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The Case Against “Tactical” Pens

For a while now so-called “tactical pens” have been a hotly-debated topic in EDC (Every-Day Carry) and NPE (Non-Permissive Environment) / LPE (Less-Permissive Environment) circles. In many ways, the check the box of a “multi-use” item in the survival world – being both a functional pen and weapon (and glass breaker, bottle opener, screwdriver, flashlight, tactical-tool, and over-priced accessory all in one). From my perspective, most people buy a tactical pen for the weapon capacity and because it makes them feel tough/cool/tactical/bad-ass. Where this goes over the line into the absurd is when the intent of the pen as a weapon in a non-permissive or less-permissive environment comes into play. And you’re not in a profession where you can carry a weapon.

In Canada, where I live and under which I base much of my content on (BECAUSE it is a LPE) not carrying overt weapons on my person on the daily. Attracting attention of the local constabulary because you’re wearing a “tactical pen” with your khakis at Starbucks may be counter-productive for you when accosted by the local weirdo when you walk outside and use said “tactical pen” to defend yourself. When all is concluded, you stand a good chance of being charged with carrying a weapon and then have the onus put on you for the “why”.

On the other hand, carrying a regular pen, which you happen to have on your person, which wasn’t designed to be used as a weapon, will not only NOT draw any attention (either from law enforcement or security when travelling or in no-go areas) but are still capable of being brought into service as a self-defence tool of opportunity.

The photo at the top of this article displays several options for pens which can be used as defensive tools as well as a “tactical pen” (at the bottom). As yourself this: which one looks “scary”? Which one looks like it was designed to hurt someone? The answer is the “tactical pen”.

From the top to bottom: 1) standard BIC crystal pen; 2) Parker Jotter; 3) Fisher Space Pen Bullet; 4) Zebra F-701; 5) Tactical pen – brand unimportant.

Unless I specifically want to grab for a weapon, I’d be picking any of the other pens over the tactical one. If I was on-duty as a Peace Officer then the options are more plentiful. However, as a civilian, I’d prefer to stay away from anything overtly tactical or “scary-looking”. Why? Because the less noticeable and hostile you appear and present as in a confrontation (especially if violence is involved) would see you having to justify your actions. Here in Canada, where things like weapon carry laws, Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws do not exist, your legal options regarding weapons to protect yourself are dramatically restricted. Your best options are to avoid violence if you can, engage if you must and only resort to a weapon if one is already present or the situation is dire to the point of needing it to survive.

No one (except for law enforcement and some security elements, and criminals, of course) are carrying guns or other weapons about on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, invest your time, effort and money in the principles and methodologies in dealing with violence rather than buying gear. Learn about situational awareness, behavioural analysis, weaponology principles, . ANY pen (pencil, chopstick or knife) can be used to great effect against an assailant if you have skills (software) versus thinking the tool you bought will save you (hardware).

Remember: Training Trumps Gear.

Stay safe & Stay Crafty.


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Upcoming Training – Don’t miss out!

Elevate your operational capabilities with True North Tradecraft, offering unique skillsets for law enforcement and security professionals in Canada.

In cooperation with The CORE Group

Covert Entry skill sets increase operational capabilities for government, law enforcement and security operators across a wide array of situations.  Expand your skills today.

We still have a couple of seats left for our May courses in downtown Toronto…

Covert Entry Concepts  is $865 ($200 deposit to hold a spot) May 12 & 13.

For a description and course details, click here.

Email [email protected] to reserve your spot today!

Safe Dial Mechanics is $510 ($200 deposit to hold a spot) May 14 & 15.

For a description and further details, click here.

Both courses together $1,150 for 4 days of expert instruction and tools to keep!

Reserve your spot now before they fill up!  


[email protected]



And don’t forget to register and attend the Blue Line Expo on May 3rd!

The CORE Group.


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Persec Aware- A solid option for a custom belt, handmade in Canada.

A solid piece of kit, made in Toronto.

For years, I’ve been on the lookout for a solid belt.  When I say solid,  I include in that definition fit, style, strength, durability, functionality and dependability.  Almost two months ago, I think I hit pay dirt with that.

