As soon as there is a fan club for tactical pens, I will be applying for the position of president and chief cheerleader. I think that tactical pens are great tools and are worthy of being in just about everyone’s pocket. Overall, I love tactical pens (at least the well-executed versions of tactical pens). Granted, it’s hard to go wrong in designing and manufacturing a tactical pen. Simply make the strongest pen body possible within a reasonable cost, and it’s pretty much good to go.
Now that tactical pens are becoming more popular as self-defense tools, the market is showing what features it prefers and what features it can do without. There are things that I love and hate about the Columbia River Knife and Tool Williams Tactical Pen 2. This pen is already on its second version, but I am torn between the two as to which is superior. Just as I love tactical pens in general, I love this one by CRKT. I carry it virtually every day, and given my proclivity toward these tools, I have been able to identify a few of their shortcomings. Here are my rants and raves.
Love: It’s a pen
Is there any tool more innocuous than a pen clipped to a shirt pocket? It’s a pen. And being a pen, it offers these three reasons to love it:
• Low profile. While many sharp-eyed self-defense types can spot my folding knife clipped to my pants pocket, no one really looks twice at the tactical pen in my pocket. It’s a pen, but of course, it’s more than a pen. It’s a low-profile self-defense tool that I can use as a last-ditch strike weapon if need be. Even if I take it out of my pocket and hold it in my hand to make ready for an imminent threat, it’s still just a pen. Tactical pens do not seem to get the attention of TSA agents when I travel; they are usually in my shoulder bag or backpack and make it through the X-ray stations without incident.
• Highly engineered and high quality. Pens can be simple instruments or, in the case of this Williams, a highly-engineered, high-quality tool. This one is made from 6061 aircraft aluminum, what CRKT calls “Type III Anodizing for Durability.” Indeed, it is tough and durable. Retailing for $59.99, this is obviously no supermarket office aisle writing utensil.
• It writes well. Like a good pen, it does its writing duties with excellence. The Fisher Space Pen ink cartridge lays down ink at any angle and in any temperature.
Hate: It’s a pen
I realize I just gave three reasons why I love the fact that the Williams Tactical Pen 2 is a pen, but I am also going to whine a bit about this fact. Because it is a pen and because I like to write with it, it comes out of my pocket and makes an appearance every now and again. Once I start using it, some people notice it and start asking about it. Some smart person will look closely and say, “Hey, is that a tactical pen?” Then, depending on his or her worldview, he or she will either call me Agent 86 or ask me what good a pen is going to do in a difficult situation. That is when I stab him or her in the throat with the pen to make the point (not really). But it is when I have to figure out how much of a self-defense nerd I am going to reveal myself to be.
Hate: Pen cap
This is another minor quibble, actually. The pen cap requires more than just a tug to remove it. This is good for tactical reasons because it keeps the clip attached to the pen, but it is not good for writing because grunting while removing a pen cap can, at times, draw a bit of unwanted attention. Further, when deploying the pen for writing, I remove the pen cap with a grunt and put it on the other end of the pen, but it does not hang on as well as it does when it is covering the ink tip (unless I am really careful). It makes sense to have a removable cap, but I have to take care not to lose it because without the pen cap, the tactical pen has no pocket clip.
Love: Pocket clip
Here is the key to keeping the Williams Tactical Pen 2 at the ready: clipping it to your shirt pocket. The pocket clip on this pen is very strong — and rightly so. It not only keeps the pen attached to your pocket, but it also keeps it attached at the same point on your pocket. I attach it to the far right of the left chest pocket of my dress shirt. My right hand is my strong hand, and I can just reach up and grab it because it is always there. It is always in the same spot. At 1.4 ounces, it is not heavy enough to pull my shirt or feel weird. Instead, it rides with stability and comfort all day. At just short of 6 inches in length, it leaves just shy of an inch of the cap exposed when in pocket; this is what I grasp with my thumb and index finger when deploying. The clip is strong enough to grab a pants pocket as well. I put it in my pants pocket only when there is no shirt pocket available. Then, I carry it on my weak-side front pants pocket, leaving my strong hand free to grab my gun or knife.
Do you carry a tactical pen? Why or why not? What do you love and hate about it?
For more information on the CRKT Tactical Pen 2 click here.
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