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Self-Defense Tip #58 — Tactical Pen vs. an Ordinary Pencil, or “Pay More for Less”

Glancing through the recent issue of Black Belt magazine, which I get free because I run my ads in it sometimes, I stumbled upon a write-up of a “tactical pen.” There are several such “tactical” pens from various companies, priced from under $20.00 to $250.00. This one costs $100.00. Here it is:

CUMA RAM Tactical Pen

CUMA RAM Tactical Pen


It comes in several colors.

Look at its nice colors, then look at the movie below (from Self-Defense Tip 47).

Pumpkin vs. Pencil and Credit Card

I don’t show in this video the suitable fight-ending targets for such everyday objects as pencils, pens, or chopsticks. This is because this demo is not for people “born yesterday,” and who needs such idiots to learn those things….

Now tell me what is more certain to stop an attacker: an ordinary pencil or the tactical pen? If you were not born yesterday, you will know that with writing utensils or similarly shaped everyday objects, it depends mainly on the grip you use (see the video), not so much whether the object is made of wood, or metal, or a composite.

Tell me another thing: What will get you in more trouble if you defend yourself using either of those writing implements in self-defense? What is more likely to cost you jail time: a tactical pen or an ordinary pencil? You don’t know? Ask a good lawyer. And let me tell you that having “tactical” in the product’s name will make things look really bad for you in the eyes of the law.

Self-defense tip from Thomas Kurz, co-author of Basic Instincts of Self-Defense and author of Science of Sports Training, Stretching Scientifically, and Flexibility Express.

The Unbreakable Umbrella -- better than a cane, keeps the rain off, whacks like a steel pipe.

Self-Defense Moves

Basic Instincts of Self-Defense - Defenses Against Unarmed Attacks DVD

For your defense moves to work under stress they must be based on your natural, instinctive reactions, require little strength and limited range of motion, and be proven in fighting experience.

To learn how your natural reactions can instantly defeat any unarmed attack, see the video Basic Instincts of Self-Defense.

Defend Against Weapons

Self-Defense: Tools of Attack DVD

To defend against weapons you have to know how they are used. Also—every stick has two ends … the weapon of attack may become a weapon of defense in your hand …

To learn how the typical street weapons (club, knife, razor) are used by an experienced streetfighter and how to practice with them, see the video Self-Defense: Tools of attack—Club, Hatchet, Blackjack, Knife, Straight Razor.

Mental Toughness

Gold Medal Mental Workout - One CD, PDF Book, & mp3/iPod Recordings

Staying cool under pressure is more important for self-defense than being physically fit and technically skilled. If you can’t control your mind what can you control?

To learn mental techniques that let you calmly face any threat and act rationally in the heat of a fight, click here.

For a complete list of our products, click here.


5 Responses to Self-Defense Tip #58 — Tactical Pen vs. an Ordinary Pencil, or “Pay More for Less”

  1. mccafferty says:

    Thanks! I nearly bought one of these pricey “tactical” pens, instead of just carrying a pencil.

  2. Mike says:

    If it’s self defense what difference does it make? A pencil will break immediately.

  3. Marc says:

    The legal risk of carrying and using anything called “tactical” is real. As someone said, “Police (and prosecutors) do not like fighting, therefore if they catch you fighting, they do not like you.” If one is carrying something called “tactical” there is a strong possibility that they may use that in court to characterize one as someone who was looking for trouble.

    Another concern about tactical pens and pencils is that if one is close enough to use them, then one’s attacker is close enough to stab him or her with a concealed knife. Street fighting in clinching/grappling range is very dangerous because criminals frequently carry one or more concealed weapons, including knives. If they lose the first weapon, they usually have a second or even a third one to fall back on.

    Maintaining or creating distance is the best defense against being stabbed. The “Unbreakable Umbrella” is a much safer tool to use than tactical pens or pencils, because it keeps one’s attacker out of stabbing range. I recommend “Stun, Stagger, Stop” dvd instructional by Cold Steel for solid umbrella self defense tactics. Carrying ball point pens or pencils as back up tools for legal self defense against an unprovoked criminal assault is a good idea as well.

    The only 100% effective form of self defense is to be aware, to avoid conflict, confrontations, and fights, to retreat from them, to deescalate them, and to escape. Many trained martial artists have died showing off their skills on the street; one handgun beats one black belt, 100% of the time. There is no need to show off; swallow your pride and just walk (or run) away. But keep an eye on the aggressor, in case he or she decides to follow!

    Be safe.

  4. RS says:

    The Kurz’s method of using pencils and pens is for driving them into joints and gaps between muscles and bones. If you know what you are doing, the pencil, if it breaks at all, will do so inside its target. Even if it doesn’t break, you will likely leave it there anyway. This immobilizes the attacker better than if you were to pull it out (a difficult thing to do).


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