Have you ever heard of tactical pens?
I mean, were you even aware that tactical pens were a thing?
I only just became aware of it. As I’m becoming more interested in the burgeoning concept of Every Day Carry, which for most of us simply means we carry a wallet, a comb, a handkerchief, a pen, a notebook, and keys (and maybe two or three knives) while for others it means carrying personal defensive items, such as knives, heavy keychains for striking, tactical flashlights to blind or confuse an attacker, expandable batons, and the like.
Because of my interest in knives (mostly for utility use and the occassional curiosity piece), my Internet research has plunged me deep into the abyss that is survivalist paranoia, and that’s where I came upon the phrase “tactical pens,” and of course I was like, “What the fuck is that?”
After all, as a writer, I’m all about pens. The more, the merrier, in fact. One can never have too many pens. All my jacket pockets are full of pens — fountain pens, ball point pens, rollerball pens, pens with smartphone styluses, and even mechanical pencils — and of course notebooks upon which to apply said pens.
I have pens that twist to write, click to write, pull off the cap to write, move a ratchet on the side to write.
I have pens that were gifts, fancy pens, cheap pens, pens imprinted with business logos (given away as free advertising or which I just pocketed because that’s how I am).
But tactical pens? I didn’t even know what that meant.
So I Googled it and I learned that a tactical pen is basically a self-defense weapon. It can trace it’s roots back to the 1960s, when Sōke Takayuki Kubota, a Japanese-American who founded the Gosoku-ryu style of karate, invented the Kubotan, a keychain weapon about the size of a marker pen used to strike vulnerable areas of an attacker (for example, bony, fleshy and sensitive parts such as knuckles, forearms, the bridge of the nose, shins, temple, ribs, groin, neck, eyes, and so on).
The Kubotan is easy to conceal and when properly used, effective in warding off an attack.
The tactical pen, therefore, was influenced by the Kubotan. It is useful as a writing implement, but can be used as a weapon when a dangerous situation arises.
They are made of various materials, from hard durable plastic to metal, such as aluminium. Often the non-writing end comes to a hard point which can also double as a glass breaker if you are trapped in your car.
Let me state that in today’s society, you don’t have to be a paranoid survivalist to understand the need for situational awareness — to always be aware of your surroundings. But that doesn’t mean you have to live every moment in fear (like those gun-toting types), only that you are prepared for any eventuality. Crackpots are everywhere and even a quiet walk in the park can turn into a life-or-death struggle.
Your first response to any attack should be flight. Put as much distance between yourself and the attacker as possible.
Also make a lot of noise to attract anyone’s attention and possibly scare off the attacker.
Fighting shoukd be a last resort, but in the event you do need to fight, having a tactical pen handy could be the difference maker.
Sure, would a gun, knife, mace, or a collapsible baton, or even a sword be a better choice? Of course, except there are many places and situations which preclude carrying any of those items. (Not to mention many people don’t even like those things.)
Therefore, a pen might be all you have on you and, if that’s the case, wouldn’t you want to have a pen that won’t shatter or break when you need it the most?
Think about it. As writers, we always have a pen with us. Always. We jot down ideas, make notes, plot, and so on. Doesn’t it make sense to have a pen that can also kick ass?
Here’s a video demonstrating using a tactical pen:
And here is a woman’s self-defense video using a Kubotan, but a tactical pen will work just as well (I like this one because she beats the crap out of the instructor):
If you’d like more information on purchasing your own tactical pen, follow this link to a Guide to Tactical Pens courtesy of Blade HQ, to help you get started.
I saw that Schrade made a tactical fountain pen and I was all over that until I discovered it is unavailable, out of stock, and possibly never to be seen again. *sad face*
One thing I read is that the ballpoint pen ink cartridge used in the Smith and Wesson ballpoint pens (as well as Schrade) is less than desirable for writing, which sucks because a pen that can’t write is just a stick. AmIrite?
Many users it seems, however, found the ink cartridge for the Fisher Space Pen is a good replacement, which means you’d not only have a kick ass life-saving pen, but in a pinch you can write with it upside down in zero gravity while underwater!
How cool is that?
Just be careful taking one on a plane. Those anal bastards at TSA consider them weapons! How absurd.
I hope you enjoyed this little primer about tactical pens. I’m off to search eBay for a fountain pen.