tactical fitness

How Tactical Fitness Prepares Your Body For Survival

tactical fitness

Note: This post was contributed by Garry Bowman, writer for 911gear.ca. Read more about him in the About The Author section below.

Fitness has a new category now-Tactical Fitness. The fitness programs for Military, Police, Fire Fighter, and Special Ops have all been clubbed under one category known as Tactical Fitness. This has become so popular that training associations like the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) have a certified program for Tactical Strength and Conditioning (TSAC).  

So, this new category will see an upsurge unlike other concepts, such as boot camp workouts, which have lost their ground over time. The following article highlights this new genre of fitness along with a fine line difference between the tactical fitness and regular fitness.

tactical fitness

What Is Tactical Fitness?

tactical fitness

Tactical Fitness is more about work and not workouts. It is not designed for having a good workout but for facing real life situations like lifts, carries, crawls, runs, rucks, swims, and mobility, even situations which demand logical and innovative thinking.

It makes use of non-traditional tools and equipment for carrying up unbalanced loads. Tactical Fitness is more about handling life and death situations for you, your buddy, or anyone whom you are trying to help. And such situations not only demand physical fitness but mental alertness and readiness to act and not react in stressful situations.

tactical fitness

Tactical fitness demands you to be a team player as well. You need to coordinate not just between your body and mind but also with your buddies to handle the situation.

Better your workout, better you will be at the real-time situation.

Building Blocks Of Tactical Fitness

tactical fitness

Tactical fitness is not just about a healthy heart, blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight, but you need to be a master of the following elements of fitness as well:

  • Speed and Endurance – It includes running and gradually improving pace.
  • Vigor and Power – It includes lifting of various equipment, gear, and even people.
  • Flexibility and Mobility – It includes moving over uneven terrain and between the obstacles.
  • Muscle endurance – This includes moving yourself and gearing up, over, under, and through space.
  • Old Man Grip – This includes holding gear, climbing over the mountain or rope.
  • Other Skills – This includes learning to swim, river crossing etc.

Incorporating these elements into your daily workout routine will better prepare you for real situations. Systems like TACTFIT Commando and Girls Gone Strong offer structured workouts based on tactical fitness. Read on for more information on these programs and to find out how to get started now.

tactical fitness

Difference between Tactical Athletes and Traditional Athletes

tactical fitness

Although you will attain a level near to perfection with these fitness elements, it is natural to have weaknesses. So, you need to determine the weaknesses and work upon them to achieve an excellence in them.

Being a Tactical Athlete and getting trained for all of these elements is not going to land you among the strongest or fastest persons in the country, but you will develop a good level of strength, endurance and stamina- all of which come into play in survival situations.

tactical fitness

An advanced Tactical Athlete can easily do 20 pull-ups and dead lift twice his body weight of 200 pounds and still can run for several miles.  Even after such exceptional numbers, a Tactical Athlete may still be beatable by a cross country runner but maintains an upper hand in strength events.  

tactical fitness

There are many fitness elements that are not even in the dictionary of a normal athlete but a Tactical Athlete is a master of all those fitness points.

Training of a Tactical Athlete

tactical fitness

There are particular stages of training for a Tactical Athlete. The aspiring candidates have to be exceptionally good to grab a chance for these public service professions. The typical fitness tests includes: pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, 1.5 mile runs, and sprint or swim test.

Growth Cycles of Tactical Athletes

tactical fitness

Training and active-duty scenario are entirely different worlds in a career of a Tactical Athlete. The training years prepare you for jobs that demand running, swimming, diving, lifting, etc.

tactical fitness

Maintenance programs include conditioning programs that make you strong, fast, well-conditioned and flexible. Learning about periodization is the key to arrange workouts that can help you to cope with the demands of job -country, overseas or your community.

Therefore, tactical fitness is about winning real-life situations which can be a matter of life and death for someone.

Where To Get Started

Finding an effective tactical fitness regime that fits into your busy life can be challenging. Below are training options for men and women that maximize results in a manageable amount of time, so you can stick with it and achieve your goals.

TACFIT Commando

The TACFIT Commando system by Scott Sonnon packs a full body workout into just 20 minutes per day. Using only your body weight as resistance, you can improve your strength and agility without the need for expensive equipment or gym memberships. And because the workouts can be performed anywhere, it is easier to keep up your program even when you travel.

tactical fitness
Click to transform your workout into tactical training with TACFIT Commando TODAY!

