Posts filed under Tactical Pen

Tuff Writer Mini-Click Gen2 Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

The Tuff Writer Mini-Click Gen2 is a second iteration on the Mini-Click that offers a larger selection of materials from the standard aluminum offerings that were available in the first iteration. The Kickstarter funded back in February, and the rewards are already being shipped to backers. I would imagine that these new materials will be available on the Tuff Writer store in the near future as well.

Among the new materials that were offered, backers had a choice of titanium, copper, and brass for the Gen2 version. Aside from the material options, there were also options for each one that ranged from polished, brushed, tumbled, flamed, and aged. Really, there were quite a few aesthetic decisions to make if you backed this pen!

The version I have today is the Aged Brass Mini-Click. This version went for $96 on Kickstarter, but I would expect a higher price once they're available in retail settings. The Aged Brass looks fantastic. The method they used to age the brass gave it a dark, gunmetal look that pairs beautifully with the black tumbled clip and polished click mechanism.

First off, though, let's talk about packaging. These pens shipped in Tuff Writer-branded airtight cigar tubes. Nice touch. You can even repurpose the cigar tube as a way to protect fountain pens from air pressure changes experienced on airplanes. The more you know!

Upon opening the package, I was met with a pretty strong smell that reminded me of gun polish. Not my favorite smell, but it dissipated with time. I can only detect it when I hold the pen directly under my nose now. There's a faint smell on my fingers after using the pen, but not nearly as noticeable as using other brass or copper pens. Something about the finish on this Mini-Click reduces and masks that oxidation odor.

First thing I noticed about this pen? The weight. Oh boy, this is a hefty pen. Weighing in at a whopping 66 grams, this is something you notice in your pocket. If casually dropped onto a conference room table after you close your notebook, the noise will attract the attention of everyone in the room. It's not a toy!

The weight makes it feel sturdy and reliable, but it's a downside in my book due to the fatigue it causes after a couple of paragraphs of writing. It's just too heavy to hold comfortably. I think I would really enjoy the titanium or aluminum versions better because of this, but they don't have a finish similar to this one. Dilemmas!

The clip is black with a tumbled finish. It's held in place with two hex screws that match the black finish. It's an incredibly strong clip, which is important given the weight of the pen.

The body of the pen features 6 different o-rings in different places. At the grip section, three o-rings are grouped close together to form a surprisingly comfortable grip. Further up under the clip, there are three more o-rings spaced further apart. I'm guessing the functional purpose for these is to provide some needed friction under the grip to ensure the pen is secure. Regardless, it's aesthetically pleasing.

The Mini-Click ships with a black medium Fisher refill. Excellent choice for a tough pen like this, although it does require a unique fitting on the butt of the refill for it to work properly. If this fitting will work on other Parker style refills, then it's fair game in this pen. That means you have many, many options outside of the Fisher.

The click mechanism on this pen is...interesting. On the Kickstarter page, they describe the "416SS Pen Advancing Mechanism" as the best refill advancing gadget that is available today. I'm not really buying into the marketing on this because it resembles the same mechanism used by the majority of other Kickstarter machined pens. If you're a fan of machined pens, you'll probably recognize it. The only difference here is that there are machined grooves around the diameter of the push cylinder, as well as a logo on the top of the push cylinder. Nice touches, but not worthy of the marketing language.

I wish that the marketing language the end of my criticism for the knock. Unfortunately, the copy I have has a significant defect. About 1 time out of 5 clicks, the mechanism becomes stuck in either the "open" or "retracted" mode. It takes a pretty hard press on the knock to recover from this state, and it really frustrates me. It would be one thing if it was a rare issue, but it happens very frequently and is very easy to reproduce. I would imagine that this is an example of a small quality defect that doesn't impact very many pens, but it should have never shipped like this. I've said this many times, and it applies here: when you're paying this much for a pen, this type of problem is unacceptable.

With that out of the way, I don't see it as a crippling issue for the pen. Tuff Writer bills this as a modular pen, which makes it easy to replace any part that breaks or gets lost. In this case, a quick swap of the knock mechanism would likely clear up the issue. Easy fix.

Overall, this is a beautiful, rugged pen that will easily outlive me. It could stand up to some of the most harsh environments without breaking a sweat. The price is fair considering the materials used and the time spent producing the aged aesthetic. Knock issues aside, I think this is a great pen. If I did it again, I'd probably opt for the aluminum or titanium versions to cut down significantly on the weight.

Tuff Writer sells the Mini-Click and many other machined pens on their site, and I would expect these new metals to be available soon.

(Tuff Writer provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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Posted on April 26, 2017 and filed under Tuff-Writer, Tactical Pen, Pen Reviews.

