip pen with a wider, more distinguishable writing capacity. The Sharkie is a marker with a thicker body compared to regular pens, but reading through the reviews, the thickness is just right for normal grip.
This is made of glass reinforced grivory, a substitute for metal, simply put, hard impact plastic. Since it is made of plastic, it is extremely lightweight, and the price is almost negligible, you can buy a dozen and give it out as presents even. This is such a simple pen, but sometimes, less complication is less confusion.
|Size and Weight||6.5″ / 1.6 Oz.|
|Plus Factor||Sharp and Jagged End Cap|
|Made in The U.S.A.|
A complete opposite of the Cold steel Sharkie, this is the “but wait there’s more” tactical pen. One of the bad-ass defense pen in the market, it is made of black military grade aluminum with a grip edge, but packed with extra features. This pen sports a super-bright white LED flashlight along with a DNA catch crown and a glass breaking edge, but wait there’s more! it also sports a jagged end for instant defense pen and a belt clip for a more manly appearance and the writing capability gets a passing grade from the experts. What is a tactical pen without all of those extras? The tactical pen reviews rave about this self defense pen.
CountyComm Stainless Embassy Elite Pen
|Pen Quality||Stainless Steel|
|Size and Weight||5.25” / 3.83 Oz.|
|Plus Factor||Stainless Steel Clip|
|Hard Steel Pen Body|
|Made in The U.S.A.|
The Embassy pen is a tactical pen trying to hide as a regular pen. While most competitor tactical pens have made it a point to painstakingly integrate tactical functions into a pen, the embassy pen seems to have been conceptualized in reverse; Tactical pen first then simplify the design into a pen. The design of the embassy pen keeps this defense pen ready for action. A lot of the reviews have pointed out the sturdiness of the pen’s body could actually just last as far as their lifetime. Be careful not to lose the screw-on cap soon after getting this pen which will expose its tip.
The tactical pen review quoted the manufacturer with “The new Embassy Pen after recently acquiring a small batch from a government contract. This tactical pen is robust and made to last a lifetime; whether it’s on the training field or in the office”. There is little mention of functionality from most of the tactical pen reviews visited, not sure if this is to because of the government contract. The manufacturers of the Embassy pen have commercialized this tactical pen by releasing a special limited edition of the Embassy pen in copper and although both the steel and copper versions just look so delicious, the weight and the writing capability of this pen has proven to be a concern and has received some thumbs down from the experts.
|Grip||Anodized Finish (Non Slip)|
|Size and Weight||5.5 Inches / 1.6 Oz.|
|Plus Site||Used as a PDA stylus|
|Write in a all conditions|
|Made in The U.S.|
Last, but definitely not the least, on our list is the Archangel defense pen. Widely used by the police, this pen is made of high quality plastic! a surprise since the Archangel defense pen is the alter ego of the Embassy pen. This one looks like a pen, but functions as a tactical pen. The stainless steel writing tip is great for jotting down notes and what nots, the lightweight pen is also great for having this pen in our bags. The reviews available are usually short and point out the simplicity of the pen and how easy it is to integrated into our daily lives. Online stores actually listed the Archangel Defense Pen as out of stock, so I guess this can be commercially hot with a lot of orders.
Tactical pen review from Gear Hall describes this pen as “unique design makes sure you write upside down and even in the rain without any trouble. To keep it safe and secured, you will use the blackened stainless steel”.
What is the Tactical Pen for You?
So I’ve looked at a bunch of tactical pens and checked may expert reviews. Which pen is the “best” one? Whatever my ex-military husband says about the technicalities of having “the best” weaponized pen in my bag, I would still have something to say on the matter, because the bottomline is, I will be the one to use it. The pen is absolutely no good to me if I’m not actually using it. If it’s at the office in the desk, it won’t keep me safe.
When faced with a multitude of choices, one of the things to do is eliminate the one/ones that does not fit your criteria and go from there, hopefully arriving in an informed intelligent decision, hopefully.
What are the best tactical pen options for the common John and Jane Doe’s? Here are my criteria: simple, works well, no rocket scientist manual needed, and doesn’t break the bank.
I am leaning towards the Sharpie and the Archangel defense pen. Although the experts ranked them continents apart, both have a simple ergonomic design and function, and a price makes it less threatening to me and yet, it still gives me a sense of safety. As stated earlier, I do not have training nor the physical strength to yield the pen in the best possible way. But I can to the stabbing and striking. I can remember where to strike, just think about soft and thin areas that the attacker’s attention is not on, and if non is available, strike hard and fast then run.
On the other hand, our gentlemen can carry the Smith and Wesson or Gerber with business or casual attire. The aluminum finish gives off a sophisticated and modern touch to an otherwise stoic pen. By observation, men in general tend to feed off other men’s musings and thoughts.
Active and physically capable ladies can tote the Schrade tactical pen, it comes in different colors to match our outfit or personality, whichever wins, and it helps that it has a whistle, another defense tool. I suggest to add the sharkie so you can share with your friends, anyway, it is common knowledge that females are accessory huggers, why not accessorize this way? keeps you and your friends safe-r.
What is in Mike’sGearReviews Bag?
The Schrade tactical pen with its outdoor functions such as fire starter and an emergency whistle, is the favorite choice for Mike’s Gear Bag; it is practical, multi-tool use and can be used in emergency cases. For a closer “expert level” choice; an outdoor junkie or a prepper can benefit with the a combination of Schrade and Under Control pens, they pretty much cover a night out with the troops. If there is an intention of shopping for the bug out bag, go bag, safety bag, or whatever extreme condition prepping bag, consider adding these self defense pens. I understand that there may be multipurpose tools available that can cover some of the functions of a tactical pen, but tactical pen use is as easy as grab and go. Besides, being prepared would not count unless done properly and practically.
If you want to have the added protection and coolness of being prepared, get the one that fits your lifestyle and budget. You can never go wrong with being prepared. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, nobody lives in a bubble. Having any option to add and rely on as protection is a safety check to consider. Ever since, the pen has shown that it increases power by providing its handler. If a simple pen can write stories, use your tactical pen on horrific and action scenes. The end thought for this, a pen is just a pen, but it defines what you write, so take a stand and be your own weapon.