The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Preview – A Tactical Pen Buyer’s Guide

Weaponized Writing

A tactical pen might not be as effective as a firearm or as intimidating as a knife, but it can certainly be the most ninja of your everyday carry (EDC) options. If you’ve read the story in the preceding pages, you know a weaponized writing instrument can do damage to a bad guy yet still be carried in most settings without anyone batting an eyelash.

But not all models are created equal. Here are some attributes to consider when shopping for a tactical pen:

Grip: The pen has to feel natural in hand. If it’s uncomfortable when you’re handwriting, imagine how it’ll feel when striking a mugger.

Clip: A strong pocket clip that won’t bend (let alone snap off) is vital to secure carry and quick draws when the feces start to hit the fan.

Design: Capped or clicky? The former requires you to pull or twist a cap while the latter uses a pushbutton to activate the retractable pen. Each one has its pros and cons.

Materials: The plastic in your Bic won’t cut it. Look for a pen made of strong, durable, lightweight components (think aluminum, titanium, etc.).

Aesthetics: It’s more than just selecting the coolest-looking model. An innocuous-looking pen won’t draw unwanted attention or get confiscated at the airport.

Ink: Don’t forget this tool’s original mission: writing. If you can’t sign a credit card receipt without the ink skipping, leaking, or running dry, your pen is nothing more than a tactical pocket stick. Also look for a model that lets you easily replace the ink cartridge.

With these factors in mind, we’ve assembled some of the latest tactical pens available on the market. They run the gamut, from reasonably priced models that you can thrash to superbly engineered tools that bring peace of mind.

Preview   A Tactical Pen Buyer’s Guide photo

Make: Benchmade Knife Company
Model: 1101-1
Length: 5.38 inches
Material: Aluminum body, stainless-steel clip
MSRP: $135
URL: www.benchmade.com

Pros: The U.S.-made 1101-1 is tough as nails and features knurling patterns and a flat top that makes it ideal for a reverse grip. The carbide tip can break glass. Plus, the Fisher ink cartridge provides smooth writing even in the harshest conditions, from freezing to zero gravity.

Cons: The cap doesn’t sit still once closed; it can rotate while connected to the body, which allows for too much “play” in your grip. This is analogous to an ill-fitting AR pistol grip that rattles. Also, it’s pricey and looks like a striking tool.

Preview   A Tactical Pen Buyer’s Guide photo

Make: CampCo
Model: UZI Tactical Defender Pen #3
Length: 6.13 inches
Material: Aluminum
MSRP: $20
URL: www.uzi.com

Pros: If your wallet’s a bit thin, but you still want a backup tool, this model is surprisingly sturdy and provides a solid standard grip. It even comes with a built-in cuff key.

Cons: It’s not very discreet looking, especially thanks to the spikey crown known as the “DNA Catcher” — which not only negates a reverse or index-finger grip, but can scratch you as you reach into your pocket if you don’t have (or lost) the rubber cover.

Preview   A Tactical Pen Buyer’s Guide photo

Make: Tuff-Writer
Model: Precision Press Series
Length: 6 inches
Material: 6061-T6 aluminum body, cold-pressed spring steel clip
MSRP: $96
URL: www.tuffwriter.com

Pros: One of the best in this bunch, thanks to its low-profile aesthetics (a weapon hidden in plain sight), durable materials (dishes a pounding and takes ’em), and long, ergonomic body (easy to grasp regardless of grip style). It sits high in the pocket, allowing for quick draws. Also comes in black, green, pink, and raw — all of them with excellent Fisher ink cartridges. Made in the United States.

Cons: Aside from the price tag, not much.

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