Best Tactical Pens For Sneaky Self Defense

By Will Brendza | Last Updated: May 2, 2023

A Tactical Pen Is A Deadly Survival Weapon In The Right Set Of Hands

Best Tactical Pens

In the wrong set of hands, it’s a harmless writing instrument.

But if you want to carry a “less-than-lethal” self-defense weapon, you can’t do much better than a Tactical Pen.

It’s hiding a weapon in plain sight.

And it’s an item that everyone should be carrying anyway, right?

I can’t count how many times I’ve had to borrow a pen to fill out a form or sign a check.

With a self defense pen, you avoid this issue and up your self-protection at the same time. 

That’s why today I’ll lean on years of gear reviews and research to cover the following topics:


Best Tactical Pens For Sale Today

Defense Pen History (The Kubotan)

What Makes A Pen Tactical?

Why EVERYONE Should Carry One

Tactical Pen Uses In Real Life

Best Self-Defense Pen Techniques

Do’s & Don’ts Of Defense Pens

Even More Tactical Pen Advice

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StrikePen - A Badass Tactical PenBest Tactical Pens On The Market Today 

Everyone wants to know which is best. Once someone decides to carry a self-defense pen, they want the “best”.

The key features to look for in the best tactical pen are:

  • Made Of Solid Alloy Construction
  • Well Designed Grip
  • The Pen Functions As A Pen
  • Discrete

If it has the following features, then it’s one of the best.

You want it made from solid alloy to ensure it won’t break even under intense pressure.

The grip must be designed to prevent the pen from slipping in your hands when using it for self-defense.

The pen needs to be discrete and be an actual functioning pen.

You also want the pen to have replaceable ink cartridges for long-term usage.

It’s also a nice bonus feature if it includes a carbide tip glass breaker.

After these hurdles have been met, the best tactical pen is one that is affordable and one you will carry every day.

Here are a few of the “best” tactical pens on the market today:

1. Top Pick
Free Tactical StrikePen

I recommend the Tactical StrikePen.

At the time of publishing this article, you could still get this badass tactical weapon for Free (+ shipping).

Plus, this tactical pen has a built-in flashlight, a small knife blade, a hex driver/wrench, and a bottle opener.

I think it's one of the best tactical pens out there for the money.

Get your FREE StikePen (while supplies last)

Check Today's Price
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↓ ApeSurvival Strikepen Reviewed ↓

Smith & Wesson Aircraft Aluminum Tactical Pen

This Smith and Wesson Tactical Pen comes in at 5.8 inches long and weighs a mere 1.4 ounces.

And it's highly durable since it's crafted from T6061 Aircraft Aluminum!

It includes a convenient pocket clip and screw-off top, making it ideal for everyday carry.

This tactical tool will perform when needed and blend in when not in use.

This Tactical Pen can be refilled with Schmidt P900M Parker Style Black Ball Point Cartridges.

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↓ Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen Review ↓

Stainless Steel Tactical Pen

This Stainless Steel Tactical Pen is different than the first two options.

Instead of an aircraft aluminum body, it's made of reinforced military-grade stainless steel.

It also uses ZINC batteries that will power its LED light for a very long time.

Plus, the ballpoint tip can break any window for a fast vehicle evacuation.

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↓ TakeFlight Tactical PLen – Self-Defense Pen Review ↓

The Atomic Bear Tactical Pen

The SWAT Pen by the Atomic Bear exhibits a simple and solid construction.

It feels great in your hand.

It has a remarkable grip that can deliver a devastating strike.

It comes with a heavy-duty nylon belt sheath for EDC.

A plain and simple design made of sturdy military-grade aluminum machined to perfection.

You’ll love the feeling of weight and balance. 

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↓ The Atomic Bear: SWAT Tactical Pen Review ↓

Sminiker Professional Defender Pen

The Sminiker Professional Tactical Pen is made from aircraft-grade aluminum for superior strength & portability.

It not only can be used for window breaking and escape but also to safeguard against attackers in dangerous situations.

This Tactical Pen has a heavy-duty pocket clip so that you can attach it to your tactical gear - such as a plate carrier vest, tactical pants, survival backpack, bug-out bag, etc.

