Would you like to feel more at ease in your day-to-day life?

Want to have a defensive weapon always at the ready without raising eyebrows or making your EDC gear heavier than it should be?

In that case, a tactical pen is all you really need, and the means to choosing the best one based on your style and life situation are right here in this useful guide!

Editor’s Choice

2CL Direct EDC Tactical Pen

Best Tactical Pen 2020

Off the bat, the 2CL tactical pen is badass-looking! Its stainless steel body and the holes it is perforated with give the pen an unusual yet cool appearance. More importantly though, the chosen materials make it able to withstand the elements and sturdy enough to be used in any kind of environment, even under pressure.

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Navigate Our Top 10 Tactical Pens

Below is a table of the 10 Tactical Pen 2020. Each tactical pen have been recommended for your convenience!

Tactical Pen ImageTactical Pen NameMaterialWeightPrice
2CL Direct EDC Tactical Pen (Editor's Choice)Stainless Steel embedded with Tungsten Steel1.4 oz Check Price
Sminiker Professional Defender Tactical Pen Aircraft Aluminum Self Defense Pen with Glass BreakerAircraft Aluminum4 oz Check Price
Campco UZI Tactical Bolt Action PenAircraft Aluminum1 oz Check Price
Gerber Impromptu Tactical PenStainless Steel2.4 oz Check Price
Schrade SCPENBK Tactical PenAluminum1.6 oz Check Price
Smith & Wesson Military & Police Tactical PenAircraft Aluminum1.4 oz Check Price
BOKER PLUS MPP Multi Purpose PenAluminum1.4 oz Check Price
Columbia River Knife and Tool TPENWK Williams Tactical PenAluminum1.2 oz Check Price
Benchmade Tactical PenStainless Steel1.3 oz Check Price
VALTCAN Titanium Tactical PenTitanium2.1 oz Check Price

Even though most people you interact with are friendly and unthreatening, it take only a split second of carelessness in a bad part of town (or the world) to turn your day from normal and uneventful into a struggle for survival. Thieves and predators count on helplessness, shock and lack of preparation when picking their targets, so carrying an unassuming pen with you which can cause serious pain and allow you to escape from such criminals can help you get out of the situation in one piece, and even stop it from escalating if they realize what you’re holding in time.

While it’s never worth it to make the situation worse over a cellphone and some money, actual life-threatening scenarios will make you glad that a tactical pen is part of your everyday carry, plus, their ruggedness and quality ink refills make them good writing implements in their own right.

Picking the right pen can be confusing though as there are literally hundreds of designs to choose from. What size do you get? Should it be obvious that the pen is tactical or not? You might be struggling with these questions now, but it is my hope that by the time you’ve explored the list of the ten most deserving pens and the mini guide that follows you’ll know exactly which pen you’ll entrust your wellbeing to.

And now, the pens which can quite literally be mightier than the sword!

Be sure to check out the Tactical Pen Buying Guide!

1. 2CL Direct EDC Tactical Pen – Easily the Most Versatile Pen Around

Every manufacturer of EDC gear aspires to make functional items that will take up little space, but perform many actions that can prove to be extremely useful in both everyday life and more extreme survival situations. 2CL’s tactical pen is what you can expect when that kind of mindset meets precision engineering.

Off the bat, it’s a badass-looking pen! Its stainless steel body and the holes it is perforated with give the pen an unusual yet cool appearance. More importantly though, the chosen materials make it able to withstand the elements and sturdy enough to be used in any kind of environment, even under pressure.

What stands out as the pen’s defining characteristic is its supreme versatility – with it you get a tungsten steel point which easily shatters glass and helps with self-defense, a small multitool that combines a screwdriver, bottle opener & hex wrench, and even a small flashlight on its cap that ought to come in very handy too.

Its writing performance is excellent as well. The black ink does not smidge and you’ll be able to write for a long time without needing a refill. Speaking of which, two of them as well as three flashlight batteries are provided so you don’t have to worry about replacements for a good long while.

