Best Tactical Pens of 2019 Review

Even though crime is dropping and the world is becoming a safer place each year (despite what the news and social media might make you think), it would be foolish to assume that you are always going to be safe, even if you live in a low-crime area. Put it down to bad luck – being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps you accidentally walked into a bad part of town. Or maybe you are just the unlucky victim of a random mugging or unprovoked assault. Whatever the case, wouldn’t you feel a lot safer if you had something on hand (literally) just in case some asshole(s) decides to mess with you?

Enter the tactical pen. What is it? Well, as the name suggests, it’s a pen. But no, wait, it’s a tactical pen. What’s the difference between a regular pen and a tactical pen? At first glance, you might not even be able to tell the difference because tactical pens can be used just like any other pen. What makes it stand out, aside from looking like the most badass pen you ever held, is that it is made out of a higher quality material like reinforced metal – perfect for plunging into any sorry asshole who thinks you’re his next victim.

Furthermore, not everybody who wants to have a self-defence tool on their person wants to own and use a gun (or perhaps guns are simply not allowed where you reside). Thus, a tactical pen would be a good compromise. You could carry it with you and use it for one of its intended functions – to write with. But if you ever find yourself in a tough situation, just pull out your pen and use it for its primary function – to fend off aggressors. That’s the beauty of the tactical pen; nobody knows it’s a weapon except you, giving you the element of surprise.

Now that we’ve established some context, here are some questions you’re probably wondering: are all tactical pens created equal? Is there a reason why you would select one pen over another? What benefits do you get buying a more expensive pen? How do you even use a tactical pen? Good questions, and by the end of this review we will answer these questions and more in order to help you find the best tactical pens for self-defence.

Gerber Impromptu 31-001880

Designed with feedback from law enforcement professionals, you can bet that the Gerber Impromptu 31-001880 offers top features and is made from high quality materials. Its machined stainless steel body can withstand tremendous amounts of force, and the pen’s steel nib can easily shatter glass. Gerber’s patented “Rite in the Rain” cartridge allows it to be usable during even the most trying weather conditions. Lastly, the clicker features allows it to be used quickly in the event of an emergency.

SureFire Pen IV EWP-04

Sporting a hard-anodized Mil-Spec and rugged finish, the precision-made SureFire Pen IV EWP-04 is a marvel to see and feel. The high-strength stainless steel hardware and aerospace aluminum body comes with a nose cone, retractor button, and pocket clip, making it both a durable and attractive design. This pen will not only serve as a great tactical tool in combat situations, but the inclusion of the Schmidt easyFLOW 9000 ink cartridge make it a joy to write with.


Composed of aircraft aluminum with ridges for a better grip, along with a blunt tip that can be devastating to be on the receiving end off, the Schrade SCPENBK will be sure to make any attacker regret facing you. At less than 6 inches long, this pen is inconspicuous, easy to conceal, but more than capable of protecting you. Furthermore, this tactical ballpoint pen comes with an off/on cap and can be easily refilled when necessary.

Smith & Wesson Black Tactical Pen with Stylus Tip

This tactical pen has a three-in-one design. First, the hard-anodized tactical pen effortlessly glides when writing. Second, the personal protection tip serves as a defensive tool for tough situations. Lastly, the built-in stylus tip lets the Smith & Wesson tactical pen easily navigate touchscreen devices such as tablets, e-Readers, smartphones, etc. The pocket clip allows it to be secured onto pockets for easy access.

Schrade SCPEN6BK Survival Tactical Pen

This pen is excellent for those who are outdoor enthusiasts. Schrade’s SCPEN6Bk tactical pen has a lightweight design and an anodized aluminum frame. It comes with some nifty features like a glass breaker, fire starter, survival whistle cap and pocket clip, and a replaceable ink cartridge.

Columbia River Knife and Tool Tao

The Columbia River Knife and Tool Tao is made from 6061 aluminum, and it effortlessly merges both form and function into one sleek pen. This durable tactical pen is hard anodized and provides three levels of defense, with the flute and groove design providing extra grip. This tactical pen comes with the Fisher Space Pen ballpoint cartridge, making it usable in extreme conditions such as underwater, upside down, in freezing temperatures or in extreme heat.

Tuff-Writer Operator Series

The Tuff-Writer tactical pen series sports a discreet, yet tough design. The reinforced wall allows this pen to function in extreme temperatures and endure up to 750 PSI of pressure. The rounded tip allows it to be used as a stylus or a defensive tool. Some other notable features are its non-marking and non-reflective surface, in addition to a powder-coated clip.

Columbia River and Knife Tool Williams TPENWK

The Columbia River and Knife Tool Williams TPENWK was designed by former U.S. Army Officer James Williams and it sports an aircraft grade aluminum frame. The tapered, durable body is easy to grip and this sleek pen is tough as heck. You will rarely have a high-tech writing tool that is as elegant as it is dangerous when used for self-defence.

