Best Tactical Pen Reviews and Buying Guide

Some of the most useful items are the ones we take for granted. I’m talking about items we use every day that can also serve a double purpose. A great example of this is the tactical pen.

If you’re not familiar with the difference between a regular pen and a tactical pen hopefully we can clear that up for you in this article.

As the name suggests a tactical pen can be used in emergency situations to bail you out of a problem and perhaps even save your life or the life of someone else.

We don’t think of a pen as a weapon, but many Special Forces units around the world teach their members how to use every day carry items as weapons when conventional ones aren’t available.

A tactical pen looks similar to a normal pen – it’s just that it’s made to be durable and has some key extra features that make it the ideal weapon when you have few other options.

For anyone that’s a fan of spy movies such as Mission Impossible or James Bond flicks you might have an idea of what you think a weaponized pen may look like.

The one’s we’re going to review on this page aren’t quite that impressive, but they’re pretty cool devices nonetheless. They’re certainly something that everyone that enjoys outdoor living should consider having in their pack.

They may look like your every day run of the mill pen, but they’re more than that. At the end of this article you’ll understand why we feel this way.

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

The best tactical pens have a kind of stealth appearance to them. They don’t look like anything particularly special to the untrained eye – all they should see is a regular pen.

That’s exactly what they’ve achieved with the Gerber Impromptu Tactical pen. It may not look like much, but in an emergency situation it can make a big difference.

This Gerber pen is quite popular with law enforcement professionals and with good reason – it can be used as a pocket sized impromptu weapon as the name implies.

This is a great little pen with a machined steel body that makes it feel a lot more substantial than your standard pens. It features multiple grooves and ridges that give you something to use to hold onto at all times.

It has a glass breaker tip that can be used when the need arises without any worry about damaging your pen.

The Gerber Impromptu also works well as an actual writing implement, which is a good thing since it is a pen after all! We also mentioned earlier pens that can write in any position – this is one of those pens.

It also has something called Rite in the Rain technology that will allow the user to write in all weather conditions. A little water might make a mess of your paper, but it won’t do any harm to this pen.

Gerber Impromptu Summary:

  • Machined steel body
  • Multiple grooves and ridges
  • Glass breaker tip
  • Write in the rain technology

Sminiker Defender Tactical Pen

The Sminiker Defender Tactical pen stands out for a lot of reasons – not least of which is the fact that it’s constructed from aircraft grade aluminum.

This is a solid pen that’s designed to withstand a lot of punishment. Whether you’re a hunter deep in the backwoods or a member of a police tactical unit, this pen is a perfect choice.

What really makes the Defender one of the best every day carry (EDC) options for your next outing are the little details.

It has a nice textured grip at the top which is where you would hold it if using it as a weapon or to break glass that ensures you don’t lose your grip. Near the tip of the pen, in the area you hold it when writing, there are indents that allow you to grip it firmly.

This Sminiker pen is lightweight at 48 grams and at 14.8cm long it’s a comfortable size. Its ergonomic design feels right in your hand and makes for a comfortable writing implement.

Best of all you can purchase refills for it, which allows you to save a little money instead of having to purchase a whole new pen every time.

Sminiker Defender Summary:

  • Aircraft grade aluminium construction
  • Solid design
  • Lightweight at 48 grams
  • Ergonomic design

Smith & Wesson Military & Police SWPENMPBK Tactical Pen

Military and police forces around the world use the Smith & Wesson Military & Police SWPENMPBK Tactical pen as an important part of their tactical gear.

In their line of work EDC items are all potential tools or weapons that can be used in both defensive and attacking situations.

These pens are also a popular choice amongst outdoor survivalists. It features a machined black aircraft grade aluminum body with a steel tip that can be a formidable weapon in some sticky situations.

This pen actually has a lanyard hole that you can use to tie it off on a belt or bag if you like, although the pocket clip is probably more practical for most users.

This Smith & Wesson pen is 6.1 inches in length and it weighs in at 0.06 pounds so it won’t add much of a burden to your overall kit.

It has a glass breaker tip and it comes with a limited lifetime warranty that covers your purchase from all manufacturing defects.

You can refill it as well when the ink runs dry. This is both a great tool and a tactical weapon when needed.

Smith & Wesson Military & Police SWPENMPBK Summary:

  • Aircraft grade aluminium body
  • Steel tip
  • With Lanyard hole
  • Ultra lightweight at 0.06 pounds

Hoffman Richter Stinger Tactical Pen

The Hoffman Richter Stinger is another great choice for an EDC tactical pen. This pen has a unique design that is much narrower near the tip that makes it easy to grip when you actually want to write with it.

At the opposite end it’s much more substantial and the whole body is made from impact resistant aircraft grade aluminum.

