Anyone who thinks that ink pens aren’t for tough guys obviously has never seen a tactical pen.
They’re writing instruments equally useful for jotting down grocery lists or doing battle in the back alleys of Bangkok. Really – pens specifically made to be used in street fights.
Odd as it may seem, there are a handful of companies that take seriously the whole “pen is mightier than the sword” thing. As the makers of the Tuff-Writer put it on their website:
Q: Why do I need a tactical/defense pen?
A: Because it's a dangerous world out there and the price of being unprepared is just too high.
Tuff-Writer even offers a helpful video showing three ways to poke someone with the pen.
Tactical pens tend to be made of aircraft-grade aluminum with knurled barrels, so you don’t lose your grip at the wrong moment, and have non-reflective surfaces for effective sneaking around at night.
The ends usually are rounded or flat, apparently both to brace the end of the pen against your palm when you fight with it and to push into pressure points to control unruly opponents. However, some of the tactical pens are pointy at both ends, presumably so you can jab a bad guy without spoiling the tip of your pen.
And at least two of the brands – Benchmade and Tuff-Writer – work with Fisher Space Pen cartridges so that the pens will not only disable attackers, but also write at any angle, on any surface and even underwater. Benchmade pens come with the Fisher cartridges, while you can buy Fisher replacements for the Tuff-Writer.
For those seeking a little more style in their combination self-defense/writing instruments, Benchmade offers several bright colours including gold, red – and pink. Another tactical pen maker, MIL-TAC, also offers a choice of colors that include blue and orange.
From MIL-TAC’s website:
Not only is this pen designed to be used as a defense tool and writing instrument but it also has a very attractive appearance and can also be used as a PDA stylus.
Tactical pens range in price from £50 to £75.
Of course, you have to be wondering, once you have one, how do you use it? You can see the video above, or for more detailed lessons, you can check out martial arts master Waysun Johnny Tsai. He offers a DVD called, “Practical Tactical Pen Street Defense.” (We were tempted to chuckle at the title, but he’s probably not a guy at whom it’s safe to laugh.)
You can see a clip of his pen-fu here:
Todd, over at The Apathy Ball blog, makes a good point when he says he thinks tactical pens have gotten popular because of fight scenes involving pens in some recent action movies like “The Bourne Identity” and “Quantum of Solace.” (He has clips of the scenes at his site.)
It probably also has something to do with tightened restrictions on what types of items can be carried into public buildings and on public transportation. As the makers of tactical pens say, you can carry one of these pens into many places you can’t take a nail file.
So, readers, are these pens useful and practical, or just slightly silly? Let us know what you think.