The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training

Specifically designed for women, The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training by Girls Gone Strong is a step-by-step system to help you actualize your fitness goals. Develop a strong and healthy body without spending hours at the gym. The workouts are aligned with the Minimum Effective Dose approach and you progress at your own pace to keep yourself challenged.

tactical fitness
Click to get started with The Modern Woman’s Guide To Strength Training TODAY!

About The Author

Garry Bowman is a blogger and content writer at 911gear.ca, the finest dealer of tactical gear in Canada. 911gear.ca also provides superior quality of tactical equipment for law enforcement, military, EMS, security professionals, corrections officers, and preppers.

Your Thoughts

Are you ready to motivate? What are your fitness goals? Share your prepper workout tips in the Comments section below, thanks!

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survival fitness

Are You Fit to Bug-Out? An Essential Guide to Prepper Fitness

prepper fitness

Why Fitness is an Integral Part of Disaster Scenario Preparedness

“Look at the abs on that woman scrounging for food!” Said no one, ever.

Improving your survival fitness doesn’t mean perfecting your body to fitness model standards, it means conditioning your fitness level to enable your body to handle the various physical tasks that will be necessary in a disaster scenario – and it’s just as important as any other aspect of your prepping plan.

While you may have stockpiles of food and water, a bug-out-bag packed and ready to go, and a bug-out plan tweaked to perfection, none of that will matter if you get out into the wilderness and literally can’t hack it. Conditioning yourself to sustain the grueling physical requirements of surviving off the grid will substantially increase the chances of survival for even the most prepared prepper.

prepper fitness
You don’t need to be a body builder to be fit to survive.

Prepper fitness is not about aesthetics or running an extra mile on the treadmill, it’s about gradually increasing your body’s ability to handle the various tasks that your survival will depend on during a disaster scenario.

Improving your survival fitness is something you can start now that will continue to pay dividends down the road and can actually make up for deficiencies you may have in other survival areas. For instance, tasks such as hunting for food, digging a well, or even defending yourself against attackers, can all be augmented with improved physical strength.

To maximize your survival fitness, take a look at your bug-out plan and consider all the activities involved in its execution. In this article, we will examine common scenarios likely to arise in a disaster situation and provide daily workouts to help you achieve your prepper fitness goals. However, before beginning any physical training, it is always best to check with your doctor to ensure you’re in good health and able to safely follow the fitness routine.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Prepper Fitness Guide

Walk For Your Life

Walking is an easy, healthy way to begin conditioning your body for endurance – and it’s something you can do with the whole family!

Not only is walking useful for building up your physical endurance, but also conditioning yourself to walk several miles at a time can be essential for reaching your bug-out location. How many miles do you and your family walk on a daily basis? The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week; if you’re just beginning, start walking for 30 minutes, 5 times per week.

As you get stronger, start to increase the distance you cover as well as the difficulty of the path you take, gradually choosing rougher terrain and steeper inclines to better prepare you for the realities of bugging-out. 

Carry Your Weight

Once you’ve conditioned yourself to walk the distance required to your bug-out location, the next milestone is to ensure you can walk the the distance while carrying your bug-out bag, or other necessities, during a crisis.

prepper fitness
Don’t be intimidated by lifting weights – your bug-out bag will help you get in shape!

Don’t exhaust yourself – start slow by carrying your bag only partially packed a couple times per week. Work your way up to carrying the bag fully packed, all the way to your bug-out location. This also serves as a great exercise to determine if there are any non-essential (especially heavy) items that can be removed from your bug-out bag.

Learning to trek with gear doesn’t have to be an onerous exercise – make a weekend of it! Plan weekend camping trips with your family, gradually increasing the difficulty of the trail you follow to your campsite. Eventually, your entire family will be ready to trek through the woods at a moment’s notice – and you’ll have some fun doing it!

Make a Run For It

While you always hope that in a bug-out scenario walking will suffice, there may be times when you and your family are forced to pick up the pace – whether to cover more ground quickly or to evade threats. Best to start early in training your body to endure bursts of speed as well as longer intervals.

