Just about any pen with a metal case can double as a tactical pen — to a point, that is (no pun intended). But you’ll reach that point (when the stress on the body of the pen is too great and the device fails) much later if you have an actual tactical pen in hand. These days, most tactical pens are made from anodized aluminum, making them lightweight and strong, and pen bodies are knurled, etched, patterned or otherwise much more nonslip than a regular pen. Details are important, and details are what you pay for when you buy a tactical pen. 5.11’s PreFense Lance Pen is a tactical pen by any measure but one of the most lightweight tactical pens I have had the pleasure to pocket.
Retailing for $49.99 and measuring 6 inches long, the Lance Pen shares specs similar to other tactical pens. At 7/8 ounces, it is one of the most lightweight. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like a tactical pen to have a bit of heft to it. After all, it is meant to be a strike weapon, and any extra mass means additional inertia to help it fulfill that function. Some tactical pens are two or three times the weight of the Lance Pen. They will put a bit of drag on a shirt pocket and may flop around more than they otherwise would. Not so with the Lance Pen. A dress shirt pocket is more than enough structure to keep the pen still, increasing overall comfort. Granted, I am really picking nits when my chief complaint about a tactical pen is its weight, but this is nonetheless a differentiator with the Lance Pen compared to the others.
Besides the light weight, the Lance Pen has a textured surface over its entire body, a strong clip that holds very well and a Fisher Space Pen medium-point black-ink cartridge. To write with it, you just twist the top of the pen while holding the bottom. You can use it as a strike weapon with the ink exposed or not. In either case, you will probably place your thumb over the blunt top for leverage. The other welcome feature of the Lance Pen is the silver color, which is a nice change that goes well with the lighter weight.
When I carry the Lance Pen around and use it for actual note-taking from time to time, no one comments on it (at least not like they usually do when I’m carrying a typical tactical pen). I might get a “Nice pen!” comment every now and then, but never a “Whoa! What are you, some kind of special agent?” that other pens have invoked. Best of all, the Lance Pen just rides in my shirt pocket, ready for deployment as a pen or a weapon, all day long. And it’s not even an ounce of prevention.