It may not always be possible to protect yourself in a dangerous situation but something as simple as the right pen might be able to help.

Tactical Pens by Tuff Writer were developed to keep people safe in even the most unexpected situations.

"You should have a pen no matter what," said Jack Roman, Ahwatukee Foothills resident and general manager of Tuff Writer. "So why not have something that you're going to bring with you anyway, that you could use for a second purpose to defend yourself with."

Roman came up with the idea while doing some self defense training with a group in Gilbert. He was discussing improvised weapons with a man from Scottsdale SWAT one day and he mentioned the idea of using a pen as a weapon.

"He said no, we tried that, but they break. It doesn't work," Roman said. "So I thought why doesn't anyone make a better pen? I started making them and gave them to some of the guys I trained with and let them beat on them for a little bit and a bunch of law enforcement guys. They liked them, then they wanted some for their friends."

Roman was in graduate school at the time and decided to use his pen idea for his final project. He made the pens and developed a marketing campaign for them. When school was done, he just continued on with his idea.

The pens are made from 6061-T6 aluminum and are hard-anodized to increase the thickness and durability. They're designed to take massive amounts of pressure. The ink cartridge is a gas pressurized ball-point cartridge that can write at any angle, in the cold, in the heat, and even underwater. One side is a simple writing tool, the other comes to a point that with some knowledge and force can be used as a weapon.

"The general idea is improvised defensive equipment as well as a pen," Roman said. "Realistically at some point when we started making these we got to a point where people were calling us and saying, that's really cool, what do I do with it? I told them well you take the sharp end and stabby-stab the bad guy. That really wasn't enough. So then it occurred to us that the best way to get the point across is give them training to realize that it's not just about stabbing a bad guy, it's about having the right mindset and being able to integrate that into whatever you need."

After being in business for just over two years the company now sells its pens internationally and hosts local self defense classes roughly twice a week. Recently, they conducted a complete self defense seminar that lasted two days.

"It has to be powered by skills like any weapon," said Mike Janich, who taught the seminar. "What you've got is something you can put in your hand and once you've got something in your hand you can hit harder and be more focused and confident. That simple fact allows people to be more effective."

Janich teaches about 80 self defense classes every year. He discovered the pens last year at a trade show and now uses the pens in his classes and carries his own with him everywhere.

"We cut off a great niche for ourselves," Roman said. "It's a small company but we're going to keep doing it. We're trying to get awareness out that it's not just a lucky rabbit's foot. If you do the training and then think about how to defend yourself, you have the kit. This just fits in there."

The pens are available online at as well as local dealers like Arizona's Finest Police Supply and Monkey Edge Knives in Mesa and Arizona Tactical Firearms in Tempe. They cost anywhere from $79.95 to $249.95.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.