Sprint training can easily be worked into your existing walking routine by adding vigorous sprints at 5 or 10 minute intervals. Sprints are a great way to kick up your heart rate and condition your body, but they also put added strain on your joints and muscles; always stretch well before and after attempting this type of exercise routine.

prepper fitness
Picking up the pace in your survival fitness routine will better prepare you for disaster.

Eventually, you can turn your walk-sprints into a jog, and then a full-fledged run. Running for only 75 minutes per week will do wonders for your cardiovascular health and adds the desirable benefit of helping to trim down excess weight – introducing a running element to your fitness routine is definitely a win-win!

Strengthen Your Chances For Survival

Cardio training is essential for getting you to your bug-out location, while strength training is necessary to help you combat obstacles that may get in your way, as well as surviving the general increase in activity that accompanies living off the grid.

prepper fitness
The world may look very different in the aftermath of a disaster. You never know what obstacles will stand in your way.

If you’re curious as to what level of strength is necessary, it really depends on your particular situation, locale and bug-out crew – are you able to clear an obstacle from your path such as a downed tree (likely in a rural bug-out) or vehicle (likely in an urban bug-out)? Can you lift your children up and over your head? If you were hanging, are you able to drop one hand and offer it as help to someone else? Situations such as these require a strong and developed core.

prepper fitness
There’s a reason push-ups are used in military and athletic training – they work!

The good news is – you don’t need expensive equipment or gym memberships to build a sturdy core. There are plenty of exercises you can do right in your own home using your own body weight as resistance – push-ups, sit-ups, and squats are some great examples. If you prefer a little more guidance and structure, try Run, Prepper, Run! by Dan F. Sullivan to help build your core strength, as well as many other aspects of prepper fitness.

In addition to structured workouts, try taking up a sport to build your prepper fitness. You can typically start at any level and there are generally options for playing sports indoors and outdoors for year-round access. In terms of getting a full-body workout, rock climbing provides an outstanding experience.

Be Flexible

When building physical fitness, never neglect flexibility! Having flexible joints is essential to preventing discomfort and injury while performing the many tasks a bug-out will require of you, such as crawling through a tunnel or squatting by a fire.

prepper fitness
An exercise ball is a great tool for flexibility training.

Building flexibility can be as simple as adding stretches to your fitness routine or, for even greater flexibility, pursuing a flexibility-oriented activity such as yoga. For those just starting out, a great stretch to include in your workout is the toe-touch:

The object of the toe-touch is to stretch the backs of your legs by bending at the waist. Begin with a stance placing your feet shoulder-width apart (feel free to use a countertop or table to support your upper body and assist with keeping your back straight). Once you can easily bend at a 90 degree angle, swing your arms towards the floor and hang there – but don’t bounce! With each exhale, move yourself deeper into the bend.

prepper fitness
Just a few poses a day can really improve your prepper fitness level.

Yoga positions are also excellent for both conditioning and enhancing flexibility. For legs and obliques (the muscles that run up your sides), try warrior stances; for the shoulders, lower back, and hips, alternating cat and cow positions will do the trick; a downward facing dog position will help lengthen your spine while providing a solid stretch for your arms and legs. For further yoga positions, check out this helpful video.

Take to the Water

Having solid skills in and around the water is essential for bugging-out. At the very least you, and everyone in your crew, should know how to swim as well as be familiar with water rescue techniques and how to steer a boat with paddles.

The ability to swim not only opens up your bug-out plan to alternate routes, but can also be a life-saving skill. Especially in the case of a natural disaster, there could be severe flooding that forces you to evacuate using a raft; additionally, in the course of bugging-out, a family member may fall into a river or other body of water – do you have the skills to rescue them?

prepper fitness
A flood is not the time to learn basic water survival techniques.

For adults who have never learned to swim or have a fear of the water, rest assured you are not alone. Plenty of organizations, most notably the YMCA, offer both youth and adult swim lessons that will teach you the basics such as how to tread water, back float, and free-style swim.

For those that are comfortable in the water, consider augmenting your water survival skills by taking a lifeguard certification class, which can provide you with the knowledge needed to assist others to shore, whether they are conscious or not.

prepper fitness
This lifesaving skill is a great one to add to your survival fitness goals.

