Zebra F-701: The $5 Tactical Pen

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

At lunch recently, my friend and fellow blogger Mike Mollenhour showed me a Zebra F-701 pen he purchased at Wal-Mart for $5. He was impressed at the build quality of this cheap pen. The cheap pen had fairly thick stainless steel barrel with a knurled grip, much like the expensive “tactical” pens that cost a lot more.

I purchased one off ebay (they are sold everywhere from Amazon to Walmart). It writes nicely and I love the feel of the knurled steel grip. This pen could definitely be used as a “tactical” Kubotan style martial arts weapon in a tight spot.

If you search Google, you will find plenty of mods to make this pen even more “tactical” by replacing the plastic components with metal parts from another cheap pen and installing a Fisher pressurize ink cartridge.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Derpy Derpy on May 08, 2014

    I probably abuse my pens more than anyone here (do you pick up red hot pieces of metal with your pen?)... Mine has also had an encounter with 200+ volts. I replaced the tip, but kept the knurled grip with its melted spots. I've had this pen for years, and I'm still using it.
    Anyways, the only steel parts of the pen is the barrel sleeve, clicker cap, pen clip, and 2 springs. The knurled part and screw-on tip are actually brass. Even if I didn't fry and melt my pen, I would've still found out those parts were brass as the nickel(?) coating has worn off in places. The knurled grip is connected to the steel barrel sleeve by friction fit and the tip screws into plastic threads. The plastic barrel of mine has cracked in a few places where the tip screws in.
    Despite it not being all stainless steel, it is still an awesome pen. I have replaced many parts of this pen as they wore out or broke--the only original parts are the clip, plastic+steel barrel, and knurled grip. When the inner plastic barrel finally shatters, I'll be buying another :)
    Also... the pen may look tough, but I do believe it's possible to snap the pen in half (between barrel & grip) with bare hands, perhaps a thumb and 1 or 2 fingers from each hand.

  • John Michael Delos Reyes John Michael Delos Reyes on May 13, 2014

    I have a lot of Zebra F-402 . Can I use It as tactical Pen. I need your suggestion Sir.