What is the Best EDC Pen? – My Top 5 Picks

EDC Pens

Let’s get going on my picks. I will try to keep my reasoning as simple as possible. Also, I have personally carried every one of the pens on this list and have used each one extensively.

With that in mind, there are also a large number of pens I have not carried or will never carry. I don’t have the time or money for that type of commitment. So, help me out here. If you have a particular pen you like to carry, let me know what it is and why you like it? Who knows, you may help me find my next favorite.

What is an EDC Pen?

This is a simple one. It is any pen carried on a daily basis. The method of carry is irrelevant in a sense it can change from day to day. However, the fact remains that an EDC pen is one that makes it into the rotation one way or another with some regularity.


I admit I have a lot of pens. But, there is a large number of them I would not consider for everyday carry. There are a number of reasons why I do not carry them, but it is probably more helpful for me to list out what I look for in an EDC Pen.

Here are the features I prefer (although I do deviate from time to time):


I almost always go with an all-metal design if I can. I like the longevity and durability a solid metal pen provides. They usually cost more, although not all the time. But with that cost comes some benefit.

Metal Preference

The SCHON Dsgn pen (with clip) comes in brass, titanium, anodized stainless steel, aluminum, and copper–along with other metals.

Metal preference can vary somewhat, depending on the size of the pen I’m carrying. With smaller pens, I can get away with heavier metals but as the pen size increases, if find myself gravitating towards lighter-weight options.

Metal choice can also vary depending on how I’m carrying the pen. How many different ways do I carry my pens? I’m glad you asked. Nerdy I know, but here they are:

  • Loose in the pocket
  • Clipped in pocket
  • Clipped on the shirt (typically centerline). This was more common when I was working in law enforcement.
  • Briefcase carry
  • Portfolio carry
  • Wallet Carry

Different tasks, environments, etc., dictate how and what I carry on a given day.


I typically go for lighter weight options when I can. This will vary some, but I find heavier pens “harder” to carry on a day-to-day basis. I also find them more fatiguing if I am having to do a lot of writing. I do have some heavier (subjective, I know) pens but they normally aren’t carried as often and usually end up being desk pens.

Country of Origin

I love to buy American products when I can. I also love to buy from smaller craftsmen, businesses, etc. Obviously, I don’t do this all the time and I do venture outside of this loose “requirement”.

Price can be directly related to this perk and I’m not blind to that. I know prices can be higher if a product is made in the USA. I also find these same products can be of much higher quality and last a lifetime and beyond. You buy what fits you and your budget.


KarasKustoms offers pens that have caps (Aluminum Render K and Render K Mini shown here) as well as pens with a “clicky” feature (Copper Bolt and Brass RETRAKT shown here).

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a guaranteed leak-proof pen, but that’s what I strive for. You will see with this list, most of the pens I carry have a cap of some sort, with one exception. The caps may screw on (my preferred method) or they may use friction, etc., to stay in place.

The way I see it if the pen does start to leak, hopefully, the cap will prevent any collateral damage. Ink stains suck. Regardless of the method, a cap offers me a little peace of mind and some extra protection.

Alternate Use

One of the reasons I like an all-metal design is the ability for it to be used in a self-defense situation if warranted. I know plastic pens can be used quite effectively, but I prefer a solid construction for the reliability it provides.

I normally do not go for “tactical” pens just because I don’t like the extra attention they can draw, especially with TSA. I like simple designs that can fit in wherever I go. There are a lot of non-permissive environments where a pen may be the only thing you can carry, outside of sourcing things when you get there.

Remember, if a situation arises and you need to use your EDC pen for self-defense, you have to be able to access it. If it’s stuck in the bottom of your pocket, in a backpack, briefcase, etc., it will be of zero use.

Okay, enough about what I look for, let’s to the list. Here we go, in no particular order:

My Top picks

Fisher Space Pen Bullet Space Pen, Raw Brass


  • Length Open: 5.25″
  • Length Closed: 3.75″
  • Material: Brass
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Street Price: $22

The Bullet Space Pen in Raw Brass is the perfect size for your EDC to carry in your pocket, purse, or organizer. When open, it’s a full-sized, evenly-balanced writing instrument that offers enough heft to be comfortable to use but disappears in your pocket when you don’t need it.

The original Bullet Space Pen was conceived in July of 1948 by Paul Fisher which became arguably the most popular pen of the twentieth century. Cited as an outstanding example of industrial art, the classic design of the Fisher Bullet Pen has been exhibited for years in the New York Museum of Modern Art.

The Bullet’s timeless styling has been the topic of many art books and magazine articles. Often imitated but never duplicated, having a Fisher Bullet Space Pen as a part of your everyday carry (EDC) is owning a piece of American History.

This pen casing is made from 100% raw, unfinished brass, which is my preference for this model. Over time, your pen will develop a unique patina as it responds to the environment, your body chemistry and the way it is handled.

It may be polished to restore its original look, but seeing the result of your everyday carry and use of the pen adds to the uniqueness of the Bullet Space Pen. Dark gold hues, brown hues, and the shiny brass come together to create a pen that is unique to you. Adding brass to what you carry every day is a great way to change up your EDC.

Zebra F-701


  • Length Open: 5.5″
  • Length Closed: 5.125″
  • Material: Stainless Steel
  • Country of Origin: Indonesia
  • Street Price: $7

The Zebra F-701 has been a long-time favorite of many people, and for good reason. It’s affordable, offers solid construction, and is easy to come by. The cheaper price is also a bonus.

With a metal body, solid knurling, and a clicky functionality, it offers a solid option for those wanting a more classic look. Some folks complain about the ink cartridge, but you can always throw a Fisher Space Pen refill in there if you get a chance. It makes for an excellent upgrade.

