Get the perfect tactical pen for your lifestyle with our awesome guide. We take a close look at 5 of our favorites and see which comes out on top.
A tactical pen sounds like it should be something out of a James Bond movies – images of a tactical pen having nerve gas, tranquiliser darts, taser…but no. Get that image out of your head!
A tactical pen is one that meets the original need – it writes. It writes in extreme situations – upside down, hot weather, cold weather, rain – some even work underwater. Originally, some of these pens were designed with NASA to write in space!
What separates this from your run-of-the-mill pen is that is can double up as a tool. Made from hardened materials, they can be used to break windows. They can also be used in self-defense.
They are hardened, so can form a point for impact on a nerve or bone, or they can be used to make a joint-lock or a restraint technique more accessible with leverage and manipulation of joints.
Remember – just by picking up a pen you will not transform into a ninja – you should always get some basic training. These can be useful in locations when you are not allowed to carry another weapon but you don’t want to be completely unarmed.
These pens are popular among those who often find themselves in awkward situations – military, law enforcement, private security and others. Take a look at the next bodyguard you see – check the pocket on their suit. Is there a pen there? Chances are, it’s one of the ones we are about to discuss.
They can also be useful when walking through areas where you need to keep your wits about you – having a pen in your hand may be the difference between you walking away and well, we don’t want to think about the other options.
These tactical pens can be concealed – they look like a pen. In fact, they are a pen! They just have additional uses. It can be a challenge to find the right one for you – some of the claims are extreme and you don’t want to be left with a substandard pen or a useless self-defense tool just when you need it most. They come in many patterns, materials, potential uses – some have more tools on them than you might need.
We have done the hard work for you here and have taken a close look at what we consider the best 5 tactical pens on the market right now. So, settle back and take some time to read through our investigations into what we would consider the best tactical pen for self defense.
The Top Models Compared
See how the leading tactical pens compare in the table below.
- 5.7 inches
- 1.4 ounces
- Machined aluminum
- Lifetime warranty
Under Control Tactical Self Defense Pen
- 6.5 inches
- 3.2 ounces
- LED flashlight
- Lifetime warranty
Our Top Pick
The Gerber Impromptu
- 5.59 inches
- 2.4 ounces
- Machined steel
- Tempered steel glass-breaker
- Lifetime warranty
Smith & Wesson
- 5.8 inches
- 1.6 ounces
- Aircraft aluminum
- Lifetime warranty
Defender Tactical Pen
- 1.5 ounces
- 6 inches
- Aircraft aluminum
Our Tactical Pen Reviews
In this section, we take a closer look at what makes these choices so special. Find out which one might be right for you as we go into more detail.
1. The Gerber Impromptu *** Our Top Pick ***
At a time when odds are stacked against you, you can always count on a tactical pen for your survival. The Gerber Impromptu tactical pen is essentially a weaponized pen, strong enough to break the windows and windshields at a time of emergency.
Also, if you get attacked, you can use this tactical pen to drive away your attacker. Well, one may argue that it’s not a lethal weapon, but it is capable of doing considerable damage, something that might buy you enough time to escape and call for help.
Gerber is a world-renowned manufacturer of the top tactical pens on the market – they are famous for their multi-tools as well, so you know you are getting a quality piece of equipment. Basically, The Gerber Impromptu edition offers you an out when no other options are available, and for that, it makes a great survival tool.
The Gerber Impromptu is made in the United States of America and it features a glass-breaking tip, stainless-steel pocket clip, push-button and uses “Rite in the Rain” ink. This essentially means it writes in any conditions, even in a downpour!
It is made of steel and exhibits a distinctive rugged appearance due to its unique composition. The body of the Impromptu is made of alternating layers of machined metal. This particular model is structurally sturdy and is one of the heaviest, weighing 29 grams.
The Gerber Impromptu features a tempered steel glass-breaking tip that is designed to not only break glass but can also be used in self-defense – it’s very, very strong.
It may be the priciest of our selections but it's also the most durable and dependable.
Bottom Line: In case you’re looking for a tactical pen for self-defense, that has decent quality and at an affordable price, you should consider investing in a Gerber. The name carries a lot of weight in the tactical community and this pen does nothing but enhance their awesome reputation.