Making it perfect for daily use and traveling.

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↓ The Best EDC Pen? Sminker Self Defense Pen Review ↓

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A Brief Tactical Pen History Lesson (a.k.a KUBOTAN)

In the late 60s, a man named Soke Takayuki Kubota invented a simple keychain weapon called a Kubotan.

Combined with some basic locks and pressure, point strikes a Kubotan is incredibly effective at turning someone into a whimpering heap of terrified jelly.

Most people recognize these implements as small key-chain attachments that are usually blunt at one end and taper to a dull point on the other.

Kubotans are particularly useful for a few reasons: they are easy to conceal by easily fitting into small pockets.

When using a Kubotan correctly, they hurt like hell.

When used incorrectly, they still hurt like hell.

They are cheap.

And the techniques are relatively easy to learn.

On top of that, practicing with a Kubotan teaches us something paramount about survival and combat.

Even simple, mundane objects can be surprisingly potent means of self-defense.

Being a creative survivalist is about thinking outside the box and breaking down preconceptions of what it means to compete and combat.

And a weapon can be anything – a keychain, a tactical pen, a pencil, a railroad spike, a drill bit, or a coffee mug.

What you use is less important than how you use it.

Anything can be a deadly weapon, but nobody can deny that some objects make better ones than others.

So what’s the best option to carry a Kubotan?

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What Makes A Pen Tactical?

You can think of a tactical pen (or self-defense pen) as a Kubotan disguised as a pen.

Like Kubatan’s, they are forged from hardened metal.

The metal is stamped with small and tight friction grooves to improve grip.

The non-writing end of the pen incorporates a hardened tip.

This tip is the primary weapon of this type of pen.

It’s designed to penetrate and injure.

It’s made to puncture and incapacitate.

So a tactical pen is made of metal, with stamped grip grooves and a hardened tip.

Few products can offer you as much utility.

Not only is it a mean weapon that can poke, prod, twist, and stab anyone dumb enough to get on the wrong side of it, but it is also one of man’s greatest inventions: the pen.

A self-defense pen is known as a “survivor’s multi-tool” or a survival device that serves multiple purposes.

Other survivor multi-tools can include survival hatchets, sword canes, dogs, walking sticks, matches or lighters, and anything with two or more functions.

And as we all know, the pen is mightier than the sword, or so they say.

But what could be mightier than a pen in the right hands?

That is a question I cannot answer.

To me, it’s a fantastic personal protection tool.

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everyday carry items including a self defense pen

Why Everyone Should Carry A Tactical Pen

Being fully armed and ready to defend yourself at all times is no easy task.

In fact, in our modern world, most people are disarmed more than armed.

Often because social and political regulations forbid conventional weapons from being openly carried.

The harsh reality is you can’t legally carry guns everywhere, nor swords, clubs, bows, blowguns, or knives.

But there are solutions to these restrictions. Protecting yourself with a self-defense tool does not mean you must arm yourself to the teeth.

Even if you’re already a highly trained martial artist whose hands and feet are weapons unto themselves, having a self-defense pen is always a welcomed advantage.

And that’s why you should carry one.

↓ How To Use A Tactical Pen For Beginners ↓

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Best Tactical Pen Uses In Today’s World 

The primary use of a tactical pen is straightforward.

It’s a device for self-defense and writing.

But there are two other lesser-known uses, such as:

Breaking Glass

The pointed end of a pen is perfect for breaking panes of glass.

Just grip the pen firmly in a gloved hand, stand back against the same wall the glass is off to one side, and swing your arm from the elbow like a pendulum.

Slamming the pointed metal tip into the corner of a pane.

The glass should shatter with ease.

DNA Collection

Yeah, believe it or not, these fancy little self-defense tools come with a built-in device for tracking an assailant with the power of science.

Some self-defense pens even have a crown-studded end cap that is ideal for scraping, jabbing, scratching, stabbing, and attacking.

Leaving blood or flesh behind that can be analyzed by a lab.

