Review: SpyBriefingGear Stiletto Knife and Tactical Pen

Jason Hanson, ex-CIA Officer and New York Times bestselling author of “Spy Secrets That Can Save Your Life“, prefers to keep at least three items in his daily possession at any moment. A knife, a tactical pen, and a flashlight. And today, we’re going to review two of those which have been developed and are being sold through Jason’s company, SpyBriefingGear.

We had the opportunity to ask Jason a number of questions about spy secrets, tradecraft, and the ability to survive in today’s uncertain landscape, and if there is one thing that sticks in our mind, it is that survival depends on redundancy. The redundancy to dart your eyes left, right, and upwards for every door you pass through. The redundancy to maintain a stiletto knife clipped on your belt, a tactical pen in your shirt pocket, and a flashlight within reach at all times.

A tool may only be as good as your tenacity to have it with you when you need it, but if you’ve already got the habit down, we’ve got two great survival tools that can be used by just about anyone and these are the real thing. And by the ‘real thing’, we mean that they have not been dumbed down for the sake of not exposing a would-be attacker to too much deadly force, or even its purchaser, for that matter. So seriously, take time to learn the proper technique of this knife, as it is very sharp and quick to respond.

Stiletto Knife

The stiletto knife by SpyBriefingGear features a balanced hammer that releases its blade to a fully erect state with the gentle sweep of a single finger. This is not a traditional stiletto knife, mind you, as Jason had to get around the illegal nature of these types of weapons. The answer was to build a weighted, spring-loaded release into a knife that could function with the ease of a single-finger stroke, but with the same principle as a flip-opening pocket knife.

One unique feature of these knives that we became quickly fascinated by was their needle-like tip. Jason explained to us that this was necessary to ensure this knife could penetrate clothes, skin, cartilage, bone, or anything else that might get in your way of survival, including body armor. And yes, if you’ve been paying attention to recent news, many crimes (hate and monetary) are now involving the use of body armor by the assailant.

Minimal skill is actually needed to defend yourself with a knife, especially if the assailant is close and the tip of the knife is anything but forgiving towards whatever it comes into contact with. But unfortunately, a knife is not welcome in every urban establishment.

Tactical Pen

A knife will not be appropriate in every situation, and this is where the tactical pen shines. A writing pen is welcome in government buildings, airports, and restaurants, so this is a self-defense tool that practically has no limits. Some people may scoff at the thought of using a pen to fight off a larger assailant, but they may also not be familiar with Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid mixed martial art created by Bruce Lee to put the odds of survival into the favor of, well, just about anyone who is skilled with its philosophy.

Almost anything can become an effective weapon by a person who has been trained to use it. And by training, we are not referring to an art form sprung from the idea of showmanship and rules, but rather the intent to do whatever is necessary to survive. And that is Jeet Kune Do.

A tactical pen has been designed to increase the impact your muscles are able to produce by putting all that force into a single, hardened point. This kind of focused strike can break automotive glass while sinking into a sea of water, and it can also stun an attacker and give them a host of new concerns other than you, including a punctured eye, throat, or groin.

Here is a great visual tutorial by Jason on how to use these types of pens, and why this design is considered to be the original.

These are some well-made tools of self-defense that are solid, non-slip, and functional. We have no doubt as to the favor these self-defense tools would put on your side during any unwelcome confrontation. Check out more tips, books, and gear on Jason’s website,


Loves bourbon, travel, and spending time with family (in that order).