Tactical Pens worth it or get Zebra F-701?

A few months ago, I became aware of the Benchmade tactical pen at $125.  Are they kidding?  Here’s a few more from other manufacturers: Surefire – $125, Hinderer – $390, Tactical Defense TDP1 – $80, Perrin – $20 plus $10 S&H ($10 for S&H? Must be union labor).

My thought on these pens were “There’s a sucker born every minute”. Just because you have a reputation in the business is no reason to charge exorbitant prices for a machined tube of aluminum, stainless steel, or titanium. Pens are disposable and too easily lost.

I’m a small guy and I never had kubotan or martial arts training. If I had to use a pen to defend, the best I could do is to stick the pen in the bad guy’s eye or neck, assuming my aim is that good, and run fast far away. Can I justify a $125 pen for defensive purposes? No. I’m not saying my life isn’t worth $125 but I am saying I can’t justify $125 when a $10 pen probably could do the same.

So is there is a $10 pen that’s close in composition and build to these tactical pens? Edcforums.com has a post discussing the Zebra F-701 pen ($6) combined with the collar top of a Zebra F-402 pen for an all metal presentation, which can serve as a good low cost tactical pen option.  I scrounged around my pen collection and discovered I had a F-402.  Part 1 completed.

As I continued sorting through my collection, I found the pen pictured above the Zebra. It has noticeably more heft than the F-402 so I took it apart to find it has a solid almost 1 mm brass core shaft. The exterior barrel diameter is larger than most other pens thus greatly improving gripping ability.  It is also slightly longer but that short increase in length seems to be significant when holding it in an icepick grip. As a writing instrument, it is top heavy. The operating mechanism to open and retract the ballpoint is flimsy.  The pocket clip is also flimsy.

To answer the title question, IMO, tactical pens aren’t worth it. Try the Zebra F701 for $6.


Click here  for a review of the Zebra F-701

UPDATE 12/27/09

Click here for a review of the Schrade Tactical Pen

UPDATED  3/13/10

Click here for a review of the Parker Jotter


5 Responses to Tactical Pens worth it or get Zebra F-701?

  1. conwict says:

    Hey there,

    Just googled upon your page. Thought I’d second the F-701. Excellent pen, I’m going to go buy spare(s) soon. Had mine a month or so.

    Unlike the pen you apparently carry, it’s a good writing instrument, and could double as a “tactical” piece of carry-on luggage, etc. You may want to pick one up for contrast.


  2. Richard says:

    Long story short.
    The F-701 is a tool of choice. As a Peace Officer I also teach tactical self-defense. This pen can be effectively used for its intended purpose (to write on any media without smearing) under any conditions and can also be effectively used as a defense weapon when properly taught to use and hold. I own kubotons, yawaras (you name it), but this pen will go unnoticed and will not strain under pressure (whatever the use). Do not enter high security areas with it on your person but rather keep it in your carry on and retrieve once through. Who knows, you may be able to save the day should something go awry. It is now the only pen I carry and at $7.00 a piece, you can afford to give many to friends and loved ones and teach them how to effectively use it. It is an inexpensive tool that can protect and potentially save a life. I hope you never have to use it other than writing reports or love letters.

  3. Long time reader, first time poster. Really enjoy your site, will continue reading for updates. Thanks!

  4. Jaimie hirsch says:

    Hell yeah. The 701 is the best pen hands down IMO. Simple design; a man’s pen for sure and a great self defense option.

  5. Aaron says:

    $125 for a tactical pen is way too much. You can get the UZI TacPen for only $19.99 on amazon. It even has an awesome little DNA catcher on it to help identify the “bad guy” to the police after you get to safety.

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