Since so much is packed into the pen, it’s no wonder that it’s on the heavier side. While this can’t really be considered a flaw since it needs to have some weight to be used in self-defense effectively, you’ll probably carry it in a pack or keep it in your glove compartment because of this.

In the true spirit of EDC, 2CL have put together a superior pen which can help get you out of various situations and still write as well as it did when you purchased it after taking a beating. To top it all off, it’s even very reasonably priced, making it an appealing choice both for yourself and as a gift.

  • Many useful features
  • Durable & cool-looking
  • Comes with extra accessories
  • A bit heavy

2. Sminiker Professional Defender Tactical Pen Aircraft Aluminum Self Defense Pen with Glass Breaker – The Best Tactical Pen for EDC

I’ve mentioned that 2CL’s pen was a bit on the heavier side, so it might not always be within your reach. How about a pen that doesn’t have as many bells & whistles, but shines where it really counts – being at the ready in a pinch?

Designed to do a few things very well, Sminiker Professional’s Defender pen is a study in minimalism. Everything about it is geared towards making the pen light, streamlined and still able to deliver a precise, powerful hit that will either shatter a car window or some foolish attacker’s appearance.

Made from premium grade aircraft aluminum, the pen’s body is light enough for you to wield it easily, but has enough heft to it when it counts. It’s also textured and has small grooves so you can comfortably and strongly grip it in the middle. The cap ends with a carbide tip effective at causing damage, and preventing it.

At just under 6 inches and as light as it is, you should have no trouble carrying it in your front pocket using the sturdy clip. The ink the Defender pen writes with is as black as its body, and there’s an additional refill to keep it going when the first one runs out.

That’s also where this pen’s issues come from. The retracting mechanism isn’t well-made, causing the refill to frequently jam up. Getting a replacement or manually correcting it each time this happens is a possibility, but very annoying.

As an EDC tool, this is probably the best tactical pen you can find without paying ridiculous sums of money. Portable, efficient and nice-looking to boot, it should easily find its place among the rest of your gear.

  • Lightweight and durable
  • Excellent at breaking glass
  • Good grip
  • Weak retracting mechanism

3. Campco UZI Tactical Bolt Action Pen – An Inconspicuous Uzi Tactical Pen for Everyday Use

Both pens I’ve reviewed above have two things potentially going against them – they’re on the larger side, and their appearance might tip a perceptive person off as to what they are. Uzi has made a pen which performs all the functions a tactical pen should, but doesn’t look out of place when surrounded by standard pens.

It’s both scaled and toned down appearance-wise. Its length of 4.5 inches makes the pen easily concealable and carried around even in small pockets while the gunmetal gray color it comes in is both attractive to look at and doesn’t give the pen away during night time. As its name suggests, the pen opens up using bolt action which is a fun alternative way of doing it, plus it gives you something to do if you’re the fidgety type.

Like the previous one Uzi’s pen is made out of aircraft aluminum and benefits from its light yet sturdy properties. There are no textures on its surface, but a slight indentation and matt finish do a well enough job of keeping your hand firmly in place either for writing something down or breaking something in.

While the pen’s body is made to last, you might not experience the same with its clip. It’s a bit flimsy and might bend if you take the pen out forcefully a couple of times. The refill it comes with is not that great either, but can easily be replaced.

As a smaller, less obvious alternative to bigger competitors, this Uzi tactical pen is the ideal companion to any EDC enthusiast who values minimalism over all else. Small, reliable and fun to use, it’s a pen worth spending every penny on.

  • Small and light
  • Bolt action
  • Doesn’t attract attention
  • Weak retracting mechanism

4. Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen – The Gerber Tactical Pen that’s Fit for the Field

When constantly dealing with danger is an everyday part of your job, taking every precaution to protect yourself is a given. Whether you’re a soldier, police officer or paramedic, a threat can spring up on you at any time, and it’s then that having a Gerber tactical pen in hand can make the greatest difference.

