I recently travelled to IWA in Nuremberg, Germany. I always like to make sure I am prepared for general tasks and so I usually carry a flashlight, a knife and a tac-pen. I like the tac type pens as they are very rugged and tend not to break. They also tend to be weighty enough that I don’t lose them. Travelling of course creates issues for carrying such items as different countries have different laws and Airports may have their own regulations.
Being a dilligent fellow I researched both Airport regs and German law regarding EDC items (every day carry). Everything appeared to be fine as long as my pocket knife blade was less than 6cm long.
I selected the Fantoni Dweller folding knife and a Schrade tactical pen. The Dweller is a small non locking gents pocket folder which I figured would be ideal. I selected the Schrade pen over an Uzi branded item because the latter has a long sharp spike which I guessed would raise eyebrows. The Schrade has a glass breaker point but only protrudes a few millimeters.
The Schrade also has some very cool features. It comes in a beautiful burnt bronze colour. The end cap unscrews and contains a survival whistle. The mid section unscrews to reveal a fire steel rod. The glass breaker at the base also unscrews revealing a striking plate for the fire steel. Pretty damn nifty! I have never had to use the whistle but I have used the fire steel a few times and it works very well indeed.
Well I made it to Germany from the UK with no security issues at all. My EDC items were in my hand luggage at all times. Great. I spent a few days in Nuremberg and then travelled back. I went through the German security not really expecting anything as I had previously come through without issue. I was a little surprised to be taken aside by the baggage scanner lady. She asked if I had a knife in my bag. I replied that I did have a small pocket knife within permissable length. She measured the knife and agreed it was fine. She then asked what the pen was.. Well it is a pen!! She did not look convinced and called over a colleague. He examined the pen closely and proclaimed it to be a “Kubotan”. A Kubotan for those that do not know is a wooden or metal striking device used by some martial arts practitioners. It is generally used to subdue/control an opponent in a non lethal manner using pressure points and lock techniques. I would consider it far less dangerous than any bladed item. The security guard commented that it was a very nice looking pen but it would need to go in the hold. I had no large bag with me and it would cost me around £30 extra to place my walk on bag in there. I put forward the argument that any pen could be used as a “Kubotan” but it was met with a smile and a shake of the head. I asked the guard if he would like to keep the Schrade pen as a gift. He nodded and accepted it with a 😃. At least I got to make someone happy huh!
After leaving security I took a look in duty free. Plenty of very expensive metal ink pens with terribly sharp nibs.. I know which pen I would rather be hit with and it wasn’t the £200 ink pen.. Lesson learnt – security checks can often be about the perception of an item rather than said items lethality. I will miss my trusty Schrade pen but I do have a wry smile when I imagine my German friend using it. I wonder if he has discovered the fire steel yet..