The Best Tactical Pen For Your Kit

Best Tactical Pen

A tactical pen can be a good option for a self defense tool in an emergency. They make great every day carry companions due to their small size, light weight, concealability, and dual purpose functionality. In this article we will show you how to choose the best tactical pen for your EDC kit or Bug Out Bag by taking a look at some of the leaders in the field. To help your search we conducted extensive research and built the below table to allow you to compare some of the best tactical pens out there.

PenSizeWeightFeaturesCostMaterial
Richter Hoffman Stinger Pen
Survival-life-tactical-pen
5.7"1.4 ozHand Machined Out of One Solid Block of Aircraft Aluminum. Balanced grip for effective striking and easy writing.$Aircraft Aluminum
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

5.59"1.02 ozIntegrated glassbreaker$$Machined steel
Schrade Survival Tactical Pen

5.9"1.7 ozIntegrated survival whistle, glass breaker, and magnesium fire starter$$Anodized aluminum
Uzi Defender Tactical Pen

6"2.4 ozHeavy Duty, incudes integrated glassbreaker$Aircraft Aluminum
CRKT Williams Tactical Pen

6"1.2 ozTapered body to aid grip retention$$Machined anodized aluminum
Smith and Wesson M&P Tactical Pen

5.7"1.4 ozRidged body for excellent finger holds$T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Vktech Tactical Pen

5.7"3.7 ozScoops on back for catching attacker's DNA, makes and excellent glass breaker$Aircraft Aluminum
Schrade Tactical Pen

5.7"1.6 ozHighly Inconspicuous
Screw on/off cap
$CNC machined 6061 aircraft aluminum
Night Armor Tactical Pen with Built-in Flashlight

6.25"2.4 ozIntegrated flashlight makes this a multipurpose EDC item$$Aircraft Aluminum
Smith and Wesson 3rd Gen Tactical Pen

5.7"1.4 ozIncludes stylus tip on one end for touchscreens$T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Rick Hinderer Knives Investigator Pen

4.25"1.6 ozModular striking end for defensive choice, designed to fit in a smaller hand$$$Bead Blasted Brass

What Is A Tactical Pen?

At its most basic a tactical pen is a writing implement that is also designed to be used as a defensive weapon. Tactical pens are typically made of metal or a very strong plastic. Aircraft grade aluminum and titanium are frequently employed to make strong, lightweight tactical pens. One or both ends of a tactical pen is typically tapered to a point to allow for it to be used as a thrusting self-defense tool. Whereas a normal pen would bend or break if used in a defensive scenario a tactical pen is designed for tough use.

Why Carry A Tactical Pen?

People carry tactical pens for many reasons. Some may just want a high quality pen that looks good and matches other gear they may have like a folding knife or other tactical equipment. The primary reason however is that they want a reliable self-defense tool that can be hidden in plain sight. While a knife or firearm will draw most anyone’s attention if spotted while being carried, a tactical pen is more of a “gray man” option. Most of tactical pens will pass a security or TSA inspection and can therefore be carried almost anywhere.

UPDATE: A reader has sent this article to show that some of the more aggressive style pens DO get taken at airport checkpoints, consider this when choosing your pen if you plan on travelling with it.

With some basic training this enables tactical pen users to protect themselves wherever they go.

Another reason is that many tactical pens are designed to be non-lethal and come with a blunt end that is intended to apply painful force to pressure points, sensitive areas, and other vulnerable locations on an attacker’s body. This can be an appealing non-lethal self defense option for those not wanting to cause mortal damage to an attacker.

Others may just be looking to lighten their kit by combining their self-defense tool with their writing implement into one small multipurpose item. A tactical pen is perfect for this.

Having a powerful self-defense option in a low profile, compact package is what has many people searching a tactical pen.

Best Overall Tactical Pen: Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

Best Tactical Pen
Click on the image now to see reviews for this Tactical Pen on Amazon

The Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen doesn’t attempt to do absolutely everything its competitors try for but instead chooses to execute the basic functions of a tactical pen with authority. It comes out of the box with a Rite In The Rain ink cartridge so you will be able to confidently take notes, mark maps, and more in any conditions. It also has a low profile glass breaker integrated into the tip to assist in emergency evacuations from vehicles of buildings. Additionally it is one of the few “click” pens you see in the tactical pen format, which I see as an advantage – no cap to unscrew every time and one less thing to lose.

Overall the machined steel body is extremely strong and will hold up to the roughest applications. Its various ridges and indentations ensure a positive grip should it be required to discourage aggressive behavior. These features have all been well done and added thoughtfully. There is no excess on this tactical pen and it strives to meet your daily needs at every turn. Coming in around the $40 price point the Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen exceeds expectations and will be a reliable companion for years to come.

Best Mid-Range Tactical Pen: Schrade Survival Tactical Pen

Best Tactical Pen
Click on the image above to see the Schrade Survival Tactical Pen on Amazon

The Schrade Survival Tactical Pen gets our pick for best mid-range tactical pen for several reasons. For one it has a ton of useful survival gear packed into its compact package including:

  • Survival Whistle
  • Glass Breaker
  • Magnesium Firestarter

These items alone justify the $25 price tag. As a tactical pen if both writes well and is strong enough to be a functional self defense item. The narrow taper at the writing end serves well as a force multiplier if you ever needed to deter an attacker with it. Looks wise it has a rather inconspicuous profile to it, unlike some other pens that look obviously weaponized. This will help it pass any scrutiny from security checkpoints, ensuring that you will be able to defend yourself pretty much anywhere. This is a solid tactical pen that will not disappoint.

