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Impromptu Tactical Pen

Danger has a way of presenting itself when you least expect it. That’s why Gerber, in collaboration with law enforcement professionals, developed the Impromptu Tactical Pen. Sure, it’s a pen and it’ll serve to take notes like a good pen should, but it’s not your average writing implement. Made from machined steel with a tempered window-shattering tip design, the Impromptu Tactical Pen can be used to break a windshield or defend yourself from an unexpected attack.


The Impromptu Tactical Pen combines Gerber’s decades of experience crafting tools with valuable input from police officers to offer a utilitarian tool that could quite literally be your ticket to safety. During interviews, officers agreed that the most important tool you can carry is the item that happens to be in your hand, which more often than not turns out to be a pen. So Gerber designed a pen that can write in all conditions and is rugged enough to handle the unexpected. This USA-made, push-button pen features a “Rite in the Rain” ballpoint pen cartridge that is effective in wet and dry conditions, and the tool’s machined steel body is stout enough to rise to the unexpected call of duty.


Sure it’s stout, but it fits easily into your pocket like an ordinary pen and will become part of your daily routine, on the job and off. Whether you’re in your vehicle or responding to a call in the field, it’s easy to make the Tactical Pen part of your routine equipment. But unlike an ordinary ballpoint pen, this one will be there when you need more than just a writing implement.

Item # 31-001880
  • Overall Length: 5.59"“ (14.19 cm)
  • Closed Length: 5"“ (12.7 cm)
  • Weight: 2.4 oz. (68 g)
  • Material: Steel
Warranty Warranty


  • Rugged, machined steel body with Cerakote™
  • Stainless steel pocket clip keeps the pen handy
  • Integrated glass-breaker tip features tempered steel and is designed to get you out of trouble
  • “Rite in the Rain” ink cartridge works in all conditions, inside and outdoors
  • Reliable push-button mechanism deploys ball point mechanism
  • Made in the USA


1 Retired Marine Fred - JUL 12, 2016

I won't buy it with all these dissatisfied customers. I Gerber pocket knifes, I own 3 of them. No issues with them. Thank God.

4 chef Aaron - JUN 21, 2016

im on my second pen in less than a year and its already starting to have problems with the clicker. i have found that the clicker problem is the ball-bearing falling out of its track, it can be put back in place with a little practice and luck. other than the clicker this pen is my favorite pen to-date. it opens packaging and boxes like a champ and because of its weight i notice right away if i take it out of my pocket so i don't leave it some where

2 Crane technician brett Lindsay - JUN 17, 2016

good at first until the click mechanism wore out, gerber will not respond or honor their warranty, if the pens had interchangable or replacement parts would be great,so many people have negative feedback on the clicker, Gerber should listen to its customers, because they are the ones who made the company as it is.

5 Detective Fred Macz - JUN 14, 2016

Don't leave home without it. I have I can't write with anything else I'm hooked! Best damn pen I ever owned. A Real Man's Pen!

2 Your Title Ron Hawkins - MAY 26, 2016

As a defensive tool this pen is outstanding. As a pen it WAS also excellent UNTIL the mechanism broke and now it will not fully extend the pen point enough to write! Less than a year (July 2015!). I bought 3 others for friends. Can't wait to hear from them. I guess the search continues.

5 Construction Inspector Jim - MAY 18, 2016

3 years of daily use. From below freezing to over 100 degree days, in the rain, dropped in the dirt, sand, wet concrete, and off bridges this pen has kept going without issue.

5 Your Title Terry - MAY 18, 2016

The product is great and extremely tough.
Both my wife and I carry them all the time.

It would be great to offer it without the glass breaker as many carry other tools for that. Additionally the glass breaker can catch on the fabric of of clothing and uniforms.

3 Love the pen.. but dang it's heavy IT Manager - MAY 2, 2016

Solid build, no issues with the retractable cartridge, but wow this thing is closer to 4oz then it is 1.2 as it is described, not a good choice if you have alot to write.

3 Firefighter Justin - FEB 10, 2016

Got this pen off of for well under what Gerber is asking for it here. It arrived january 9th 2016 and I started carrying in both on and off duty in my pocket just like the description says you can. Well it writes just fine, seems the clicker works half the time with the inability to retract the pen unless you spin it around. Somewhat of a pain especially when as a fireman I may have only one hand free. The "Cerakote" coating literally had started to fail 12 days into me owning it and I haven't even used it in harsh conditions yet. Actually pisses me off to spend a decent amount of money on a good pen and now it looks like crap. Gerber was contacted on January 26th for a warranty claim, not sure if they want the pen shipped back to them or not, however I am reluctant to send it back to them would think they would just send out another one. Gerber needs to rework the clicker and find another coating that's a whole lot tougher.

