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SureFire Pens

Discussion in 'GATE Self-Defense Forum' started by Coltlover, Mar 26, 2010.

  1. Coltlover


    Apr 1, 2008
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    What is your take and or experience w/the SureFire pens? I have been thinking about them for a while, and last night @ work, I sure wished I had one. I work in a environment that is enclosed, and we have some very explosive "clients" at times. Security is almost non-existence. We have been promised 2 strong male security tech's for each shift for months and months. In the mean time people are getting hurt.
  2. Mas Ayoob

    Mas Ayoob KoolAidAntidote Moderator

    Nov 6, 2005
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    Coltlover, "reading between the lines" in your post, I get a sense that you are in a VERY tightly-sphinctered "no weapons zone" at work.

    Going on that assumption...

    The SureFire pen, like any pen, can be used as a "makeshift weapon" in self-defense. History shows that Bic pens and even ordinary #2 pencils are right up there with home-made "shanks" as stabbing weapons in prison environments, and that lesson is written indelibly in blood and history alike.

    The Kubotan(TM) developed by the great martial arts master Takayuki Kubota derived from what he originally called "the pen technique" -- a series of strikes, pressure point takedowns, wristlocks, thumb-locks, grab-escapes and choke-escapes, etc. which Kubota originally taught with a Cross-type heavy duty ballpoint pen. When he discovered that his #2 wristlock in particular was so strong it could bend even the heavy metal body of a Cross pen, and that the exposed tip of a pen could cause a puncture/stabbing injury and get his student arrested for aggravated assault, he developed the 5/8" wide plastic "Tootsie roll," flat on each end, that became the Kubotan keychain.

    Over the years, the Kubotan and its derivatives have not been held by the courts to be "weapons" when used in self-defense, as far as I can determine, but ARE considered weapons by TSA/FAA at airports, and by most courthouse security guards. One of Kubota's proteges approached Don Kellner, the inventor of the Kel-Lite police flashlight, who was then working at Mag-Lite, and basically asked him if he could make a Kubotan that glowed in the dark and could be seen as "just a flashlight." The result was the hugely popular MagLite Mini-Mag flashlight, which to this day can be carried through airport security and courthouse security and into "zero tolerance weapon free school zones" because it is only a flashlight.

    Now, to correlate that with the SureFire pen you asked about:

    All the Kubotan techniques are "do-able" with the SureFire pen. Were that SureFire device not a PEN, its tapered ends might make it a "prohibited martial arts weapon, to wit a 'yawara stick'," in certain jurisdictions. However, it's a PEN, not a dedicated weapon.

    Go to the SureFire website. It is described as a pen that does double duty as a rescue tool, allowing someone to punch out window glass when, let's say, rescuing someone from a burning car or when you are the passenger trying to escape from an automobile that has been submerged in water. It is not overtly described as a weapon.

    I say this because any product which is described by its manufacturer as a weapon, even if only for self-defense, is seen as a WEAPON by those who call the rules in "weapon-free zones." An example: for years I carried a SureFire E2D flashlight with "crenellated" ends through airport security without a problem. Last year, however, I was nailed for it in an airport west of the Mississippi because Airport Security said their computers showed it to be advertised as something for self-defense, and therefore, by their standards, a weapon. I switched to a different SureFire flashlight for plane travel that didn't have crenellated ends, and life went on.

    That's the sort of thing you'll have to deal with, when carrying such a device. Coltlover, one good friend of mine who is a psyche nurse in what us lay people would call "the violent ward" carries pens like the ones Kubota started teaching with. They can be used to stab OR to apply Kubotan techniques. He can't carry a Kubotan, in that rigidly "weapon-free environment," but he CAN carry the pens. Go figure.

    Since the SureFire Pen is really too new for any "common custom and practice" of seeing it as a weapon or not to have built up in the eyes of the courts to the best of my knowledge, I would be perfectly comfortable carrying one out and about in public in the US, if not in tight-butt countries like England. In a "zero tolerance weapon-free zone" such as the one you imply you are in -- particularly if I thought one particular supervisor wanted to shaft me over it -- I would think long and hard before carrying it. If I did carry one, I would make a point of signing paperwork with it conspicuously, so after the fact there would be lots of witnesses who said, "Hell, the guy always used it as a PEN!"

    Sorry this ran so long, Coltlover, but the nature of these things is that the answer often takes a whole lot longer than the question.

    Best wishes,

    SureFire Pen shown for perspective with Monadnock D-Jammer keychain (a derivative of the Kubotan concept) and Mini-Mag flashlight.