March 29

The Ultimate Guide To Tactical Pens


I am sure you will agree, the world is a dangerous place.

And for that reason we need to take every advantage to keep ourselves safe, the problem however is that the law is not on our side. 

Criminals carry weapons all the time and we don't have that option...or do we?

It turns out that we can carry something that has a wide range of uses and yes even as a self-defence tool.

And that tool is known as a Tactical Pen and in this article we are going to tell you everything you need to know about this super cool gadget that could save your life.


Let's do this. 

What Is a Tactical Pen?

When it comes to everyday carry, there are a few pieces of gear every person should pack. Typically, that includes a wallet, a watch, a folding knife and a pen of some kind.

Certainly, there are other things that can be included; cell phones, a pocket notebook, or even a multi-tool, but those four gear types are the foundation of a solid ECD(everyday carry) load out.

It’s important to note that out of those four items, you should get true multi-functionality out of your ECD loadout.

And this means that all your gear should be able to function outside of its primary design.

That multi-functionality is especially important with a tactical pen.

The “tactical” part of the pen’s name does reveal one of it's more ingenious purposes – it can be used as a self-defence weapon.

You can go anywhere and use your pen to sign checks, receipts and fill out forms while no one suspects that you have a potential weapon on you.

Tactical pens often go by other names such as “survival pen or “tac pen.” for those in the know tactical pens are hidden “Kubotan Sticks.”

Kubotan sticks were developed by Gosoku-Ryu Karate founder, Takayuki Kubota as a modernized version of Yawara sticks carried by Japanese Buddhist monks for self-defense purposes.

Kubota was commissioned by then State-Senator and former Chief-of-Police of the Los Angeles Police Department Edward Davis, to develop a compliance weapon for female police officers that could be used in non-lethal control of dangerous suspects.

They developed a reputation as an extremely effective tool in applying painful pressure point and attacking soft tissue targets and.

As they grew in popularity, they were transformed into hybrid flashlights that could illuminate low visibility targets and serve as an effective close quarter weapon. In short, they are an indispensable part of your ECD load.

How To Use A Tactical Pen For Self-Defense

On a day-to-day level, hopefully writing checks, signing receipts, making notes and filling out random paperwork are the core uses of your tactical pen. 

It's core day to day purpose is that of being a to write things.

But for self-defense purposes the tactical pen comes into its own and in this movie clip we can see Jason Bourne played by Matt Damon showing how a normal pen can be used for self-defense

As a self-defense weapon, the tactical pen has one enormous advantage over other weapons.

It’s practically invisible

Your attacker, especially an armed attacker who might not even realize you’re holding a weapon of your own, might be in for a rude surprise.

If you properly attach a tactical pen to an easily accessible access point, you can have your weapon out and causing damage before your attacker even realizes what’s happening.

There is a ton of material to look for on how to train with tactical pens, you can find videos on Youtube under tactical pen self defense or Kubata self-defense.

But when it comes to using a Pen, be it a normal pen or a tactical pen here are my top tips.

Target Areas For A Tactical Pen

tactical pen attack points

Although you can attack anywhere on the body with a pen, the vulnerable spots will be the eyes, hands, bicep, groin and the throat.

A jab with the pen into the bicep will cause pain and discomfort and can be used as a block to a strike.

A stab into the hand will do the same. The other areas of the body stated are quite self explanatory, they will hurt and cause potentially life changing or ending injuries if you deliver the blow with force. 

How To Hold Your Tactical Pen In Self-Defense

The best way to hold your pen in self-defense situations is to hold in a stabbing motion what will call an ice pick grip.

Think of the scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta has to inject Uma Thurman with adrenaline, almost all your of your motion will be used this way.

The video below is a superb reference point.

Tactical Pen Buying Strategies

1 – Don’t Buy a Cheap Pen 

We’ll discuss what constitutes a good pen but plan to spend at least 40$ on a pen that is made of the right material, has a non-slip grip, a steel point edge, and a proper attachment. You don’t want to figure out that you bought the wrong pen when you’re trying to jam the business end of your weapon into a mugger’s pressure points.

2 – Always attack the soft targets.

Eyes, ears, throat, armpit, arm underbelly, neck, genitals or whatever soft tissue is nearby. Some pens can damage bone. Your best attack is to poke, twist, puncture, slash and stab the nearest soft tissue and watch your mugger rethink his life’s choices.