You’ve probably heard of Gerber as one of the most respected multitool makers in the US and had a chance to get to know some of their products if you’ve already read my guide on multitools. Ever striving to give its customers American-made tools of outstanding quality, Gerber has sat down with actual police officers and developed this rugged tactical pen.

It’s big, heavy and constructed out of beautifully-worked steel available in three colors. All of its grooves and indents provide a slip-resistant grip that holds true even if your hand is sweaty or muddy. The ink it writes with is clearly visible even on wet paper and will take some time to run out. Just under the tip there’s a tempered steel spike that can make short work of window glass.

This is another pen that has problems with its retracting mechanism from time to time. Sometimes pushing the cap won’t lock the tip properly, so when you start to write it gets back in there, which can really be frustrating if you need to jot something down quickly. Also, it’s quite a heavy pen best suited for shorter bursts. You might find that writing with it for long periods of time starts to take its toll on the wrist.

Preparing for the worst in a safe environment is one thing, actually being in danger of it day in and day out is something completely different however. In a situation where having a sturdy object nearby can literally save your life, relying on a heavy-duty pen like Gerber’s becomes much more than a lifestyle choice. Out in the field you wouldn’t want to have to depend on any other.

  • Sturdy and heavy
  • Machined body looks cool and provides good grip
  • Can write under extreme conditions
  • Too heavy for long writing sessions
  • Unreliable retracting mechanism

5. Schrade SCPENBK Tactical Pen – A Solid Schrade Tactical Pen for Effective Self-defense

Let’s face it, none of us really want to use a tool such as this, but as with life or medical insurance, hoping for the best and planning for everything else is crucial for one’s survival and wellbeing. If you’re ever forced to defend yourself, the thing to do this with should be comfortable to hold, solid enough to deliver good impact and easy to carry around. The Schrade tactical pen gets high marks in all of these.

Holding this pen properly to both write a grocery list and frighten an attacker off comes very naturally. Its ergonomic design helps with the former while the grooved body and wide end of the pen ensure you’ll grip it tightly and can act fast if it ever comes to the latter.

A thick black aluminum body is the best mark of the pen’s solidity. Special care has been taken to make the cap heavy-duty since it’s responsible for the pen’s considerable power. The clip is there to secure the pen to your pocket, but it also helps with indexing when you’re using it as a weapon. Unscrewing the cap exposes the tip and makes the pen noticeably lighter so your wrist won’t start aching even after you’ve been writing for a while.

There’s only one minor annoyance with the pen – you can’t properly screw its cap to the end. Each time you go and write something you’ll either have to put the cap away or put it tightly onto the pen, in which case it still might fall off.

Schrade’s is a great all-around pen which has no major drawbacks its self-defense capabilities more than make up for its cap-related issue. It’s a mid-range pen you can get a lot of use out of as a writing implement, and can count on if you ever need to use it for its other purpose.

  • Solid and well-built
  • Can be comfortably gripped
  • Cap can’t be screwed onto the pen’s end

6. Smith & Wesson Military & Police Tactical Pen – The Smart Smith and Wesson Tactical Pen with a Shifting Cap

Whether or not tactical pens should be obvious is debatable. On one hand you don’t want yours to get confiscated by a TSA agent or for certain people to know you’re carrying one. On the other, sporting a pen obviously meant to hurt as well as write can go a long way in preventing an attack from happening in the first place. At smith & Wesson they probably asked themselves, “Why not have both?” and this was the result!

The concept is both simple and highly effective. The pen’s cap can be screwed on from either side, exposing either a normal tip with black ink, or a nasty aluminum point that could do some serious damage if there’s no other option left.

It’s a bit larger than a normal pen, but pretty tame in its appearance and shouldn’t arouse suspicion with its cap on the correct end. If anything, the black aluminum and a rugged central part which prevents slipping make it look modern as well as cool.

