I’ve never jumped on the band wagon of tactical pens. Yes they look cool and could do some damage in a self-defense situation, but I’ve always had a hard time justifying the cost. Why would I spend $70+ dollars on a pen when I’ve already got a blade and flashlight on me that could be used to strike an attacker with? I guess if you travel a lot it might make sense. Since you cannot carry a blade through the airports and onto the planes themselves, but then again that’s why I carry a high lumen flashlight with me all the times. So what makes a pen a ‘tactical’ pen? Why are they so damn expensive? Do I have any alternatives if I cannot afford to spend that kind of money on a tactical pen?
Typically most tactical pens are constructed of solid metal or aircraft grade aluminum and pressurized ink cartridges making them impervious to whatever abuse you put them through. They will most likely have threaded caps. Often the pens will have a blunt end for use as a kubotan, and a pointed end to be used as a striking tool or glass breaker. The case, or body of the pen will have fluting/grooves to improve grip retention (sometimes). By designing a pen entirely out of metal the weight can often be as much as a roll of dimes. The cost of the pen goes up depending on the type of metal used, and how intricate the fluting/grooves are, not to mention the special pressurized ink cartridges used.
If you’re attempting to remain covert, having a tactical pen may be the one thing that can give you away. All it takes is a trained eye to notice that you have a larger than normal pen that looks purpose-built to be a weapon. When I conceal carry my handgun I make sure it doesn’t print with the clothing I’m wearing. Same goes for this tactical pen we speak of; it just tends to stand out more than I’d like it too. If you do end up having to use it in a self-defense situation (and go to court) lawyers could use it against you. Just imagine the lawyer presenting your tactical pen as a weapon, purpose-built to inflict pain. I know that sounds really stupid, but considering what they go after people for these days you need to look out for yourself. It would be really difficult for a lawyer to say the pen you purchased from the local office supply store is a weapon.
There are alternatives available that don’t scream tactical or weapon. My favorite and preferred is the Zebra Ball Point pens. The barrel of the pens are constructed of stainless steel and absolutely strong enough to be used as an impact weapon. They are a pen first, and a weapon second. To the common person all I have is your typical writing instrument, but to those in the know, it can be utilized as a deadly weapon for close quarters fighting. The Zebra pens can also be found at all your office supply stores and cost a fraction of what the tactical pens do. Another advantage to the Zebra pens are they don’t use a threaded cap and weigh a lot less than any of the tactical pens. If I lose one of my Zebra pens, or one gets destroyed by having to use it to save my life, then all I have to do is spend another $10 to get a new package of two. The Zebra pens are sturdy, strong, and write extremely well too!
So what else can we use this pen for other than a writing tool or emergency defensive tool? How about covertly accessing locked luggage that is secured with a zipper. In his book, 100 Deadly Skills, Clint Emerson shows how simple and easy it is to use a pen to gain access to locked luggage that uses a zipper closure. We are not advocating breaking the law and accessing luggage that does not belong to you, but its a tool in your tool box in case you get locked out of your own luggage some day.
What are your thoughts on the whole idea of tacti-cool pens? Do you carry a tactical pen?
This article was originally published on the Loadout Room and was written by