2. The Schrade
Are you looking for a good survival tool that you can carry around in any situation? You should consider taking a closer look at the Schrade SCPENBK Tactical Pen. According to customer reviews, the Schrade SCPENBK is undeniably the best tactical pen for self defense.
The Schrade SCPENBK Tactical Pen is not only durable, but is inconspicuous so as not to make people suspicious. This pen is by far one of the best self-defense solutions if you are traveling to places where carrying a gun is not ideal or even allowed.
By design, this pen resembles a normal pen and is constructed from reliable CNC-machined 6061 aircraft aluminum, which makes it sturdy. With an overall length of 5.7 inches, you can easily carry it in your shirt or coat pocket.
This tactical pen weighs 1.4 ounces, which is heavy enough to cause considerable damage in an emergency situation. What’s more, the weight of the pen is well distributed and therefore easy to write with.
Bottom Line: If you’re after a tactical pen for functional writing which packs nice features of defensive tools for an emergency, this pen is definitely worth your consideration.
3. Under Control Tactical Self Defense Pen
Under Control Tactical work in close cooperation with internationally acknowledged experts from security and military sectors to develop and test tactical pens which are meant for professional use. Under Control tactical pens are innovative in terms of design and function and are amongst the best – they are field tested and field approved.
At Under Control, the conception, design, construction and production of tactical pens takes place in the USA. Given the high-quality of Under Control Tactical tools, most of their products are used by military personnel, police officers as well as tactical enthusiasts.
Imagine you find yourself in a sinking car, and because you’re scared, you end up trying to use whatever tool your hand meets to break the windows. In such a situation, an Under Control Tactical self defense Pen could be your lifesaver. This pen is multipurpose, you can use it for writing, personal protection, and also lighting as it comes with an inbuilt LED flashlight.
Under Control Tactical pen’s body is stylishly and strongly built, it has a classy metallic look. In addition, it’s made with military grade aluminum, making it an almost indestructible pen. This pen also has a ridged end cap, a feature that may be useful in certain situations.
When it comes to the self-defense aspect, the Under Control Tactical pen has a flat bottom where you can securely place your thumb in times of dire need. The flat bottom is key as it allows you to have greater control over where the pen is directed, be it to break a window or strike a specific nerve bunch.
On the other hand, Under Control Tactical’s pen sports a metal clip that is designed to provide the least resistance when the pen is drawn, hence faster response time to impending danger.
Last but obviously not least, this pen is compatible with a wide range of cartridge ink refills, including Fischer Space pen refills among others. So should it run out, you can always purchase a refill. With that said, this tactical pen is an ideal multi-purpose tool to keep on you when you are otherwise unarmed.
Bottom Line: In case you’re looking for a heavy-duty pen for your every day writing and a glass-breaking tool, this tactical pen is worth considering.
4. Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen
This Smith and Wesson tactical pen is a two-in-one instrument. It can work as a normal pen and as a self-defense tool. It is made of T6061 Aircraft Aluminum and features walls that are four times thicker than regular pens. Being made of aircraft aluminum, the Smith and Wesson is very strong and cannot be easily broken or bent.
Unlike regular pens, this Smith & Wesson has a screw-top cap that stays intact whenever you strike a blow or try to obtain joint locks or nerve strikes. In addition, this tactical pen is very easy to carry. It comes with a sturdy clip which puts it in easy reach.
The fact that it’s short in length makes it easier to conceal, so you can carry it around without anyone noticing that it’s actually a self-defense tool. It looks like more of a normal pen, and it was intentionally designed to look as such. Of course, those who are familiar with tactical pens, especially this brand, will be able to tell. Smith and Wesson are another big player in the tactical market!
If you’re looking for a great value self-defense tool, which is not only strong enough to deliver the meanest blows but also effective as a pen, then the Smith and Wesson SWPENMP2BK tactical pen is a great choice.
Bottom Line: Looking for a fairly priced tactical pen? It’s not only effective but it’s not going to break the bank. Smith & Wesson is a world-renowned manufacturer of tactical equipment, and their line of tactical pens is no deviation from this level of quality.
