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James, a Customer Service gent from Hoosierland sends this “rEvolving EDC” from Everyday Carry.

He writes:

These are the items I carry most. The knife and gun changes on my mode and what I’m doing on any particular day.

I’ll let you see if that’s a beard comb or a hair comb – and what’s in that pouch.  Hint: it’s not an insulin pump.

The Sig P229 with the tactical light serves its purpose.  Along with the S&W tactical pen.

Let’s talk tactical pens.  I used to think they were a silly accessory, but since I got one last summer as a gift, I carry that thing everyday and not a day goes by I don’t use it (to write with).

“Anyone got a pen?” someone will ask.  Like my wife’s maternal fetal medicine doc, my pulmonologist or a lawyer friend…  I hand them that pen and they sort of half-shake it and appreciate its heft. And then the see how well it writes. Soon comes the inevitable compliment, “nice pen!”

It doesn’t bend or break in your pocket and it’s big and heavy enough that you don’t send it through the washing machine and have it trash your clothes.

Sorry for the digression. Anyone else here carry a tactical pen?


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  1. Have one. Don’t carry it, too bulky and heavy. It stays clipped to my dog training bag, in case I have to defend myself from a 2 legged dog while training. Love the Sig. No lites though.

    • PS, Strych. The comb is for those who still have hair or like a well kept LONG beard. Finds stuff you didn’t know you saved from lunch.

      • They do a lot of things shockingly well. When I was working on a dive boat there was a three-legged dock dog we called Tripod who loved to jump on the boat and go out with us.

        Did better on the deck than most four legged dogs I’ve seen. I guess he was just used to being off balance all the time.

  2. I carry a small metal Uniball at all times, but in non-permissive environments, I carry a heavy $5 Amazon PRC-made tac pen. The main reason I got it is it doesn’t have the name of a gun company on the side, which lessens the chances it gets confiscated by TSA. It also writes nicely.

  3. I had a Tactical eraser in high school, at the time I couldn’t afford the whole assault art set.

  4. I carry a no name tactical pen I got on EBay on the cheap. It gets used often and if I loan it out it gets the same response yours does. I’ll probably never use it for more than writing, but I’m quite happy with it.

  5. I think those pens are generally silly. Even in uniform I wore one maybe once, then realized that the weight and bulk wasn’t worth the theoretical utility beyond a regular metal bic pen (that can also do some damage). Stays as the ‘car pen’ now.

    If I couldn’t carry a gun or a knife somewhere? Maybe.

  6. The thing about tactical pens is… how many people who carry one actually have the skill set to use one “tactically?” I am going to guess: no one (if you’ve got the skill, I suspect you’re probably not that interested in gimmicky pens).

    I’ll wager that most of us who carry knives – a far more plausible weapon – wouldn’t know what to do with one of those in a fight either. Luck and desperation would be the watchwords for any of us unlucky enough to be confronting foes more threatening than recycled cardboard and Amazon bubble wrap. My heroic fantasies about saving the day with my trusty Opinel No.8 will remain just that: fantasies… and I try to be self-aware enough not to indulge them too far or at too great an expense.

    • Thanks for the breath of fresh air, tactical pens are dumb in my humbled opinion. I can see some judge/magistrates saying why did you kill the guy when you had that non lethal Remington tactical self defense pen 🐂💩

    • [Apologies in advance for the length here. Also, YMMV.]

      You make a valid point but I would point out something here: a tac pen is like certain knives in that it’s a niche tool for specific circumstances. The general idea behind these things is the same as a gun. If you don’t have it you can’t use it. If you’re going somewhere you can’t take another weapon do you go completely unarmed or do you make do with what you can carry?

      How many people have the “training and skill” to use brass knuckles in a truly effective manner? Well, that depends on your definition of “effective”. Against a pro-boxer brass knuckles are probably not going to help most people (they could though, it’s possible) but against most other people they offer the advantage that you can throw punches as hard as you can without much fear of breaking your hand while limiting the risk to your wrist and, if you land a shot, it doesn’t have to be a really “good” punch to do a fair bit of damage. That’s the very raison d’etre of knuckles. The same can be said of anything you might use as a fistpack. Against a skilled opponent you’re probably screwed either way but against the kind of person you’d realistically run up against they offer a pretty nice advantage.

      I would also point out that knuckles are effective enough that many jurisdictions have laws against carrying them.

