The 14 Best Tactical Pens To Carry Everyday

Updated Oct 24, 2022
Photo: Gerber Impromptu

When it comes to everyday carry, we are firm believers that there are a few essential pieces of gear every single person should carry. Typically, that includes some kind of folding knife, a solid watch, a wallet or money clip of some sort, and a pen. There are certainly other tools that can be included, like multi-tools or a pocket notebook, but those four items are what we believe to be the core gear types.

It’s important to note, however, that those four pieces of gear do not strictly have to adhere to one single function. In fact, if you want the most out of your EDC loadout, you should pick up stuff that can function outside of its primary design. One such example is that of tactical pens. First and foremost, they are designed to write stuff down, but they’re also built with a secondary purpose: self-defense. And while we hope nobody ever has to use them for that purpose, we also know we’d rather have the option than not. With that in mind, we put together the following list of the 15 best tactical pens for everyday carry.

Cold Steel Pocket Shark Tactical Pen

First and foremost, it’s important to point out that Cold Steel’s Pocket Shark is not a ballpoint pen. Rather, it houses a felt tip — like a Sharpie — which means it’s not going to be for everyone. That being said, the fact that its body is made from high-impact polymer makes it a lightweight and ultra-durable writing instrument that doubles as a self-defense tool. That paired with its low cost makes it an easy inclusion here against more traditional ballpoint offerings.

Material: High-Impact Polymer
Style: Screw-On Cap

Purchase: $8

Smith And Wesson SWPENMP2BK Tactical Pen

At first glance, it might seem like a firearm manufacturer producing a writing utensil seems a bit off. That is until you realize that Smith and Wesson’s design language pairs perfectly into the tactical pen you see here. Built from aerospace-grade anodized aluminum and featuring a grippy design, this pen fits perfectly in the hand and it’s tough enough to weather intense impacts. Compatible with Schmidt and Parker-style refills, this writer is perfect whether you need to scrawl down a phone number or fend off an attacker.

Material: T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Style: Screw-On Cap

Purchase: $26

Schrade SCPENBK Tactical Pen

Unlike firearm manufacturers, knifemakers developing writing utensils makes a whole lot more immediate sense, especially when you see something like Schrade’s SCPENBK tactical pen. Sleek and unique in its appearance, the visible tip of this pen is actually strictly designed for self-defense and the pen tip is hidden aways securely under the screw-on cap on the back. That makes this one of the quickest and most discreet self-defense tools you could carry on your person.

Material: T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Style: Screw-On Cap

Purchase: $26

CRKT Williams Tactical Pen 2

CRKT’s Williams Tactical Pen was a huge hit amongst both the everyday carry and tactical communities. But that wasn’t good enough for James Williams, the pen’s creator, who took it to task and redesigned it to be even better. Made to be subtle but pack a punch, this pen is compatible with the legendary Fisher Space Pen pressurized refills — meaning it can write underwater, upside-down, or in zero gravity — and it’s tough enough to use in self-defense but doesn’t look overly aggressive in the process.

Material: T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Style: Snap-On Cap

Purchase: $36

SOG Baton Q1 Tactical Pen Multi-Tool

Certainly the most unique offering on this list, SOG’s Baton looks, for the most part, like a normal pen. But hides quite a number of other features. Apart from its slider-deployed pressurized ink cartridge, it also opens to reveal scissors, a can/bottle opener, and even a flathead screwdriver. And it’s all accessible when you need it but hides away discreetly when you don’t. Best of all, this multi-tool is TSA-compliant, so you can take it on air travel.

Material: T6061 Aircraft Aluminum & 5Cr15MoV Steel
Style: Slider

Purchase: $40

Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen

To some, the Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen is the best there is for a number of reasons — including its durability, versatility, and relatively low price. If anything, it’s certainly an offering with some of the greatest longevity, as it’s been favored by EDC enthusiasts and tacticians for literal years with zero design changes. Rugged, reliable, and iconic — this tactical writing utensil is one of our all-time favorites.

Material: Cerakote-Finished Steel
Style: Clicker

Purchase: $58

Hinderer Knives Spiral Investigator Pen

It’s well known in the EDC community that Rick Hinderer knows his way around a knife, as he’s designed some of the best ever to have existed. Turns out he’s also adept at creating tactical writing instruments, as can be seen in the Spiral Investigator. Featuring a stainless steel construction and a unique, machined body that’s both handsome and grippy, this science fiction-esque scribe’s tool comes with a Fisher ink cartridge, was made here in the USA, and will never let you down.

