Take That! The Best Tactical Pens for Self-Defense

Any prepper will need multiple ways to protect themselves and their family when SHTF. A tactical pen is a great option for a back-up non-lethal weapon. A strong sturdy pen is likely part of your escape plan. You will need one to write directions, make lists, and label items/storage spaces. Why not carry a pen that has the added function of helping you survive a close combat attack?

A gun or large knife will also call attention to you. Keeping your ability to defend yourself under wraps can be an important strategic advantage. These pens are so stealthy they routinely pass TSA inspections. Of course, a gun is always a better choice but it’s always good to have a plan B.

Below is a list of things to look for when purchasing a tactical pen, a few tips on using them, and some of the best tactical pens currently available on the market.

What to Look For When Choosing a Tactical Pen

Pen Quality

If the pen quality is mediocre, it will likely be a mediocre weapon as well. Don’t trust companies that cut corners. The beauty of this device is its dual function. Before checking other features, make sure this device actually serves its primary purpose of writing easily and dependably.

There are specific models below but companies that have proven themselves in pen manufacturing include Parker and Hauser, Rite in the Rain, and Fischer Space Pen.


If a pen is too large, you won’t be able to conceal it easily. A tactical pen should be able to be carried through customs and security checks without issues. No one should be able to tell it’s also a handy weapon.

Other factors that add to a tactical pen’s stealth include color and shape. Don’t choose one that draws attention. It should look like an expensive pen. A basic black color and simple design are the best bet.


The grip of a tactical pen must serve two functions. First, it must be comfortable in your hand while writing. You shouldn’t have to fight it or crook your wrist at an awkward ankle. Second, it has to stay in your hand when swung at a high velocity.

It is a small device, so make sure it won’t fly from your fist when you make a stabbing motion or when contact with a hard surface is made at the tip. Look for grooves and ridges that fit your fingers. Knurling should also be applied.

Point Options

Before purchasing, make sure you know how you plan on wielding the knife and whom you plan to give it to. There are multiple tip options to suit different individuals.

For instance, a small-sized woman will have difficulty actually doing damage with a blunt tip. A curled point or one with a sharper finish would do better in this scenario.

A larger man though could do more damage with a blunted tip. Make sure you pick the right model for both and your family.


A lot of tactical pens have special features that go above and beyond and give them more than two functions.

Some come with a magnesium fire starter. This will be great if your bug out location is in the wilderness. Any extra help getting a fire started will be welcome.

Others have a DNA catcher. This will be a good addition for anyone living in a large city or dangerous area. Once you are able to stop an assailant with the point of the pen, you can then gather evidence, in the form of DNA, to help the authorities lock up an attacker for good.

There are even hidden handcuff keys on some models. Typically, these keys are contained in the breaker cap. Just remove it for access.

A pretty common extra feature is a window/glass breaker. Since the tip is already designed to take contact, many have extra protection to help you get out of a pickle.

Obviously these are great bonuses to any weapon. Just make sure the pen company you buy from isn’t slapping together a bunch of different features that barely work. You’d be better off having separate items that actually get the job done.


Make sure the pen you choose easily attaches to your pocket, belt, or bag. It needs to be made of strong material, or it could easily snap off. There will likely be other clipping options such as key-rings, carabiners, and paracords.


The Best Ways to Use a Tactical Pen

Before discussing specific options currently on the market, let’s go over the best way to use a tactical pen. It is not as clear-cut as “grab knife, then stab with knife”. It is a small, delicate weapon and there are multiple schools of thought on the best way to use the device.

Reverse Grip

This is when the thumb caps the base of the knife, while the tip extends from the pinky side of the hand. Doing, this creates a lot of surface area and a very strong grip. Plus, if you clip the pen inside your shirt, you can very quickly grab it and be ready to defend yourself.


This technique gets its name from its continual downward stroke. When this is repeated it looks like a turning wheel. Place the knife in the ball of your hand and strike downward like hammering nail in a fluid, repeated motion

Cycling is good to use when attacked in hand-to-hand combat. Suck your opponent in and use this motion around the deltoid area.

Strike Out

Strike Out is a technique based on parrying. First, keep the pen close to the middle of your chest with the tip pointed outward. Then, parry an attack and quickly push the weapon in a thrusting motion. Often this is used to target sensitive areas such as the eyes. Make sure to only use this technique when you absolutely need to do lethal damage to save your life.