      These pens are the same way but with a the addition of legal permissiveness. If you don’t have significant training they’re still a decided advantage against a non-skilled or semi-skilled opponent and possibly will level the field against someone who’s significantly better trained then you are. The pens are also something you can carry where you can’t really carry something else. Even a well designed palm-sap won’t make it through most security checkpoints and the argument of “It’s a coin purse!” ain’t gonna fly. I’ve seen court security and TSA block entry because of a paracord monkey-fist “key chain”. The pen beats this by being a writing instrument which makes the rules fuzzy. Yeah, a nice metal barreled pen is basically the same but that is, pardon the pun, the point. TSA doesn’t want a huge outcry from people who lost their $20 “tac pen” when the guy next in line got to keep his $4000 Mont Blanc and they sure as shit don’t want an outcry from the type of person that carries a Mont Blanc. So they allow both. Fuzzy area exploited. Advantage to the pen. On top of that, where security has been instructed as to what a kubaton looks like a pen looks like… a pen which increases the odds that they overlook it even if they don’t want to let you have it.

      The pen is basically a kubaton. Now, a kubaton does have a theory and a practical training set behind it to make it truly effective, especially against another skilled opponent but… so does a gun. Some of that advantage is certainly lost when the training and knowledge of theory/practical use of the kubaton is lacking but again it’s the same as a gun in that regard. A kubaton is basic enough that if you end up in a situation where it’s useful then it is useful. The caveat being: Unless you have run into a skilled fighter, which is statistically unlikely and in that situation, without a gun, you’re probably fucked anyway. OTOH, even against someone of significant skill the kubaton/pen still gives you an advantage by increasing the effectiveness of most strikes you would land if the person closes to fisticuffs range, tackles you or otherwise tries to grapple with you. They also have the advantage that, like a knife, often the other person won’t know it’s in the fight until it starts inflicting damage. I don’t care if that person is a black belt in BJJ or some other martial art, if you land a lucky strike it does damage, add in the pen and that damage can be very significant and ain’t no one using their skill set when they’re unconscious or injured to the point they can’t fight.

      So, tac pens are kinda silly in general but they do have applications in non-permissive environments such as an airport or other place with a significant security checkpoint in that you’ll have it and having it is better than having an empty hand. They also don’t require as much skill to use as you might think in terms of fighting someone who doesn’t know you have the pen or doesn’t have the training to mitigate the fact that you do have it. That same ineffective strike an untrained teenage girl throws when she’s pinned down can become a knock-out or even fatal if that same strike is delivered with the aid of a kubaton or a pen like this.

      If you don’t believe this: Let a 10 year old beat on your face with their fists. Then give them a kubaton or tac pen and repeat that little experiment. (Don’t actually do this.)

      Statistical chance you’ll need it? Very, very low but the same argument could be made for a CCW gun (provided you avoid stupid places). But if you do need it because some asshole is getting stupid on your plane the close quarters mean it almost certainly will be a grappling fight (unless you can catch him unaware with a KO punch, in which case kudos to you) to some extent and now you have a tool at your disposal to increase your effectiveness. The same is true of someone going nuts in a courthouse or at another event with security checkpoints. You don’t really have to be trained to use the pen to decent effect because it’s designed to be an extension of your natural inclinations to hit people. Like a gun, training is wise, but a lack of advanced training doesn’t completely make the object useless in your hands. You might not know all the tricks to gain compliance or exploit joints or pressure points but you can stab/beat the fuck out of someone’s face with this thing, break ribs, and if you intercept an incoming shot, make them punch metal or inflict a nasty shot on their arm that will very likely have them backing up wondering WTF just happened.

      Personally I nearly never carry a tactical pen even though my buddy gave me one for my birthday years back and it writes quite well. But if I’ve got jury duty or I’m getting on a plane I have it with me because what else am I going to take? Around here I can’t even carry a role of nickles because they assume it’s a fistpack. So, with a heavy sigh of exasperation, the pen it is.

      Fighting fair is for when there’s a ref. Other than that one should take every advantage they can get no matter how small. While the risk might be small and the advantage minimal so is the price of most tac pens in cash and in weight/bulk. That makes it useful for non-permissive situations and places.

      Of course, as with everything YMMV.

  7. Didn’t they used to shoot a Bic pen out of a ryful? That’s pretty tactipen , I think it went through a half inch Pine board, and it still writes.

  8. I thought I was the only one with a 229-E2. Only mine is for “Enhanced Ergonomics”, not “Enhanced Elite”
    This is a realistic EDC.

  9. That R&R holster is strangely big; large opening and a whole lot of kydex. The previous edc pocket dump post’s close up photo makes the holster appear proprtionaly much bigger. Other than that, I like this realistic edc loadout.

  10. Nice setup. How do you conceal the OWB holster? Also, how is your 229’s finish doing with the kydex holster? Lastly, You mentioned using different guns depending on circumstances, do you stay with DA/SA or do you use other types? Thanks, and, like the tac pen. My take on that is why not.

  11. An item with the points of contact make a plane while four will change the center of mass and cause it to wobble. No wonder that dog did better.

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