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5. Defender Tactical Pen
The Defender Tactical Pen by UZI is arguably the best tactical pen – as a pen - on our list. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not a good tactical tool. If anything, according to many customers, they consider this pen as one of the best tactical pens they have ever used.
Also, UZI tactical pens command a high level of trust even from government agencies, with the UZI-TACPEN2-BK Defender Tactical Pen being used by the a wide range of tactical experts – again, the name carries some impressive weight in the industry.
The body of the Defender Tactical Pen is made of heavy-duty aircraft aluminum alloy, blended with a strong glass-breaking tungsten carbide tip and is available in jet black.
It's also extremely good value for money. This is the cheapest pen on our list and significantly less expensive than the Gerber model. This is the ultimate "value" choice!
Bottom Line: This is a premium tactical pen that combines high quality and versatility. It's also extremely well priced and gives excellent value for money. If price is a big factor then this is the one for you.
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Finding the right tactical pen can be a challenging exercise, more so if you’ve never used one before and have no idea of what to look for. In the following section, we explain how to find the best tactical pen model for your needs.
You need to ask yourself why you want a tactical pen. Are you following a trend, are you wanting to be ‘tacticool’ or do you work in a job where you are facing an element of danger every day? Remember these are self-defense tools – they are something you can use when you can’t carry a weapon or when the role requires a more ‘low-key’ approach to personal defense systems.
Writing – A pen is a pen, after all. You use it for writing. If you always have to use a pen, it’s advisable that you go for one that doesn’t weigh too much. Tactical pens are often going to be heavier – it’s the nature of the additional metal that has to be worked into the design. Heavier weight can mean less comfort with writing, so bear that in mind.
Self-Defense – If you’re looking to buy a tactical pen because you need a concealed tool that you can use in a self-defense situation, you should enroll on some training on how to use a tactical pen. That said, you should know that some tactical pens vary in terms of weight. We have people who prefer heavier tactical pens because they’re capable of doing more damage, while some prefer lighter ones because they are easier to wield.
Glass Breaker – For emergency reasons, you may want to buy a tactical pen as it is a valuable tool for your car – they can be excellent glass breakers for when you need to escape your car quickly – or when you need to help someone else.
Some models come with a reinforced tip on their rear end that acts as both a glass breaker and a self-defense tool. Others make use of a prolonged tip made out of steel or other durable material right next to the ballpoint.
Multi-tool: There are tactical pens that pack more features. We have models that come with built-in features such as a flashlight. A flashlight is a great accessory, however, with most smartphones having one, it may seem unnecessary to have it on a tactical pen. Similarly, there are models that can serve as a bottle opener, key holder, and screwdriver or even a wrench. Depending on your job necessities and schedule, there’s a tactical pen model that will help you in multiple ways. The more you add to the pen, the more it becomes a multi-tool and the more weight you have to work with.
Type of Ink Cartridge
When shopping for a tactical pen, it’s important that you consider the type of ink cartridge that the pen uses, the availability of refills, and how easily you can access the refills. There are tactical pen models that are compatible with a range of ink cartridges while others are limited to a certain ink cartridge. Be sure to do your research on ink cartridge compatibility before making that purchase.
Fischer Space pen: As much as this is a good ink cartridge, it’s rare to find. In most cases, it’s not used as the factory default for many models. This cartridge is pressurized and can write on a number of surfaces. Regardless of the pen’s angle, this cartridge will still function. According to the manufacturer, you can use this ink cartridge in temperatures between -30 and 250 degrees F. This is one of the most expensive refills – but then again, it’s one of the most advanced.
Parker Ballpoint: This is one of the most common types of ink cartridge used by tactical pen manufacturers. It is readily available in local office supply stores and at an affordable price. This is a general use cartridge, so don’t expect performance in extreme conditions.
Parker Gel Ballpoint: Parker Gel Ballpoint is available at great value and looks better than the simple ballpoint. This gel cartridge runs out faster than regular ink, but this shouldn’t worry you as the cartridge refill is easy to find and replace.
This is one of the most important features of a tactical pen. Any tactical pen should possess the ability to look exactly like a regular pen. Why would you want to walk around with a tool that attracts unwanted attention? However, we have certain manufacturers who prefer to design models that are larger but more effective in a tight spot.
