Self Defense Tactical Urban Survival

How to Use a Tactical Pen: Tips, Techniques, and Reviews

Written by Jax Grey

It’s important to prepare for the unexpected. Our lives are very unpredictable, and anything can happen at any time. Whether you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time, or simply just want to feel protected, a functional tool like a tactical pen can be a real lifesaver. Knowing how to use a tactical pen can save your life. See, while some people choose to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense, there is a lesser-known (and less-deadly, but still incredibly powerful) option: tactical pens.

With that being said, it’s important to know how to use a tactical pen before you find yourself in a dangerous situation, so it’s a great thing that you ended up here!

What Is A Tactical Pen?

A tactical pen is a tool meant to provide defense in case of an emergency. They look and feel like a common pen, and are to be hidden in plain sight. Few recognize them as potentially dangerous weapons, which gives you an advantage if you were to be attacked. They are small enough to hide in your pocket, clip to a backpack, or store in your glove box, and are ready at a moment’s notice.

What Makes Them Self-Defense Weapons?

Most tactical pens have a glass-breaking tip that is very sharp and can do serious damage to an attacker. They’re durable, built out of aircraft grade aluminum, and made to withstand any situation. Many are used law enforcement officials, military personal, or by survival enthusiasts around the world.

Other tactical pens are more survival oriented. They still write like a normal pen, and include the glassbreaker tip, but have additional features like a ferro fire-starting rod or a whistle. Most are about as long as a normal pen, and weigh a little more.

I’ve included an in-depth comparison chart of the top 10 tactical pens below.



Why You Should Carry a Tactical Pen

Tactical pens are made for people who want to carry something small and dangerous around with them at all times. It’s for people who don’t want to carry a gun, but still want to feel safe and protected. Because they’re hard to distinguish from a normal pen, few see them as a potentially dangerous weapons. It puts you one step ahead of your attacker.

how to use a tactical pen


Useful Self Defense Techniques

The first step of self-defense is being aware that we live in a dangerous world. Crime lurks in every corner of every city, and can happen at any time. If you think you are being targeted, you really only have two options: cross your fingers and hope for the best, or fight back. If you choose the latter, it’s as much of a mental challenge as it is physical. It’s naive to think “nothing will happen to me!”, when in reality you should thinking “Am I prepared when something bad happens?”

Here are a few things you can do to help you avoid becoming a victim:

  1. Scan your surroundings. Keep your head up, and focus on what’s ins front of you instead of your phone.
  2. Carry pepper spray.
  3. Keep high alert at alleys, staircases,red lights, gas stations, and areas with poor lighting.
  4. Avoid high crime areas if possible.
  5. Never accept a ride from a stranger.
  6. Keep your keys handy as you approach your vehicle.
  7. Walk with confidence.

How to Use a Tactical Pen – Self Defense Techniques Using a Tactical Pen

If you find yourself in a close-quarters situation with your tactical pen, there are a few techniques you can use to ward off the attacker. Aim for the most vulnerable parts of the attacker’s body, such as eyes, groin, wrist, hand, or temple. Use your weapon life a knife. Turn it upside down and stab your attacker. Aim for a vulnerable spot and you could do some serious damage to your attacker.

Use it like a sword, and strike fast. Hold your tactical pen in your clenched fist – pointed side out – and strike hard and fast in a vulnerable area. The goal is to cause enough pain to your attacker to make him stumble and fall, or stop completely. If you subdue your attacker for a few seconds, don’t stick around – get out of danger as quickly as you can.

The goal is to remove the threat, not kill the person. While tactical pens are dangerous weapons, and while it’s powerful enough to end a dangerous situation, it’s also dangerous enough to end a life. You should be aware of this anytime you carry a self-defense weapon.

Here are some helpful demonstration videos on how to use a tactical pen.

How To Find The Best Tactical Pen For You

There is no best tactical pen, but there may be a best tactical pen for you. A guide like this will help you find the best tactical pen for the money, the best tactical pen with a flashlight, or even which Shrade tactical pen or Smith and Wesson tactical pen is best for you. Consider how you plan on using your pen, and ask yourself the following questions. Although, there are a few things to consider when purchasing one. This is likely going to be something you carry with you every single day, so you’ll want to find the perfect balance between writing ability, length, looks, features, grip, and comfort.

You can also compare and contrast different features of the highest-rated tactical pens on Amazon below.

  1. Lifestyle – Are you buying this tactical pen for you, a family member or a friend? What’s their lifestyle? What are their hobbies? Would they benefit from this once a year on a camping trip, or will they use it everyday?
  2. Discreetness – If you plan to carry this pen everyday, you’ll want to find a pen that doesn’t scream “weapon!” to everyone who sees it. Some pens come in a matte finish to help it hide in plain sight.
  3. Grip & Feel – Tactical pens come in many styles of grip. Some are smooth, others are rigid and anti-skid. Take into account where the pocket clip is located of each pen. Is it attached to the pen itself, or the pen cap? Will it protrude into your hand you should you need to use it?
  4. Unique Features – How well does it write? What features should it include? Narrow down your top 2-3 features, and then try to find one that seems the most comfortable to use. A firestarting tactical pen won’t help you much if you rarely go camping.


