Tactical pens have been making headlines across the internet these past few months. Since 2016 and into 2019, tactical pen sales and defense gear has exploded across the internet.
What’s the big deal behind a tactical pen? What makes it superior to an ordinary pen? Can you really justify the cost of your tactical pen? Today, we’re explaining the most important things you need to know about tactical pens.
What is a tactical pen?
A tactical pen is a writing instrument with practical combat-oriented features. Typically, EDC tactical pens have a heavier weight than an ordinary pen. They’re also designed with superior durability often with anodized aluminum (aircraft aluminum), steel, or titanium . They’re built to withstand physical contact say, if you swing a tactical pen at an attacker’s head.
Essentially, a tactical pen is a small size (few inches), Kubotan-like object only weighing a few ounces, disguised as a pen for everyday carry. An ordinary, cheap pen is made from plastic with a flimsy cap. A tactical pen, like a Kubotan, is made from military grade hardened metal. While a Kubotan has finger grips, tactical pens are typically more discreet, and have rigid handles for superior grip.
One end of a tactical pen features the writing instrument typically, a ballpoint tip and cap. The other end of the pen features a hardened, rounded tip similar to the tip of a Kubotan.
Tactical Pen History: Where did they come from?
Tactical pens are typically traced back to a Japanese man named Soke Takayuki Kubota, who invented an EDC survival keychain weapon in the 1960s. He called the weapon a Kubotan. It was a pen-shaped object that could easily be placed onto a keychain to give you a discreet weapon in times of need. The Kubotan featured several finger grips along the cylinder along with a flat end at one side (the keychain side) and a tapered, dull point on the other. In the hands of the right user, the Kubotan could do serious damage.
Today, Kubotans are a popular discreet weapon carried by people around the world. You can easily fit it into a pocket with items like your phone or on your keychain. With a few minutes of impromptu research on YouTube, you can learn techniques that would incapacitate an attacker.
The modern tactical pen was inspired by the style and function of the Kubotan, with an added ink cartridge.
Why are tactical pens so popular?
Today, the internet is home to burgeoning survivalist communities. Survivalists are some of the biggest fans of tactical pens. However, tactical pens are also being purchased by anyone interested in self-defence – like those who live in rough neighbourhoods and the military.
These pens are also popular among those who need to frequently access controlled environments like airports. In certain situations, conventional weapons, like knives or even a Kubotan are not permitted.
The biggest reason why tactical pens and similar products are popular on the internet these days, however, is because they’re reasonably priced. Lower manufacturing costs, lower supply costs, and easy worldwide shipping have made it affordable for anyone to order a tough, machined tactical pen online with good reviews even for as little price as $20-$40.
What is the best tactical pen?
Even companies like Smith and Wesson are taking advantage of the hype and releasing military grade tactical gear. However, the Smith Wesson are not made with the highest grade aluminum. It is important to use anodized aluminum (aircraft aluminum) or titanium to keep things lightweight for everyday carry. That said, Smith Wesson do have a longstanding good reputation in the outdoor space, and the lower grade aluminum doesn't seem to bother consumers. There are better options out there for tactical gear, for instance, ABP has the highest grade aircraft aluminum available on the market. This makes it a better option than a brand like Smith Wesson. Another popular model design is the Gerber Impromptu tactical pen which comes with a steel pocket clip. The steel pocket is made somewhat cheaply with a small cap making the 'Impromptu' our least favourite alternative to carrying traditional knives. If you do wish to buy a sub-par, poorly made pen for cheap, you will most likely find it on Amazon.
ABP Tactical Ultimate Pen ($19.99)
ABP's flagship product has had incredible success since its launch in 2017. We have shipped over 10,000 units all over the US, and continue to get rave reviews from EDC enthusiasts nationwide. The 'Ultimate' employs a simple design, that is perfect for personal safety in the city or on campus.
Product features include:
- Aircraft aluminum body
- Reinforced steel tip
- Glass breaker
- DNA collector
- Choose color: black, pink, yellow, green, grey
Here's what customers are saying about the ABP Ultimate Pen:
"Got everything and all is good, thanks. Using it on duty as we speak. Best pen I have had in 33 years as a police officer!!!!!"