And here are the 10 most useful features:

  1. They are discrete; people will overlook them and let you carry them almost anywhere.
  2. They’re difficult to pry from your tight grip because they fit almost entirely into the palm of your hand.
  3. You can write checks and sign documents on the fly or jot down notes about your most recent survival adventures.
  4. Self Defense pens are concealed weapons in your pocket and are extracted quickly without much movement.
  5. They are ideal for attacking someone’s pressure points and for twisting uncomfortably against bones.
  6. If someone commits a crime and steals off in a getaway vehicle, you can quickly scribble down their license plate on your hand before they get away.
  7. Self-defense pens get overlooked as a weapon in pat-downs.
  8. People rarely see a pen attack coming – you have the element of surprise.
  9. If you need to break a window (for whatever reason), tactical pens are exceptionally efficient for this purpose.
  10. With some practice, they could make a decent projectile. I feel like that’s a stretch, though.

Using a Tactical pen for self-defense is easier than you might imagine.

Unlike most forms of martial arts weaponry, using this small weapon does not require memorizing any complicated forms, hand-grabs, or punching techniques (although knowing those would help you become proficient much faster).

Tactical Pen Techniques Worth Mastering

The techniques are pretty simple and can be learned by anybody – but the key is practice.

Look up some internet videos and work with your friends.

As long as you are careful not to hurt each other, practicing these simple moves can be a lot of fun.

Even running through them a few times can significantly improve your ability to perform effectively when the time of need finally arrives.

Note: I’ll share a few short videos later in this article to help get you started.

Here are some general ways in which you can use a tactical pen:


Pretty self-explanatory, but they can be used as a makeshift tactical knife or sword.

It can be swung in a striking motion, down being the strongest move.

Although there’s no blade, the self defense pen will still do real damage when you connect with someone’s head, especially with a solid over-the-shoulder swing.

↓ How To Effectively Use A Tactical Pen For Self Defense ↓

Pressure Point Striking

This is a method that requires some background knowledge and practice.

Pressure points can be debilitating when pinched or pressed.

If done right, it doesn’t take much force.

↓ Using Pens For Striking and Clinching ↓

Knowing how to use your pen to target these human weak spots gives you an incredible advantage against less knowledgeable attackers.

It’s a close-quarters weapon; you can’t do much damage at more than arm’s length distance.

However, close-range combat is how you get access to pressure points.

Knowing the pressure points could save your life at the right opportunity.

Check out this video on a few self-defense pressure points. The introduction is a bit long but worth the 5 minutes to watch.

↓ Pressure Point Self Defence & Combinations ↓


This motion is obvious, but the best target locations might not be.

Aim for the eyes, and if you connect, the fight will come to an abrupt end.

Another vulnerable location is someone’s Adam’s apple. It’s really hard to keep fighting if you can’t see and/or breathe.

Here’s another short video showing a few self-defense pen techniques to give you an idea of how powerful this weapon can be.

↓ Pressure Point Self-Defense With A Pen ↓

dos and donts sign

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The Do’s And Don’ts Of Defense Pens

Things you SHOULD DO:

Carry One Or More

This is the kind of backup defense tool that you can store in lots of sneaky places to keep yourself safe at all times.

Sure, you could always carry just one with you.

Or you could get one for your bug-out bag, one for your bug-out vehicle, one for your office, one for your home, one for your survival cache, hell, you could even keep a tactical pen in your survival medical kit.

Use Your Pen Creatively

There is no defined “right” or “wrong” way to use a self-defense pen.

A “How To Use Tactical Pen For Dummies” does not exist.

So feel free to get creative and imagine unique ways you could use your pen throughout your day.

Picture yourself in various self-defense situations or how you can retrieve it covertly.

A creative survivalist is a survivalist who survives.

Thinking outside the box is incredibly important, and tactical pens can help you train your brain to think that way.

Practice With It Often

Could you pick up a guitar without ever done so and play a rock song?

Your clumsy attempt at a song would probably sound similar to cats dying.

Some idea goes for all new skills; if you want to be any good at them, you need to put in practice time.

Anyone can wield a self-defense pen, but there’s a big difference between randomly slashing and thrusting vs. mastering it.