Review of the Top 5 Tactical Pens

Most tactical pens listed above are pretty good options. I think it’s important to note which ones are our favorites.

Below you’ll find our five best tactical pens, and short description of why we chose them. I hope we can help you find the perfect tactical pen to add to your everyday carry arsenal.

Under Control Tactical Pen

Based on the overall rating, features, writing quality, and pen construction – the Under Control Tactical Pen is one of the most full-featured tactical pens you could own. They are a family-owned business that really takes pride in their work. They have a very helpful, quick, and efficient support team. And most orders are shipped within 24 hours! (just read some of their reviews!)

The Under Control Tactical Pen sports a matte black finish, and features a handy belt clip, DNA catcher, steel glass-breaking tip, LED light, and has a pen clicker instead of a detachable  cap. It weighs 1.6 ounces, and measures 6.5 inches.

The Under Control Tactical team is known for creating professional-grade tactical gear used by leading law enforcement officers, veterans, military personnel, and tactical/survival enthusiasts. They have an extensive product line consisting of tactical pens, tactical compasses, military handcuffs, tactical flashlights, and much more.

If you like this product, you can find it on Amazon here.

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

The Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen [31-001880] is another one of our favorites. It’s rugged design makes it perfect to throw in your everyday carry bag, or to take with you on your next camping trip.

It is 5.59 inches in length, and weighs 2.25 ounces. It’s made out of hardened steel, so it should be able to withstand even the harshest of elements.

Unlike other pens, this pen looks and feels like what you would expect a tactical pen to look like. But, it does feature a push-button mechanism instead of a cap, integrated glass breaker, and is made in the USA.

All pens are field tested before shipping, and work indoor and outdoor in ANY weather. (Yes, it even writes in the rain!)

If you like this product, you can find it on Amazon here.

Smith and Wesson SWPEN3BK Tactical Pen with Stylus Tip

Wondering which tactical pen to give someone as a gift? This is our #1 choice.

The Smith and Wesson SWPEN3BK is one the closest-in-size tactical pens to a normal pen there is. It comes in 4 colors – Black, Gray, Silver, and even pink! It has a glass-breaking cap, textured grip, and  a stylus tip that works on any phone or tablet.

It’s one of the lightest and shortest tactical pens on the market, weighing just 1,4 ounces and measuring 5.7 inches in length. It’s made of T6061 aircraft aluminum.

You can’t go wrong with a Smith and Wesson tactical pen. They’ve been in business since 1852, and have expanded much further than a simple firearm manufacturing company.

If you like this product, you can find it on Amazon here.

Columbia River Knife and Tool TPENWK

James Williams, the creator, is a long time martial arts instructor and military operations specialist. His knowledge is unmatched, which is why his pen is one of the highest rated pens on Amazon. He’s also created Otanashi Noh Ken folding tactical knife.

This is one of the most comfortable tactical pens on the market. It’s as discreet as a ballpoint pen, but as durable as any other. This pen also includes a lifetime warranty.

It has a tapered body for improved grip, a non-reflective black finish, and has a flat on one end cap. It’s also one of the lightest pens, coming in at 1.2 ounces, and measures 6.0 inches with the cap on.

The result? A super comfortable, very durable pen that allows you to utilize your thumb for added thrusting power. All without hurting yourself in the process.

If you like this tactical pen, you can find it on Amazon here.

Schrade SCPEN4BK

Last but definitely not least, we have the Schrade SCPEN4BK. It’s one of our favorite outdoor survival tactical pens! If you find yourself lost in the woods, this pen has the two very important features: a ferro fire-starting rod, and a whistle.

It weighs just 1.7 ounces, is made from anodized aluminum, and measures 5.9 inches in length.

You have four color options to choose between – Black, gray, brown, and orange.

If you like this pen, you can find it on Amazon here.



Tactical pens are relatively inexpensive for the amount of protection they provide. They can be used in case of emergencies, or to diffuse a dangerous situation. They can also be used when camping or hiking, and are light enough to be taken anywhere. They make great gifts, and some even come in pink for your wife or daughter! I hope you enjoyed reading our little guide on how to use a tactical pen!

About the author

Jax Grey

Survival expert with 10+ years of experience. Combining my passion of writing with my love of the wilderness, I am able to offer in-depth articles and how-to guides to help you survive in any survival situation.


  • You can use tactical pen follow some steps here: step 0: avoid the situation, step 1: assess the situation, step 2: know your target, step 3: strike, step 4: get help. Hope these steps can help you use tactical pen effectively.

Leave a Comment