"I bought one of these. Great pen. Nice weight to it. I use the tip for all kinds of things. Opening boxes, breaking tape seals, tearing, marking wood, etc."
"I am quite favorably impressed with your order and shipping process. Very nice. I'm also pleased with my pen. It feels like it is nicely finished, it is smooth and functions as advertised."
"Got my pen thanks. They are nice and write nice. Wife loves the pink 1. She will be using it a lot she's a nurse."
"To be honest, your pen has most if not all the functions. So having the ability to be able to choose whatever ink cartridge they want will definitely make sells go thru the roof. I love your product."
"I got them today thanks they are bad ass looking pens. Will be getting more very soon. And that's the fastest I have ever got anything I ordered online to good work on your part."
ABP Survival Pen ($39.95)
This is ABP's most advanced offering and is geared more toward survival/military enthusiasts. It is an extremely effective multi-tool that can also be used in self defence situations. Perfect for hunters, hikers, kayakers, backpackers, fishermen, or anyone who works or enjoys recreation activities away from urban centres.
The ABP Survival Pen is made from high-quality military grade anodized aluminum , and contains a complete tool box hidden within its modern and sleek design.
Features of the ABP Survival Pen include:
- Bright LED Flashlight
- Hex wrench
- Saw blade
- Bottle opener
- Reinforced steel glass breaker tip
- Ball point pen
- Choose color: black, pink, yellow, green, grey
Our customers have this to say about the ABP Survival Pen:
"Liked my survival pen so much I got a black ultimate pen for my work uniform."
"Was delivered yesterday. Holy crap that little light on the pen is bright! Yet another great product guys! Thank you!!!!"
"That's the ultimate man pen....how f-ing cool is that.."
"The one I received is indeed a quality instrument. I am pleased with my purchase"
For all of these reasons, the search for tactical pens will likely only grow in popularity over the next few years!
Why do you need a tactical pen?
First and foremost a tactical pen is used for self-defence as an alternative to carrying knives. The pen is designed to be carried into situations where conventional weapons like knives – even a Kubotan – would not be ideal. It’s designed to penetrate and injure, to puncture and incapacitate.
You don’t need to be a martial arts master to use a tactical pen: when used by a skilled individual, a tactical pen is a dangerous – even deadly – weapon. However, when used by an untrained or lightly-trained individual, a tactical pen can still cause damage.
Of course, these aren’t just self defence tools. tactical pens can also be used as a lightweight window glass breaker tool. Some people keep them in the glove box of their vehicle for emergency situations, for example. Some even have DNA collection features!
While a tactical pen or tactical pencil looks like an ordinary pen and has an ink cartridge (or ink cartridges), it has a pointed titanium tip that is designed to be used as a weapon. Some tactical pens are also heavy enough to hit someone with or to break glass. Small, lightweight and easy to conceal, they are a popular choice for people who may need to defend themselves but do not care to carry a traditional weapon such as a gun or knives.
Is it legal to carry a tactical pen?
Yes absolutely! It is 100% legal in all US states so no need to worry. This is why so many Americans are turning to sturdy, self-defense survival gear to keep their mind at ease while travelling. There has been some controversy surrounding carrying the pens through airport security, but for now it remains completely legal. You can read more about tactical pen TSA regulations here.
Are tactical pens legal in California?
Yep as said before, tactical gear like the black ABP Ultimate Pen are completely legal in California. In fact, considering the firearm restrictions present in California, we strongly advise to carry an Ultimate Pen with you at all times when in urban areas like Los Angeles or Oakland, where in some areas, instances of mugging and general violent crimes are constantly on the rise year-over-year. Having such an efficient self-defence implement on your persons will bring you peace of mind while you jog with headphones, or even just walk from your car to apartment.
We will happily ship to any address provided, 24 hours a day. Just give us a phone call or shoot us an email for more information. You can find our phone number here.
How to use your tactical pen
If you carry a tactical pen, you should have a plan for using it if you are attacked. Your local martial arts organizations will have evening courses for self defence, and some even teach tactics that involve these tools. At the very least, a quick search on Youtube will return some videos outlining said techniques. There are several notable martial arts influencers that provide excellent training videos for free as a public service. While you search for a good set of training techniques that resonates with you, here is a list of quality tips that will help you get the most out of your tactical pen. That said, it is always going to be safer than using knives for self defence.
