I recently travelled to IWA in Nuremberg, Germany. Being a good Boy Scout 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.

EDC Selection

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 and 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.

Security Check

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. A few pleasant days were spent in Nuremberg and then I travelled back. I went through the German security not really expecting anything as I had previously come through without issue. It was a little surprising 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. I was 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.

A Free Gift!

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. The argument was made 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..