1 Your Title colin - FEB 1, 2016

As with many others on this review, the pen clicker has failed, almost immediately on opening, it never, ever worked. I contacted Gerber and they didn't have the decency to reply. Poor workmanship and crap customer care. I was going to buy a selection of knives from them, but if they're as bad as these pens, forget it

3 Corrections Officer Ian - JAN 31, 2016

Bought 3 total pens so far. 1st perfect. 2nd sorta ok. 3rd does not really work. Will try the warranty but would love a better quality pen for the price?

5 Love it Hector - JAN 31, 2016

Awesome pen, because of the steel body it is heavy, but im used it now. Writes smooth. I wish the glass breaker was tungsten carbide glass-breaker and dlc coating. Other than that, its a great edc pen.

5 from Ukraine Yuriy - DEC 25, 2015

One of the best tactical pen! It's really cool! But need DLC coating and tungsten carbide glass-breaker.

5 Computer Field Technician jberry1969 - DEC 20, 2015

Not allowed to carry firearms in my job, so any defensive advantage makes me feel a little better prepared. I whipped this pen around like a Chinese broad-sword when I got it, and it still writes beautifully! Have not had the opportunity to break a windshield yet, hopefully one will present itself.
No, you may not borrow my pen!

5 from Ukraine Yuriy - DEC 16, 2015

One of the best tactical pen!
But if make the glass-breaker tip from tungsten carbide it's would be best of the best !

5 Student Anonymous - NOV 4, 2015

Quite solid and my friends are quite impressed
I used parker and Miko refill because I don't fell like using their refill as it is rare
Their refill is good and the gas in the refill pushes the ink out no matter how much pressure I put

4 Sailor Jeremy - OCT 27, 2015

I love this pen. The weight and thickness was easy to get used to. I too had problems with the button not coming back up unless I twisted the top button. That is a big hassle. I just opened my pen up and found that the white plastic piece, a part of standard rite in the rain cartridges was broken into multiple pieces. What I wonder, is whether Gerber could work with Rite-in-the-Rain or something in order to assemble a durable metal replacement for this plastic piece? If that's possible, it may solve the issue of the button not reliably operating and all you'd have to do when replacing a cartridge would be to throw out the plastic bit and keep using the metal replacement. If this solves the pen's reliability problem, I would gladly buy it. I rated the pen four stars instead of five since the pen's ruggedness seems too much for the plastic part of the ink cartridges, which admittedly is more a problem with the cartridge than the pen itself. I'd love to hear what Gerber thinks of my idea for their pen.

2 Two duds in a row doesn't inspire confidence! Tod Billings - OCT 25, 2015

I want to love this pen. In every way but one, it is an amazing tactical pen. I love it's more traditional width, as it isn't abnormally wide like most tac pens. This makes it look less obvious and less bulky in the pocket. I really love the glass-breaker protrusion on the end as well: gives me confidence it will be very painful if needed to defend myself. In principle, I love the click-open design, as I loath pens with caps, and this was the primary reason I bought this pen.

However, this is simultaneously the pens fatal flaw. My first pen came malfunctioning right out of the box. It would not consistently click-closed, and took multiple tries, as well as some twisting on occasion. I immediately returned it, and felt temporarily relieved when the replacement did not do the same right out of the box. However, by the end of the day, it too was having troubles clicking closed.

I don't care how awesome the rest of the pen is, if it's going to cause me frustration every time I close it, it isn't a good pen. I'm very, very disappointed in my experience with this pen, and it is with great sadness and irritation that I prepare to return the second one, as I was really, desperately, wanted to love this pen!

4 Botanist Dan - OCT 16, 2015

I was looking for a quality, USA-made, tactical pen for my EDC, and this is what I settled on. There are plenty of military/tactical/outdoor pens out there, but very few are made here in the good old USA. Usually when you're thinking of a pen that checks off those boxes, you automatically think of a Fisher Space Pen, so when I found out that Gerber made one, I jumped on it. The ink refill for this pen is a Fisher refill, though, so it can write in a variety of crazy conditions. The pen itself is all metal and rock solid. I have yet to try the glass breaker, but I'm sure it works perfectly. I've heard some say that the glass breaker tip gets in the way when writing, and I'd have to agree with them. I feel it is just a bit too much pen. If Gerber could take the exact same pen but make it 75% the size, or 1.5 inches shorter, it would be much easier to EDC. Perhaps Gerber can make an Impromptu Mini that is 75% the size and doesn't have the glass breaker. Now that would be the absolute perfect pen!