Surprise Your Attacker
Capitalize on the element of surprise. It’s unlikely that an attacker will expect you to pull out what looks like an ordinary pen and begin stabbing or bludgeoning them with it. You can use this to your advantage by quickly going on the offensive before your assailant has the time to process what is happening. Often, this is enough to thwart an attempt and cause the would be attacker to retreat.
Know Where on the Body to Strike
You can strike with a tactical pen on any part of the body, but unlike knives, strikes in certain areas are more effective than others. On the head, look for an opportunity to strike the eyes, ears, nose and throat. On the upper body, strike the base of the neck, the armpit, the sternum or the ribs. If you can strike the hands, aim for the knuckles or the back of the hand. A strike to the solar plexus is very effective. Lower body strikes that are particularly effective include the groin, the knee and the thigh.
If you use the tactical pen as a bludgeon, any sensitive area will be affected. Knees, groins, and even the insteps of feet are particularly sensitive to being struck with a blunt object. Striking these areas repeatedly and with as much force as you can muster will have the most impact.
Remember that you want to subdue your assailant to the point where they cannot continue to attack you or follow you. Once you get them to that point, run and get help.
Strike early and often. Use repeated strikes, delivered quickly and with as much force as you can generate. This is no time to hesitate or to second guess yourself. Be as aggressive as you can. Your attacker may be surprised that you are fighting back, and this will work in your favor, giving you those few extra seconds that can make the difference between getting hurt and getting away.
Keep going until you can get away from the person who is attacking you. While you may stun an assailant with the first strike of your tactical pen, you may need to strike several more times. You want to get to the point where either your attacker leaves because they know they will be unable to subdue you without further risk to themselves, or you can escape.
Hang on To Your Pen
A tactical pen has an advantage over some other weapons of survival in that it is difficult for it to be used against the person wielding it. Other weapons such as black pepper spray, can be easily turned on you as you try to use them against an attacker. The only time a tactical pen could be used against you is if you drop it and it is picked up by your assailant, so be very careful not to drop your pen. Hold on, as if your life depends on it... Because it might.
Breaking Glass to Escape
A tactical pen can also be used to break glass or other objects. Some tactical pens are made of heavyweight stainless steel, making them useful for breaking windows so that you can escape. If you are trapped in a room and need to break a window to get out, your tactical pen may provide enough force to do that. If you are in a car that has become submerged in water, you can break a glass window in the car through which you can escape, or which will equalize the pressure, allowing you to open the car door and escape avoiding the broken window glass altogether.
You may also be able to escape from restraints such as duct tape or zip ties using your tactical pen or even just the cap. If you can maneuver sufficiently to be able to cut the restraints, your pen’s pointed tip will be a handy way to cut or puncture whatever it is that is binding you.
Remember That It Is a Weapon
When you use your tactical pen, keep in mind that it is a weapon. It can wound and, in some cases, kill. If you use it as a weapon, you could be held responsible in the same way you would if you used another type of weapon such as a knife or a gun. If you get into a situation in which you have to use your tactical pen, even in survival, remember that you could be charged. It would be presumed that you knew it was a weapon when you purchased it.
It Can Be Used in Extreme Conditions
Because of the material they are made from, which is usually black aluminum, titanium or stainless steel, tactical pens can be used in extreme temperatures. Some pens can be used in temperatures as low as 25 degrees below zero, or as high as 200 or more degrees and the pen or ink cartridge won't run or freeze. This is often an issue with traditional self defence implements that weren't designed with extreme conditions in mind.
It’s Still a Pen
Of course, your tactical pen can always be used as a pen to write as well as a world-class defender. Most tactical pens can be refilled with readily available ink cartridges, so you’ll never run out of ink. In fact, using your tactical pen as your everyday pen is a good way to make sure that you’re never without it, should you need it for survival as well.
Buying a tactical pen is a good first step in defending yourself if you are ever attacked. Having a plan in case you ever need to use it will help ensure that it is as effective as it can be.