Whether you’re an action star who regularly deals deathblows with pencils or just an ordinary guy like the rest of us, the Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen is worth some consideration for your everyday-carry (EDC). Most students and professionals carry a pen, but carrying a tactical pen is a somewhat peculiar concept. If you have a pen on you anyway, consider this as a potential upgrade. Before exploring the Impromptu Tactical Pen in detail, here are the specifications from Gerber:


  • Overall Length: 5.59″ (14.19 cm)
  • Closed Length: 5″ (12.7 cm)
  • Weight: 2.4 oz. (68 g)
  • Material: Steel
  • Rugged, machined steel body with Cerakote™
  • Stainless steel pocket clip keeps the pen handy
  • Integrated glass-breaker tip features tempered steel
  • “Rite in the Rain” ink cartridge works in all conditions, inside and outdoors
  • Reliable push-button mechanism deploys ball point mechanism
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Made in USA

My thoughts and review

The Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen is discreet and carries well.
Why carry a “tactical” pen?

I see how “tactical” pens can be a gimmick, but I also see the appeal behind a tactical pen; the decision to get one comes down to which notion you believe more. The biggest advantage of the Impromptu Tactical Pen is that, well—it’s an actual pen. It functions and writes just as well as any other pen I have used. Additionally, it is discreet and one of the next-best options when on premises that don’t allow knives or firearms.

For those of you who frequently write with a pen for your work or occupation, you have the advantage of having a self-defense tool that is already in your hand during a surprise encounter. The concept doesn’t come as a surprise; after all, it was designed with law enforcement collaboration and input:

During interviews, officers agreed that the most important tool you can carry is the item that happens to be in your hand, which more often than not turns out to be a pen. So Gerber designed a pen that can write in all conditions and is rugged enough to handle the unexpected. (Gerber)

The integrated glass-breaker tip and ball point.
Toughness, reliability, and warranty

The sturdiness of the pen is immediately noticeable when you first pick it up. You don’t expect such a small object to weigh as much as it does, but are glad to be assured of its toughness. However, some concern comes from the repeated reports from users regarding the reliability of the push-button and ball point mechanism. Experiences are bound to differ, whether you come across issues or are reading this review and skeptical of buying one, Gerber offers a Limited Lifetime Warranty for North American residents (25 years for outside North America).

The integrated glass-breaker tip

First off, the integrated glass-breaker tip does not interfere with writing. I have been writing exclusively with my Impromptu Tactical Pen and have yet to experience any type of hindrance due to its protrusion. Unless for some reason you write at a particularly acute angle, you shouldn’t have any issues. In regard to its effectiveness, my suburban neighbors don’t take kindly to me testing the glass-breaker feature, but fortunately for you, Gerber provides a short video demonstrating its use in the video below:

The verdict

The good
-Refillable “Rite in the Rain” ink cartridge
-Quality construction and sturdiness
-Discreet and subtle
-Made in the USA 

The bad
-Multiple users complain about the clicker mechanism eventually failing

The Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen doesn’t come cheap. The Impromptu Tactical Pen has an MSRP of $72, but can be found with markdowns from other online retailers. While there is little doubt regarding how tough it is, the long-term reliability of the pen has been criticized. However, if you carry and use a pen regularly, why not have the extra features as an investment and insurance? I’m fond of the idea behind a tactical pen, and this is one I will be carrying with me wherever I go. With that said, I am eager to test out the Impromptu Tactical Pen over some long-term use. Expect an updated review from me down the road.