And while no one is saying you have to be a master, learning and practicing basics techniques will go a long way to preparing to defend yourself with it.

Things you SHOULD NOT DO:

Consider This Your Primary Weapon

No one has ever marched into battle armed with a jubilee of tactical pens.

They are never a primary weapon but an ideal last resort.

Get Too Attached To It

Any incognito weapon is liable to get confiscated.

No matter whether it is a pen, a cane sword, or a sleeve pistol, anything that hides or disguises a weapon is a target for seizure.

Be careful where you bring your self-defense pen; it is a weapon, after all.

There are places where it is downright unacceptable to carry a weapon on you.

And although it is a pen, it doesn’t exactly look like a regular pen, and if you get caught trying to sneak this weapon somewhere you’re not supposed to, there could be severe consequences for getting caught.

Expect The Pen To Write Flawlessly

In a pinch, where available weapons for self-defense are limited, using a regular pen is better than nothing.

But don’t practice techniques and then go cheap and carry around a lame plastic ballpoint pen expecting it to function on the same level as the aircraft-grade aluminum weaponized tactical pens.

Standard pens don’t have the strength or durability to perform as those engineered by weapons manufacturers.

The bottom line is:

Regular pens make poor self-defense tools.

Close Up Image Of The Word Advice

Even More Tactical Pen Advice

They’re Not Illegal, But They’re Still A Weapon

So please don’t use them as a toy or abuse their power.

You can seriously hurt someone by “messing around.”

And I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, be careful where you bring your self-defense pen.

Carrying one into a place like an airport could result in arrest and get you charged with conspiracy to commit a crime (whether those were your intentions or not).

Tactical pens are weapons; treat them as such.

They’re Technically Considered Non-Lethal Weapons

That does not mean they can’t kill; it just means that they are not designed to.

Murder (even in the name of self-defense) is something you should avoid if possible.

Killing someone with a pen would take a lot of effort. It won’t happen by accident and would be both gruesome and messy.

Also, it’s not something easily defended in a court appearance.

Self Defesne Pens Suck As Far As Pens Go

If you want a smooth, flawless ink implement to write your memoirs with, don’t rely on a self-defense pen.

They’re more Kubotans than pens.

Or, more accurately, they are 27% pen and 73% badass tactical weapons.

So don’t be surprised if the ink is of poor quality and it’s a bit hit or miss when writing.

Realize weapon companies make these and not pen companies.

Nobody Looks Menacing Brandishing A Pen…Even A Tactical One

So leave your ego at the door because you won’t scare off any attackers when you whip out your pen, start thrusting it around, and make tough guy sounds.

In fact, expect to draw a few chuckles from your assailants.

But use this to your advantage; when they think they are about to beat the living crap out of some pen-wielding-dink, their confidence will be high, but their guard will be low.

Let them underestimate you and your abilities.

It will be their downfall.

Don’t Tell Others Your Pen Is Tactical

The best part of the tactical pen is its discretion.

Why, then, would you show a random drunkard at the bar your weapon?

It’s a good practice to keep your self-defense weapons to yourself until you’re forced to use them.

Action Plan

Action Plan

If you don’t have one, get one.

And if you do, get a second one because nothing is worse than being caught off guard.

A tactical pen is the sort of tool you don’t need until you really freaking need it.

And when the need arises, you’ll be grateful you put one in your pocket, vehicle, and bug-out bag.

Don’t let it collect dust: train with it.

If you buy a pen for self defense, pop it in your tactical backpack, and forget about it until the next time you get mugged, it will not do you much good.

You need to stay proficient with your weapon.

Train with friends and practice alone.

The dual purpose of pen and weapon serves as the perfect disguise.

It allows users the element of surprise while also granting them the benefits of being armed and prepared for any situation.

Will Brendza

Will Brendza

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Member of The 10th Mountain Division Hut Association
  • Certifications: Avalanche 1, WFR (expired), CPR (expired)
  • 8+ Years Researching, Writing, About Survival and Preparedness
  • Awards from Society of Professional Journalists
  • Winner of Camp Cold’s “Happy Camper” award in 2020
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