This was my first pen to carry on a daily basis and I still find myself using it from time to time. They are really popular with the first-responder crowd (LE, Fire, Paramedic/EMT, etc.). Did I mention the cheap cost?

If you want all metal components, check out the Zebra F-XMD.

Karas Kustoms Render K, Aluminum


  • Length Open: 5
  • Length Closed: 5.125″
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Street Price: $52

I first found Karas Kustoms on a Kickstarter Campaign back in December of 2011 and I received my aluminum Render K in early 2012. There was something about a pen machined in the USA that could stand the test of time. It’s been exactly what they promised it’d be, as it’s been a core part of my EDC since then. There are some other great brands out there, but I often come back to my Render K. I’ve put this pen through tough daily use and the marks on it tell that story.

KarasKustoms designed the RENDER K to be the last pen you’ll ever need. Made to work with a variety of pen refills, you can have the look of a custom pen and still maintain the feel of your favorite ink. Each pen starts out as a solid piece of 6061-T6 aluminum and KarasKustoms machines all the parts themselves, recycling any excess material from the machining process.

The thread-on cap uses triple-start threads to securely attach itself to the pen and to allow the removal of the cap with only 1.5 revolutions. One of the best features of the RENDER K? There are no logos anywhere. Simple, plain, functional and durable.

Unlike the usual aluminum versions of KarasKustoms pens that have a silver polished finish, this raw aluminum color is tumbled and designed to have a bit more of an industrial and worn look. 

Hinderer Investigator Pen, Aluminum Hard Coat Black


  • Length Open: 4.5″
  • Length Closed: 4.375″
  • Material: Machined 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Street Price: $55

Rick Hinderer Knives are known for quality materials, craftsmanship and attention to detail so when they started to think about a small tactical pen, they made one that was just bigger than the refill it carries.

The Investigator Pen features deep grooves at the end of each body with longitudinal grooves in the middle portion–these grooves allow for a strong grip, even for a pen that is only 4.25″ long. Designed and manufactured using state of the art CNC and CAD_CAM technology, the titanium pocket clip allows you to clip it to your shirt pocket or small EDC notebook.

At only 1.0 ounce in weight, it disappears into your pocket while still giving you enough heft to comfortably use it. As a self-defense option, the Aluminum Investigator has a modular design. The included 17-4 Stainless Steel strike bullet adds “decoration” for day-to-day use, but can be a back-up defense tool (or a primary defense tool in a highly regulated, non-permissive environment).

Course threads used throughout for extra thread height translate into a very strong, tough thread able to take the punishment of hard strikes. The strike bullet can be screwed off and replaced with other options, allowing you to customize your pen.

Schon DSGN, Aluminum


  • Length Open: 5.75″
  • Length Closed: 4.0″
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Street Price: $70

The EDC Pen by Schon DSGN is simple, functional, and unique. When looking for a pen that is easily carried in your pocket, you want it to be dependable, compact, durable, leak-proof, and easy to hold and write with. It’s unobtrusive in your pocket but becomes full-size when in use, as the cap screws on to the back of the pen. When you’re ready to replace the ink, just use the final bend of the clip to remove the set screw.

Ian Schon initially starting making his Classic Pens on a vintage Clausing lathe in his garage, but after a great response by friends and family, he moved his small-batch production shop down the road, keeping manufacturing local.

The custom slotted brass setscrews, the pen bodies and cap, the cutting and printing, and the assembly are all done in Massachusetts, USA. Each pen is turned from solid bar stock and finished to give it a distinct look.

Metal Shop Twist Bullet Pencil, Raw Copper (Bonus)


  • Length Open: Varies according to pencil length
  • Length Closed: 4.0″
  • Material: Copper
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Street Price: $82

Not an EDC pen, but still in the EDC Writing category, the Metal Shop Bullet Pencil can be a great addition to your EDC.

Historically speaking, bullet pencils were made from spent rifle cartridges. A simple concept, bullet pencils were a pencil stored it in a used piece of brass, typically a .303 British. Starting around the 1900’s, these bullet pencils were sold as wartime souvenirs.

Fast forward another 30-50 years and bullet pencils saw commercialization in the U.S. market. They were produced in mass quantities and used to advertise seemingly anything. Mostly given away freely to anyone who would take one, these bullet pencils were a different twist to standard marketing practices.

As the evolution continues, we see new modifications such as erasers, pocket clips, etc. The modern additions were a big change for this simplistic and useful item. The bullet pencil’s small, compact design allowed it to be carried unobtrusively on a daily basis.

Folks were carrying these as part of the EDC before “everyday carry” was even a term. As with many items developed and perfected by American craftsman, the bullet pencil was eventually watered down with cheap overseas manufacturing … However, not all is lost.

Metal Shop has taken this vintage concept and created their own unique version, the Twist Bullet Pencil. Metal Shop has created a design that allows the Twist to accommodate almost any pencil on the market and their thread system allows attachments such as a pen, eraser or cap.

The Twist Bullet Pencil would make a great addition to anyone wanting to add a writing instrument to their Primary EDC. Everyday Carry has never been easier, especially for those who like a little taste of old school Americana. Mine has developed a cook, natural patina over time.


There you have it, my top picks along with a little bonus item. Hopefully, you found this helpful if you are on the search for a new pen for yourself or for someone else. Depending on your price point and what you are looking for, there are a lot of options.

Who knows, you may find yourself like me with a whole collection of pens. Like I mentioned above, if you have a particular pen you like to carry, let me know what it is and why you like it?

Who knows, you may help me find my next favorite.


With over 17 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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