3 – Proactive Situation 

If you see the attacker coming and you plan to get him before he gets you, be proactive. Use an icepick grip in your rear, power hand and conceal you weapon from your attacker. It won’t register right away

4 – Reactive Situation

If an attacker catches you off guard, get your pen as quickly as possible from your access point and start gouging. Those soft targets will cause serious damage

5 – Be Aware of Your Environment

So, you’ve defended yourself well with your pen. Great! Make sure he doesn’t have any buddies who want to jump in on the action and don’t become so focused at the attacker at hand that you miss another one you would have otherwise noticed. Being assaulted by an armed assailant can be a terrifying experience for even trained fighters. Don’t lose your cool and forget that there might be more than one attacker. As oon as you’ve resolved the immediate threat get out of there as quickly as possible.

Surprising Tactical Pen Benefits

The non-writing end of a pen is a hardened tip. Usually the pen itself is made of a powerful metal alloy strong enough to use in aerospace construction. This is the weapon end.

Although the tactical pen is an ideal weapon, it is extremely useful in accidents. A heavy pen made from titanium alloy can shatter glass easily. In case of a car accident, a tactical pen can easily break a windshield in a crashed car and in adverse conditions.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to smash your way out of a desperate car crash, but if you’re ever in a car that’s about to sink to the bottom of the river, you’ll be glad that you have your tactical pen to smash the windshield and get you out of there!

What Features Should I look For in a Tactical Pen?

Despite the deceptive simplicity and rugged versatility of a tactical flashlight; there are varying degrees of efficiency and material construction and some are simply better than others. You shouldn’t think that you a .99 cent Bic pen will be as efficient as an aluminium alloy tactical flashlight so let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of a high-quality tactical flashlight.


While plastic varieties do exist, you are better off investing in aircraft-grade aluminium or tensile-tough titanium. Both metals are intensely tough under pressure and can carry out their functions as a pen, a flashlight and will not break when used as a self-defense weapon.

Never accept a cheap substitute for high-grade titanium or aluminium. If your life depends on it, you don’t want a cheaper model based on softer, fragile plastics breaking off at the worst possible


Grip is often overlooked. That’s a very dangerous think to not consider when any conflict or dangerous situation can crop up in adverse weather conditions. You mugger might not care if it’s raining out and it’s hard to get a grip on your weapon

The grip must have a knurled, non-abrasive quality or it will be difficult to hold onto, especially under pressure. Quality pens will not only look good, but in terms of functionality, their tips will be appropriately durable and most importantly, they will fit into your hand effortlessly.

Considering the function of the pen is to go up against sturdy objects from bone to glass, the grip should remain sturdy in your hand upon impact with no risk of losing power or slipping out.

Attachment Clip

Consider how easily most pens are lost. If your tac pen is a perfect fit in every possible way you want to make sure it’s there when you need it. When you choose your pen please remember that the attachment clip is as essential as the tip, construction, grip or any other piece of the whole puzzle.

Ideally, the attachment tool should be equipped for easy access to jump into action.

Attackers won’t conveniently let you know they have bad intentions and if you need to smash a window out the last thing you want is your tactical flashlight slightly out of reach.

You have several options that either come with the pen or can be purchased separately. This could be with a keyring, paracord or carabiner–style attachment. Make sure the attachment clip allows easy access from your pocket, backpack, purse or anyplace else that you might wear it.


As amazing as some tactical pens can be, their aesthetics make a difference. All things being equal, you might want an elaborate, militarized looking tactical pen strapped by carabiner onto your waistband.

No one can deny that some pens just flat-out look cool.

Some people will find that defeats the purpose

If you want to have a trusty weapon and tool that serves to protect you, you might not want to draw a lot of attention to it. Once you’re sure that you’ve chosen a formidable tactical pen, you’ll want to think about its aesthetics.

Despite a tactical pen being a powerful weapon in your person arsenal, it doesn’t necessarily need to loo that way. Remember, if you can’t bring your tac pen someplace with security it won’t be there for you when you need it.

If you get assaulted and your ornate, titanium alloy is being held by security while a mugger draws a weapon on you, then it’s not going help you much.

When choosing a tactical pen, make sure you check all the boxes for functionality. Make sure that along with function, your tactical pen doesn’t look like a weapon. After all, if you can’t carry it with you, you’re no better off than carrying a cheap, plastic Bic pen that will snap like a toothpick at the first sign of trouble.

Where can I Buy a Tactical Pen? Which One is Right For me?

Which pen is right for you is highly individualized.. Some are flashier. Some have more accessories, and some are just bare-boned and efficient multi-tool weapons. If you work in law enforcement, some even come with handcuff holders or a DNA cup for later forensic analysis. Frankly, some are just practical and absolutely stunningly cool.

