This is close to the pinnacle of geekdom, reviewing a tactical ballpoint pen. Colt is making a lot of items, including a wide variety of knives, under its branding. It bothers me a little when companies long associated with firearms -- Colt, Winchester, Smith & Wesson, Browning, Remington -- stick their names on just about anything to make a buck, but it appears to be the nature of the marketplace these days.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to be traveling by air in the near future, and I started going through my gear to see what I could find that would not get me stripped searched or detained as a person of interest. The Opinel, as I noted, will go in my checked bag.
Below is approximately what I intend to carry through the gates, though I may switch wallets and drop the money clip, and I will have keys on the carabiner with the SwissTech tool and LED. I think the folding scissors will pass security, at least on this end.
I still use the little Sansa MP3 player I bought several years ago. I added some memory so that I have about 1.8 gig, which is plenty for my purposes. I have a couple of music playlists as well as several audio books loaded on it. It should get me through flights and layovers with no problems. Butane lighter with ranger bands goes everywhere. Though I am a non-smoker, I am almost as naked without a lighter as without a knife. My phone is the mil-spec Samsung Rugby II. I haven't tried falling in the pond with it, but it stands up well to my other abuses. Also, I may have mentioned that I have a rather large head, and a big flip phone makes it easier for me to hear and be heard. Shades are like shoes, and the comb was a habit my mother instilled in me as a child. I'll have a bandana in my pocket for the same reason.
So what about the tactical pen?
As you can see, this is a good-sized ballpoint pen -- about a quarter-inch longer than a typical capped ballpoint like the Pentel RSVP. It is considerably heavier since it is made from solid aluminum. The clip is substantial and works well for front or back pocket carry in jeans or in a shirt pocket. I broke a perfectly good Pentel 0.9 Twist-Erase mechanical pencil carrying it in my jeans pocket. That will not happen with this pen.
The cap has sharp crenelations surrounding and protecting an LED. The light is turned on by twisting the top of the cap to the left (looking down at the light). They did this the standard way -- left-loose/right-tight. If you loosen it all the way, you can access the battery compartment which houses a stacked pair of 3-volt CR927 lithium button batteries. The light is adequate for a lot of geek applications like connecting wires on the dark backsides of servers.
When the cap is covering the ballpoint, the opposite end of the pen has a distinct, well-defined, and very solid point. This is what might get it confiscated in airport security, in which case, I will be out thirteen bucks. It will be in my laptop carry-on messenger bag. Since the one end is a flashlight and the other end is a "glass breaker", I think it will pass.
To be honest, carrying this isn't too different from my grandson
insisting that the "taggy" on his pillow be on the open end of his
pillow case. Stroking "taggy" lets him go to sleep. Carrying something like this lets me feel like I am weaponized. I have some arthritis in my shoulders, but I still know how to throw a punch even if I not nearly as quick or effective as I used to be. The pen is not as good a fist-load as a pocket knife. A Swiss Army Knife with a Philipps screwdriver on the backside that will open out and slip between the middle and ring fingers is better -- in my opinion -- for doing serious damage in an extreme situation. A good, solid flashlight -- many of which now have aircraft aluminum bodies with crenelated ends, are also better.
The pen is certainly better than nothing -- rather like a sharp stick. It does write well and takes good old common Parker refills. If you carry a pen anyway, this one is sturdy, useful for writing, lighting, and fighting, in that order -- if it should come to that. I did test out its durability and striking power on a chunk of landscaping timber. You can strike with significant force using the glass-breaker end. It will punch a neat depression without damage to the pen. Be careful about trapping the crenelated end under the thumb when striking. The texture on the pen provides an excellent non-slip gripping surface, but if you let the flashlight end protrude too much then cap it with the thumb, it feels like the crenelations could cut into the flesh. Better, it seems, to nest it deeper in the hand with more of the glass-breaker end exposed.
I had some trepidation about striking with the flashlight end and struck at more of an angle, but the glancing blow took out little pieces of wood and the light was unaffected.
The bottom line is that I can't say I recommend a "tactical" pen of any kind for anybody. If you are interested in packing a pen that will take a lot of abuse and give you good service, this is a good choice. Colt also makes a version without the light that might be slightly more compact, if that is a concern. For EDC, when you can carry a firearm and/or a knife, I prefer a less bulky pen like the Fisher, a pencil stub, or one of my Pentel classic P209s or P205s.
In the end, as they always say, your brain is your real weapon. Everything else is just a tool.