Strikepens can be life savers and very effective for self defense. However, because of their small size, it is important to know how to use a tactical pen effectively. It is not advisable to attempt to use these if one is untrained, because the techniques and movements most appropriate for this weapon are very specific and require a good deal of practice.

This is particularly the case if one is likely to be physically over matched by an assailant, for example, in the case of a woman who may be attacked by a much larger man. It is not merely the size of an opponent which one must consider. An assailant wearing a heavy coat or jacket, for example, is essentially partially shielded from your strikes. The appropriate tactical moves also depend -for example- on how distant from you an assailant is and whether or not they are armed.

A tactical pen is most effectively used in close quarters, allowing for the most impactful strikes and greatest accuracy. There are very specific parts of the body recommended as targets for these. They include vulnerable soft tissue areas and specific joints and pressure points.

How to Use a Tactical Pen: Training Guides

The tactical pen (also sometimes referred to as a Tactical Pencil) is an adaptation of the Kubotan, a martial arts weapon invented in the mid 1960s by the Japanese American martial artist Takayuki Kubota. The techniques for using these are therefore similar. It is important to be clear that training in the use of a Kubotan is an actual formalized martial art. It requires diligent study and practice. Is it possible to learn the techniques required to use a tactical pen without formal training from a master? Thanks to a number of resources including books, manuals and videos, the answer is yes! However, we cannot emphasize enough that training is not to be taken lightly.

How to Hold a Tactical Pen for Self Defense

The most useful grip for a strike pen is the Reverse Grip or Ice Pick grip. You hold the weapon in your fist with its pointed end extending below your fist and with your thumb pressed against the top of the shaft both to apply added force to your strikes and as a stop against the pen popping out of your fist. This grip is ideal for a number of efficient, direct motions allowing you to apply the most force over the shortest distance to improve impact and accuracy.

Here is a short video by instructor Richard Clear demonstrating this hold.


Target Areas for Tactical Pens

In any real world situation with an assailant, you want to avoid striking areas of the body with hard bones and with no vital organs. A list of ideal target areas:

Neck: soft tissue with vital organs: throat, neck arteries, thyroid, esophagus. The back of the neck, with the top of the spine is also a vulnerable area. The neck provides a relatively large target area which is usually unprotected.

Eyes: Extremely vulnerable target, but requires a high degree of accuracy to target. Piercing through the eyes leaves deeper areas such as the brain also reachable.

Collarbone: Highly vulnerable and with the presence of the subclavian arteries, a prime target for the cycling strikes that are favored with tactical pens.

Kidneys: Ideal target areas for sideways strikes as a direct hit will incapacitate an assailant instantly.

Liver: This is exposed just under the right rib cage. Another vital organ.

Floating Ribs: These are the lower ribs which are not attached to the breastbone. An efficient strike can easily break these because they do not have the support that the higher ribs do.

Here is an excellent video by ABP Tactical demonstrating efficient practice in targeting many of the areas listed above:


More: Tactical Pens for Women!

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