Review of the Hinderer Investigator Tactical Pen
Yesterday I reviewed my recently acquired Hinderer XM-24 Tactical Knife which I purchased from Rick Hinderer after having met him at Tactical Defense Institute. But the knife wasn’t the only thing I purchased from Rick while at TDI – I also picked up one of his Investigator Tactical Pens, having heard from numerous sources that Rick makes the best tactical pens money can buy:
Hinderer Knives produces two different models of tactical pens – the Extreme Duty Pen, and more recently, the Investigator Pen. The Extreme Duty Pen is rather sizable at an overall Length 5 7/16” – a bit larger than I wanted an “EDC” (every day carry) pen that I could put in the pen pocket of a dress shirt. So I opted for the newer Investigator model with an overall length of 4 ¼”, and a 3/8” diameter. Like the Extreme Duty Pen, the Investigator is offered in several different materials – titanium, aluminum,brass, copper, and stainless steel. I might have liked titanium, but all Rick had with him was aluminum and stainless steel – beggars can’t be choosers. The aluminum was tempting but I preferred the heft and look of the stainless steel model. The Investigator is also similar to the Extreme Duty Pen in that it has a modular design – the existing strike tip can be removed, and the pen can be fitted with other accessory tips:
The Investigator is designed to be used as a functional pen – and a fine one at that. It comes equipped with a black Fisher fine point ink cartridge, and has all of the writing attributes the special pressurized ball point ink cartridge provides. It writes upside down, underwater, over wet and greasy paper, etc. The traction grooves which run along the length of the pen not only ensure a no-slip grip when striking with the pen, they also provide a nice comfortable grip when writing.
The pen is slightly smaller than most standard sized pens – very comfortable to write with, but still useful if you find yourself in a bad situation (and if I’m down to relying on my pen defensively, it’s a very bad day indeed…). For size reference, here’s a photo of the Hinderer Investigator along with the Foursevens Titanium Tactical Pen, and a United Cutlery Black Tactical Pen:
I was first introduced to the idea of a tactical when I took TDI’s Defensive Knife training course last year. As someone who travels, a defensive option which will make it through a TSA screening at the airport is very attractive, and many tactical pens will fit this bill. Just bear in mind that the more “tactical looking” a pen is, the more likely you’re likely to get hassled or perhaps even have your pen confiscated by TSA agents. Some tactical pens are better than others in this regard. Smith and Wesson for example makes a nice enough tactical pen, but their name and logo is quite prominent on the pen. “Why no officer, this pen marked “Smith and Wesson” isn’t a weapon….really.” Thankfully, Hinderer’s pen bears no such markings. And if you’re concerned that the strike tip will raise suspicion, simply unscrew the cap exposing the writing end of the pen, replace the cap over the strike tip, and send it on through the conveyor at TSA – it won’t get a second glance.
As mentioned before, the Investigator is a smaller than most standard sized pens, both in length and diameter. Through the week, I usually wear a suit and have a pen of some sort in my dress shirt pocket. But during the weekends when I’m dressed more casually, most of my shirts are pocketless and I find myself asking my wife to borrow a pen. What’s nice about the size of the Investigator is that I can slip it into the front pocket of pants or shorts, and it disappears until I need it – it’s completely unobtrusive. The drawback to the size is diminished defensive value. I’m only about 5’7″ and my hand fairly well swallows the Investigator. Not much more than the strike tip sticking out from the underside of my hand when I grip it defensively. So I wouldn’t anticipate making terribly deep, significant wounds with the Investigator if pressed into the need. Clearly Hinderer’s Extreme Duty Pen is the one you want to have with you if had to use your knife defensively. Personally I think there’s room in Hinderer’s pen offerings for a model that’s in between the Extreme Duty and Investigator pens. Something longer than the Investigator, but thinner than the Extreme Duty.
The Hinderer Investigator Pen ranges in price from $60.00 to $200.00 depending on the material used in construction, and can be ordered directly from the Hinderer Knives website. I’m very pleased with mine, and together with my XM-24, it’s a fantastic memento from my weekend meeting Rick at TDI.