Learning some basic steering skills for watercrafts, particularly with paddles, can also save you tremendous hardship in a crisis situation. This is definitely not a skill you want to try and pick up on the fly.

prepper fitness
Canoeing is great exercise, too!

You can learn the positioning required to stop, turn and propel a boat quickly by taking a weekend and trying it out with a rented or borrowed canoe. For some essential pointers, check out this video.

Defend Yourself

No matter what the reason for bugging-out, there will always be a need to know self-defense. In the case of civil unrest, the need is obvious, but even in the case of natural disasters, you will undoubtedly need to protect yourself and your family against those who are less-prepared and desperate enough to take your supplies by force.

Depending on your size and build, hand-to-hand combat may not be the most ideal form of defense, but there are ways in which you can maximize the power behind your punches no matter how mismatched the fight. For smaller people, power can be amplified by targeting the eyes, nose, ears, neck, groin, knee and legs of your attacker; you can also learn different ways to free yourself from an attacker’s hold.

Martial arts offers great training for preppers of any size and has the added benefit of building both self-defense and fitness capabilities. Best of all, it’s an activity the entire family can do together to build the positive attributes of self-discipline, strength, and defensive skills.

Final Words on Prepper Fitness

When it comes to building endurance for prepper fitness, every little bit helps. Much like stockpiling food, if you add a little to your survival fitness regime every day, your conditioning will continue to grow. Even fitting in a half-hour walk every day will make you better prepared than those who don’t – and you’ll be surprised at what you’re able to accomplish when you stick to your goals!

If you’re serious about prepper fitness, then Dan F. Sullivan’s ‘Run, Prepper, Run! survival fitness training program is a must. CLICK HERE NOW to visit the training program and learn how ANYONE can improve their physical fitness to bug out!

prepper fitness
Click on the book to learn more about prepper fitness.

Your Thoughts

Do you find it challenging to add fitness into your prepping? Do you have a survival fitness regime you’d like to share? Share your experiences in the Comments section below, thanks!

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urban survival tips

5 Essential Urban Survival Tips To Keep You Alive

urban survival tips

As a part of developing The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit (TUUSK) with the team at Ready To Go Survival, our conversation turned to urban survival planning and strategy.

We talked about our experiences with the various snowstorms, hurricanes, blackouts, and terrorist threats that we had been through and compared notes.

In this guide, I am going to share the Top 5 Urban Survival Tips that came out of our brainstorming session. If you are not one of the 80.7% of people who live in an urban environment feel free to share these with anyone you care about who does.

Top 5 Urban Survival Tips

Urban Survival Tip #1 – Move fast before exit routes are clogged or closed

There is a clear first mover advantage when evacuating a highly populated area.  Once everyone around you gets the same idea, getting through the exits – bridges, tunnels, highways, or train routes will become hopelessly clogged.  To ensure a speedy exit:

  • Make sure your bug out bag is packed, accessible, and ready to go.
  • Make sure everyone you are bugging out with is on the same page for when to initiate your bug out plan and where to meet
  • When in doubt MOVE!  Don’t wait for everyone around you to agree, get going.  Be a survivor, not a statistic.

urban survival tips

Urban Survival Tip #2 – Be prepared for environmental hazards

The modern urban landscape if full of dangers that become exposed in any type of disaster.  Damaged buildings put all manner of dangerous debris in the air from asbestos and concrete dust to broken glass and toxic smoke.

We need to be sure that our bug out bag has the proper protective gear to keep us moving through such hazards, you never know what you will need to scramble over or through to get to safety.

Sturdy shoes, and well-made pants and a long sleeve shirt should be your default bug out clothing even in summer to protect you from jagged or burning debris.  Additionally, consider having environmental protection gear to protect the rest of your body:

  • Eye protection
  • Hearing protection
  • Respiratory/Lung protection
  • Hand protection

Urban Survival Tip #3 – Be a Grey Man or Woman

The idea of being a “Grey Man” (or Woman) is based around being fully prepared but inconspicuous as to not draw unwanted attention to yourself. This serves two purposes:

  1. Being a Grey Man will help you blend in with a crowd if people are being singled out or if you are trying to evade a pursuer
  2. Being a Grey Man will make you seem like a regular person instead of a target of opportunity for aggressive people who are less prepared than you

There are many ways to be a Grey Man and a lot of them just come down to common sense and not advertising your presence:

