In a world where we are often forced to predict the unpredictable, it pays to be prepared for the worst possible scenario. And in order to be prepared, it’s important to arm yourself with the tools that can help you negotiate a bad situation—whether an automobile accident or, God forbid, a situation in which you are attacked. This is where a tactical pen comes in. An item that has many uses, a tactical pen can help you deal with some of the worst possible situations, and because these multi-tools are so small (the same size as a standard pen), you can easily conceal them and carry them wherever you may happen to go.
In the following article we will first define what a tactical pen is; followed by some of the reasons that you may want to carry a tactical pen as part of your everyday cargo. We will then discuss how to use a tactical pen as a self-defense weapon, and show you some of the features and accessories you should look for when purchasing a tactical pen for your personal use.
Best Tactical Pens for the Money (2017 – 2018)
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What Is a Tactical Pen?
In the survivalist world, a tactical pen is usually referred to as a multi-tool, largely because it has many potential uses. Some of these uses include:
- A Pen. A tactical pen works just like a regular ink pen, and can be used for writing notes, taking down someone’s information after an auto accident, and any other uses that requires a writing implement.
- Break Glass. Most tactical pens are made from high strength steel. They are much heavier than your standard pen, and can be used in a pinch to break glass (or other surfaces)—such as when you accidentally lock your child or pet in a hot car, or when your car plunges into the water and you need to escape fast.
- A Self-Defense Weapon. Tactical pens come with a retractable and sharp point, usually made of steel. Once this point is deployed, it can be used to poke the eyes, nose or neck of a would-be attacker, potentially saving your life. Although these pens can also be used as “offensive” weapons, they are not intended for this purpose.
With the shape and dimensions of a normal pen, a tactical pen is not a noticeable self-defense weapon, but it is a powerful one. Easy to conceal in your pocket or glove box for emergencies, they are perfect for anyone who requires a means to ward off attackers, such as women who may have to walk to their cars in the dark after work, joggers who run in secluded areas, etc. The sheer weight of a tactical pen makes them a great striking implement, and the hidden point adds an extra level of protection.
Tactical pens were designed for those who prefer not to carry a gun or knife. Both of these items typically require a permit or training class before people can carry them concealed, but a tactical pen does not. Perhaps the best part of a tactical pen is that it looks just like an everyday ballpoint pen. An aggressor will not even give the sight of a tactical pen a second thought, giving you—the potential victim—the advantage known as the “element of surprise.”
As you will see in the section entitled “How to Choose the Right Tactical Pen,” not all pens that are marketed as “tactical” really are what they say. A tactical pen is a specifically engineered pen made out of solid metal that can withstand the toughest conditions. It is NOT a cheap plastic pen as many Internet marketers will have you believe. It is a sturdy pen that can, in a pinch, chop a wooden board in half and easily smash through a window. The bottom line: you will need to make sure that the pen you choose is truly tactical before making your purchase.
Why Do I Need a Tactical Pen?
If you watch the television news at all, you already know that in this day and age, violence is all around us. It is everywhere; not just in the big cities, but spreading out into the suburbs and rural areas. While some people are just violent for violence’s sake, others are down on their luck, hooked on drugs, and looking for easy marks to rob, even if it’s just for a few bucks. The problem has become rampant in our society, and as a result, more and more people are looking for a way to defend themselves when the worst happens.
To accomplish this goal of defending themselves, thousands of people around the country flock to nightly self-defense classes. There instructors teach techniques for avoiding and coping with a would-be assailant. Other people have turned to lethal and non-lethal weapons to protect themselves, such as guns, knives, pepper spray, stun guns and Mace. These weapons help them feel more confident and a bit safer, but many of them come with restrictions, certifications, classes, etc.—requirements to help people use these weapons more confidently and in the right way.
Although self-defense classes are definitely a good thing, they may not always be enough when an attacker strikes. Moreover, those who choose lethal weapons for their protection have to be careful that they don’t jump the gun in protecting themselves, or they themselves may find that they are in trouble with the law. Weapons like pepper spray and Mace can be great options, but those objects can be difficult to use in a hurried or chaotic situation, and can even be turned around and used on the victim.
A tactical pen can be another great solution for coping with the violence that seems to be spreading everywhere these days. Small and concealable, these tools can do quick and painful damage to an attacker, often before he or she knows what has hit them. They are also great writing implements, and are so strong that they can be used for breaking certain objects when the need arises.