Triple Aught Design Fellhoelter TiBolt Pen Review

I first heard of Brian Fellhoelter when he launched his TiBolt Kickstarter project in late 2012. The looks of the original pen didn’t strike my fancy so I passed on it, but it ended up being a very successful project in the end, and many backers have sung the pens praises.

Fast forward to 2014 and Brian raised the bar on his original design, launching the TiBolt ReLeaded, a mechanical pencil using the original bolt action from the first pen. The barrel upgrade was noticeable, so it was only a matter of time before these two products merged, allowing for a Parker style refill to fit into the nicer ReLeaded barrel.

One of the results of this mergining of styles is the Fellhoelter TiBolt Pen TAD Edition from Triple Aught Design. They recently sent me this pen to check out and I came away more impressed than I thought I would originally. Triple Aught Design is known for their highly engineered and functional apparel and equipment so this collaboration fits their product line perfectly. The TiBolt pen is hardcore, that’s for sure.

Tactical pens can be a confusing thing for those who aren’t into them. What is the definition of a tactical pen? While I’m no expert in the field, I define them as a pen that is over-engineered to an extreme degree to be virtually indestructible. They are often used out in the field by professions that value durability at all costs, and often times provide multiple functions or have self-defense features.

The TAD Fellhoelter TiBolt is an excellent example of a well engineered pen. The titanium body is dead solid. All the pieces fit together so well It feels like you are writing with a single block of titanium. The grip rings are deep enough to provide a good grip without digging into your fingers, and the clip is solid enough to stay attached anywhere you put it. Even the barrel markings a sleek and subdued, especially compared to what I have seen from other tactical pens.

My only hangup with the TiBolt is a Fellhoelter design feature: The extra long bolt mechanism. It is tight, snappy, and works perfectly. But it is too big for me and my non-tactical uses. I understand the reason for its size - it helps users whose jobs require gloves - so therefore it’s not something I can truly complain about. Still, it digs into my hand unless turned just right, so it is not a perfect pen for me for that reason.

The pen ships with a Schmidt Easy Flow 9000 refill, which wouldn’t be my choice for this pen, but is easy enough to replace with your favorite Parker style refill. My choice would be the fine blue Fischer Space pen ballpoint for outdoor work, or the Moleskine gel for normal use.

Some may balk at the $160 price tag for this pen, but the quality, materials, craftmanship, and buy-it-for-life nature of this item will appeal to many. Plus, it is made right here in the USA. All of that adds up to a great product in my book.

(My thanks to Triple Aught Design for sending me this pen at no charge for review purposes.)

Posted on August 1, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Tactical Pen, Fellhoelter.

Tuff-Writer Frontline Series Tactical Pen Review

Tuff-Writer Frontline Series Tactical Pen

(Disclosure: I was provided this pen at no charge from Tuff-Writer.)

I love the idea of tactical pens. Their design is extremely appealing to my eye and the highly engineered pen bodies are a pleasure to use. When I was contacted by the PR team that handles the Tuff-Writer account about reviewing one of their pens how could I say no?

They shipped out the Frontline Series Stealth Black Tactical Pen to me a few weeks ago. Having only reviewed one legitimate tactical pen before in the County Comm Embassy Pen I was happy to have another to compare it to.

The first thing I noticed about the Frontline is how long the barrel is. The sharp end really stands out and at 6 1/2 inches it is all business. I couldn’t help but stare at it and wonder what uses it had outside of the desk jockey realm that I inhabit. Very impressive.

The barrel is made from 6061-T6 Aerospace Grade Aluminum. I don’t know what any of those numbers and words mean other than aluminum, but I do know the quality is top notch. There are two different depths of knurling on the barrel. The cut on the body is deeper to allow for better gripping, while on the grip area it is shallower for a more comfortable writing experience. The clip could be a weapon in its own right it is so tight and thick.

Tuff-Writer Frontline Series Tactical Pen Closed

From a writing standpoint the stock refill is the Fisher Space Pen 1.0 mm black ballpoint, which is almost mandatory for tactical pens. The pressurized cartridge holds up well in the extreme conditions where this pen is often found.

I’m not taking my Tuff-Writer anywhere other than my desk, but I did show it to a couple of friends who would use it out in the real world and they were impressed by it. One even mentioned he liked it better than his titanium Embassy Pen, especially the sharp “business-end”.

Thanks to Tuff-Writer for sending me this pen for review. Be sure to check out the Frontline Series product page for more specs and details.

Posted on December 9, 2011 and filed under Pen Reviews, Tactical Pen, Tuff-Writer.