Monday, June 30, 2014

Tactical Pens for EDC (Everyday Carry)

I’ve considered many different weapons from improvised weapons, to knives, stun guns, and pepper spray. One that I have considered is a tactical pen. I’ve carried a pen in my EDC (every day carry) for years. Usually it is a metal pen that could handle a lot more than a conventional plastic one. I carry a pen, so it might as well be something designed as more than a writing utensil.
There are many opinions in the defense world concerning tactical pens. Some say a jury would not like the word tactical in front of the pen you drove into the eye of your attacker. Some say a Bic will do the same thing. I think I would rather have something designed for a certain purpose. I won’t pay a $100 for one, but would consider $10-$30. For law enforcement and correctional officers a tactical pen or almost any other pen for that matter, is something they don’t want a prisoner to have. To be honest with you, I was skeptical. I know you can use a lot of common household items as a weapon. (see blog Improvised Weapons 5/6/2014) If you’ve watched the Jason Bourne movies you’ve seen some of those items used as a weapon including a pen. I will be the first to say I know that movies, especially action movies, are far from real. But I know a regular pen or pencil can be used as a weapon. And I like the idea of an extra strong pen being close at hand. Especially if I cannot have a knife or gun. I work on a federal installation. I cannot have a gun without the permission of the security chief or the commander of this installation. You see how well that has worked for Fort Hood? Anyway, I like options. I like a plan B, C, and D. I like redundancy. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. So I am an advocate of the tactical pen.
What is a tactical pen? Before we go any further, let’s give a definition of what qualifies as a “tactical pen”. In short, it’s a specifically engineered pen made out of solid metal that can withstand the toughest conditions. It’s not a cheap plastic pen, it’s a rugged pen that can chop a wooden board in half and easily smash through a window, or something like that. I have never chopped wood or broken a window with a tac pen, but would try it if I had nothing else. The point is, they are much more sturdy than any plastic pen out there.
A writing instrument serving as a tactical tool has become a standard with many who want a “hidden in plain sight” alternative to other weapons. Many law enforcement consider these alternatives very important. In the hands of a determined individual fighting for their life a good tactical pen may be as effective as a knife. A pen used well to a face or throat will cause the attacker to possibly release their grip on you or their own weapon. Women are also encouraged to consider a tactical pen as part of their self-defense training.
These pens are becoming a “must have item” for many because as of this writing, the TSA do not consider them a weapon. Now I say this with a warning. Depending on where you fly from or to, every airport seems to be a little different. Some airports will let you go through and others may not. The official TSA prohibited list does not list a tactical pen, or any other pen, although it does list kubatons. This is as of their update of the list dated 21 MAR 2014. So if you have an expensive tac pen, put it in your checked baggage, don’t take a chance.
Any pen or pencil could stab an attacker but a tactical pen can be used to fight back with a surprisingly sharp point, and without the fear of the thing bending or breaking in half. Tactical pens can be carried in plain sight and most people would not even notice. Let’s be honest though. If you were approached by two muggers and you flashed this pen, you may amuse your attackers. But as your attacker lunges forward and you plant your pen in their eye, neck, or ribs, I think your attacker will know it. Many think a tac pen is not a real choice. I think it’s on the same level as well used pepper spray, although spray may not be so up close and personal as a pen or stun gun. I will use one (it’s already ordered) and let you know if I feel there is really any difference in what I carry daily already.
I think there will be a difference and that a tactical pen is a good idea for everyday carry. Like I said before, I like options. As with all things, get trained by competent instructors and ensure it is legal to carry where you live. Also, be responsible and don’t do stupid things dangerous things!
Semper Paratus