As you might have expected, the most unique feature of this Smith and Wesson tactical pen also happens to be a flaw. If you unscrew the cap a lot and keep shifting it from one end to the other, it eventually becomes loose, limiting its usability. The obvious solution is to not move the cap much, but it’s still a defect that should be addressed in future versions.

As it stands, this model is an example of an alternative approach to tactical pens that’s sure to find an audience. It writes well, looks decent and is a friend in need, all of which are great arguments to make one your own.

  • Can be quickly switched from pen to EDC tool
  • Solid grip and sturdy clip
  • Cap tends to become loose after a time

7. BOKER PLUS MPP Multi Purpose Pen – The Boker Tactical Pen Made to be Used and Admired

Next on the list is a pen by Boker. It has a very similar way of handling its business end as the pen above, but it also has a few interesting aspects that make it an appealing alternative. Let’s take a closer look!

Its interesting shape is probably the first thing that will catch someone’s eye. The pen doesn’t really look tactical, but its “waviness” does make it unusual and adds to its potential as a conversation piece. It’s not often that you can use a tool as an ice breaker both literally and figuratively!

Its sharp tip will convince most troublemakers that you’re not a target worth their time, and when you don’t want it to be visible, just snap the cap over it and turn the self-defense tool into a fashion statement in either silver or black aluminum once again.

The ink refill you get with it isn’t all that good and starts to fade relatively quickly. When replacing it, you’ll need to take care not to damage your pen as getting it open is a little tricky the first time. The part of the pen which holds the refills threaded differently than the cap, so you’ll need to unscrew it in the opposite direction. Trying to do it the same way as with the cap will only lead to frustration.

All things considered, the Boker tactical pen goes toe to toe with S&W’s model when dishing out pain is concerned, and easily starts writing just as good after a refill replacement. This leaves only style preferences, and the Booker has a definite edge there.

  • Attractive appearance
  • EDC side can easily be concealed
  • Replacing the refill isn’t intuitive

8. Columbia River Knife and Tool TPENWK Williams Tactical Pen – A Deceptive CRKT Tactical Pen

Eight in line is a pen that continues the trend of inconspicuous EDC tools and puts its own twist on it. CRKT’s pen is certainly a looker, but does it have what it takes to help you deal with any unforeseen trouble?

At first glance, you’d think it doesn’t. It’s one of the slimmest, most straightforward pens in the guide, with only UZI’s pen having less markings. In spite of this, the pen’s futuristic, slim shape tapers in the middle and lends itself well to writing fluidly, as well as to holding it comfortably in a fighting stance once the cap is reversed and its glass-breaking pointy end is exposed. The cap fits snugly on either side and is easily switched about, making both concealment and action possible at a moment’s notice.

Generally it is a pen that can take some punishment without deforming or flaking. The anodized aluminum it is made out of provides a matte texture for easier handling, and is non-reflective for maximum secrecy. When you don’t use it, a nice durable case is there to keep it safe.

The clip is rather tight and its end is sharp, so it tends to snag on clothing etc. A more serious concern is that the O-ring which keeps the clip in tact is flimsy and can break, leaving you with a futuristic-looking EDC pen whose usability isn’t as great as it was before.

The CRKT tactical pen is a practical defense tool you can store anywhere on your person and have quick access to at all times. It can’t be beat as a low profile alternative to some of the flashier examples in the guide, and is sure to be appreciated by anyone who doesn’t want to reveal its true purpose until the very last moment.

  • Slim and lightweight
  • Original, comfortable design
  • Flimsy clip

9. Benchmade Tactical Pen – A Flashy, Luxurious Pen that Might Save Your Hide Someday

Hiding the true purpose of your pen behind an unassuming exterior can be effective, but taking the completely opposite approach to accomplish the same thing works too. Renowned toolmaker Benchmade has created a tactical pen that attracts a lot of attention, and is sure to remain vividly in someone’s memory if they try to start something.

