Liquid ink roller ball pens seem to be more difficult to find than your average gel ink or ballpoint pen – even fountain pens are more plentiful. That's why I always enjoy trying out a new roller ball pen. I like roller ball pens because they're typically very smooth and lay down thick, dark lines that look so good on the page. Sometimes they disappoint, but other times they become new favorites. The A.G. Spalding Bullet easily became a favorite for me – right up there with the Retro 51 Tornado.
To be honest, I've looked at this pen on JetPens many times. It just never caught my eye. It looked boring, and I had other more interesting things in my wish list. For some reason, I decided to give it a go this time, and I'm really happy I did. I have a new favorite with this pen.
Like every pen, it has some downsides, but it's an overall great writer that looks good too.
The Bullet (I keep shortening the name because it's so long to begin with) is incredibly simple in style. It's sleek, slim, and unique. I love the way the cap lines up flush with the body of the pen no matter which end it's clipped to. Capped or posted, it's still very sleek and slim.
I don't know what material the body is made of – some type of metal – but there's a clear coat on top of the metal that gives the entire body a nice shine and 3-dimensional look. It's really nice to look at, which is surprising for such a simple design. It just works really well.
All of the parts feel like they're made of high-quality materials. The tolerances in the threads and the cap are tight and feel great. Either I got a really great example, or there is a lot of care put into the quality control on these pens.
One thing I do miss on this pen is a clip. It rolls around very freely on a desk, and I've lost it several times for that reason. An optional clip (similar to Kaweco or Fisher's Bullet pen) would be a great accessory for this pen as long as it was equally stylish and sleek.
The real secret with this pen is in the refill. It's a Uni Mitsubishi refill, and it's absolutely fantastic. I love the Retro 51 Schmidt refills, but now I've found another go-to refill. I like it just as much as the Schmidt refill, and it's a different shape as well, so maybe I'll have luck transplanting it to other pens that aren't so well-endowed in the refill area.
The writing experience is smooth and consistent. The lines are dark and crisp. No starting or pooling issues that I've seen. I think this might be because the ink is a liquid gel, which might make it less runny than most liquid inks. Honestly, I really don't know what kind of ink is in this pen. The descriptions on JetPens lean both ways. Does it really matter, though? It's a great refill that I'm glad I discovered.
Downsides? Sure. I've noticed one downside when writing: the grip. It can become a bit slippery when writing for a while due to the finish on the body. It looks great, but it's not good for strenuous writing sessions.
Brad reviewed this pen way back in February of 2008, but it's definitely worth another look for anyone that wants to expand their roller ball collection with another beautiful pen and excellent writer.