Best Tactical Pen Reviews and Buying Guide (June 2019)

The rising need for self-defense in the modern world has lead to an increase in the carrying and use of items such as pepper spray and knives. However, the attention of many people in purchasing obvious weapons such as these has lead to the creation and growing popularity of tactical pens. Tactical pens are pens with an ordinary appearance that are built with the ability to double as a weapon, making them prime candidates for concealable self-defense weapons. These can be carried as part of your everyday activities or even when traveling abroad.

There are a wide variety of tactical pens available on the market, many with various kinds of unique features. With that being said, the quality and effectiveness of these products can vary, with some being more effective as self-defense weapons. For those of you intending on purchasing a tactical pen, there are a few things you need to understand and be aware of before making your purchase.

Tactical Pen is new products that were created to meet the modern desire for self-defense. This is especially true for those living in larger metropolitan areas with high crime rates. Additionally, many people are uncomfortable carrying a knife due to simple nature and the potential harm that they can bring. Ultimately, Tactical Pens are a great way to prepare yourself for self-defense without alerting the people around you. Just make sure to practice using them before you decide to take one out with you and do your research on any potential legal issues in your area.​

Primary Uses of the Tactical Pen

One of the first things to decide when purchasing a tactical pen is the primary way you are going to use it. If you are looking for a quality writing instrument in addition to a self-defense tool, then you need to look for pens that are adequately designed for this purpose. Many tactical pens are large and industrial looking, which generally equates to great self-defense potential but leaves them lacking when it comes to writing ability. The best thing to do before you purchase a tactical pen is to try it out and see how it feels, if possible.

Amazon's Choice

  • Writes at any angle
  • Precision assembled
  • Hand tested
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Includes removable clip

Premium Pack

  • Tactical LED Flashlight
  • Heavy Duty Multi Tool
  • Solid Grip
  • NO weak impact end
  • Never Get Trapped

The larger pens can be quite heavy and get tiresome when using them to write for long periods of time. Additionally, the grips on them are usually made with self-defense in mind, which does not always equate to the comfortable writing experience. One example of a great tactical pen for both self-defense and writing purposes is the Columbia River Knife and Tool TPENAKS Elishewitz Tao Pen Tactical Pen, which features a design specialized for NASA that utilizes pressurized cartridges. These pressurized cartridges are specially designed to ensure that the pen is effective in freezing, boiling, upside down and underwater conditions. Take a look at our product review of this tactical pen for more information.​

Important Tactical Pen Characteristics to Look For…

One of the first things to decide when purchasing a tactical pen is the primary way you are going to use it. If you are looking for a quality writing instrument in addition to a self-defense tool, then you need to look for pens that are adequately designed for this purpose. Many tactical pens are large and industrial looking, which generally equates to great self-defense potential but leaves them lacking when it comes to writing ability. The best thing to do before you purchase a tactical pen is to try it out and see how it feels, if possible.

Once you have decided on the kind of pen you want, there are a few other factors that you need to keep in mind when making your purchase. One of these factors is the discreteness of your tactical pen. Many people seek to purchase tactical pens because they do not look like weapons and can be easily carried around without alerting those around you to the fact that you are carrying a weapon.

This is beneficial in many ways: not only will you not get into trouble at airports or other areas with rules against concealed weapons, but in situations where you need to fend off an attacker, you will have the benefit of carrying an inconspicuous weapon. This can give you the upper hand in these situations and help you catcher your attacker off-guard. Additionally, if your tactical pen has a DNA catcher than this feature is even more useful; you can likely get a DNA sample off of them without them ever knowing.

Another factor to consider when choosing a tactical pen to purchase is the number of self-defense features, which can vary greatly. The two most basic tactical pen features are a pointed tip and a blunted end. The pointed tip is used for puncturing, whereas the blunted end is used for stunning. Ideally, you are going to want a pen with both of these features to increase its self-defense potential.​

However, sometimes having a blunted end can weigh down your pen and make it quite heavy, so those looking for an effective writing tool may only want a pointed end. Additionally, some tactical pens also have an indented crown that can be designed for glass breaking purposes, DNA catching or both. Again, the type of person you are and your reasons for purchasing a tactical pen will determine the worth of these features. If you are a security guard, emergency responder or member of law enforcement, the DNA catcher and glass breaker are both valuable tools that you will be better off having at your disposal.​

