Other Tools at the Ready

A Tactical Pen Can Always Be With You

I'm a big fan of the tactical pen.

A last-ditch strike weapon, it can go virtually anywhere with you, riding innocuously in a shirt pocket. Because — it’s a pen. But you can take it in hand, have it ready to use, and yet — it’s still just a pen. Except if the situation warrants it, you can put the hurt on someone in order to fend them off or get away. 

Many pens are about six inches long and a tactical pen measures similarly. As such, it makes an easily manipulatable strike weapon. You’re used to holding a pen in your hand and it would take little thought to turn any pen into a weapon in order to defend yourself. I’m not saying don’t get training on this; I am saying using such a device will simply come more naturally. And while some normal pens can function as strike weapons, you’ll probably be better off using a pen actually designed to handle the stress of a tactical/strike weapon.

Here are some pens from my current collection. They all have their strengths and weaknesses but I’ve carried all of them and rotate frequently. Oh yes, there’s a flashlight in there, too. Sized similar to a pen, a flashlight can double as a strike weapon but also — obviously — provide a source of bright light to find your way or temporarily blind an attacker. From top to bottom, tactical pens from CRKT, Schrade, 5.11, Benchmade, Gerber, and a flashlight from Brite Strike.

Most tactical pens, including this one from CRKT, come with a Fisher Space Pen ink cartridge or something similar for a pressurized ink source. Equipped as such you can write while the tip is pointing directly up, something most normal pens can’t do as gravity will simply begin to pull the ink away from the tip where it would exit.

What to look for in a tactical pen: aluminum construction with some kind of knurling for good purchase, a strong clip for safe and secure carry, and the right kind of point (some are equipped with glass-breakers). Also consider whether you want a removable cap or a push-button operation to get to the ink.

Remember, you may not always have a gun or knife on your person. But there’s virtually no place where a pen would be unwelcome or out of place. At least have something you can use to defend yourself, if only to thwart an attacker for one second.