I like carrying a pen everywhere. They are good for the obvious use of taking notes. Somehow I can always find something to write on, but nothing to write with. I also carry a pen on flights and other places I can’t carry a knife like planes and federal buildings.
There is more than one company making a pen that doubles as a weapon. The cheapest one I could find advertised as a “tactical” pen was the Smith & Wesson, so I bought one. I also ran down to OfficeMax and Target and bought six different pens to test.
Here’s the line up:
From Left to Right:
- Parker Jotter - I like Parker pens and it looked tough on the shelf at OfficeMax so I bought it for $5.84. After opening it the top seems to be stainless steel, but the bottom is plastic. I don’t know if the plastic will survive.
- Zebra G-301- These used to be my favorite pens of all time. I used to carry these as a Marine because they didn’t break. I used them for everything and they seemed to survive well. A little while ago I bought a pack and broke the pen the first day I had it. So I’m not sure how this will work. I got these from OfficeMax in a 2 pack for $5.49
- Pierre Cardin – I can’t find this pen anywhere online, I just found it at office max for $5.49. I bought it because it says “Solid Brass Construction” on the package.
- Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen- I bought this pen as a control group. This is a “tactical” pen that can be used as a weapon, but was designed to survive the military. Smith & Wesson doesn’t mention anything about it being a weapon, which I like for liability issues and so I can carry it more places. This is obviously the toughest pen in my limited test and by far the most expensive at $24.99 from Academy Sports and Outdoors here in Texas.
- Uni-Ball 207 - This one just looked cool, big, and tough. So I bought it from Target for $6.89.
- AlluminX Ball Point Pen - I bought this one off the rack because it says Aluminum Barrel on the pack and it was only $1.92. It seems tough and is all aluminum, but feels slippery and hard to hang onto, and somehow I bought the purple one.
- Pilot Dr. Grip- I bought this one because it’s my wife’s favorite pen and we have a bunch of them always around the house. She wouldn’t let me break one of hers, so I bought this one at Target for $6.13. It seems tough but there is a skinny part where the gel grip is. My wife never broke one.
The test was simple, I continued my shopping trip and bought a 1×6 pine board to stab. I held each pen in an ice pick grip and stabbed the board with about the same force for each, and then on my wife’s taunting I stabbed the board a second time with each.
My conclusion was semi-predictable. The Smith & Wesson did the best followed by the Dr. Grip and the Uni-Ball. What I learned was that fighting with a pen hurts. By the second pen my hand and thumb hurt from hitting the board. The thicker pens where the ones that survived the best. The thinner pens hurt the most. I was disappointed with all of them. I thought the Smith and a couple others would push through the board and do a lot more damage. I also was thinking about wearing a glove because I figured some of them would splinter. None of them did. All of the pens looked much the same. Pictures below are of the pens after the test next to the damage done.
The bottom line is that it seems any pen would work about the same as a weapon. I would go for something thicker because it hurts me less. I’m also going to start carrying the Smith & Wesson pen just because I paid a lot for it and I want to see if I break it with everyday use.
P.S. If you want to see the test, my wife took a video while I wasn’t looking (it’s really bad, but have a good laugh).