Material: Stainless Steel
Style: Screw-On Cap

Purchase: $60

Nitecore NTP10 Tactical Pen

One of the most uniquely designed offerings we’ve come across, the Nitecore NTP10 Tactical Pen benefits from a sturdy and lightweight titanium construction, a unique hollowed body, a screw-on cap, and a tungsten tip. What’s especially handy about that last bit is the fact that it works great if you need it for self-defense but it can also help out in emergencies — like breaking a glass window if you find yourself trapped in a car. Mate all of that together and you’ve got yourself a pen that’s much greater than the sum of its parts.

Material: Titanium
Style: Screw-On Cap

Purchase: $90

Tuff Writer Operator Tactical Pen

Striking the perfect balance between durability, functionality, and styling — Tuff Writer’s Operator series of tactical pens are great options for anyone who wants to make sure that their EDC looks as good as it works. Available in any of six anodized finishes, these aerospace-grade aluminum pens boast a threaded cap, reliable knurled machined grip, pocket clip, easy-change cartridge, and a matte finish.

Material: T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Style: Screw-On Cap

Purchase: $95

CountyComm Brass Embassy Pen REV 3

CountyComm actually makes their gear specifically for government agencies. Luckily, however, they’re allowed to sell excess inventory to those of us who don’t work for the government — which means their Embassy Pen REV 3 is up for grabs to the general public. Made in the USA from beautiful and durable brass, this screw-top pen is tough as nails, has a superb knurled grip (so it’ll never slip from your grasp), and comes with a Fisher Space Pen refill. It’s a bit hefty at four ounces but it’s worth it if you ask us.

Material: C360 Brass
Style: Screw-On Cap

Purchase: $98

Benchmade 1100 Series Tactical Pen

Don’t be fooled by the way this bad boy looks — that tip at the end isn’t a ballpoint. In fact, it isn’t a pen tip at all; it’s an aluminum impact tip perfect for self-defense applications. The pen is hidden away under a click-on cap and comes with a Fisher Space Pen pressurized ink cartridge, so this bad boy can write in zero gravity, upside-down, or underwater. Sleek and sturdy, this EDC pen is par for the course for a superb knife-making brand like Benchmade.

Material: Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Titanium, or Damascus Steel
Style: Snap-On Cap

Purchase: $124

SureFire EWP 04 Tactical Pen

SureFire is known for making some really impressive tactical and everyday carry flashlights. And flashlights have a format that’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from pens — so the transition was very easy for the brand. Finished with a mil-spec coating, this aerospace-grade aluminum writing utensil, which features a Schmidt cartridge, is a bit more ergonomic than their flashlights, as is necessary to scribble stuff down. But it’s also super-tough for self-defense applications.

Material: T6061 Aircraft Aluminum
Style: Clicker

Purchase: $130

Boker Plus K.I.D. cal .50 Titan Pen

If you want to get your hands on a pen that looks as tough as it is, then the Boker Plus K.I.D. cal .50 Titan is the tactical pen for you. This thing is a massive handful of ultra-durable titanium that will stand up to the toughest punishment you could possibly dish out. It also boasts a handy and reliable bolt-action deployment system and still weighs just 1.6 ounces in total, so it’s easy to carry around with the rest of your EDC loadout.

Material: Titanium
Style: Bolt-Action

Purchase: $143

Fellhoelter Spiral Fluted TiBolt Pen

Ask some of the most discerning members of the everyday carry community about their favorite pen brands and nine times out of ten, you’ll hear the brand name Fellhoelter mentioned. In all honesty, they really do make some of the best writing instruments ever offered to the public. And their upcoming spiral fluted TiBolt built from beautifully machined titanium is no different. That also means it’s incredibly lightweight, absurdly tough, and damn near perfect. It’s also offered in two different lengths with either a tumbled or satin finish.

Material: Titanium
Style: Bolt-Action

Purchase: $210

The Best Bolt-Action EDC Pens

For those seeking something that’s a little more everyday carry-friendly but with just a touch of military inspiration, have a look at our list of the best bolt-action EDC pens.