But make no mistake; the main reason to carry a tactical pen is for self-defense. A tactical pen is a self-defense tool that can hide in plain sight, making them very dangerous and very effective. Using or carrying a gun or a knife out in the open will most definitely draw attention to you, but a tactical pen is more of a “gray man” option—a type of weapon that looks innocuous until it is actually deployed on an assailant. Truth be told, most tactical pens will even pass through a security or TSA checkpoint, although we recommend that you at least announce its presence or you may face some serious consequences if it is discovered—better to be safe than sorry.
With just a little bit of training, most anyone can learn to use a tactical pen to their benefit in self-defense situations. And those who are not comfortable using the sharp end of a tactical pen can instead use the blunt, heavy end to do some painful, albeit non-lethal damage. This blunt end, when struck on sensitive areas and pressure points of the attacker, can often stop him in his tracks—or at least buy you enough time to flee the situation and go for help.
How to Use a Tactical Pen for Self-Defense
As you can see, there are many reasons for owning a tactical pen, but just how do you go about using these implements for self-defense? Below we will address this question in more detail.
A tactical pen can be used a striking tool, much like you would use a stick or other short implement or weapon. Just because you do not have a knife or gun at hand—or pepper spray or mace—does not mean you cannot do some serious damage. By carrying a tactical pen you will have easy access to a striking tool that can be very effective in stopping an assailant’s actions.
When using a tactical pen as a striking weapon, make sure you get a good, strong grip, with the blunt end of the pen facing outward towards the attacker. Then, strike as hard as you can and as fast as you can until the aggressor stops his assault. Remember to make lots of noise while striking him, in the hope that a bystander will hear you and come to your aid. If possible, use this time to flee the situation and go for help. You want to avoid getting into an all-out fight with a bigger and stronger attacker.
When striking an attacker using a tactical pen, try to aim for pressure points and sensitive areas—places on the body that will either cause the most pain or force your assailant to stop his assault. These areas include:
- Inner arm
- Inner thigh
- Solar Plexus
Use the Tactical Pen as a Knife
You can also use a tactical pen as a knife when faced with a self-defense situation—as a tool to jab or slash your attacker. To do this, simply turn the pen the opposite way. Some tactical pens have a screw-off cap that exposes the knife end of the implement, while others can be accessed with a click (we recommend this type for speed of use). When using the tactical pen as a knife, try to aim for the sensitive areas outlined above. The eyes are usually a very good target. Not only does a poke in the eye hurt, it can cause temporarily blindness and give you a great opportunity to flee the scene and go for help. If it is impossible to aim for the eyes, the throat makes a great secondary target, as does the nose and ears. Strikes and/or slashes to these areas should give you enough time to run away and escape from this dangerous situation.
You should practice using your tactical knife at least once a day. Practice with both the blunt and sharp end using a life-size target of some kind, and prepare for every eventuality, such as a fight on the ground. You should also practice retrieving your tactical pen from your pocket or purse. The faster you can retrieve this weapon the better chance you will have against a bigger and stronger opponent.
Things to Consider When Using a Tactical Pen for Self-Defense
People who purchase a tactical pen usually do so because they know it also doubles as a weapon. Therefore, you cannot make the argument that you merely “used a pen for your self-defense.” And as a weapon, the tactical pen carries a lot of responsibility with it. It should not be used as an offensive weapon. In other words, it should not be drawn just because you got mad at someone.
The main purpose of the tactical pen is to buy you enough time to run away from a dangerous situation. In a perfect world, the tactical pen (or any weapon) is one that you hope you NEVER have to use. To reduce the chances that you will ever have to draw your tactical pen, you should always:
- Avoid Dangerous Places and Situations. Avoiding dangerous places and situations can often reduce your chance of being attacked. If a dangerous place is unavoidable, always keep your head on a swivel, with your eyes moving to the front, back and sides, and try to steer clear of any individuals that “give you a bad feeling.”
- Walk in Pairs or Groups. Walking in pairs or with a group can often discourage would-be attackers—most of whom are cowards by nature. It is much more difficult to control two people than one, and having an extra person who can help you fight back doesn’t hurt either.
- Avoid Dark Areas. Would-be assailants look for dark places when plying their craft. Why? Because it makes it harder for the victim to identify them. Therefore, try to walk in well-lit areas whenever possible.
- Vary your route and travel times. Varying your route and travel times can be a great way to reduce your chances of being a victim. Often, attackers will case or stalk their potential victims for days or even weeks to determine their daily patterns. Thus, you’d be well-served by varying the route you take to go to work or other places, change the times in which you leave and arrive, and avoid any unnecessary stops along the way.