This is a sturdy pen that’s ideal as a backup in tense situations or as a simple writing tool. A tactical pen shouldn’t standout as anything unique and that’s one of the best features of this particular model.

It looks like any other standard pen you’d pick up at the local stationary store. With a glass breaker tip that can also be used as a weapon in an emergency this is anything but a normal pen though.

Refills can also be purchased for this pen when your ink runs out and by all accounts it writes very well.

It doesn’t matter whether you are using it as a pen, a tool, or a weapon – this pen does a fantastic job in all situations. The Stinger is also backed by a lifetime guarantee.

Hoffman Richter Stinger Summary:

  • Impact resistant design
  • Aircraft grade aluminium body
  • Glass breaker tip​
  • Lifetime guarantee

Under Control Tactical Pen for Self Defense with LED Flashligh

If we’re going to go out on a limb and picking one model as the best tactical pen for the money it would probably be the Under Control Tactical Pen.

This is a useful item to have with you in the field whether you’re using it for a work related or recreational activity. It’s one of the bestselling tactical pens on the market for good reason and it’s packed with features that make it a versatile tool as well.

This is a great item for the ladies to have with them as a discreet defensive weapon that won’t draw any extra attention to them.

At 6.5 inches long it’s the ideal size and it only weighs a few ounces so you’ll hardly notice it when it’s not being used, but you’ll be glad it’s around when you need it.

In addition to being a great pen this Under Control model also includes a LED flashlight, a DNA catcher, and a built-in glass breaker.

If you’re out for a day trip without a backpack and have limited ability to carry anything this is the one tool you’ll want to have with you that can help in many different scenarios. It’s one of the best self defense pens around and a great writing implement as well.

Under Control Summary:

  • 6.5 inches long
  • Built-in LED flashlight
  • DNA Catcher
  • Built-in glass breaker

Key Features in Tactical Pens

Durable Construction

A quality tactical pen is constructed of solid machined steel – not a cheap plastic material that most pens are made from today. That makes them difficult to break and that’s the idea.

Tactical pens are normally made with the intention of being perfect improvised weapons for Special Forces and police tactical units. They’re also great for protection if you happen to be out hiking on the trail by yourself.

There’s nothing more important than the element of surprise in a dangerous situation and few would be attackers are expecting you to defend yourself with a pen.

In order to be effective the pen has to be able to withstand an attack without breaking and that’s why they’re typically made from some type of steel or aircraft grade aluminum.

All Weather Ready

Tactical pens are usually designed to work in all kinds of conditions. This is of key importance if they’re going to be used in tactical situations as these don’t normally take place in a nice comfortable office.

When you’re looking for a tactical pen you want to find one that works in both wet and dry conditions. A little bit of rain shouldn’t slow you or your pen down.

Almost all tactical pens are waterproof and if you’re looking at one that isn’t it’s best to keep looking as there are plenty of options available to you that are.

Works in Any Position

I remember watching a documentary on astronauts and being absolutely amazed at the pens they used that seemed to work no matter what position they were writing in – upside down, right side up , it didn’t matter.

I’m not sure if they were using a tactical pen, but it must have been a similar type of technology that was being employed.

Good tactical pens are also designed to work no matter what position you’re using them in. If you really wanted to, you could write with one while hanging upside down in a tree, although I wouldn’t recommend it.

Clips that Don’t Break

There aren’t too many pens that don’t have clips as part of their design, but most of us probably don’t find them that useful. Part of the problem with clips on regular pens is that they tend to break far too easily – that’s not a good thing for a tactical pen.

Fortunately, manufacturers of tactical pens have put a lot of thought into the design of the clips as well. They are generally made from a durable steel material and will not break as easily as standard ones.

The last thing you need is to reach for your tactical pen in an emergency only to realize you’ve lost it because the clip broke.

Glass Breakers

A common feature of a tactical pen is a sharp steel tip that can be used to break glass in an emergency. This is a perfect tool for first responders that sometimes have to make split second decisions to save lives.

For example, the first emergency personnel to arrive on site after an accident can use their tactical pen to break a car window and apply potentially lifesaving procedures to a victim inside a car.

Impromptu Knife

A tactical pen typically has a sharp impact resistant tip that can easily double as a knife in a tense situation. When there’s no other weapon around these are designed to be your best lifesaving option.

They may not be the ideal replacement, but they are convenient to carry around at all times and that makes them the perfect every day carry item that can also potentially save your life from an attacker.

The Perfect Every Day Carry Item

If you can only have one item with you for self defense and emergency situations a tactical pen is a great choice.

You can fit one in any pocket and they’re designed to handle a lot of abuse. They’re a weapon, a tool, and of course a writing implement.

That’s why police tactical units and Special Forces military teams make it one of the first things to include in their kit. A tactical pen is the perfect every day carry item.