Most of us learned the meaning of “tactical” while watching our favorite military or police dramas—think S.W.A.T. or Navy SEAL movies. “Tactical” is defined as “relating to combat tactics” (1). But tactical gear isn’t a topic that often comes up while we’re waiting in line for our morning latte.
As many of us become more aware of the need to better protect ourselves, the phrase ‘every day carry’—often abbreviated to EDC—has become a bigger part of our daily language. EDC items are simply the things you always take with you when you leave your home—the items you feel naked without. We all have a few EDC items we already leave home with: keys, phones and wallets.
There is one more EDC item that anyone can easily carry and learn to successfully use for self-defense: a tactical pen.
What is a Tactical Pen?
A tactical pen is a pen with a very sharp pen point—called a nib—on one end and typically a ‘glass breaker’ or a blunt ‘impact edge’ on the other. Many tactical pens also come with built-in flashlights and various tool attachments.
You can even use a tactical pen for the simple everyday task of writing.
If it becomes necessary, a tactical pen is an easy-to-use tool for personal protection. A pen gives you the advantage of having a simple weapon that isn’t bulky. A tactical pen doesn’t require special training like a knife or a gun. They’re popular because they don’t look like an intimidating weapon—but that’s exactly what they are.
The Multiple Uses of a Tactical Pen
A Simple Pen
Even with our dependency on things like smart speakers, smartphones and tablets, there are still times when it’s more convenient to pull out a pen to write a quick note, make a list, or to sign something.
Tactical pens come with refillable or replaceable, pressurized ink cartridges and in a variety of pen styles from rollerball to ballpoint to gel. They’re typically made of more durable material than a standard writing pen. They’re meant to survive a beating—while still being able to complete their intended function.
Not everyone is comfortable wielding a knife or carrying a gun (and in some places, carrying those weapons is not even allowed). A tactical pen is a great self-defense weapon that at first sight is simply a pen.
Tactical pens are made of highly durable materials like stainless steel or aircraft aluminum. Having sturdier construction than a traditional pen, the tactical pen gives you added strength and force if you need to use it as a tool.
Tactical pen nibs are sharp. This allows a user to ward off an attacker with a few well-placed jabs to an exposed limb or face. The other end of the tactical pen is usually a glass breaker or blunt.
The durable construction of the tactical pen, combined with a tight grip, makes the tactical pen an easy-to-use weapon that will cause enough discomfort to allow for an escape. If your aim is right, a well-placed blow could break a nose or shatter an eye socket. Even if your aim is off, you’ll still catch an attacker completely off-guard.
Tactical pens are no bigger than a nice writing pen and will fit easily into a bag, purse or a pocket. This makes them easy for everyone to carry. The sturdy construction, functional clip, glass breaker or optional stylus and tool attachments make them a handy tool for everyone.
Some models of tactical pens come with a high quality LED flashlight built-in. The clip on the tactical pen is sturdier than a normal pen clip so you can safely secure the pen to something and aim the flashlight.
The glass breaker end was created for breaking a car window if you need to get out in a desperate situation. You can also use it like an awl and punch through other materials should you need to. A blunt end will give your thumb a nice place to sit, ensuring a better grip for more force behind a jab if needed.
Bulkier versions of pens can come with various attachments, such as can and bottle openers. If you’re looking for multi-tool functionality versus stealth, you have the option available.
How to Choose a Tactical Pen
Which tactical pen is right for you? That depends on how you think you’ll use it the most.
The first thing you have to think about is the type of ink you want: gel, rollerball or traditional ballpoint. You’ll also need to consider the other end of the pen. Would a single-point or crown bezel end be more useful for you? Or would a blunt end be a better choice?
Do you want to include a flashlight or a screwdriver attachment? What about a bottle-opener?
This simple item can quickly go from writing a note to a loved one to potentially saving your life.
Anyone can own and use a tactical pen and unlike some other modes of self-defense, pens are still legal everywhere you go (except on an airline—but that’s another conversation).
Once you nail down the style you want, invest in a quality tactical pen that will stand the test of time.
Don’t know which pen to choose? Check out our handy guide—the best tactical pens on the market.
Should You Get a Tactical Pen?
Why wouldn’t you want a tactical pen?
A tactical pen is a multi-use tool in a single, easy-to-carry, easy-to-use package—making it one of THE BEST pieces of tactical gear you can own! It is the best way to protect yourself without the use of a taser, knife, or gun.