- Keep your tactical pen in your hand as you approach the car. If you are parked in a dark or dangerous area, practice walking with your tactical pen (or keys) in your hand. That way, if an attacker strikes without warning, you will not have to dig through your pocket or purse to find the weapon. Seconds count in these dangerous situations, so it pays to be prepared for the worse at all times.
By following these simple steps you can reduce the chance that you will ever have to use your new tactical pen—the best outcome. However, if all of these measures somehow fail, and you find yourself in a position in which you are forced to fight back, the tactical pen can be a great resource—one that can buy you the time you need to make a clean getaway.
What to Look for in a Great Tactical Pen
As you can see, a tactical pen can be a great resource in a variety of self-defense situations. But what should you look for when buying one of these instruments? This is a question we will answer in detail in this final section.
The Quality of the Pen Itself
A good place to start when buying a great tactical pen is the quality of the pen itself. After all, if you are going to shell out the money for a pen that is “tactical,” you may as well get one that writes well, too, with a point and ink style that matches your preferences. There are currently thousands of tactical pens on the market today but only a handful of these have the pen quality you should expect and demand. We recommend you select a pen from a well-known and respected company. You also want the pen to be refillable, of course, because you plan to have it for many years to come. Pens are available in fine to medium point styles, and most offer either black or blue ink cartridges.
When buying a tactical pen, you definitely want to make sure it can stand up to the punishment of many years of use. Hence, you should select a pen that is made from only the highest-quality steel, one that is guaranteed to be unbreakable. Also, the fewer moving parts a tactical pen has, the less likely it is to break—this should be another major consideration when selecting a tactical pen.
Of course, the tactical pen you select should have the latest and most up-to-date self defense features. It is nice to have a good writing tool, but “regular” pens are a dime a dozen, so it is imperative that you look closely at the defensive features the pen offers and select the one that offers you the most complete personal protection.
Smaller and less muscular people may have a hard time inflicting damage with the blunt, heavy end of a tactical pen, so special attention should be paid to the pointed end and the quality of the blade used. Larger folks may want a pen with a very heavy blunt end that’s effective when used in sensitive areas.
Do NOT just buy the first tactical pen you see. Do your research and see what people are saying about the tactical pens they own. Often, companies will exaggerate the features and effectiveness of their products, so reading personal reviews is often the best way to find a tactical pen that meets your exact needs.
We all enjoy a comfortable grip when using a pen as a writing implement. But this grip is even more important when it comes to self-defense. Tactical pens must be able to withstand lots of abuse at high velocity—and the grips should be such that they will not slip out of your hand upon impact when attempting to protect yourself, thus leaving you completely vulnerable.
Many of today’s tactical pens come with silicone, non-slip grips that are comfortable for writing and when used as a self-defense weapon. This material tends to stay put in the hand, even upon rapid impact. Some tactical pens have ridges or grooves for your fingers to rest in, as well as knurling to aid grip retention. If you select a tactical pen with these ridges or grooves, just make sure they fit the diameter of your fingers. If they don’t, the pen will be very uncomfortable to use.
How do you plan to carry your tactical pen? This is a decision you should make prior to shopping for one. Some of the finest tactical pens on the market today have a sturdy pocket clip, which is ideal for those who plan to carry their pen in or around their pocket, belt or bag. Some tactical pens even have additional attachments options for things like key chains, carabineers, and par cord. However you decide to carry your new tactical pen, just make sure it includes a high quality attachment option that will fit your carrying preferences.
To make their products stand out from the competition, some tactical pen manufacturers have begun adding extra features to their products—features that you may or may not need depending on how you plan to use it. Some of these features include:
- Hidden handcuff key. Unless you plan to get captured by rebel forces who will handcuff you, this feature may not be necessary.
- Magnesium Fire Starter. This can be a great feature for people who regularly camp outdoors.
- Window/Glass breaker. Most high-quality tactical pens have a window/glass-breaking feature incorporated into the pen.
- DNA-catching Scoops. Placed at the end of a tactical pen, these features can be great for identifying an attacker to law enforcement.
As you can see, tactical pens come with a lot of great features. However, the most important thing to look for in a great tactical pen is the quality of its reputation. This is not a product you want to skimp on, so take our advice and pass on the fly-by-night manufacturers of such items and go with a company that is well-known for producing high-quality products.