Best Budget Tactical Pen: Vktech Tactical Pen

In the sub-$5 price range, there is no better choice than the Vktech Tactical Pen. While you can’t expect it to be of the same quality as our previous picks, it still has excellent workmanship for the price. Picking it up you can feel its heft and the knurling meshes perfectly with the palm of your hand for a comfortable grip. The combination of this with the reliability and durability of one of the best tactical pen body designs out there and you have a great entry level option.

How Do I Choose The Best Tactical Pen For My Kit?

Pen Quality

When looking for the best tactical pen a good place to start is to choose one that writes well. This is the basic function of a tactical pen and is what you will use it for 99% of the time. The best tactical pens out there accept ink refills from quality producers like Parker and Hauser, Fischer Space Pen, and Rite in the Rain.

Self-Defense Features

Once you have a good writing tool it is time to look at the defensive features to find the best tactical pen for your personal protection. First decide how you would want to use your tactical pen as a defensive tool. A smaller woman for example will struggle to inflict damage with one of the blunt ended tactical pens and may want one with a pointier finish. A larger person would probably be more able to strike with enough force to ward off an attacker with either of these options so will have a wider variety of tactical pens to choose from.

Grip

In addition to being comfortable in the hand for writing, having a good grip is key to using the pen as a defensive tool. If you are swinging it with any velocity you will want to make sure the tactical pen stays put in your hand upon impact. The best tactical pen you can choose will have ridges or grooves for your fingers to sit in and knurling to aid grip retention. Make sure the tactical pen you choose fits well in your hand and does not slip when pressure is applied to one end.

Best EDC Knife
Click to read our article on picking the BEST EDC Knife

Attachment Clip

It is typical that the best tactical pens on the market will have a robust pocket clip for attaching the pen to a pocket, bag, or belt. Many pens also have additional attachment options for keyrings, carabiners, and paracord. Make sure the best tactical pen you choose has an attachment option that fits well with the way you intend to carry it.

Extra Features

A common point of differentiation to look for when finding the best tactical pen for your kit is what special features are offered with the tool. Many tactical pen makers work to make their products stand out by incorporating additional features into their tools such as:

  • Hidden Handcuff Key
  • Magnesium Firestarter
  • Window/Glass Breaker
  • DNA Catching Scoops (for identifying an attacker to law enforcement)

Some of these additional features may be highly useful based on your environment and likely deployment of your tactical pen. Keep an eye out for special features such as these and more when finding the best tactical pen for you.

How to Use a Tactical Pen

There are many schools of thought of the best way to deploy a tactical pen for self defense. If you are going to carry one it is essential to train in how to use it effectively. Once you have learned proper technique it is as important to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. You want this to be muscle memory when you are in the moment, an automatic reaction. Targets are typically:

Pressure Points:

  • Armpit
  • Neck
  • Inner arm
  • Inner thigh

Sensitive Areas:

  • Throat
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Groin
  • Ribs
  • Solar Plexus
  • Nose

Here is a helpful instructional video to get you started:

Conclusion

As you can see there are a lot of great options out there for carrying a reliable, multipurpose tactical pen. Finding the BEST tactical pen for your needs can be a challenge but hopefully the suggestions we have made will help you along your preparedness journey.

Once again, here are our picks:

Want Even MORE Info On Building Your EDC Kit?

If you are looking for even more information on how to build your ultimate EDC kit you can check out my book, The Every Day Carry Guide. It is a comprehensive manual that will teach you:

  • How to be prepared at all times – no matter where you are
  • How to build your first EDC kit from scratch
  • How to refine an existing kit to make it more effective
  • How to pick the best gear to realistically make you more prepared
  • How to assess threats and risks in your every day life

EDC-Book-w-Button

Your Thoughts?

Do you have a tactical pen that you want to share? Is there a quality you NEED to have when finding the best tactical pen for your environment? Please let us know in the Comments Section below. 

7 comments on “The Best Tactical Pen For Your Kit

    1. Raven,
      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have updated the article with the link you provided as well as a note that the more aggressive style pens ARE considered weapons by TSA. Thanks again for finding and sharing this information with us.

      Chris

  1. The tactical pens are a good option for self defence. These are small in size and have light weight. The grip of these pens are excellent as well as it can be use to write in the rain.

  2. Personally, I was never keen on the idea of tactical pens for self-protection. Only as a last resort would I expose choose to potentially expose myself to blood spray that may be carrying an infectious disease. ( For example, Hepatitis B/C are a lot more common than one may imagine; and there are far worse diseases than those that are becoming more common everyday.)

    1. Ed,
      I am inclined to agree with you but they are not made for ideal situations. Certainly if I am attacked I would rather face the aggressor with a weapon than without one. The Tactical Pen provides this as a discrete option that can be carried nearly anywhere and are no more or less likely, in my opinion, to cause bloodshed than a great many other improvised weapons I make pick up in the heat of the moment.

      Thoughts?

      Chris

  3. I owned a Gerber Tac pen. At first I loved it. The weight was not too heavy and the feel of it made me feel like I was holding a pen, not a piece of plastic. After 2 weeks or so, the retractor stopped working. I could not get it to stay out so I could write with it. I was sad and it was now a piece of garbage. I even searched YOUTUBE for answers but found none. Just a small input from a former tac-pen user….

    1. Hey Anthony,
      Sorry to hear about your problem but thanks for the feedback. Sounds like you got a defective one, unusual for Gerber. Did you try contacting either Gerber or the store where you bought it?

      I have actually bought these as gifts and haven’t heard of that happening.

      Did you end up getting a replacement pen from another brand that you like?

      Thanks,
      Chris

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