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.)