The keychain, which is also sold as a Kubotan, forms a handy utensil for the trouser pocket or handbag. More and more people use key rings for self-defense because of their small size, as they can be carried everywhere inconspicuously. How the legal situation looks like and for whom the Kubotan is suitable, we want to explain to you here.

The most important in 30 seconds

  • A Kubotan is a pen-like object that can be used to inflict painful blows (on joints, knuckles, etc.)
  • After a beginner training a Kubotan is suitable for self-defense
  • The self-defense weapon is legal, small and freely available for sale
  • The Kubotan is a force amplifier that can only be used in close combat
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Definition: What is a Kubotan?

A Kubotan is a pen the size of a ballpoint pen that can be used as a self-defense weapon and is usually carried on a keychain. Keychain, self-defense stick and Kubotan are the most common names in Germany.

  • A Tactical Pen (tactical pen/ballpoint pen) is a defensive pen. It has the functions of a normal ballpoint pen, but is significantly reinforced and pointed at both ends
  • A classic Kubotan (palm stick) is a ribbed metal pen, pointed at one end. It can be carried as a keychain.
  • With Koppo: There are models, which is provided with a hand loop. So you can use your hand for other purposes. For example, to intercept a fall and do not have to throw away the weapon, but still have it on hand
Classic Kubotan as a keychain

Is a Kubotan suitable for self-defense?

In principle, a Kubotan is well suited for defense, because a blow with a Kubotan – compared to a fist punch – is much stronger. However, we can only answer the question with “no”, for the following reasons:


  • You have to get close to the opponent. The Kubotan does not give you much more range
  • Without experience you will not be able to defend yourself against several opponents.


  • Even with little force, a hit on a sensitive region can be very painful due to the pressure amplifier.
  • Small, handy and cheap to buy, you can always have it with you.

Interim Summary: The Kubotan is a basic self-defense weapon that will help anyone in hand-to-hand combat. If you are not good with it, physically fit and experienced in self-defense, then you should combine it with pepper spray or a self-defense umbrella.

This is how it works: Defense with a Kubotan

To give you an idea of how to defend yourself with the Kubotan, here is some background information on defending yourself with the Tactical Pen.


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Self defense as a senior with Kubotan

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What is important in use?

  1. Accuracy: the strike for defense should point to a sensitive part of the body. For example, the knuckles of the hand, the fist. Furthermore, there are pain points in the body that are very effective when hit with this weapon.
  2. Force: In the worst case and for self-defense, you have exactly one attempt to defend yourself, so you should strike with force.
  3. Technique: You can perfect your stance as well as your striking technique in a training session, which will make it even more effective. The Kubotan acts as a pressure amplifier and concentrates the energy on one spot. In the training you will also learn where the vital points of the person are located.
  4. Speed: A certain amount of speed is important, otherwise no blow will reach the target. But this is also true without a punching weapon.

How to hold the Kubotan?

The Kubotan is held crosswise in the closed fist and thus used to inflict blows and punches on the opponent.

The tip of the Kubotan is then used to strike sensitive areas of the body, such as nerve pressure points. Due to its small size and insignificant weight, it does not cause serious damage, but can certainly cause great pain if used skillfully.

Points of attack with the Kubotan

  • Joints & Hands:A blow to a joint or the hands will cause great pain and the attacker may not be able to attack afterwards.
  • Muscles: Similar to a horse kiss (i.e., a blow to the thigh muscle), a bruise will result from a blow to a muscle.
  • Head and face: Here it is to be expected that severe injuries can also occur. This can lead to blindness or a broken bone. Ultimately, also to a very serious injury or the death.
  • Ribs: A blow to the ribs also turns out to be very painful and could give you time to escape.

Why you should do a Kubotan training

You don’t need many years of training to defend yourself against attacking hands, for example, or to hurt kicking feet.

  • Risk of Injury: You should refrain from attacks with the Kubotan, especially against the face, neck or genitals, if you lack training, however, as you can quickly cause permanent or even fatal damage here. Use it anyway only as an emergency aid, in the context of self-defense.
  • Targeted attack: Self-defense courses teach you how to achieve the greatest effect with the small pen. Attacks on joints and nerve pressure points are as much a part of the program as the more drastic measures. You can get a feeling for how the Kubotan works in an emergency.
  • Very effective with speed: With practice, you can even keep several opponents away with this small tool, since no attacker can touch you as long as you are fast enough.

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Kubotan/ Tactial Pen in the test


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Defense with a defensive pen

Is a Kubotan legal?

Annex 2 of the Weapons Act prohibits cutting and thrusting weapons disguised with objects of daily use. However, it is necessary to distinguish the legality of acquiring, carrying and using a kubotan, more on this below.

Acquiring a Kubotan

Thus, there is no minimum age for the acquisition and carrying in public, so proof of age is not required. A general ban seems rather unlikely, since after all every metal ballpoint pen has the same properties.

Is it legal to carry the Kubotan

Currently, however, the Kubotan does not belong to any weapon category and may therefore be carried everywhere on the key ring. A decision of the BKA from 2008 (PDF) came to the conclusion that it does not count as a cutting and thrusting weapon.

Other countries, other rules

However, since other countries (Switzerland, Great Britain) have already enacted bans here, it is by no means inconceivable that the regulations will be tightened in Germany as well. Most of the time, all it takes is a trigger in the form of a case that sweeps the public away. Keep an eye on the legal situation when you carry a Kubotan.

Public events

Regardless of the legal permission to carry in public, the Kubotan can still cause you problems, because at public events the security forces still have a certain decision-making power. Thus, it can happen that the police checks you on the way to the disco and expresses no concerns, but you are not allowed through at the entrance control because of the Kubotan.

Buying a Kubotan

If you want to buy a Kubotan, we recommend the offers from Amazon. If you are interested in a product, you can find more product details at Amazon.

FAQ about Kubotan

Attention: Our content has been carefully prepared, however, legal standards change and some are subject to interpretation. We can not guarantee the following information, for a legally sound advice please consult a lawyer. Status: 04/ 2020

Update: 2023-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API