Most Important Tactical Pen Features

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A final factor to keep an eye out for when deciding on a tactical pen is its quality. As mentioned before, the quality of tactical pens can vary greatly, so trying out your pen before using it is a great way to ensure high quality. However, for those ordering online, there are many determinants of quality that you can look out for. One of these determinants is the specific design of the pen, including the material it is made of and its proportions. Your best bet for ensuring that you get a quality pen is purchasing one that is made according to military guidelines. The effectiveness of the clip is also an important feature, as an ineffective clip can render your pen useless in situations that require self-defense.

Effectively Using Tactical Pens

Now that you have purchased a quality tactical pen that suits your needs, you must learn how to utilize your tactical pen properly in a self-defense situation. This is a very important step, as purchasing a concealed weapon that you do not know how to properly use will render all of your efforts useless. It is very important to practice using your tactical pen to ensure that you always use the proper form and technique.

Once you have mastered these, you will be ready to use your pen at any moment that requires its use. Take a look at our Self Defense with Tactical Pens article for more in-depth information on learning the proper tactical pen form and technique. A good way to practice puncturing with your tactical pen is to use pumpkins, Styrofoam or any other surface that provides an easy opportunity to puncture and strike. Any of these surfaces can also be used to practice using the blunted end or glass breaking crown. A final thing to note is that using a tactical pen as a writing tool can also be difficult and may take some time to get used to.

This is where choosing a pen with the right design and specifications can make a huge difference, as some tactical pens will provide you with a writing experience almost on par to that of a regular pen. Nevertheless, for those who decide to opt for a tactical pen with a focus on self-defense, writing is something that will take a bit of time and practice to do comfortably.​

Our Best Tactical Pen Reviews

Smith and Wesson Flashlights Compact Penlight (Black)

The Smith & Wesson Self Defense Tactical Penlight is both functional and highly durable in any situation. At 5.9 inches long and weighing only 1.7 ounces, this penlight stores an LED light as well as a glass break in its pocket-sized design. This penlight also features a sharp, pointed tip for self-defense and DNA retention. The integrated pocket clip allows for clipping to the pocket or belt.


  • Tactical Penlight/ Self Defense Tool
  • Ultra Bright LED Flashlight
  • LED bulb never needs replacing
  • Glass breaker for home or auto
  • Water resistant
  • Run Time 30+ Hours
  • Runs on 2AA Batteries

Boker Plus Tactical Pen CID Cal .45 (Black)

The Boker Plus Tactical Pen is a high end tactical pen expense wise but could stand some improving. This ingenious design by Rainer Wenning and Thomas Braunagel will be a must for those wanting a tactical pen with a twist. It is an effective self-defense tool as well. Overall length: 5-Inch.


  • Bolt Action Mechanism And Click Open And Close
  • Flat Pen Head For Secure Thumb Rest
  • Hardcoat anodized CNC milled aluminum, black finish

Master Cutlery TA-93BK Tactical Pen Tactical Knife

The Master Cutlery TA-93BK Tactical Pen Tactical Knife and Pen Set Designed by Tom Anderson, a well-known designer in the realm of knives and self-defense weapons. The following review will help you decide whether or not this tactical pen provides any benefit for its cheap price.

One upside of this pen is its appearance, which is very casual. Unlike many other tactical pens, this product will not alert those around you that you are carrying a potential weapon. It also comes with a DNA catcher on the tip, which is a great addition for self-defense purposes. Additionally, it is very light, which makes it easy to grasp and comfortable to write with. This is a big plus for those looking for a tactical pen with writing utility on top of self-defense potential. An added bonus is the fact that there is no removable cap, so there is no chance that that cap will cause you any problems. This is somewhat of a common issue with other tactical pens with removable caps, as they can come loose or fall off, hindering their ability to be useful as a self-defense weapon.