This would easily have been the best looking pen on the list just because of the sheer number of different color combos available. Add to that Benchmade’s expertise when it comes to engineering tools that are ergonomically perfect, and you get an anodized aluminum look and premium feel you’ll want to show off to any friendly person you meet.

If things take a turn for the worse, you can easily remove the cap and introduce your new “friends” to the stylish but serious carbide tip at its butt end. Used with finesse and accuracy, it turns the Benchmade tactical pen from a status symbol into a weapon that’s as good at preventing fights as it is at ending them.

It comes with two situational drawbacks. The first, more practical one is that the cap tends to come loose after a few months and feels wobbly while you’re writing. The second is the pen’s price. It costs more than twice as much as the next most expensive pen I’ve reviewed, begging the question if it is really worth investing that much into it.

If you can set the money aside I’d say that the answer is yes. By purchasing it you get a great-looking, long-lasting pen with Benchmade’s proven track record and generous lifetime warranty to fall back on. There are pens in the guide which will both write and defend just as well as this one, but none are as fabulous.

  • Exceptional quality
  • Lot of colors to choose from
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Cap isn’t tight when on the tip end
  • Expensive

10. VALTCAN Titanium Tactical Pen – Survival & Style in One Hard Shell

The last pen on the list is also among my personal favorites. It is made by Valtcan and combines the strength and endurance of titanium with a badass look and features most other pens that were discussed don’t have.

It’s a really beautiful pen to behold. Where Benchmade impresses with refined colors and precisely-engineered details, Valtcan’s titanium tactical pen relies more on purity of form and material. Its spiral cutouts and minimalist finger grooves almost make it look like a kind of modern sculpture, in a very positive way.

While it’s great to admire its visuals, the pen offers even more in its tactical capacity. A lot of things have been crammed into it – a tungsten steel cap, multitool and even a whistle made it in, giving the pen more of a conflict-avoiding character, which is an approach many will praise.

I really had to dig deep to find any flaws with Valtcan’s pen, and about the only thing I can come up with that’s remotely annoying is that the cap doesn’t fit on the pen’s back end. You’ll just have to put it somewhere safe while you’re writing.

If you’re looking for a high-end model whose appearance is rivaled by the usefulness of the tools it packs, then this titanium pen may just mark an end to your search. Robustness, elegance and versatility are what makes it stand out as either a capable survival tool, or a considerate gift a friend or business associate will love.

  • Lots of different features
  • Very attractive
  • Durable and heavy
  • Cap doesn’t fit on its back

Tactical Pen Buyer’s Guide

Now that every pen in the guide is more familiar, here are a few final notes to help steer you towards the pen that’s right up your alley.

Design – As can be seen from the reviews, tactical pens fall into two categories design-wise. There are more plain-looking ones that have been made to resemble ordinary pens as closely as possible while still being heavy and durable enough to be of use for self-defense. For others, it’ pretty obvious that their creators had more than writing in mind when they were designing them. This can be a good thing too as it sends out a message that you take personal safety very seriously. Whichever you find more appealing, don’t forget to check that the pen isn’t too bulky and that it feels natural in either position.

Materials – There’s a balance between durability and weight you should be aware of. Heavier pens don’t feel well in pockets you can get to the fastest and don’t do your wrist any favors if used a lot. Lighter ones won’t be as good at dealing damage. In either case, don’t neglect the materials and strength of its clip since that’s what keeps your pen always at the ready.

Ink Quality – While you won’t exactly be writing your memoires with a heavy tactical pen, it’s important that it can perform its writing tasks adequately. As long as the refill isn’t prone to running out mid-sentence and you don’t need to scratch up half the page to get it to write after you haven’t used it in a while, it ought to do. Most pens come with brand name refills like those from Fisher Space, Parker or Rite in the Rain, so it’s a good idea to check up on what to expect before buying a pen or buying a refill.

Feature Image Credit: EDC Boy

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