Tactical Pens. Some people love them, others think you are a coward if you dare carry one.
Regardless of what you think about them, tactical pens do have a place and use case in limited situations.
Gerber $50 Tactical Pen
From the open box to the slightly scratched surface of the pen, you can tell Gerber is trying to present this pen like they don’t care if it gets scratched or not because it’s supposed to be “tough.” Not good for photography but here it is!
The packaging makes it look like some free thing you’d see at a trade show booth in my opinion…
You can buy this for a whopping $50!
Why Do You Need a Tactical Pen?
I don’t think everyone needs a to carry a tactical pen, and I certainly don’t carry mine daily. It’s always useful to have a pen handy when you need one, it’s also useful to have a potential self defense weapon when you need it.
Why a pen though?
Specifically if you are traveling to countries that make it illegal to carry pocket knives, and guns are out of the question, you as a US citizen have limited options for self defense.
Your fists can make for a good weapon, with the right skill, a pen can be deadly as well! How about a beefy, all metal pen with a glass breaker on the tip?
What about on a college campus where knives a prohibited? (Please check your local laws before carrying a pen, you would think a pen would be legal to carry on a campus…)
Is $50 Worth it?
Would you rather pay $50 for one nice tactical pen or $12.33 for 4 cheap ones?
Let’s compare the two!
Just from the picture, it should be obvious that the cheap tactical pen is made of light weight, cheap aluminum. Based on the feeling of the clip, my guess is that’s the first thing that would break on this pen.
One top of that, there is another major flaw that this, and most cheap tactical pens share… the glass breaker!
At the very end of the cheap pen (left) is the glass breaker, the Gerber Tactical Pen uses a clicky button instead.
In order to use this effectively as a self defense weapon, you need to be able to have a firm grip on the pen. It’s pretty hard to do that when you have a sharp glass breaker poking into your thumb.
We could argue than when your adrenaline is pumping, you won’t be too worried about that in the head of the moment, but do you really want to stab yourself at the same time you are supposed to be defending yourself? On top of that, when the cheap, no-branded tactical pen is in my pocket, the glass breaker always pokes my hands if they are near my pocket.
What Makes a “Good” Tactical Pen?
These are the things I consider when selecting a tactical pen:
1. Glass Breaker Location (Most of the cheap ones have it on the wrong end!)
2. Is it plausible to pass as an actual pen? (important when dealing with security!)
3. Structure, is it a pen with a cap, twist, or click? (I prefer click!)
A regular pen is located on the left, the Gerber is in the middle, and the cheap knockoff pen is on the right. Of the two tactical pens, it’s clear the Gerber looks the most like a regular pen.
While I would not take this on my carry on bag at the airport, if I was ever questioned by security, I think there’s a better chance the Gerber will pass than the other pen which looks extremely aggressive and thick! (Not legal advice!)
At $50, I wouldn’t risk having this confiscated by TSA and I think there’s bigger issues than worrying about an attack on the plane ride…
I can instantly feel the quality of the Gerber pen, in fact I carried it daily while I was traveling in Asian countries that have laws against pocket knives.
It feels much better, in terms of thinness as well as the weight. Cheap pen is 1.6 oz, the Gerber is 2.3 oz. The clip feels sturdy and it’s actually usable as a decent pen.
Is there a middle pen between the cheap $3 one and the $50 Gerber? Yes.
Smith & Wesson has a Tactical pen that usually retails around $25. However, it is a capped pen, and I personally do not like the design.
I have never used it before, so I can’t say whether or not it’s a good pen, but I decided for the Gerber due to the slick design and positive feedback for it.
Do you need a Tactical Pen? Will you feel safer carrying one? This is up to you, as I don’t think it’s an essential item and $50 is way to over priced in my opinion.
I think it’s due to lack of competition, lack of demand, and the brand name, combined makes for a $50 Tactical Pen.
Is it a good tactical pen though? Yes!