However, one downside of this tactical pen is the fact that the DNA catcher is fairly soft-edged, which decreases its effectiveness. For a tactical pen with a more effective DNA catcher, take a look at our BudK Crusher Black Tactical Pen review. Another downside of this tactical pen is the factory standard ink cartridge, which is not the greatest and runs out quickly. It is recommended that you purchase additional Fisher-Price ink cartridges and use these instead to get quality writing right off the bat. A final nitpick is the lack of any instruction manual or information on the pen, which is disappointing.​


  • Tactical Knife and Pen Set
  • 5.5" Overall
  • Twister Tactical Pen
  • Glow in the Dark Pen Top
  • Textured Stainless Steel Shaft

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen - Black [31-001880]

Tactical Pens have become for more common – allowing their owners to arm themselves with a hidden weapon that can ward of personal assaults. The Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen was designed for law enforcement and is now available for distribution to the public. The pen is made from machined steel and is capable of breaking tempered glass or a windshield with its glass breaking tip. This pen is strong enough to handle the unexpected and has the added advantage over its competition of being a decent writing instrument. It’s a standard push-button pen that can write in dry or wet conditions but is strong enough to withstand even the most solid impact.

The pen is heavier than pens made from aluminum but very solid feeling. The push button top is a little flimsy, but overall this is a great tactical pen that will last you as long as you own it.​


  • Rugged and reliable design in all our products
  • Can be used in various military, hunting, survival, tactical, industrial and outdoor situations
  • All products are field tested

UZI Tactical Pen UZI-TACPEN2-BK Aircraft Aluminum Self Defense Tactical multi-tool Survival Defender Tool

The UZI-TACPEN2-BK Defender Tactical Pen is made of aircraft grade aluminum and features an ultra-durable carbide tip glass breaker for emergency situations. If you're trapped or if you need to get someone out of a vehicle, use the end of the pen as a glass breaker to easily escape.

The pen can also be used to write with and is compatible with standard pen refills. Use the pocket clip to keep the tactical pen by your side at all times. Tried and tested, UZI Tactical Pens are both stylish and able to withstand any conditions.​


  • Made of aircraft grade aluminum
  • Features a glass breaker to escape from emergency situations
  • Comes in a black finish and includes a pocket clip
  • Weighs 1.5 ounces for lightweight carry

Why You Should Own a Tactical Pen

The combination of self-defense methods and writing may seem like an odd pairing, but given the suitability of the pen design for weapon implementation and their easy concealment, tactical pens are an actually great product for these two purposes. The following article will outline the various uses of tactical pens and help you decide if they are worth the purchase for you.

Tactical pens typically come with a blunted end that may double as a glass breaker, as well as a sharp end for puncturing. These pens are designed to provide you with an easily concealable weapon that you can carry with you without alerting anyone to the fact that you are carrying a weapon. Although they can also be used for writing purposes, they are typically made of metal and come with a strong grip in order to increase their value as a weapon. They are much more durable and strong than the average pen and despite the fact that they are commonly purchased by average citizens for simple self-defense purposes, they are also great tools for security guards and other types of law enforcement. In fact, some tactical pens are designed in corroboration with police forces to ensure that they are effective weapons.

Uses of Tactical Pens

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    Uses of Tactical Pens
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    Glass breaking
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    DNA catching

The biggest plus of tactical pens for security and law enforcement is their hidden nature. Everybody assumes that security guards are carrying a weapon, but not many people will expect that weapon to be a pen. By giving you this element of surprise, tactical pens give you an advantage over your attacker. Additionally, some tactical pens come with handcuffs and DNA catchers, features that are geared towards security guards and law enforcement professionals. The glass breaker tip that comes with some tactical pens is also great for law enforcement in case the situation arises where you need to break through a window.
The only downside to tactical pens is that much like any other weapon, they can be used for crime as well. The glass breaker tip could easily be used for breaking and entering, and the sharp tip could be used as a weapon by criminals. This makes it all the more important that you are aware of the characteristics of tactical pens to ensure that you can spot one. Although it can be difficult to discern a tactical pen from a regular pen, there are many unique characteristics that separate the two. Take a look at our Tactical Pen Buyers Guide article for more information.
Tactical pens are a modern invention that has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, especially in cities and metropolitan areas. As these devices become the norm, it is becoming more important to either own one or be familiar with their features and uses. Use this article to help you decide whether or not owning a tactical pen is a good decision for you. If you decide that it isn’t, it is still important to become familiar with their characteristics.

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