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When a Pen is More Than a Pen

If it looks like a pen and writes like a pen, it must be a pen, right? Not if it’s a tactical pen. A tactical pen can be used as a regular pen, to write everything from love notes to to-do lists to the Great American Novel. But it can also be used to defend yourself.

A tactical pen typically has a sharp point built into it, in addition to the pen nib. Some tactical pens are also significantly heavier than a typical pen, making them a useful weapon for inflicting blunt force trauma. It can be used in a similar manner to a Kubotan, with the extra advantage of the sharp point which can be used to stab or cut an assailant.

Tactical pens may be made of aluminum or stainless steel. They are typically 5.25” to 6” long, and often have a barrel which is knurled or grooved to make it easier to hold. They may have a removable cap or a retractable tip that you ‘click’ in or out.

Tactical pens can be used as defensive weapons and have several advantages over other weapons.

  • A tactical pen does not look like a weapon. This gives you the critical element of surprise against an attacker. When you pull out your tactical pen, your attacker will not expect that you will be able to wound him. While typical pens have been used for self-defense when there is no other tool available, the tactical pen is far more effective. An attacker will not expect to be stabbed or bludgeoned with a pen.
  • It is more difficult to turn a tactical pen on the user than it is with some other self-defense weapons. Pepper spray, for example, can easily be turned on you by your attacker. An attacker would have to wrest the tactical pen from your hand to use it to wound you.
  • A tactical pen is small – the same size as an average pen. It fits in your pocket, and you can carry it in your hand if you’re walking in an unsafe area. It is also useful in that you can use it as your favorite pen for jotting notes and making lists.
  • The size of the tactical pen also gives you an advantage if you are attacked in a small area, such as a stairway or an elevator. Pulling the pen out of your pocket and striking an attacker with it does not require a lot of space. Since it has a sharp point, you don’t have to strike with a lot of force to wound your assailant.
  • You can carry a tactical pen in situations where you cannot carry a gun or a knife. Since tactical pens look like a typical pen whose only function is to write, they are rarely confiscated at safety checkpoints.
  • In addition to wounding your attacker by bludgeoning or stabbing them, the tactical pen can be used to break glass or escape from restraints such as duct tape. In a capture situation, the tactical pen can be very useful as it gives you additional options to escape your captor. If you are in a situation where you need to break a window to escape, your tactical pen will get you out.
  • A tactical pen can write in extreme conditions, such as severe heat or cold so that it can be used as a pen in almost any circumstance.



When using a tactical pen, there are several things to keep in mind.

The element of surprise is very useful, but it is also short-lived. Since you have surprise on your side for only a short period, be sure to use it to its fullest advantage. Strike your assailant quickly and repeatedly, aiming for sensitive areas like the eyes, throat or groin. Rapid thrusts in the same area are particularly effective.

You want to surprise your attacker and show them that you will fight back in the hopes that it will discourage them from continuing the attack. The secondary motive is to wound them sufficiently that they cannot continue to attack you, and you can escape. In either scenario, the objective should be for you to get away from the attacker and get to a safe place.

Unless you are trained in the use of weapons, including the tactical pen, you should use the pen as a means to escape from your attacker. Whether your surprise your assailant or wound them enough to disable them, as soon as they are no longer able to attack, run to a safe place and call authorities.

While the tactical pen is designed to inflict wounds, it can do serious damage and even kill. For this reason, it is important to use the pen only in self-defense and only to the degree that is necessary to escape to safety.

A tactical pen is considered a weapon, even though it can also be used as a writing implement. If you use it to attack someone, whether provoked or not, you would be subject to the same laws and punishments that would be accorded to someone who did the same thing with another type of weapon. If you purchase a tactical pen, it would be assumed that you were aware that it was a weapon and that you intended to use it as such. This could be important if you were ever to get into a situation where you needed to use self-defense as a strategy to defend yourself in court.

Most tactical pens use a pressurized ink cartridge, which can be replaced when it runs out. This will allow you to use your tactical pen for writing for many, many years to come.

The tactical pen is a very handy tool to have if you are sometimes in situations where it may become necessary to defend yourself. The rest of the time, it may become your favorite pen for making lists and signing checks. Perhaps the pen truly is mightier than the sword, particularly if it’s a tactical pen.

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