Last updated March, 2019
Ok, to be honest, this seems a little bit like a repeat. It wasn’t too long ago and we did an article on the best self defense tactical pens under $20, and now we’re doing one for the best tactical pens under $50? That’s right – and here’s why.
Initially, we wanted to introduce people to the lowest price pens so that they could add one to their everyday carry kits, and keep an extra in the house, in their car, in their purse etc. However, as we looked at the specs and details of combat pens, we found that most of the good ones were right around the $25 mark, which was too high to include in our ‘best under $20’ review. Thus, a best tactical pen under $50 article was born.
For full details on how to use a tactical pen, and the benefits of it, check out that original article: Best Tactical Pen under $20
Note: In order to prevent an overlap, this comparison will only deal with tactical pens under $50 and over $20 (at the time of writing). If you want a budget pen or cheap tactical pen, check out the article linked above
Best EDC Pens under $50
Schrade SCPENBK Aluminum Tactical Pen
This 5.7 inch tactical pen is made of 6061 aluminum, and can be refilled with standard ball point cartridges.The pen weighs in at 1.6 oz which is light enough to not be noticed, but heavy enough to give it the feel of high build quality.
What we like about this pen is that it looks like a pen, even with the lid in place over the writing end. Plus, the cap has a flat tip, so it’s good for putting your thumb on if you ever have to use the pen as intended.It doesn’t have a specific carbon tip for breaking windows, but it is a strong metal pen with a fairly pointy tip so it would likely break a window if needed.
Of the negative press this pen has received, they are related to the tiny screws that hold the pen clip on. Make sure they are tight when you receive the pen, and you shouldn’t have any problems with the clip falling off and you losing your tactical pen. The other complaint is that the pen comes with a warning that it is built with chemicals that can cause cancer (which makes us wonder if other pens simply don’t include the warning, or is there something in this aluminum pen that is unique?).
It’s less than $25 at the time of writing, which makes it one of the cheapest tactical pens in our round up of high quality tactical pens under $50.
BOKER PLUS Carbon Tactical Pen
This pen is just cool! It has a carbon fiber body and titanium coated end caps. While it isn’t as aggressive as some other tactical pens, that’s part of the appeal. It’s covert – it simply looks like a high quality pen, and it’s strong. Plus, it has a cool ‘bolt lock’ style pen retraction system.
10 in 1 Emergency kit including tactical pen flashlight glass breaker pen
Although not technically a tactical pen, it’s a 10-in-1 kit that includes a self defense pen. We like it because it covers all the bases, and would make a great grab and go kit for your car, or even replace most of your everyday carry kit.
Our biggest complaint is that the tactical pen that comes with the kit has a glass breaker on one end and the pen on the other. If you need to break glass or stab something, you’ll either jab your thumb onto the pen end or you’ll have to hold the pen mighty tight!
What this kit does have, however, is a plethora of other survival tools for the same price as some of the mid-level standalone tactical pens.
The kit includes:
1 x Flintstone
1 x Multi-function scraper
1 x Tactical pen
1 x Portable mini light
1 x Whistle
1 x Flashlight
1 x Multi-function Knife
1 x Saber Card
1 x Compass
1 x Waterproof and shockproof case
The whole tactical pen knife survival kit comes in a waterproof and shockproof little plastic case which makes it easy to throw in a purse, glove compartment, or backpack.
There aren’t yet too many tactical pen reviews for this little kit, but of the 7 owners who submitted a review, all of them were 5 stars!
Smith & Wesson Tactical Pen
The Smith Wesson Tactical Pen is built out of a CNC machined T6061 aircraft aluminum in a black finish. The pen lid simply pops off when you need to use it as a pen, and has a lanyard hole in the lid.When writing , the lid securely snaps in place over the tactical end of the pen. The first few times the lid is removed, it will require a significant pull. Over time, this will get easier and easier as you use the pen.
The tactical pen smith wesson also comes with a pocket clip. Standard pen refills like the Fisher space pen refill are supposed to fit, and the Schmidt P900M parker style ballpoint pen ink cartridge is what the pen comes loaded with from the factory.
Another great feature of the Smith & Wesson Military and Police Tactical Pen is that the cap has a flat end so you can safely brace your thumb against it for glass-breaking motions without stabbing your own thumb!
Some owners have reported issues having the pen confiscated by TSA while going through airport checks, but other owners haven’t had any problems. A useful tip is to keep the pen in the ‘writing’ mode (with the cap over the glass breaking end) while traveling so that it simply looks like a normal pen.
The military and police tactical pen comes with a limited lifetime warranty against any manufacturing defects.
Overall length of the pen is 6.1 inches, and weighs 1.4 ounces. Made in Taiwan.
Please note the pointy end of this pen is not designated as a glass breaker tool.
Gerber Impromptu Tactical Pen
The Gerber Tactical Pen likely gets its name ‘Impromptu’ from the fact that it’s mostly a pen, with a convenient glass breaking tip jutting out from the business end of it. This means that with the click of a button the pen can switch from self defense tool, to a writing pen, and back to a weapon again.
This feature makes it more of a tactical ink pen than the competition that requires moving a lid from one end to the other to switch tool modes.
The integrated glass breaker tip is made of tempered steel and is “designed to get you out of trouble” which alludes to the fact that the steel tip can do more than just break glass. However, since the other end of the pen is a click button to make the pen tip come out I’m not sure how a stabbing or glass-breaking motion works while bracing your thumb over this button?
These quality Gerber pens are made in the USA and is fully steel – stainless steel outer shell with an all-metal retracting mechanism. The pen comes with a Write in the Rain ink cartridge for the gnarliest of conditions.
Some owners say that while the Gerber Impromptu Pen comes with a pocket clip, because the pen is built solidly out of high quality aluminum, it’s unlikely you’ll want to clip the pen onto your shirt pocket.
There are also quite a few people who have had issues with the pen not retracting, but instead staying clicked out. However, replacement through Amazon was always fast and trouble free. Unfortunately it leaves a bad taste after spending around $40 on a tactical pen.
Columbia River Knife and Tool Williams Tactical Pen
Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) has been in the game a long time making knives of all types (since 1994 actually). Now they’ve started selling tactical pens.
The CRKT self defense pen is made of precision machined 6061 aluminum with a hard coat color anodizing layer over the top to give it a flat black tactical looking finish.
CRKT tested their pen for performance and durability and found it to be exceptional. In fact, many service people around the world use this pen making this possibly the best pen in the world.
The combat pen also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and a nice case. I wouldn’t recommend keeping it in the case, it should be close and ready at all times. However, the case is nice enough to use for something else.
This ballistic pen has a flat end for bracing your thumb against.
I don’t like that the lid on this pen just presses on – actually, that means it’s quicker to switch from pen to self defense tool and back again which isn’t always bad. But, if the lid just presses on then chances of losing it are higher than a twist on lid.
As the market for tactical pens continues to increase, we expect to see more competitors enter the marketplace. Current knife and tool providers are starting to provide tactical pens, and there are also some newcomers to the market and of course, the overseas knockoffs. We expect the price of the pens to come down, but also expect more people to be aware that your ‘pen’ is actually a self defense pen as well.
It’s likely the TSA and other government agencies will start to ban these items from public areas… The TSA only has one ‘tactical pen’ listed in their blog under items confiscated, and that was back in 2014 (here). There’s little reason to believe they’d still be confiscating tactical pens, unless they’re confiscating normal pens as well. A common tip is to remove the lid, and put it on the business end of the tactical pen so that on a scanner/screen at TSA your pen will look just like that – a pen.