Flying Under the Radar

Last year, the Transportation Security Administration screened over 708 million people.

That breaks down to about 1.9 million people per day.

TSA confiscated 2,653 firearms along with thousands of other items deemed dangerous. It’s pretty crazy the things people try to bring on an airplane — fireworks, bear spray, even live grenades.

In fact, check out this collage of some of the grenades confiscated by TSA last year:


Of course, TSA agents often take items that shouldn’t necessarily be confiscated, because they’re the ones calling the shots. When you’ve got a plane to catch, you’re not in the best position to negotiate with them.

Case in point: I received an email from a fellow who had his tactical pen confiscated by airport security — he couldn’t believe it.

It’s important to point out this fellow had his tactical pen out while going through security, and he placed it in the screening bin where TSA screeners could easily see it.

Big mistake.

I’m a frequent traveler and I always have my tactical pen with me. I’ve traveled all over the world with my pen and I’ve never had it taken from me.

But if you flash your pen to a TSA screener and say, “Look at my cool pen,” chances are they’ll take it from you. (Yes, I have heard of people who foolishly bragged about their pen to the screener.)

Most TSA agents will err on the side of caution, so if they do see your pen, they will take it. They figure it doesn’t hurt to be overly careful, and they don’t want to let anything slip by them.

Of course, there’s really no reason for them to ever see the pen. When I go through a TSA checkpoint, I always put my tactical pen in my laptop bag next to my regular writing pens.

I never brag about having a tactical pen. I simply put my bag on the screening belt as usual. Once I exit the screening area, I take the pen from my bag and put it back in my pants pocket.

As an added precaution, I also put the cap on the sharp end of the tactical pen so anyone can see that it’s an actual writing pen.

But every security screening checkpoint has discretion as to what is allowed. For example, here is an email I received from a fellow named Angus H.:

I just got back from Scotland. Over there, they take security much more seriously than in the U.S. If you get searched, you get searched 100%. There are no PC no-go zones. Needless to say, I got the full search. My tactical pen was no problem, even for them.

The bottom line is if you’ve got it, don’t flaunt it. You never know if TSA will decide your tactical pen is dangerous, so don’t draw attention to it.

You and I both know the tactical pen is an amazing self-defense tool. I always have one with me, and you should too. Because you never know when you’ll need to defend yourself.

If you have an upcoming vacation, use common sense when going through TSA. Don’t brag about your tactical pen or brandish it about.

And leave your grenades at home.

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