Product Spotlight: Top 6 Tactical Pens (Part 1)

Finding a suitable, legal tool for self-defense can be complicated, but the tactical pen may be the perfect solution. Tactical pens originated within the knife community, and as such are typically produced by knife makers, though each maker has a slightly different take.

Here our the first two of our five recommendations for tactical pens anyone can use.

tactical pens

These tactical pens from Surefire (far left and second from right), Benchmade (second from left) and MIL-TAC (far right) are sound self-defense choices for discreet everyday carry.


Benchmade offers a number of tactical pen models. The one reviewed here is the 1100 series pen, available with black or blue ink and in either an aluminum or stainless-steel body. The aluminum bodies come in charcoal, red, pink and gold.

For those who really like a decked-out pen, there’s even a Damascus steel version, model 1100-13. It’s a cap design pen, and the cap and barrel both have a scalloped ring contour with gently checked risers. Out of all those I reviewed, Benchmade tactical pens feature the most aggressive-shaped tip at the butt of the pen.

Browning tactical pen

The Browning tactical pen cannot be purchased by itself; it’s included with a letter opener.


Browning’s tactical pen is on the thick side to offer the user a chunky grip, and is built from aluminum with an anodized black textured surface. Browning is the only one that comes with a designated glass breaking tip at the “derby” of the pen. The derby is the butt of the pen, where the clicker would be located on a clicker-style pen.

To produce the writing tip on the Browning Black Label, the derby is rotated, which is referred to as a twist mechanism. The barrel of the pen (the main part you hold) has an added grip with ringed groove texturing. All in all, the Browning Black Label is a good, sturdy tactical pen that crosses the line from not only being a self-defense tool but also a rescue tool.

tactical pen designs for CRKT

Allen Elishewitz tactical pen designs for CRKT include the Tao (left) and the Titanium.


I have three CRKT pens: One is a tactical pen designed by James Williams, a master of the Samurai arts. His design shows Japanese tradition in the use of a sleek, trim design, probably the trimmest out of the group being reviewed.

I also have two tactical pens designed by Allen Elishewitz: the Titanium and the Tao tactical pens. Elishewitz has two stout designs, each with a textured surfaces to create an area for use as a grading point against the flesh of your attacker. The Titanium’s two bands of slightly aggressive checkering are good for holding the tactical pen, but it will cause pain if you add force.

On the Tao, there are aggressive scallops at the top of the cap that will abrade the skin when applied with force. All three pens have different appearances, but all use a cap system to cover the writing tip.

In Part 2, we’ll cover tactical pens from Surefire, MIL-TAC and UZI.

— Story and photos by Abe Elias