  • Wear normal looking clothes, not camo or other tactical looking gear
  • Remove any military style logos – The TUUSK bag comes with a velcro patch of the RTGS logo that can be removed at a moment’s notice to slip into the crowd
  • Do not open your bug out bag in a public area where others can see that it is loaded with food, water, and survival gear that they may need.
  • Avoid staring or unnecessary eye contact
  • Conceal any obvious survival gear on your person

Urban Survival Tip #4 – It’s better to look like a threat than a target

In an urban scenario, you are inherently more likely to encounter other people.  Some of these people may be aggressive, desperate, or seeking to take advantage of others in the chaos.  It is best to deter such advances before they even start by making yourself look like more trouble than it is worth to bother you.

  • Travel in a group if you can, single people are far juicier targets than two or more people who are obviously together
  • Have a self-defense item ready to deploy if you are approached; this can be pepper spray, a firearm, knife, or another weapon. Showing you are armed and ready to defend yourself shows that you are not a target of opportunity
  • Be aware of your surroundings – If you are being followed or possibly entering a dangerous area keep your eyes open and change course immediately
  • Keep in mind the Grey Man tips above to keep off the radar of inquisitive people
urban survival tips
Image Credit: Satguru on Flickr

Urban Survival Tip #5 – Follow your instincts, not the mob

When a disaster hits, 99% of people are completely unprepared. You are reading this article, so you are obviously of a mindset of preparing for the worst BEFORE it happens. Stick to your bug out plan and improvise when necessary.

If a mob of people is heading one way, it doesn’t mean that is the best way for you.  You don’t need to go in the opposite direction as everyone else but look for the safest way for YOU to reach your destination.

Follow your instincts when faced with a hard choice, not just the path of least resistance.

Putting These Tips Into Action

Partnering these 5 tips with a well thought out bug out bag will vastly improve your odds of making it through the next urban disaster alive.

For more urban survival tips based on my real world experiences check out my article here: 10 Preparedness Lessons From Living In NYC.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, these tips came out of the TUUSK project that I partnered with Ready To Go Survival (RTGS) on. The team at RTGS has been hard at work sourcing gear and getting The Ultimate Urban Survival Kit ready to launch out into the world.

If you are interested in getting your own TUUSK and free Lifestraw before they are made available to the general public check it out here.

urban survival tips

Good luck prepping and remember, Chance Favors The Well Prepared.

Your Thoughts?

Do you have an urban survival tip to share?  Let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!

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Map Reading Skills

Learn These Map Reading Skills To Never Get Lost Again

Map Reading Skills

If you’re navigating through unfamiliar terrain, a map is as valuable as gold dust. You may have planned your routes by them and will be relying on them throughout the course of your expedition or bug out. However, a map is next to worthless if you don’t know how to decipher it. Map reading and land navigation is are vital skills that can be applied to many survival situations.  This article will outline the basics to help you sharpen up your map reading skills.

Map Reading Skills: Using A Map’s Scale

First, your map should be at a scale which is useful. For instance, having a small-scale, detailed map will be of no use to you if you simply plan to drive through an area. In the same way, if you are on foot, then having a less detailed map can be next to useless. It is also important to understand the scale bar. This bar will show the size at which a kilometer or mile is shown on the map and is usually expressed as a ratio. For instance, 1:50,000 means that each measure on the map is 50,000 times smaller than the true distance. This will allow you to use the map to determine distances for land navigation.

Map Reading Skills

Map Reading Skills: Reading Contour Lines

A thorough understanding of reading contour lines is an extremely useful tool to add to your arsenal of map reading skills.  Because a map is 2D, different heights of terrain must be indicated using contour lines. These show the altitudes of the land and are recorded at regular intervals – usually 50ft (15m). Each point on a contour line’s ring is hypothetically at the same height, which is indicated with a number (in feet or meters). This tells you how high above sea level the terrain is. In general, contour lines which are closer together indicate a steeper gradient. However, it’s important to bear in mind the scale of your map so that you don’t over or underestimate the gradient.

Map Reading Skills

Map Reading Skills: Reading A Map’s Key

The key will explain what the symbols used on the map refer to. These will represent a range of manmade and natural structures, types of land (woodland, swaps or beaches, for example), rivers and water. There are some features which are not depicted to scale. For instance, roads, paths and waterways will often have a standard width which may not represent their exact measurements.

