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When the conversation of tactical pens is brought up, there tends to be a debate from the onset of the discussion. There are those that see a tactical pen as a valid everyday carry (EDC) and then there are others that will laugh at the idea. The latter will argue that they carry blades and pistols as their EDC and feel that carrying a pen for self defense is just stupid… Regardless of what cool name you give it. I won’t go as far as to state that I agree with this opinion; but I understand their thought-process. I will get into more detail in a bit, but first…
So What Exactly Is A Tactical Pen?
A tactical pen is a writing utensil that is constructed from stronger material than a regular pen. This material is usually aircraft grade Aluminum. Many features are bundled into tactical pens these days. Some pens contain a tungsten tip for glass-breaking while others may integrate an LED flashlight. Tactical pens are becoming the Swiss-Army knife of self defense. But the idea is to have a valid self-defense tool, that is disguised as an average writing utensil.
Now getting back to my friends that feel that carrying a tactical pen for self defense is a moot point; My argument is that there is always a proper tool for each job. We can use a wrench to hammer in a nail but there will probably be some undesired side effects. When we bring a similar analogy to our current conversation about self-defense tools, the repercussions for using the wrong tool for the job can have lifelong consequences.
As you are aware, there are countless gun and knife free zones all over America. We even have States where carrying a pistol or certain knives will land you in jail with some hefty fines. Bear in mind that we are talking about the USA. For those of us that travel Internationally… our choices for EDC dwindle to nearly nothing. So the question that I pose to my buddy’s that laugh at the idea of carrying a tactical pen – Would you rather have something that can be wielded effectively in a self-defense situation or would you prefer nothing?
I Prefer Something As Opposed To Nothing!
I do a decent amount of traveling to teach my NTC Method around the world. Most of these trips are to South America, Europe and the Middle East. Some of these flight plans take over 24 hours for me to reach my destination. I may go through as many as 6 airport checkpoints, and then is just to get there. Since I have nothing but time during these long-haul flights, I pay attention to the security procedures implemented by various countries and airlines. I have gotten many personal items confiscated. These items include zippo lighters, corkscrews and even duct tape. But the items that never seem to get a second glance are my tactical pens.
I store my tactical pen, with the writing part exposed, in my GORUCK Echo backpack. I use the Echo ruck as my carry-on; I refer to it as my Airport Go Bag. I remove my shoes, MacBook and belt while placing them on the conveyor along with my ruck. I head to the scanner, raise my arms above my head and walk right through. My backpack, containing my tactical pen, is waiting for me as I head to the end of the carry-on scanner. After years of this process, I have yet to be questioned about any of the tactical pens that I choose to carry with me.
You may say to yourself “big deal, he has a freaking pen, who cares?”
Well, to me it is a very big deal. After countless hours of travel in facilities where I feel like I’m being watched by hawks… My tactical pen is a bit of confidence and even comfort when I know that my home and “Rights” are a whole other world away.
I want to share with you a few of the reasons why I carry a tactical pen as part of my self defense plan.
Let’s get right into it…
I Can Carry It Internationally:
I went into a bit of detail on International travel. I explained my travel process but the need goes up 10-fold when i actually arrive at my destination. I mentioned the rules and regulations that we face from airports and airlines. But when we get to these International locations, we may not even be clear as to what the rules and regulations for EDC even are. Knowing that I have a tool, that I am very well versed in, adds a great deal of confidence. This confidence alleviates a lot of stress which allows me to work on the mission at hand much more effectively.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t just pertain when travelling abroad. The scenario is very similar when I am home and in places like NYC. NYC has EDC laws that are generally convoluted on purpose. Making one simple mistake with your EDC choice can put all of your other Rights in jeopardy. NYC isn’t alone in this hypocrisy, there are many other similar States that address EDC by it’s citizens the same way. Having a tool like a tactical pen, that barely raises an eyebrow, is certainly a practical approach to this form of anti 2A sentiment.
Less Than Lethal Force:
Liability is something that is overlooked when addressing EDC choices. Many opt for carrying tools that will deploy lethal force when used in a self defense situation. I can understand this logic of thinking. After all, if someone wants to cause bodily harm to me or my family members, than they are getting what they deserve. However, we may have to pay and pay dearly for making this decision.
Wielding a pen in a self defense scenario will be looked upon much more favorably than a pistol or edged weapon. Your attacker may be on bad medication. They may be suffering from some form of PTSD or they may just have had to much to drink. In any case, the tool that you choose to combat the situation with will reflect on how a jury of your peers sees the situation. You will also have to deal with the consequences for many years to come. Whether you are right or wrong, your conscience will have to battle your actions for the rest of your life.
I too believe that I would rather be judged by twelve than carried by six… But I also realize that I am the one that will have to deal with the outcome of my actions. Plan Accordingly.
It’s Just A Writing Utensil:
Luckily, I have never been questioned about my tactical pens. Whether it is in my pack or carried in my pocket like a folder, no issues have ever arisen. What makes me comfortable is that if I were to get questioned, It’s just a pen! It writes very well, has a cap and even a pocket clip. It may look a bit more sturdy than other pens but so do those expensive luxury pens that I see people writing with in their First Class seats. 😉
Getting back to liability for a moment… If I were to get attacked and needed to use my tactical pen for self defense, my justification would be that I was attacked, panicked, reached in my pocket, had a pen and I… Stuck it in his eye!
Can Come Bundled With Extra Features:
As I referenced earlier, the tactical pen is becoming the Swiss Army knife of self defense tools. This can be an asset but can also jeopardize the integrity of the tactical pen. Some pens may look cool and feature 10 gadgets-in-one, but the overall construction of the pen usually suffers. My main purpose for the pen is self defense. As long as the main purpose for my pen remains viable, adding a feature or two is usually a good benefit.
I have tactical pens that I can use to break glass and I have others that contain a ferro rod for fire starting. Those are a couple of features that can come in handy in a pinch. The fact that they just come along for the ride because of being bundled with the pen, keeps these extras always with me.
Relatively Easy To Wield In Self Defense:
Using a tactical pen in self defense is similar to the movements used with a blade or knife. We basically use two grips or positions when it comes to holding the tactical pen. There is the forward grip, where the business end of the tactical pen points in the same direction as your thumb. Then there is the reverse-grip in which the business end points in the opposite direction as your thumb. The preferred grip for deploying a tactical pen in self defense is the reverse-grip position.
Holding the pen in a reverse grip position and just using a natural hammer fist motion makes the tactical pen one hell of an effective tool. Whether you are able to strike your attacker in the face with the pen or even just the tip of their finger… The tactical pen can certainly go a long way in helping you survive an encounter. Just like any other skill, the more that you practice with your tactical pen, the better that you will bode in a life-threatening situation.
Practice drawing your tactical pen from wherever you decide to carry it. If you wear gloves sometimes, practice with gloves on. Practice in low as well as bright light conditions. The more diverse that your training is, the better prepared that you will be if you are ever called upon to use the tactical pen to save your life.
When I have the possibility of using my pistol or blade for EDC, than I would certainly prefer those options over my tactical pens. But at times where standard EDC options are limited or even non-existent… A well built tactical pen makes a great companion. The tactical pen also makes a great supplement to your primary EDC. If you plan to carry your pen sometimes for self defense, then you should carry it all the time.
Remember that perfect practice makes perfect. Don’t wait for that International trip to start carrying your pen.