Boker Plus Tactical Pen CID CAL .45

The Boker Plus tactical pen is ergonomically designed with a flat head, which can be used as a thumb rest for use as a self-defence tool. As for features, it has a strong Clip Integrated Design (CID) for convenient placement on your clothes with minimal give. The tip makes a click when opening or closing since it sports a bolt action mechanism.

UZI Tactical Defender Pen UZI-TACPEN1-BK

The UZI tactical pen sports a durable glass breaker as well as built-in cuff key, allowing it to work with many professional handcuffs. Made from aircraft grade aluminum, the UZI-TACPEN1-BK is robust and will last for many years. This lightweight yet robust pen comes with a rotating cap, and even has a DNA catcher.

When to Use a Tactical Pen

First and foremost, you should understand that taking out a weapon should be done only as a last resort. Especially if you are untrained, there is always a possibility that the weapon may be used against you or the assailant may pull out a weapon as well (if it isn’t out already). Whatever the case, violence should be avoided as much as possible. Thus, the first step in protecting yourself is to actively take measures to avoid trouble in the first place.

Try not to go to shady areas alone. Even if you have a friend with you, some areas are best avoided entirely. Do not stay out late into the night if you don’t have to. Do not flaunt expensive jewelry. Avoid areas that are overly crowded or eerily empty. Try to stay in public places if you are meeting a stranger or need to go somewhere.

Unfortunately, sometimes even this is not enough to avoid trouble. Someone may still try to corner you, mug you, or assault you. In the case of a mugging, it is not worth it to get into a fight. The mugger doesn’t want to hurt you; he just wants your money. Don’t be stupid, give it to him and call the police after. Just because you have a weapon doesn’t mean you can overpower your mugger and come out scratch-free – this isn’t a movie. Don’t give him a reason to harm you.

The only time you should take out your tactical pen is if you believe you are going to be physically harmed and you are not capable of running away. For instance, if someone is pushing you around, or grabbing you, then you will have no choice but to do whatever is necessary to survive, including stabbing them with a tactical pen.

What to Consider When Using a Tactical Pen

Keep in mind that the main goal is to survive. You are not trying to kill anyone, just deter them from harming you further or create an opening so that you can make an escape. One stab with a pen should be more than enough to cause them a lot of pain and force a retreat. In fact, depending on where you stab, it is very possible that a tactical pen can kill someone. Therefore, deciding to use a tactical pen means taking on the responsibility of potentially taking a life.

Since the name of this instrument has the word “tactical” in it, there is no mistaking that you bought it knowing full well that it is a weapon. Despite not being illegal, if you somehow end up in a trial, a strong case can be made against you saying that you bought the pen with the intention of hurting someone. If you had simply defended yourself with a plastic pen, for instance, then there would be no case.

Another potential issue is bringing the pen through places with tight security, such as an airport. There are three likely outcomes:

  1. Nobody notices that your pen is, in fact, a weapon and you proceed without issue.
  2. Security finds it and confiscates it. You get a slap on the wrist.
  3. You get detained/arrested for having a weapon in your possession.

If writing is something you enjoy doing, then you may be disappointed to know that some pens have great self-defence features but subpar writing capabilities. Thus, you need to do your research on which features you’d prefer to have.

How to Use a Tactical Pen

Breaking Glass

The tips of some tactical pens are made out of a strong material called carbide which can be used to shatter glass if you need to escape from a vehicle or building. Simply hit the corner of the window that has a safety glass decal. If you have gloves, wear them. Make sure you are looking away so that no stray shards can accidentally hit your eyes.

Using the DNA Collector

Lots of pens have a crown-shaped end piece that can scrape an assailant’s skin and leave bits of flesh on the grooves. This can be shown to the police for DNA evidence to identify the assailant further on. Secondly, the indentations leave a very distinct mark that can make identifying the wound extremely easy if the assailant is ever apprehended and questioned.

Attacking with the Pen

There are two primary ways to attack with a tactical pen: stabbing or slashing.

When stabbing, you can hold it with either the tip facing upwards or downwards. Holding it facing up allows you to use a thrusting motion. Holding it downwards allows you to perform downward plunging attacks. Both are effective for stopping an assailant depending on whether you can capitalize on an opening or not. With stabbing, you have a greater chance of inflicting a more serious wound. This can cause the assailant to retreat, however it can also easily take a life, especially if a vital point is struck.

When slashing, you are inflicting large, painful, but mostly superficial wounds. The pain can often be enough to make your assailant think twice about engaging you again. Thus, you are less likely to seriously harm your assailant, but you should be prepared to run immediately after attacking.

Parting Words

A tactical pen is a tool, and like most tools, you can use it with good intentions or with bad ones. Tactical pens are weapons, capable of easily taking a life, but it can just as easily save your own. You should only ever resort to taking out your pen if all other options to de-escalate the situation fails. Even then, you are only trying to inflict enough damage so that you can escape and call for help, not to kill your assailant. If you feel confident in your judgment and self-defence capabilities, then a tactical pen will be a great tool to have and keep on your person.

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