While I was planning my Bruce Trail outing, (read about it here) I found that I was missing a key piece of gear: a “solid” belt.  Sure, there are a load of well-known commercial companies that offer quality belts, but I was looking for something specific.  I wanted what they offer, something I considered “solid”, not ridiculously over-priced and, if possible, Canadian-made.

Enter Persec.  We had followed each other on Instagram and I reached out asking some questions about their products, their hardware, colours and the like.  Not only was I happy with the answers, but also the questions I was asked.  Custom work, apparently, is even better when the one making the product has a better understanding of the customer’s intentions and requirements.

Extra stitching, clean and tight cuts. Quality materials.

Some fast-facts about the belts offered by Persec:

  • They offer 3 widths – 1.5″, 1.75″ and 2″
  • Several colours (black, ODG, camp, coyote, etc)
  • Built from a combination of high-strength webbing and Codura for rigidity
  • Available in a variety of stiffnesses, strengths;
  • All are custom-lengths;
  • Every belt is made by hand, in Toronto, Canada, and with incredible attention to detail that is immediately apparent.
  • All manner of customization is available – contact them directly for more details.

Like a belt-Christmas!

As I received my order of belts, I was immediately relieved with my decision to go with Persec and try them out.

The belts were custom-sized.  Exactly what I had requested.  The shipping was very fast (they are located in Toronto).  When I held them, I could feel the quality of construction in the materials but also, when examining them closely, could tell the attention to detail in the craftsmanship.  Most consumer goods made in bulk have loose stitching, imperfect cuts and the like, but not these.  Every detail was exacting.  I was impressed.

What I had requested was a belt which would cross-over easily from the trail to the urban jungle, in black, with semi-rigidity, custom-length, with both buckle options (hook and Cobra Buckle, respectively).  Persec did not disappoint.

The Cobra buckle (left) and hook buckle (right) options on Persec belts.

The semi-rigidity of the belts, as well as the widths (they recommended 1.5″ as opposed to 1.75″ as I was interested in the cross-comparability of daily wear as well.  The 1.75″ would be more appropriate for a duty or gun belt setup).  I was happy for the choice as it easily works with jeans as well as hiking or tactical pants.

Persec belt works well as a daily wear belt in the urban wilderness as well as on the trail.  Also, the Lolly in my pocket (from Delta2Alpha’s Accent Series) compliments the belt in more ways than one.

The adjustment options for the belts work very well.  The hook buckles have three attachment points which, in harmony with the velcro hook & loop patch on the opposite side, allow for a perfect fit every time.  With the Cobra buckle, you have only the velcro strip opposite the buckle, but this too works very well as the cam cinched down reliably.

Hook buckle. Once attached is very strong and secure.

I equipped myself with two of these belts (one with the Cobra buckle, in black, the other with a hook buckle in black subdued camouflage) for the miles of hiking and have been wearing one almost every day out since returning.  They have become my daily wear.

After almost 2 months of wear, use and some abuse, my conclusions are as follows:

  • The custom fit is great.  Better than regular commercial products, I find;
  • Each piece is made with great attention to detail, high quality materials and much pride.  In my correspondence, this was very apparent.
  • Both belts are “solid” by my standards.  I have no doubt that they will last a long time.
  • There has been barely any warping – this tends to happen, especially when I load the belt up – but despite this, it has been minimal.
  • The black of the material has not faded at all, despite long periods in the sun, water and dirt.  It’s still pitch-black.
  • The semi-rigidity of the belts allow for ease of movement without digging in to me at any point, even when equipping with clip pouches or anything “in-the-waistband”  (This includes a holster.  No concerns, even for the range).
  • I have even worn it with my uniform in a training environment and like it far better than the “rigger’s belt” I’ve worn for years.  I have switched them out and feel good about it, though I’ll likely order another in OD Green so that no one gets bent out of shape about the non-issue colour.

Bottom line, I’d recommend checking out the items offered by Persec without hesitation.  You can find Persec Aware on Instagram and Facebook.  You won’t be disappointed.

Versatile, durable and dependable.

Then while you’re at it, load it up with stuff from Canadian Gun Worx, held by custom Kydex from Gray Fox Strategic and some apparel from Tactical Beaver.  And don’t forget to pocket a few useful tools from Delta 2 Alpha Design, then you’ll really be good to go!


Till next time, stay safe and stay crafty.