The best items for your everyday carry kit are items that are hidden in plain sight. Items that you can use in your everyday life allow you to expand your kit without having to keep that item concealed. A tactical pen is simply a pen designed for uses other than writing. It must be a functional writing tool, but tactical pens are typically designed for self-defense. Even airlines will often let you carry your tactical pen. They are great for stabbing at vulnerable points like the neck and eyes. However, they also allow you to target pressure points for non-lethal force.
Why a Tactical Pen?
There are several reasons that a tactical pen could be a better option than other concealable weapons.
- Multiple Functions – Unlike a handgun or knife, a pen can be used for several different every day and survival purposes. When building any survival kit, multifunction tools allow you to keep the kit as small as possible.
- Non-threatening – If you are going to be attacked, it can often be beneficial to appear unarmed. Guns or knives must be hidden to accomplish this. If a gun or knife is seen, an assailant will often disarm you immediately. With a tactical pen, you are hiding your weapon in plain sight. An attacker will rarely confiscate a tactical pen.
- Cannot Be Used Against You – One of the most dangerous aspects of carrying a gun or knife is that your attacker can use it against you. It takes little skill or experience for an attacker to injure or kill you with conventional weapons. However, an attacker will rarely have the skill to use a tactical pen against you. In fact, in most cases they will be more inclined to use their bare hands.
- Element of Surprise – Many would say that your greatest advantage in a physical confrontation is the element of surprise. A weapon that does not appear to be a weapon is an excellent way to gain this advantage.
- Non-lethal – In most cases a strike from a tactical pen will disable an attacker without doing any permanent damage. This is preferable in most situations.
- Easy to Conceal – A tactical pen is much easier to hide in your pocket than other weapons. Most knives and guns must have a sheath or holster specifically designed for concealment.
- Inexpensive – Most tactical pens are much less expensive than a gun or knife.
How to Choose a Tactical Pen
When choosing a tactical pen, there are several variables to consider. Most people only own one tactical pen, so it is important that you pick the right one. Here are some points to think about when choosing your pen:
Material – Tactical pens are typically made of one solid piece of metal. Unlike a normal pen, they are designed to take an impact without bending or breaking. Most are made with aircraft grade aluminum, but some are even made from titanium. The strength of your pen will be based on the material type and design.
Grip – With a pen being small and cylindrical, is could easily slip out of your hand after impact. A good tactical pen will have design elements to prevent it from slipping. Some have ridges designed to fall in between your fingers for a better grip, while others are tapered in the middle and fatter on the ends. Ideally, you want some sort of design element to improve your grip.
Appearance – If a tactical pen looks too different from a normal pen, it defeats the purpose. You want it to completely blend in. If it is obviously a weapon or tool, other people are that much more likely to try to take it from you.
Function – Any tactical pen should have a sharp point for stabbing, but some are so much more. These days you can buy tactical pens with glass breakers, fire starters, whistles, and styluses. Some even have flashlights built in to the pen. The newer models have DNA catchers to allow police to identify your attacker after the attack is over. The more functions your tactical pen can cover, the fewer items you need in your EDC kit.
Here are a few quality models that you can consider purchasing:
- the ELENKER Tactical Pen (also has an Emergency Hammer and a Whistle)
- the Schrade SCPENBK
- the Smith & Wesson SWPEN3G
- the Schrade SCPEN9BK
- the Smith & Wesson Military & Police SWPENMP2BR
How to Use a Tactical Pen
If you are attacked, there are specific points to target on the human body. The tactical pen is not a knife or sword. You cannot just swing it at an assailant and defend yourself. You have to be surgical. If you hit the right points, you will easily disable your attacker.
Remember that your goal is simply to get away from your attacker. You do not want to use lethal force if you can avoid it, but you also do not want to give your attacker a chance to recover and hurt you. The key to this strategy is multiple strikes. When you find a point of impact, hit it several times before you back off and try to escape. This will ensure that your attacker stays down.
Here are some points to target on the human body:
Hands – Hitting an attacker in the palm, knuckles, or back of the hand is very painful. Often an attacker will grab your arm or shoulder, so their hand is readily available to strike. In many cases you can break the smaller bones in the hand with just one strike.
Feet – If you find yourself on the ground at the feet of your attacker, this is an opportune time to strike. Attackers assume you are not a threat when you are on the ground, so this gives you the element of surprise. Striking the feet of your attacker will likely not break the skin, but it might break bones. In addition, the natural reaction to this type of injury is for the attacker to drop to the ground. This gives you an ideal opportunity to flee.
Knees – The knees are another vulnerable part of the leg that will drop a man to the ground. If you stab at the front or back of the knees, it will be very painful. In addition, there are tendons and ligaments that can be damaged. This would keep your attacker from following as you run.
Thighs – The thighs are meaty and make a good target for a tactical pen. A strike to the inside or the outside of the thigh is normally very painful. However, there are also pressure points on the inside of the thigh that intensify the pain.
Groin – Any strike to the groin is painful, but with a tactical pen that pain is amplified. This is an easy way to drop a man to his knees. You will likely have enough time to get away after just one good strike.
Ribs – The ribs are always a vulnerable spot on a person. There is little flesh to protect the bones and internal organs. A good strike with a tactical pen can break ribs or cause internal bleeding. It is incredibly painful as well.
Sternum – The breast plate is a spot that can easily be injured, but it adds a psychological edge as well. Any time you strike areas near vital organs, the injured person is likely to fall to the ground and curl into the fetal position. Until they realize exactly what has happened, they think their life is in danger. This is a great time to run for it.
Arm pits – You would not think this is a prime area to target, but the arm pits have little protection and lots of nerve endings. If you can catch your attacker with their arm up, hold it in place with your left hand and strike with your right. It is very painful and should drop him to his knees.
Neck – The neck is one of the few places on the body where you can actually kill somebody with a tactical pen. A strike to the base of the neck on the jugular vein could render an attacker unconscious, while a strike to the throat could cause death. If you have no other choice, this is the spot for which to aim.
Eyes – The eyes are always a great non-lethal spot to target. Not only is a strike to the eyes painful, but it makes it virtually impossible for your attacker to follow you.
Head – Any strike to the head is going to be painful. In addition, it can cause a great deal of bleeding. This can blind your opponent or just make them more concerned with their own well-being.
Once you have selected your tactical pen, take the time to practice with it. It is important that you are comfortable targeting these specific areas when the pressure is on. It is one thing to know the areas to target, but another thing to be able to act swiftly when attacked. Practicing in low lighting or with the sun in your eyes is also a good idea.
In addition to practicing where to strike, it is also important that you practice how to strike. Tactical pens can be held like a sword for thrusting forward, or they can be held backhanded for a downward stabbing motion. In most cases, sword style will give you more accuracy with your strikes. Your attacker is also less likely to block this type of movement. However, each tactical pen has a different shape and grip. You may decide that your pen works best by holding it a different way. It is important that you can stab a solid, heavy object without the pen slipping or dislodging.
Also, while practicing, remember that your best move is to stab repeatedly at one particular spot. This means that your grip has to allow you to keep making the same motion without it slipping. In most cases, you do not want to stop making contact until your attacker is on the ground or disabled in some other way. However, at that point it is best to run for help. Legally speaking, you can be charged with assault if you keep striking after your assailant is obviously disabled. Do what is needed to get away and then make a run for it. If you have hit the right spots, you should have no problem getting to safety.