Reviews

Best Tactical Pens: Be Prepared to Defend Yourself

Keep the last line of defense with these top three tactical pens

Entering our 7th season of /DRIVE on NBC Sports, and with millions of YouTube and Facebook followers, The Drive is a leading authority of all things automotive.

The Drive on NBCThe Drive on YouTubeThe Drive on Facebook

  • Product Network

    14 Products

  • Clock

    11 Hours

  • Reviews

    10 Reviews

How We Decided

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.

PUBLISHED ON October 24, 2019

Tactical pens are an essential part of EDC gear. They go way beyond writing instruments suitable for daily tasks. Tactical pens are multipurpose tools designed for self-defense. Due to their heavy-duty construction, they transform into a weapon you can use in just about any occasion. When you run out of other means to defend yourself in a dangerous situation, this little item proves to be a reliable defense instrument. To help you find the best one for your needs, we put together the following guide.

  • Best Overall
    TakeFlight Tactical Pen
    Summary
    Summary
    If you need a multi-tool you can use as a weapon and a writing pen, we recommend TakeFlight. It's a self-defense tool with an integrated glass breaker. Used by many professionals such as military pilots, Navy SEALs, and others. Excellent addition to your tactical gear.
    Pros
    Pros
    The pen is made of aircraft-grade aluminum for more strength and durability. It's ideal for demanding conditions and daily use. It writes smoothly and works well in any weather. Compact and lightweight. Comfortable grip. Carbide tip and LED flashlight. One-year warranty.
    Cons
    Cons
    Difficult to take quick notes with it. Heavier than regular pens, so it requires more effort when writing. Pricey.
  • Best Value
    The Atomic Bear SWAT Tactical Pen
    Summary
    Summary
    This is a handy survival tool you can use for a wide range of situations. It's a self-defense weapon, a writing pen, and a glass breaker. The compact design allows for easy use. Ideal for both professionals and civilians. A lot of extra features, such as a matte black finish.
    Pros
    Pros
    A classy writing utensil built to last. Made of anti-rust aircraft aluminum. The anti-slip surface ensures a firm and secure grip. Easily switches between self-defense and writing tool. Nylon belt sheath and an extra ink cartridge included in the package. Simple refills. Lifetime warranty.
    Cons
    Cons
    The aluminum body feels heavy when writing. The cap tends to loosen rather quickly. It falls off when turned upside down.
  • Honorable Mention
    Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
    Summary
    Summary
    Gerber Impromptu is an excellent option for those who need a heavy-duty tactical pen. It's one of those instruments that can withstand quite a lot of abuse and provides smooth performance. A ballpoint pen and a self-defense tool with a glass breaker tip.
    Pros
    Pros
    Machined steel body ensures durability. Stainless steel pocket clip for easy carrying. Compact and portable. Easy to use and maneuver. Ergonomic design for a secure grip. Impact-resistant and ideal for outdoor use. The ink cartridge works in any weather conditions, both dry and wet. Refillable.
    Cons
    Cons
    The push-button mechanism tends to stick now and then. The pocket clip is not very strong. Expensive.

Why Trust Us


All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

Learn more

Tips

  • Although you don't need to know martial arts to use a survival pen, you should still do your research. Practice some hits with the pen and watch videos on breaking glass. You want to know how and where to strike in case of an emergency. 
  • Make sure to hold a tactical pen properly. You should use what is called an icepick grip (reverse grip), a technique used in close range knife-fighting. This way, you'll have more control over the tool and cause more damage. 
  • For a self-defense situation, bluffing is the best idea. You should avoid engaging in a fight if you can. Some tactical pens look intimidating. If you show a glimpse of the weapon to attackers, they might give up for an easier target. Calculate the odds in every situation, because bluffing goes both ways. 
  • A survival pen has a writing end that comes handy in daily and life-threatening situations. Make sure to pick a durable one for your tactical gear. It should have a quality pen cartridge that won't stop writing in critical moments. 

FAQs

Q: What is a tactical pen? 

A: Tactical pens are part of everyday carry gear, suitable for writing and self-defense purposes, as well as survival experiences. A tactical pen is a reliable instrument you can use to defend yourself from attackers when you're out of other weapons. It's more durable than a regular pen, with a high-quality ink cartridge that can work in any weather, including rain. 

Q: Why should I use one?

A: Most people opt for self-defense pens because of their size. They come in handy in situations where you can't bring a handgun, knife, or other weapons with you. Also, pens usually don't cause lethal damage, which is what most people want to avoid when confronting attackers.  

Q: Are tactical pens allowed on planes?

A: No, because they are perceived as weapons that can be dangerous to others. TSA will confiscate your tactical pen, and you could be issued a criminal summons. 

Final Thoughts

The TakeFlight Tactical Pen is an excellent option for those who need a multipurpose tool that can withstand a lot of abuse and weather threats. 

For an inexpensive option, take a look at The Atomic Bear SWAT Tactical Pen, a lighter version that also proves to be very useful.