If you’re looking to buy a tactical pen to keep in your car’s glove compartment, you don’t have to buy one that looks like a regular pen. Rather, buy one that’s more suited to the main role because not many people will see it. If, on the other hand, you’re hunting for a tactical pen that you can carry when you’re going to the mall or when you’re at work, it’s highly recommended that you buy one that looks inconspicuous. Some of these pens come in bright colours, so they almost camouflage themselves!
It goes without saying that these particular pens are expected to be tough. Therefore, you need to pay close attention to the body material that the tactical pen is made from. Here are some of the common body materials to consider:
Aircraft Aluminum: This is by far the best alloy, being extremely tough and lightweight. Tactical pens made of aircraft aluminum are strong and durable, giving the value for money.
High-Impact Plastic: One may easily rule out this material just because it’s plastic, but it can really take a beating. However, strength wise, it doesn’t match that of aluminum.
Stainless steel: Stainless steel has the best corrosion resistance and is also strong. Tactical pens such as the Boker Plus Tactical Pen, the Surefire Tactical Pen IV and the Mil-Tac Tactical Defense Pen have one thing in common - the pocket clip, nose cone and the retractable click button on these pens are made of stainless steel, these are some of the strongest tactical pens on the market.
Weight: This is an important aspect to consider when buying a tactical pen. We have people who prefer heavier pens, while some prefer lightweight. A heavy tactical pen does more damage than its lighter counterpart. However, the weight of a tactical pen becomes a problem when writing. Writing with a heavy tactical pen is tiring, and if you have a lot of writing to do then you may consider going for a lighter tactical pen. Still, a lighter tactical pen is easy to carry around.
Tactical pens come in a wide price range. We have models that are pricey, some fairly priced, while others are very cheap.
Tactical pens serve more or less the same purpose. They’re designed to work as self-defense tools as well as well as writing tools. Given that most tactical pens offer the same features, it would be pointless for you to spend more. However, we have tactical pens that offer additional features. Be guided by your needs.
When you’re shopping for a tactical pen, you need to get one that will be effective at the hour of need and you should be guided by where you’ll be using this pen. Depending on your profession, a teacher, for example, you wouldn’t buy a tactical pen that clearly looks like a weapon, your perfect style would be something inconspicuous – look at the colorful options that are out there and consider how they blend with your work and lifestyle.
How Do You Use a Tactical Pen in a Time of Emergency?
You can use a tactical pen in the following ways;
To defend yourself: A tactical pen comes loaded with awesome features, such as sharp pointed tips. This is a feature found in most tactical pens. When attacked, you can defend yourself by stabbing the attacker. The pen causes just enough damage to allow you time to escape and call for help.
When defending yourself using a tactical pen, remember to aim for the body parts that can render the attacker immobile, such as the eye. You can also target the pressure points and nerve bunches. In fact, law enforcement agencies recommend the use of pressure point striking, all you need to do is simply strike the attacker’s pressure point using your tactical pen. Again, you need to undergo some training to understand where these points are – some are easy to reach, some are not!
DNA: Most tactical pens on the market have a DNA collector, which is at the end cap of the pen. This makes it possible for you to collect the blood sample of the attacker for further investigation. Even if your tactical self defense pen does not have one of these, any contact with the skin of an attacker will leave some DNA residue on the pen.
Car troubles: Tactical pens command more respect when it comes to car troubles. These pens come with a glass breaker. So In the event that you cannot unlock your car fast enough, make use of this tool to break the window or windshield. Again, you should be aware of where to strike the window (some even have a ‘strike-point’ sticker on them). Many public transport vehicles have a hammer installed for breaking glass and an indicator of where to strike – as you are carrying around your own personal escape tool, it means that should the worst happen, you are not one of 40 people trying to reach that hammer…
With all said and done, tactical pens can be of great help when it comes to self-defense. For those working in the police or armed forces, a tactical pen is a must-have. Tactical pens have the advantage to provide a concealed carry self-defense tool and can be used efficiently with proper training.
We’re certain that after reading this guide, you’ll be in a good position to choose the right tactical pen, just one that suits your needs. However, it’s worth mentioning that buying the best self defense pen alone is not enough. You should train with it on a regular basis, so you can get used to its weight as well as grip.