Here are a few suggestions:

1. Fisher Space Pen

The Fisher Space pen is a solid introduction into the tactical pen market. With the ability to write under water and a strong metal body this pen will get a lot of use as a pen in your daily life.

2.Gudelaa Handmade Hexagonal Shaped Solid Brass Tactical Pen

The Gudelaa pen is an unusual hexagon design which makes sure it won't roll off a desk anytime soon, this is a solid tool for anyone looking for a tactical pen.

3. Free Tactical Pen

This free tactical pen off for USA based residents only is quite possibly your best route into the market. Check it out.

4.Atomic Bear Self Defense Pen

If self-defense is important to you, you won’t want to miss out on this pen. 

It’s made from military grade aluminum and comes with its own sheath. Its powerful aluminum construction means that it should be in your glove box and it still writes like a luxury pen.

5. Smith and Wesson Tactical Pull Pen for Outdoor Camping and Everyday Carry

Smith and Wesson is a prestigious gun and knife manufacturer, but they’ve outdone themselves with this T6061 aircraft aluminum tactical pen with anti-oxidative properties. It’s sleek, elegant, discrete and will protect you and serve you in the outdoors as well

6. Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

Consistently ranked as one of the top tactical pens manufactured in 2018, tis pen is constructed with direct input from law enforcement. It features a machined steel construction leaving it robust enough to serve as a self-defense weapon and still write in any weather conditions.

7. Nitecore NTP10 Tactical Pen

A pen that not only defends you but is a technological marvel as well. It features a window-breaking, bone puncturing tungsten tip and can write in any conditions including outer space. If you plan on not just defending yourself but orbiting the moon, this is the pen you want to jot notes in your diary with.

8. Uzi Defender Tactical Pen with Glass Breaker

This pen has seen action with law enforcement, secret service and special forces. It’s made from aerospace grade aluminium and comes complete with its own handcuff key.

Are Tactical Pens Legal?

This is an international blog so we can't give individual advice for legal reasons.

In short in some countries carrying a tactical pen is legal and in others it isn't. You need to review the laws of the country you reside in or are travelling to  for guidance. 

Prior to writing this article I discussed the legality of the tactical pen in the UK and our views were mixed.

The law in the UK for example refers to offensive weapons. Generally speaking it is against UK law to posses a weapon that is made, used, intended or adapted to cause harm to another person.

And it is here that a pen lies very much in the grey area of the law. For example a sturdy tactical pen would be a great pen for anyone who works in a wide range of situations, after all nothing is worse than a plastic pen breaking in your pocket and leaking ink. 

And the primary purpose of a pen is of course to write things on paper.

But if you buy a tactical pen for the purpose of carrying it on the streets to defend yourself you would 'in theory' be committing an offence.

This is due to your intent, you are intending to use this as a weapon.

But if you were buying a tactical pen for all the benefits of having a study, waterproof pen and then used it to defend yourself when attacked, you could lawfully use it using 'instant arming laws'.

However, let's say that you purchased on and were stopped in the street and arrested for possession of an offensive weapon, Police investigating any offence could look at your internet search history online and if you had been viewing YouTube videos that showcase the use of tactical pens for self-defence and tutorials, well that would evidence of 'intent'. is ridiculously complicated.

But if you click on most Amazon listing, the companies sell them never mention them as tactical pens for use in self-defense.

For this reason we can't give clear advice on the possession of a tactical pen, albeit you can legally buy them in the UK but that doesn't say much because you can buy large knives too!

So if you want a tactical pen, check the laws of your country of the location you are travelling to but ultimately you might be committing an offence by having one in your possession in many different countries.

Of note, tactical umbrellas have no also become a popular which is basically a really sturdy umbrella. 

(EDITORS VIEW: Legally speaking regarding UK law (and this is not legal advice), the enhancing of a normal object for the purpose of self-defence purposes would be an offence, because the object is MADE to be a weapon and you knew this when you purchased this, your goal was to use it as a weapon. 

But this would also apply to many other everyday items that you could use as a weapon, for example a torch. Most of these are now sturdy and have metal bodies, so picking a torch for the purpose of self-defence could also be considered an offence. 

Of course, a lot of this is pure speculation because to my knowledge a tactical pen case has never been heard in UK courts.)


So there you have it, the complete guide to the tactical pen.

So let's go over what we have covered.

We have discussed what a tactical pen is and how to use one, the various things you need to consider when buying one and even gone over the legality.

So, now this is your turn to comment. Do you own a tactical pen or would you like to?

Comment below and let us know.


You may also like

The Best Martial Artists of All Time

The Best Martial Artists of All Time

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now (and get our free book)

And yes, we will email you about self-defence...a lot, so please don't subscribe if you don't want that.