Map Reading Skills

Map Reading Skills: Understanding Map Grids

Maps will have horizontal and vertical grid lines which divide the map into squares. This division is either based on longitude and latitude or may be individual to the particular mapping authority. Grids will allow you to more quickly determine distances, since they are usually at a comprehensive scale (for example, the distance from left to right is often 1 kilometer). These grids will also allow you to explain to other exactly.

Map Reading Skills: Orientating Your Map

Important to remember is that the grids on a map do not necessarily indicate north and south, though they may provide a rough indication of this. You will need to also be aware that your compass does not point to true north, but to magnetic north. Most maps will also indicate magnetic north. The deviations between these can help you map-read your way across a landscape, as can taking note of your surroundings in relation to features on the map.

Map Reading Skills: Conclusion

Hopefully our crash course has helped you sharpen up your map reading skills.  If you ever have to execute your bug out plan or evacuate unexpectedly knowing how to use a map and compass will greatly increase your chances to make it to your rally point or bug out location.  As with any basic survival skill it is important to practice using your map reading and land navigation skills to find your way.  Master these and you will never be lost.

Author Bio

Roman is a former EMT living in NYC and co-founder of Ready To Go Survival. When he’s not working on the next big thing for preppers; he likes to go camping, shoot stuff at the range, archery, and ride his bicycle excruciating distances.

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Best Tactical Pen

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 best options on the market.

We’ve conducted extensive research and built the table below to allow you to compare some of the best tactical pens on the market.

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
Smith and Wesson 3rd Gen Tactical Pen

5.7"1.4 ozIncludes stylus tip on one end for touchscreens$T6061 Aircraft Aluminum

What Is A Tactical Pen?

A tactical pen is a writing tool that is also designed to be used as a defensive weapon.

Tactical pens are typically made of metal or a very sturdy plastic. Aircraft-grade aluminum and titanium are frequently employed to make strong, lightweight, tactical pens.

One or both ends of the 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 exactly for this 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 main reason people carry tactical pens is to have 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 tactical pens will pass a security or TSA inspection, therefore, can be carried almost anywhere.

UPDATE: A reader has sent this article to show that some of the more aggressive style pens do get confiscated at airport checkpoints. Consider this when choosing your pen if you plan on traveling with it.

With some basic training, tactical pen carriers are more readily able to protect themselves wherever they go.

Another advantage of tactical pens is that often they 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 instrument into one small multipurpose item. A tactical pen is perfect for this.

Tactical pens are a robust, low key, self-defense option.

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 essential 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 consider to be 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 added thoughtfully and executed flawlessly.

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 makes for 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 the 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.

This tactical pen has a rather inconspicuous profile to it, unlike some other pens that have an obvious weaponized appearance.

Its ordinary appearance will help it avoid scrutiny from security checkpoints, ensuring that you will be able to defend yourself pretty much anywhere.

The Schrade Survival Tactical Pen is a solid mid-range 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 solid construction.

The knurling along its body meshes perfectly with the palm of your hand for a comfortable non-slip grip.

The Vktech Tactical Pen offers reliability and durability at an unbeatable price making for 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, may struggle to inflict damage with one of the blunt ended tactical pens and a tactical pen with a pointier end may be more suitable.

A larger person would probably be more able to strike with enough force to ward off an attacker with either of these options so they would have a wider variety of suitable tactical pens to choose from


In addition to being comfortable in your hand for writing, having a good grip is key to using the pen as a defensive tool.

In a self-defense scenario, you will likely be swinging it with 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.


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

Attachment Clip

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 tactical pen you choose has an attachment option that matches the way you intend to carry it.

Extra Features

A common point of differentiation to look for when finding the right tactical pen is to keep an eye out for unique features.

Many tactical pen makers work to make their products stand out by incorporating additional features such as:

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

Keep an eye out for special features such as these when choosing your tactical pen.

How to Use a Tactical Pen

There are many schools of thought of the best way to use 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.

Typical tactical pen targets include:

Pressure Points

  • Armpit
  • Neck
  • Inner arm
  • Inner thigh

Sensitive Areas

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

BONUS: Instructional Video

Here is a helpful instructional video to get you started.


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 decide.

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


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.

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