4 Tactical Botanist Dan Sarv - SEP 26, 2015

The pen is great. I only buy American for my tactical EDC gear and this pen fits the bill. I also use a few Fisher Space Pens (i.e. matte black Bullet with clip and black Trekker) as they are smaller and much easier to EDC with a small black Rite in the Rain notebook like the 771FX-M or 754. I wish Gerber would make a second model of the Impromptu that looks exactly the same as the current, but is a bit shorter - like 4" overall length as opposed to the current 5.5". I would even be ok with losing the glass breaker and having a smaller refill if necessary to shorten it. Then it would be absolutely perfect and would be my pen for life.

4 Alphund Nate - AUG 27, 2015

Great pen, but the cartridge writes inconsistently/"gloppy" and smears. Will use every day with a different cartridge.

1 Mr. Mike - JUL 30, 2015

Received the Impromptu tactical pen July 2015, serial number 0870115d4, and the pen was defective out of the box. Upon pressing the plunger the pen does not retract. Even with lubricant in the tip and in the plunger area where a small amount of grease was placed at the factory, the pen would NOT function. The plunger and cap area grooves do not function and the pen is not a reliable instrument. It was broken new out of the box.

5 Naval Officer Andrew - JUN 19, 2015

As the NAVY can't operate without paperwork, having a pen on hand at all times is part of my job description. I see a lot of comments about the push button; I've had mine about a year and use it daily without any issues. Ink replacements are Rite in the Rain Item number 37R for black ink. Everyone who I have let use it loves the feel of it, too.

4 Oil Field Service Jonathan - MAY 19, 2015

Fantastic pen. I used it for four months before the cartridge was done! The botton travels on a small interior pin and mine wore out. But I already want another one.

5 CEO NASCAR Michael Helton - MAY 17, 2015

Excellent pen.would be better with a 22lr round to control the thugs in inner cities

5 Active Military blanchettet - APR 22, 2015

Is this pen worth the buy? I haven't bought yet, but I need a sturdy pen for work. I run through those flimsy plastic pens all the time.

3 None Aaron - APR 17, 2015

Had it a week, and won't retract the tip any more....very disappointed in the quality-but love the pen. Who do I contact for replacement???

2 Police Inspector Simon - APR 10, 2015

First impression was great.
Heavy duty tool does not feel like it's going to break easily.
Came with a black refill and I wanted blue so I ordered blue refill from Amazon at the same time (but it does take any normal parker refill too).
Problem was the clicker "broke" as soon as I changed.
At first I had to take it apart and work the mechanism to get it back in, but then i realized if I turn the clicker a little counter clockwise as I click I can retract.
For a pen at this prise that's not good enough.
It's a hassle to return it so I'll keep it, but "life time warranty" and all that.
Sad to say but I wouldn't buy one again.

5 Accountant Accountant - FEB 23, 2015

Great pen. I have much more expensive pens that do far less. I like Parker refills, so I may not go with the Rite in the Rain refills. The pen is sturdy and strong. The glass break tip isn't as sharp as my old Micro Tech knife glass break tip, so I don't find it tearing up my shirts. However, due to the weight, it's not going to wear well in a dress shirt pocket. The full metal retracting mechanism seems to be bullet proof for the pen. Defiantly a better conversation starter than my Mont Blanc and a good defensive tool. I trust Gerber products.

5 mr john huffman john - FEB 4, 2015


1 UPS driver Nick Arpino - FEB 2, 2015

Great pen. Until clicker on top broke, been trying to contact gerber about replacement parts, still no response

4 Paramedic Michael - JAN 26, 2015

Great pen; I just wish Gerber would make a replacement tip without the glass breaker.

2 ok classified - JAN 15, 2015

I mean, lets be real no replacement ink and 2 functions I've seen much better for cheaper

2 Manager of a Bar Jonathan Sedillo - JAN 8, 2015

I got my pen today in the mail I ordered it off amazon and was super excited to get my pen. I pulled it outta the box great feel wrote well but an hour out of the box I pulled it out to write in my manager log and the click broke first day! now the internal pen wont come out and its just a glass breaker. I'm going to send it back in hopes to get a new one sent to me from amazon, but other then that it has a great feel to it and I cant wait to get one that I can depend on. I always need a good pen working in the bar industry, I hope second time around I'll get what I'm looking for.

5 Creative Director Kellie - JAN 5, 2015

This pen is awesome.. and was a total hit as a holiday gift. Great quality with a fun twist! I like that I can write copy and use it to ward of a bad guy!

