Intro To Survival

Best Tactical Pen : 5 Reviews and Our Top Recommendation

So you’ve decided to buy a tactical pen.

Or maybe you’re just trying to figure out why the heck anyone would buy a pen dedicated to self defense.

The first thing to keep in mind is that people buy a lot of dumb things and justify their usefulness in a lot of unhealthy and irrational ways.

The second thing to keep in mind is that maybe those people know something you don’t.

I’m going to explore those concepts and then peg the best tactical pens based on first hand experience, expert testimonies, user comments and plain old common sense.

Where to start…

Quick Look: Top 4 Recommended (EDC) Everyday Carry Tactical Pens

Pen Price Quality Rating
Hoffman Richter Stinger Tactical Pen
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$$ A 5 stars
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$$$$ B+ 4.5 stars
Smith & Wesson Military & Police Tactical Pen
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$$$ B 4 star
Sminiker Defender Tactical Pen
Read Reviews Next ArticleWhere To Buy Next Article
$ B 4 star

**Disclaimer: Our product reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many EDC and survival tools (with our team’s help), but we can’t test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions and are subject to interpretation.

What is a tactical pen?

A tactical pen is a tool that goes beyond the utility of writing and offers additional features that make self defense and self preservation efforts more effective during survival situations.

Tactical Pen History

Tactical pens are basically a hybrid multi-tool that developed from the cross between an ancient weapon called the Kubotan and a normal everyday pen.

The Kubotan is traditionally about the size of a marker with multiple grooved ridges to accommodate a good grip. It has an eyelet to attach keys on one end and a flat end on the other for brute strikes. It is not pointed for stabbing.

The usefulness of the Kubotan is well documented for striking opponents in pressure points and helping to disable them in painful locks.

It is best used in a hammerstrike, icepick or reverse grip for maximum effectiveness. It can also be held in a normal grip to stabilize and harden punches.

Tactical Pen Uses

  • Writing in Bad Weather / Rain
  • Writing Upside Down
  • Self-Defense
  • Breaking Glass
  • Showing Off

Tactical Pens For Writing In The Rain

Being able to reliably write, draw or scribble messages in less than ideal conditions gives you an ability to improvise that you don’t find with a regular ink pen.

Imagine that you’ve been lost in the woods and have made the tough decision to leave your post to seek out help or food.

You wisely choose to leave evidence behind that indicates you were there, but you want to go a step further and leave a message telling potential rescuers about your intentions.

The weather has been terrible and everything is soaked, but with your tactical pen you still have the ability to write on your handy weatherproof wax paper or any number of other materials.

Tactical Pens For Writing Upside Down

Sure you probably can’t imagine an instance where you’d want to write upside down, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never encounter one.

Whether you’ve been strung by your ankles or decide to take up the awkward endeavor of writing while laying on your back, this pen can accommodate.

Tactical Pens For Self Defense

Protecting yourself from an attacker is an all too common concern that is just as relevant for everyday city dwellers as it is for shtf preppers.

With a discrete stabbing tool built into your writing utensil you’ll not only have a weapon that’s always at the ready, but also one that is much better equipped to inflict enough damage on an assailant to incapacitate them for a length of time.

Tactical Pens for Breaking Glass

Popping that car window once you’re submerged in a car might not have crossed your mind before. To be honest I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on how I’d get out of that one alive.

Good news is if you own the right tactical pen it should have enough weight and hardness to crack the glass that has you trapped.

Tactical Pens for Showing Off

This is where I spend some time not taking life too seriously.

Look, we all want to impress people and usually owning something cool gives you a level of street cred. A tactical pen is a cheap way to show off for your fishing buddies, your book club or your website visitors. Topping off around $40 there are worse things you could spend your money on.

Tactical pens vs normal ballpoint pens

Sure you might argue that a regular old Bic could pull off many of the same feats, but are you willing to bet your life on it? Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Tactical Pen Pros & Cons

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Writes upside down
  • Writes in rains
  • Extremely durable
  • Reliable self defense weapon
  • Glass breaking ability
  • Prone to theft
  • Expensive if lost
  • Mental stress of keeping track of it

Ballpoint Pen Pros & Cons

Advantages Disadvantages
  • Can be used for self defense
  • Cheap
  • Disposable
  • Not a dependable weapon
  • Not a reliable writing utensil

Why use a tactical pen when you can use a knife or gun?

Believe it or not there’s actually a really good reason to carry a tactical pen vs a knife or gun.

Lethal use of a deadly weapon is a highly subjective matter in the courts. If you were to get into a fight outside a bar and pulled your knife or gun it could be interpreted that you used excessive force or a deadly weapon when it wasn’t needed. This could land you in jail for a number of criminal charges!

In contrast, using your tactical pen to defend yourself leaves you a lot less vulnerable to a judge who wasn’t there to see the real threat to your safety. If you have one of these tactical pens on you and have proper training it can be used just as effectively to defend and disable an attacker without the added risk of legal persecution since it also doubles as a pen and isn’t considered a weapon by most accounts.

In addition, you can get a tactical pen through security at an airport much easier. We have heard reports of people having to hand over pens that are made by gun manufacturers because the name was emblazoned on the side and security believed it was a dangerous weapon.

