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“The pen is mightier than the sword.” It’s an old and famous adage coined by English writer Edward Bulwer Lytton in the 19th century. How about having a two-in-one? While these words were not to be taken literally, a tactical pen comprises both tools.

Okay, it’s not a sword, but it is a combo of self defense poking weapon and a writing utensil. These James Bond-style tools are popular and useful. They are not powerful weapons and they can’t compare with knives, tactical tomahawks, or firearms. But, a tactical pen can inflict enough damage to scare or fend off the attacker.

How to Choose a Tactical Pen for Self Defense

While the pen is mightier than the sword, I would still recommend carrying the sword as well. Okay, I am joking about the sword, but my point is that a tactical pen can’t be your primary weapon. But, you can carry it with you anywhere, unlike the rest of your weapons.

There are a couple of things you should look for when buying a tactical pen.

  • Convenience. Some of the tactical pens are more convenient than others. There are different styles and it pretty much comes down to your personal preferences. Screw-on caps, snap-on caps, clicky or sliding mechanisms, there’s a variety of options. Each style has its pros and cons, so it depends on what suits you best.
  • Materials. It’s very important to check the quality of the materials. You want a sturdy and tough pen that won’t break or snap when needed.
  • Grip. Whether you use it as a pen or for self-defense, it is important to have a confident grip. You’ll find many different kinds and some of them are a bit slippery. Or, in other words, useless.
  • Clip. You should also check out the clip. Some of the models are a bit heavy and others are long. It means that they may not fit into your pocket. The clip should be strong and sturdy as well.
  • Writing. Don’t forget the writing function. After all, that’s what you’ll use it for most of the time. And if it doesn’t write well, you’ll only get frustrated and your pen will be nothing more than a pocket stick.

best tactical pens

7 Best Tactical Pens Reviewed

1. SWAT Atomic Bear Tactical Pen

swat pen

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Typically, you can’t expect a tactical pen to write smoothly and nicely. Well, the SWAT Pen by the Atomic Bear offers top performance in both departments. It’s pretty good for writing and excellent as a defensive weapon.

The body of this pen is made of military grade aluminum, it is lightweight and resistant to corrosion. The cap clips to both ends. It looks and feels mighty and powerful.

Important features

  • Sturdy
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Comes with a belt velcro sheath and extra black ink cartridge
  • Hardened glass breaker tip
  • Comfortable, non-slippery grip
  • Affordable

2. Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

gerber military pen

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Gerber is a legendary knife manufacturer. Their survival and boot knives are world-class quality, so I’d expect their tactical pens to live up to their high standards. And, so they do.

Gerber Impromptu is a top-notch tactical pen that excels in all possible areas. It can write in rain and other extreme conditions. Made in the USA, it comes with a lifetime warranty. Some people think it’s a little bit heavy, but others consider this as an advantage. Anyway, it is on the heavier side. Also, it comes with a hefty price tag.

Important features

  • Stainless steel body and clip
  • Writes in any conditions
  • Coated with Cerakote for confident grip
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Glass breaker tip

3. Sminiker Professional Defender Tactical Pen

best self defense pen

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This tactical pen is really a great bang for the buck. The tactical pen cap is made of tungsten steel and the body is made of aerospace grade aluminum. So, it should be sturdy and durable.

It also comes with 6 refills, so you won’t have to worry about running out of ink. A glass breaker tip is pretty sharp and it is on the opposite side from the writing end. It is also a little bit larger than a typical tactical pen.

Important features

  • Strong and durable
  • Glass breaker tip
  • Comes with 6 spare refills
  • DNA collectors to identify attackers
  • Affordable

4. CRKT Williams Tactical Pen

self defense pen

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“My name is Bond. James Bond.” Actually, this pen creator’s name is really James, but the last name is Williams. It is a beautiful low-profile tactical pen. If you judge it by the looks, you’d say it is just a regular writing pen that has nothing to do with self defense.

But, looks can be deceiving. And that’s one of the major points of tactical pens. Strong and effective, no need to say more. This tactical pen is a bit pricey, though. 

Important features

  • Very lightweight
  • Strong and durable
  • Comfortable grip
  • High-quality materials
  • Excellent design

5. Benchmade – 1100 Series Damasteel Tactical Pen

best tactical pen reviews

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This is a tactical pen for weapon lovers. It is as beautiful as it is effective. Benchmade makes fantastic knives and their tactical pens are nothing short of extraordinary.

This model is made of damasteel, although you can find Benchmade’s models made of titanium and aluminum. There’s no doubt that the damasteel model is the prettiest of them all. It is also heavier. Overall, it is a simple, beautiful, and effective tactical pen.

Important features

  • Made of damasteel
  • Strong and durable
  • Cap fits both ends
  • Ergonomic knurling pattern

6. Schrade SCPEN4BK 5.9in Aluminum Refillable Screw-Off Tactical Pen

best tactical pen reviews

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How about a multi-purpose tactical pen? Okay, all tactical pens are multi-purpose as they have at least two functions – to write and ward off a potential attacker.

Well, Schrade tactical pen offers a couple of additional functions. The cap comes with an emergency whistle. Then, there’s a glass breaker tip. Finally, you’ll get a Ferro rod and striker plate. It is fair to call it an ultimate survival tactical pen. Also, it is made of aircraft grade aluminum, making it lightweight.

Important features

  • The most versatile tactical pen
  • Lightweight
  • Emergency whistle
  • Ferro rod and striking plate
  • Hard glass breaker tip

7. Smith & Wesson 6.1in Aircraft Aluminum Tactical Pen

best tactical pen reviewed

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While we usually relate Smith & Wesson with firearms, they also create wonderful knives and other self-protective weapons. They also offer a couple of tactical pen models with the same recognizable quality. This one is made of T6061 aircraft grade aluminum. It is a lightweight, low-profile tactical defensive weapon. A pull-off cap fits both ends.

Important features

  • Lightweight
  • 6.1 inch long
  • High-quality materials
  • Simple and dependable


A tactical pen is not a necessary emergency item to defend yourself if need be. But it is a cool tool. Signing contracts or other documents with a pen that is actually a hidden weapon will make you feel as if you’re James Bond at least for the moment. On a serious note, it can be useful. There are so many places where weapons aren’t allowed, and you never know when you may become a target of an attacker. In such a scenario it’s better to have a tactical pen at hand. 

In the meantime, you can use it to write. And pretend that you are James Bond!