What is a tactical pen?
What exactly defines a tactical pen? Well in short, it is a dual purpose pen that can be used as a writing utensil and can also be used as a self defense weapon. Typically, tactical pens are different from other pens in that they offer a use of less than lethal force should the need arise.
You also will want a good quality flat cap to brace your thumb against if you will use it as a defensive tool.
Here is a list of some factors to consider when looking for the best tactical pen for your needs.
- Writing ability – First, look at writing ability. You want a pen that writes well enough that you actually use it as a writing instrument. Being a pen is this products primary purpose. After all, if self defense is your primary objective, a pen should not be your first line of defense. Consider other factors, but put a heavy emphasis on what you think of the writing ability of the pen. Be practical with your tactical!
- Size – Size matters. Invest in a pen that is the size you like so that you will actually carry. Think about what size pens you prefer in your day to day use and try to get a similar size package that incorporates the features you require.
- Weight – Again, think about what you’re buying this for. If this pen is going to sit at your desk that is very different than a pen you intent to take everywhere with you. On this list we include options from both sides of the spectrum, so you can have a pen with heft or a minimal writing implement. Both are good, it just depends on your goals.
- Price – Think about what your needs are and how to balance that against your budget.
- Other tactical pen features – In general, you’ll find that tactical pens have common features. These often include:
- Glass breakers
- Seat belt cutter
- Stylus for electronic screens
Top 8 Tactical Pens
Crafted with aircraft grade aluminum and fitted with a dedicated glass breaker, the Uzi Tacpen2 is perfect for the minimalist pen that is to be used as an everyday carry pen. The glass breaker is made with a carbide tip to help you escape from emergency situation in the event you need to break a window. It writes very well and can use standard ink refills to boot.
The pen is incredibly lightweight coming in at 1.5 ounces. The pocket clip and the tiny size make sure you can always have this on you or clipped to your notebook or wherever you need this pen. Think of it as the tactical version of the incredibly popular zero gravity Fisher Space Pen.
The Smith & Wesson pen has a shape that works well as a pen, but can also flex into a defensive tool. However, especially in the brighter colors like blue offered, one would never automatically assume this is more than a pen.
If you had to use this as a defensive tool, the shape of the pen cap give you flat surface to brace your thumb against while you can effectively strike with the end of the pen. The pen is 1.4 ounces and has a 5.7 inch overall length. The center of mass in the pen is somewhat high due to its form factor, but that didn’t bother us at all in our writing activities. The M&P uses the Schmidt P900M Parker refills, so the writing ability is smooth, and the cap keeps the tip dry to make the pen waterproof. The T6061 aluminum construction is top-notch and what one would expect out of a company like Smith & Wesson and an American made product.
Gerber is a name that has been producing tactical tools for a long time. From blades to multi-tools to pens, they know how to make a quality product that gets the job done. This impromptu pen is a rugged steel pen that is a writing instrument first, but is also a helpful multi-use tool that Gerber collaborated with law enforcement to develop. The pen is made of steel with a Cerakote finish, so it really is tough. The steel adds heft to the pen, which weight 2.4 ounces. The click button pen is 5.59 inches overall in length, and has an integrated glass breaker that is fashioned out of tempered steel on the tip of the pen.
Gerber also makes a “Rite in the Rain” ink cartridge that comes with the pen that works in all conditions, inside and outdoors. The Gerber is ultimately an ordinary pen on steroids with an additional glass breaker. The form factor will feel familiar, with the length and the pocket clip. The construction quality is high and Gerber manufactures these pens in the United States.
The Schrade SCPENBK is a tank of a pen. It is effective for writing, breaking glass, and breaking glass. And that is just the basic model. There are other series with fire starter steels, whistles, styluses, and other tools. However, the base model was our favorite. It just looks like a pen, and since we are fan of the inconspicuous looks, this is the model that we like most. Judging from all the acclaim this pen gets heaped on it, we are not alone.
Schrade also produced a helpful video if you need an overview of their product line to decide which pen is right for you.
The pen is 5.7 inches overall and constructed 6061 aluminum. The cap is screwed on and off and utilizes the Hauser Parker cartridge, which is included. The pen is matte black and masculine, but subtle enough to not raise the tactical flag. Overall, this pen is just strong, sturdy, and subtle.
The heavy duty Under Control Tactical pen is made from the professional grade aluminum and a great size for a longer pen. The pen is 6.5 inches so it performs as full sized pen should. This pen does look a bit industrial and curious, but we like the knurling and the fact that the pen lacks a logo from a weapon manufacturer which helps it blend in more.
This pen has a glass breaker, LED flashlight with bright white light, and a jagged end cap for a striking mechanism. It also has handy pen features like a clip and is a smooth writer. This is clearly a feature packed pen that can flex into a variety of tasks that is far more than most of us will ever ask out of our pens, but just in case you don’t agree, the manufacturer offers a money-back guarantee!
This tactical pen, designed by James Williams, is one of the most clean and elegant designs in a tactical pen. The pen is made with 61010 aluminum and feels fantastic in hand. It is strong and has a non-reflective tactical black finish. The shape of the pen makes it easy to hold on to and get a firm grasp on. The pen is 6 inches long and weighs in at 6.4 ounces.
The Pocket Shark looks like a regular Sharpie marker, but pick it up and you will immediately feel the difference.
Cold Steel says, “The Pocket Shark features walls that are 4 times thicker than similar markers. This means it’s built for impact and, in a self-defense emergency it can become an efficient Yawara stick for driving off an attacker. Plus, the screw-top cap will stay in place and won’t pop off like a regular marker’s cap would when you strike a percussion blow, or when obtaining joint locks or submission holds.”