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I love the concept of “tactical” just about anything (although that flashlight gun has to be an accident waiting to happen). So when manufacturers started making tactical pens, I thought “hey…cool…something I can I can carry on the plane since I can’t take my gun!” Um. Maybe. Maybe not. 

The problem with a tactical pen is that ANY pen can be a tactical pen. I studied Filipino self -defense techniques. I know how to seriously disable/stop/defeat/hurt someone with something as cheap as a Bic pen. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Theoretically, you can give an emergency, involuntary tracheotomy with a pen you get for free at any trade show. But I’ll admit, something that has a wee bit more heft to it strikes me as a much better idea. Unfortunately, I’ve heard the TSA has gotten wise to all things “tactical,” and have started (selectively) enforcing if they allow/deny anything “tactical” from getting on with you on a plane. Sigh…

Knifemaker Timberline offers the Timberline Tactical LCP, a handsom pen with a fairly wicked-looking point, a fluted shaft, and a clip that (unfortunately) has the word “Tactical” on it. Sigh again…

The Timberline rep swears he travels with his pen and has never been challenged or denied. I’m going to test that theory on my way back to Dallas.

I’m hoping I can get on with the pen, because I feel a lot better with something handy, in case some moron tries to re-enact 9/11. Do I think that will happen? Not really. But can it happen again? Of course it can. So I’d rather have something I can use for self-defense a little better than a rolled-up newspaper.

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  1. Indeed, the TSA has interpreted its mandate extremely broadly from time to time. Anything metal and black is at risk of overzealous forfeiture, if you run into the wrong TSA screener at the security checkpoint. Tactical flashlights with the sharpened “Strike Bezels” are often seized, possibly out of a concern that the sharpened bezel could be used to break an aircraft window. It could, but so could the corner of a traveling salesman’s notebook computer, or the body of a ruggedly-built SLR camera. As Robert A. Heinlein said, there are no ‘dangerous weapons’, only dangerous people.

    When a TSA screener started examining my 105-lumen tactical light once, I helpfully pointed out “Look, it doesn’t have that sharpened thingy at the front; it’s just a light, see?” and he put it back in my carry-on bag. That’s the only time they ever even looked at it.

    • Do you think they would stop an Surefire E2D LED Defender? It does have the “Strike Bezel.”

  2. I have the NRA tactical pen which is a close match to this pen. I have about a dozen other tactical pens with “letter opener blades” inside the cap that are quite nasty and I also have a cool pepper spray pen that really writes. I always have two G2 pens with me that are regular old pens that can be used just like any of these tactical pens. A No. 2 pencil can also ruin your whole day, so if we’re not careful we’ll all be regulated to only owning soft tip markers. Anything can be used as a weapon and nothing will ever change that fact.

  3. For years, long before 9/11, I’ve flown dozens of times with a carbide tip scribing tool in my briefcase (or man bag), along with multiple pens and mechanical pencils. The opposite end is a magnet. You can get one at almost any hardware store, tool supply or home center.

  4. I have flown umpteen times with my SureFire pen (#3) in my briefcase, the last time being last week. Never a second glance. What ALWAYS gets checked is my Quantum battery pack in my camera case along with the cameras.

  5. “So I’d rather have something I can use for self-defense a little better than a rolled-up newspaper.”

    The New York Times is deadly, and all you have to do is read it.

      • Hey Brad, don’t mock the deadliness of the humble newspaper. Ask Farago if he heard about what some of the over zealous soccer fans would do with newspaper. Put some coins in the end, roll it, fold it over so they don’t fall out, and roll it some more. And you can carry the ingredients everywhere. Its pretty hard to stop someone for carrying the paper and some change, even in The Land of Hope and Glory.

  6. Hell, I’ve flown with my personal billy club swinging for years….

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