Let’s look at the best tactical pen for 2020.
What’s a tactical pen?
It’s a pen for writing – but so much more.
A tactical pen is an ink pen that has other uses too – such as self defense and survival.
Every man should include a good writing instrument in his bug out bag, get home bag, or similar.
And you might as well make it a multi-purpose item.
It’s a covert way to have within easy reach a tool – or weapon.
Let’s get started.
For those that don’t want to read the whole article – here’s our recommendations:
To say tactical pens are a controversial piece of gear is an understatement. Most people will grab anything cheap that will write – after all how often do you lose your pen?
Secondly, you might be better off with a legit tactical flashlight or multi-tool rather than trying to make a pen that does those things.
Having said all that, we’ll present the options here – and you decide what is best for you.
Just don’t complain after you’ve lost that $50 pen.
Features of the Best Tactical Pen
First, what should we look for in a tactical pen?
First of all, it should write in ink.
And it should be refillable. If you are going to drop $30 on a pen – it should be something you can use for years.
To be a useful EDC (Every Day Carry) item – there’s got to be a reason to have it on you every day.
It should be a reliable ink pen, first and foremost.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the special features.
A glass breaker is a common feature. A glass breaker is considered a survival tool – use it to shatter a tempered glass window to rescue someone from a vehicle, escape from a building, and more.
This also makes the tactical pen a considerable self-defense tool – as that hard tip means the pen can be wielded as a weapon.
To be an effective striking device – look for a form factor that ensure you can grip the pen securely.
Could you grip the pen effectively in a hammer fist or “icepick” grip?
Some include a magnetic compass. Sure, everyone has a compass in their smartphone, but that’s a fragile, complicated device -that can run out of battery. A magnetic compass works as long as the earth’s magnetic field is available – so everywhere, all the time!
Magnesium fire starters are also a popular feature. Having a device to start a fire is one of the most basic survival tools you can possess.
Some pens have a battery to power other features.
A LED tactical flashlight is one such feature.
Some have a DNA catcher or DNA Defender. This is a sharpened crown on the end that can be used to jab or poke an attacker. Not only is it a self-defense weapon, but it will likely retain DNA to be used later to identify the perpetrator.
What are tactical pens made of?
Aircraft grade aluminum is popular – but the glass breaker and other such impact features may be tungsten steel.
Stainless steel offers more toughness – at a cost.
And the ultimate material for a survival pen – titanium – is both tough and lightweight.
But, it is the most expensive option.
Some tactical pens look very covert – like a regular ink pen. Others look very “tacti-cool” – but still are not too obtrusive.
A good tactical pen should look like a pen, not a weapon.
Now that we know what to look for in the best tactical pen, let’s look at some models.
Need an all-weather writing instrument? Something that will write no matter how hot, cold, wet or dry things are? Check out our article on tactical notebooks for a deep dive on “Rite in the Rain” pens. These are specialized pens that use a pressurized cartridge and special ink to write anywhere – even on wet paper – and at any angle – including upside down.
Best Covert Tactical Pen That Looks Like a Pen
First of all, half the value of a tactical pen is that it flies under the radar.
Its got to look like a pen.
Our winner in this category is the Rebel Tactical Pen from Atomic Bear (Buy on Amazon).
Go ahead and take another look, it is almost indistinguishable from a regular pen.
Travel a lot and go through TSA checks? This is the pen for you.
The only problem with a pen such as this – it will be a bit light on other features.
That said, here’s what we have:
- Refillable black ink pen with 2 refills included
- Ink refills compatible with a variety of vendors
- Ultra-hard glass-breaker tip
- Flat thumb rest for power and control – Notice the top of the pen is flat – this thumb rest ensures maximum striking power
Made from aluminum, it is tough and lightweight, and includes a lifetime warranty.
This pen is 7 x 2.2 x 0.7 inches in size, and weights only 2.4 ounces.
The only downside to this pen?
When the cap is removed to write, it doesn’t fit over the end of the pen – so be careful not to lose it.
Best Tactical Pen with a Flashlight
For the man who likes his electronic gadgets – this is the tactical pen for you.
The has an LED flashlight built right-in.
Writes in black ink and it includes 3 batteries (9 LR44 type) and 2 ink cartridges.
You twist to extend the writing tip with this pen.
It also has some additional features:
- Tungsten Carbide Tip Glass Breaker
- Bottle Opener
- LED flashlight
- Hex wrench
The flat top of this pen design ensures maximum grip for a hammerfist strike.
It is made from aluminum and is 7.1 x 2.3 x 0.8 inches in size.
Lastly, it’s available in six different colors.
Best Stainless Steel Tactical Pen
Most of these pens are made from aluminum – which is light, and pretty tough.
But, stainless steel is tougher.
For those that want a tactical pen made from stainless steel we recommend the .
Not only that, but this tactical pen has an amazing array of tools, including a strap/seatbelt cutter!
- Glass Breaker Tip (Stainless Steel)
- Magnesium fire starter bar
- Safety Whistle
- Screwdriver -standard and phillips
- Utility knife blade
- Seat belt/strap cutter
- LED Flashlight – 12 lumens brightness
It should be noted that several of those tools are additional attachments that have to be carried separately.
Best Tactical Pen with a Seatbelt Cutter
Seatbelt straps are hard to cut.
But, if you are a first responder, being able to cut through one quickly is something you may need on the job.
For those that want a tactical pen with a low profile seat belt cutter we recommend this .
Best Bolt Action Tactical Pen Made with Titanium
What is super-tough and lightweight? Titanium.
For those that want the ultimate in light-weight strength we recommend the Valtcan Impel Titanium Bolt Pen (Buy on Amazon).
First of all the glass breaking tip is tungsten, but the pen body is titanium.
This is a no-frills tactical pen – no lights, no screwdrivers, etc.
It’ll do two things : write and stab.
It looks very low-key and should escape scrutiny at checkpoints.
Black ink and works with most common pen ink refills.
It’s also a “bolt action” pen – which is nice.
This is a one push bolt action design – just push the small bolt to access and recess ballpoint pen.
Best Bolt Action Tactical Pen Made With Aluminum
Want that Bolt Action design but in more cost effective aluminum?
We recommend the GP1945 Bolt Action Pen.
This is a no-frills pen – ink pen, glass breaker, and a safety whistle.
The GP1945 is also available in Titanium, but it is more expensive.
This pen also has a cool ruler function built-in.
Best Tactical Pen – In Summary
There are a variety of options for a tactical pen.
The basic features: It should be a refillable ink pen, and have a hardened tip for striking.
Beyond that there are many options for mini-tools and other features.
Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API