How to use a tactical pen?

I’m dedicated to covering all the bases on this topic, regardless of how self-explanatory they may be. So bear with me…or skip ahead.

Using a tactical pen for it’s intended purposes is pretty common sense.

When writing in the rain make sure you are working with a wax or weatherproof paper that won’t disintegrate while you jot your note.

When protecting yourself you may not have the presence of mind or the necessary preparation to defend an attack so make sure to get some karate or defense training if you expect to get the most our of this pen in a survival situation.

If you’re in a submerged vehicle use a reverse grip to break the window. First, put the pen in the hand closest to the window you’re going to break. Then make sure to put your thumb on the bottom of the pen as if you were clicking it open. Turn your wrist so that your arm is parallel to the window. Then strike with full force.

When to use a tactical pen?

Tactical pens are useful because they’re always available to you. Any situation where you have it conveniently nearby is the right situation to use the pen.

Don’t buy this pen for novelty purposes. Otherwise it’ll sit in a drawer or bag with no function.

How to avoid getting your tactical pen stolen?

Just like the waitress at your local diner you’re going to have to protect your pen with your life if you want to keep it. No wonder it’s built for self defense!

Being aware of the fact that everyone else is going to want your survival pen is a good indication that you need to keep close track of it.

The best way to do this is to keep it’s utility secret from those around you. Don’t go telling everyone how great your pen is or demonstrate it’s awesomeness to random strangers. You can bet that some day soon it’s going to disappear to an unsavory character who doesn’t mind taking it off your hands without your knowledge.

Saving it for outdoor situations where you’re solo is probably the best way to hold onto it for the long haul.

What is the Best Tactical Pen?

As is always the case there is a lot of  discrepancy over which product is number 1. Our criteria is by no means exhaustive, but we’ve decided to get a little more scientific than most about how to judge the top EDC pen.

We’ve taken the specs and developed our own algorithm for picking the winner. We popped the top 10 tactical pens on sale in 2017 into our magic number machine and spit out the top 4 to present to you.

Why only 4? Check out this video on the paradox of choice.
*Hint: It makes us responsible for your choice instead of you. And we gladly accept the challenge.

Top Self Defense Pens Available in 2017

Product Price Made of… Made in… Writes in Rain?
Hoffman Richter Stinger Tactical Pen $$ Aircraft Aluminum China No Buy
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen $$$$ Machined Steel USA Yes Buy
Smith & Wesson Military & Police Tactical Pen $$$ Aircraft Aluminum Taiwan No Buy
Sminiker Defender Tactical Pen $ Aircraft Aluminum China No Buy

#1. Hoffman Richter Stinger Tactical Pen Review

Buy on Amazon Customer Reviews

The Hoffman Richter EDC pen is a well-priced, durable self-defense tool.

As with all pens it offers you the ability to write, but unlike some of the other tactical offerings it isn’t designed to write in the rain or zero gravity.

It has a glass breaking tip that when applied with force easily shatters glass in emergency situations.

This pen comes with a lifetime guarantee which means if it breaks you’ll be able to have a replacement shipped or get your money back.

It’s made from impact resistant aircraft grade aluminum and has been hand-machined from a single block of aluminum. It’s titanium coated for a tough and rugged exterior capable of taking a beating every day.

#2. Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen Review

Buy on Amazon Customer Reviews

Gerber’s tactical pen offering is at the high end of the price spectrum of the 4 pens we chose. What you’re adding in cost you’re getting back in features.

This is the only pen from our list that has the write in the rain technology built in. Writing upside down or in questionable weather gives you the security of knowing you have a pen that won’t fail.

The design of this pen make it look bad ass while also giving it the utility of a Kubotan to defend against an assailant in an attack.

The Gerber pen is the only one of the pens that is Made in the USA and is made from machined steel.

#3. Smith & Wesson Military & Police Tactical Pen Review

Buy on Amazon Customer Reviews

Designed for police, military and other first responders the Smith & Wesson EDC pen offers a few unique features that the others don’t.

First it has a lanyard hole at the end that allows it to attach to a keychain. This turns it into a flailing weapon which can come in handy for keeping perpetrators at arms length.

In addition it has the only true flat end of all the pens which allows for the most natural grip of any of the tools we’re featuring. You can easily rest your thumb on the end creating support for any pressure or jabs you apply.

It’s made from aircraft grade aluminum and also has the ability to shatter glass.

#4. Sminiker Defender Tactical Pen Review

Buy on Amazon Customer Reviews

Sminiker is the cheapest tactical pen on our list. It has a glass breaking point at one end and a perfectly good writing pen at the other. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a comfortable flat end that would make it ideal for use as a self defense tool.

It’s made from aluminum and shipped in from China, but overall gets great reviews and holds up to our standards and is great as an EDC pen.

Tim Seidler

Tim's not your typical outdoor guy. He's the guy that buys all the gear and then rarely uses it. But that's all changing now. He moved to the Pacific Northwest and has dedicated himself to learning everything there is to know about survival and the outdoors. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in natural curiosity, enthusiasm, and good looks.

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