Tactical Pens Recommendations

Below is a list of quality tactical pens that are currently on the market.



This pen is made of extremely durable aircraft aluminum. Plus, it has a more than functional glass breaker in case you’re trapped in a sinking car, for instance. Ink can be replaced with standard pen refills.

There are a few downsides to this model. For one, the grip is not great except when holding it in the clenched fist position. Look for a different option if you prefer to hold hand weapons a different way.

Also, the tip is the same model made by the Azan Company. They both come from the same manufacturing house in Asia. This model runs about $5-10 more expensive than the Azan model because it bares the UZI UZI name.

Smith Wesson SWPENMPBK

Smith & Wesson SWPENMPBK

This is the perfect size to fit into a shirt pocket. It is solidly constructed, well balanced, and easy to write with. Its tip is not overly powerful, which can actually be an asset. It will deliver a very painful blow without causing lethal harm. The black finish also makes this model easy to conceal.

One thing that makes it difficult to conceal is the name “Smith and Wesson” is overly large. Obviously, this gives the model away that it is some sort of weapon. Before purchasing this item, make sure to decide if you can hide this label from site or scratch it off. In any case, never take it through a security checkpoint.

Aviation Aluminum Self Defense Tactical Pen Glass Breaker Tool Multifuction

The Aviation Aluminum is designed to easily hook onto backpacks, bags, and notebooks. Like the UZI model above, it can break glass, but this one comes at a fraction of the price.

The only downside to this model is it is a bit larger than the average pen. It is a no thrills, pretty cheap option that will get the job done as both a writing tool and a weapon.

Under Control Tactical Pen

As you can tell from the title, this pen can do a lot of different jobs. Plus, its rugged aluminum makes it durable and its size makes it easy to conceal. Under Control designed this pen to be everything its competitors lacked and their customer service is excellent.

The only downside that can be found on this model is the writing utensil isn’t overly high quality, but it works well. That’s a bit of nit picking. This model has everything and is solidly put together.

Gerber Impromptu

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

The Gerber Impromptu was designed with the help of law enforcement and has a lot of nice features. It comes with a “Rite in the Rain” ballpoint pen, meaning it can write when damp. Plus, it has a button mechanism to turn it into a ballpoint and a glass breaker.

The only downside is that it is a bit hefty. However, this shouldn’t be much of a problem unless you are specifically looking for an extremely lightweight option. The weapon and pen are both above average and will undoubtedly get the job done. This model has been used with no issues by guards in maximum-security prisons. It’s a great choice.

Smith and Wesson

Smith and Wesson SWPENMP2BK M and P 2nd Generation

This model has a great grip. Its wavy design makes it work for both the pen and knife function. The pocket grip is also extremely strong and won’t break off. Plus, it’s waterproof. Overall this Smith and Wesson is a great purchase.

The only downside is that it looks a bit strange. Often when going through a security check, it has raised a few questions. Don’t try the TSA with this item. Chances are you can get through with no problem, but don’t take the risk.

Columbia River Knife

Columbia River Knife and Tool TPENWK Williams

Army Officer and martial arts instructor James Williams designed the Columbia River Knife. The pen is perhaps the best looking, most stealthy on the market. No one would ever think its anything other than a fancy writing tool. Plus, it’s waterproof and extremely well made.

The only possible downside is its made oversees, making it pretty expensive to purchase.  Also, it doesn’t have some the extra bells and whistles the other pens have.

C-Pioneer tactical pen

Multifunction Aircraft Aluminum Defender Tactical Pen

This pen is extremely durable. It’s lightweight aircraft aluminum ensures that it won’t break on you. Plus, it has a glass breaker on the tip. The all black design makes it hard to decode its secondary function as a weapon.

The main selling point on this option is its price. It’ll get the job done and is only 14 dollars. With other options running up 130 dollars, this is great for those surviving on a budget.


UZI UZI­TACPEN2­BK Defender Aircraft Aluminum

Like many of the great choices above, this design is durable, comes with a glass breaker, solid grip, and is compatible with standard ink refills. What sets it apart is that it has all those features, plus a DNA collector for about ¼ of the price.

A big downside is it doesn’t look too much like a pen. It will definitely get a good looking at from security. Other than that, this is product is high quality.

Tactical pens are great secondary weapons and a feasible option for anyone who prefers not to carry a gun or who needs a concealed back-up to their gun. They are easy to conceal and carry. Look over the information above and find the right one for you and your family.


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