5 Pen.. Bill - JAN 1, 2015

Tactical Pen! I love it, so I'm an operator if i buy this right?

5 Military Officer James Kenny - DEC 30, 2014

As an officer, as terrible as it can be, I need a pen a lot. In grease, rain and dirt, this thing has been consistent and reliable. It is a solid feel. For everyone who is wondering about the ink cartridge, it is a standard Parker refill, can use Fisher, Schmidt, etc. No issues finding it.

Bring it on deployment, use it as a defensive weapon, whatever. It can handle it.

1 Foreman Thomas Theodore - DEC 7, 2014

Looks cool but i wont buy until replacement ink cartridge info is available

3 Your Title frederik - DEC 5, 2014

Well i think its a cool pen but the price is insane!

4 Writer Jim - NOV 25, 2014

For those of you seeking refills, go to and find them and a lot of other useful things there.

5 ME Robert - NOV 16, 2014

The ink cartridge may be the same as the Fisher Space Pen cartridge. It was designed for astronauts and once the ink is loaded it is then back filled with nitrogen gas which makes the ink advance when upside down, etc. Check on Amazon for refills.

5 Mechanic Casey - AUG 12, 2014

Excellent EDC pen. Reliable and versatile.

4 Loneshark Joey Pastorino - JUL 21, 2014

Picked one up a couple of weeks ago as an everyday carry item. Works great in my line of work. Good investment.

5 Patrol Officer Texas Derrick Williams - JUL 2, 2014

Lover the pen. Where can I get ink replacements for it and how much.

1 Its a strong pen. CrAzY jAy - JUN 11, 2014

There isnt any refils and its tough but its not tough enough to survive a drop. Pen wont write anymore. And all it does is break glass.

4 EOD John - JUN 8, 2014

Great pen, wish it came without the glass breaker.

That spike is rough on uniforms

4 Chief Shaun - JUN 3, 2014

Pen is great. Get refills on Rite in the 935T model for black. Just wish it was cheaper so I can have a spare.

5 Wannabe McGuyver John Dee - MAY 30, 2014

A really tough looking pen. Just holding it will scare people away but I think it would be better if it had the capability to fire a .22 long cartridge from the push button.

4 Your Title CharonPDX - MAY 29, 2014

If you don't need a "Rite in the Rain" capable pen, this probably isn't your bag. But if you *DO* need a pen that can write underwater, in the rain, etc, (with appropriate paper, of course,) then this is the best pen for that. MUCH better than the fairly chincy official "Rite in the Rain" pen.

As others have noted, though, it's not the best "general use" pen, and refills can be hard to find. (Thankfully, my favorite local bookstore carries them.)

5 Love This Pen David Howell - APR 20, 2014

I love Gerber tools and also love pens. So, you could only imagine how much I love a GERBER PEN! This bad boy is the only pen I ever use. Rugged, hefty, and looks like the ultimate zombie apocalypse item. Can be used for more than writing if the need arises.

Folks, refills are easy to find! It takes the Rite In The Rain refills, but you can also put any Parker type refill in the pen. In fact I put a Parker Gel refill in mine, and love it.

This is one of the favorite things I own.

3 Your Title Kelvin Anderson - APR 7, 2014

Got this as a gift, great pen solid exterior. Be careful when disassembling to replace the cartridge, mine got jammed up with the spring in the nose and I had to use my Leatherman (oops) to extract the cartridge and repair my pen. The idea is good the parts inside are a bit weak and the threading for the cap could be improved.

5 Police officer Your name - APR 2, 2014

Picked up one and love it. The rite in rain ink is amazing. Great pen for my job!

3 citizen Terry - MAR 25, 2014

Great pen, love the quality and heft, but the ink cartridge is absolute junk, bad component to save money on!

5 Army survival guy P - MAR 21, 2014

Love the pen weight is perfect can't wait to test it out. If it's to heavy for you... hit the gym...

1 POlice Officer Chris Jones - FEB 13, 2014

Received as a present on Christmas 2013. Starting using 1-1-14 on duty, writing tickets and notes, nothing major. By mid January the ink was running dry and I was dissapointed. Now it sits in my locker and I'm not too happy with its performance for the price.

4 Reserve Deputy Mike - JAN 29, 2014

Great pen, very stout. I wish the diameter was a little smaller (.5 inch). Makes it hard to fit in a uniform pocket with a cuff key.

3 Gangster Tony Stompanado - JAN 22, 2014

A real review...

Okay folks, hopefully this review will satisfy some of the questions and questionable reviews, even from the last one I left. No, I'm not a Gerber employee or supplier, just a regular guy.

Yes, this pen is heavy, it's made of Cerakote steel. I'm not sure I would say that it's exhausting to write a signature or long notes, but it is heavy. In terms of finding ink cartridges, I found that at Staples, they carry Fisher Space Pen cartridges as a shelf item, so that should be easy to find. Additionally, some Parker Pen refills work and although they're not pressurized or waterproof, they do the job as a normal pen would.

I've been using this pen over the last month, and I really enjoy it, and it's quite the conversation starter.

This pen may or may not require a touch of maintenance in the form of a bit of gun oil (or the like) for the clicking mechanism, as it's made of uncoated steel, and moisture can enter the pen from the click button despite the integrated O-rings between the pen segments.

Despite one reviewers comment, the pen does have two small flats on the barrel to engrave. There are three flats total on the barrel, and one of them is taken up with the Gerber logo. Any good engraving shop should be able to make use of those spaces, albeit they are small.

An yes, please politely refuse when anyone asks to borrow it.

The biggest challenge with this pen is that there are so many others out there to choose from, from various materials to various features. To top it off, this is one of the more expensive examples. Follow the rule that one usually gets what they pay for.

5 USAF Jon - JAN 18, 2014

Great pen! I actually love the weight to it.

5 This guy Gilbert Perry Wilcox - JAN 16, 2014

Cartridge's are on amazon, but don't fit, but I did drop the pen a lot

5 Correction Officer - JAN 9, 2014

I love this pen! this is the only sturdy tactical pen with a click mechanism. It also uses a Parker "F" refill if you don't want to buy the "Rite in the Rain" refills.

4 Pen Refills Chris - DEC 27, 2013

The pen writes well, has a hard metal body ,and the punch like it said. I'm satisfied with the pen, however unable to locate refills (for certain). I went online and found Rite in Rain refills but unsure if the exact model fits this pen. Gerber can you update this product with the exact model the refills are?

1 Gangster Tony Stompanado - DEC 2, 2013

Wish it had a better ink cartridge. I dropped the pen in the grocery store last night and it won't write another letter, now I can use the pen as a doorstop until I find a suitable replacement cartridge.

4 deputy sheriff Lisa - NOV 27, 2013

I can't find refills. It writes great! It's tough on polyester pockets.

3 Great pen. Admobeer - NOV 11, 2013

Is there any chance Gerber will make this in titanium? If so, I would buy several.

5 good gift kawasakiman01 - NOV 11, 2013

should be a gift from Gerber to all military personnel

5 Mental Ward Pat - OCT 29, 2013

I am an RN in a maximum security prison, working in the medical dept. This pen is the only thing I have between me and severely mentally ill inmates. This pen is beautifully engineered, writes like a dream and my hope is I never have to use it for what it was intended for. But it’s right in my pocket if I ever need it and I am 100% convinced it will do the job if necessary.

5 Ret, Medical Professional Diana Blomgren - OCT 20, 2013

Please notify me when the pen is
in stock so I may send it to my son
in Austin.

Diana Blomgren

5 Your Title McPete ! - OCT 19, 2013

This is the P-E-N ever ! I luv the look and style how it is uncanning to the human eye !


5 CPO Dan - OCT 11, 2013

This pen is awesome! Very rugged pen for heavy duty use. The glass breaker is also a very useful tool when marring plastic or metal in the lab and can be used to puncture packages without the need for scissors.

5 machinist edward - SEP 27, 2013

love this pen, should make one in titanium.

2 Quality Metal Gerberfan - SEP 13, 2013

I wanted to like this pen, I really did... But it is FAR too heavy for anything approaching regular use. Just writing a signature is exhausting, let alone anything approaching rapid note-taking. Yes---it is incredibly tough, and, Yes--it would probably come in handy in a self-defense/escape from car scenario. However, the cumbersome weight simply outweighs(!) any potential value.

4 I Want It Keith.West101 - SEP 8, 2013

I like the slickness of the pen, but how does the ink work and is it durable?

5 ORARNG SGT Neubee - AUG 20, 2013

I got this pen as a gift and I love it. built to last through any punishment. Very smooth operation and writing. Glass breaker is nice and also can be used as a scratch all or etcher.

3 Housewife Jennifer - JUN 27, 2013

Wish it had a blade in it somewhere and maybe a place for engraving

5 Your Title HeavyDuty - JUN 26, 2013

I stumbled across this pen while looking at Multi-Pliers, so I ordered it & WOW this thing is built like a tank, exceeded my expectations!
Refills are available from many suppliers, which is good, too.

If anyone asks to borrow it...the answer is NO!

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