Before we dive too deeply into this review, I want to address two things. First, while anyone enjoys quality in whatever tool they are using, in this case a pen, there is a limit to how much that person is willing to pay for quality. This pen is $85 on tuffwriter.com. I would never pay $85 for a pen. As much as I love writing, my budget will not allow for that kind of superfluous expense. Secondly, my knowledge in the world of pens is quite limited, so my take on what a quality pen should cost is therefore also limited. While I wouldn’t pay $85 for a pen, I also wouldn’t pay thousands for Armani or Rolex, but both are clearly successful companies. I mention this so that anyone reading can keep in mind that there are many others who would love a quality pen to go with their Swiss watch or Italian suit.
Tuff Writer focuses on CNC precision machined tactical pens that are American Made. They stand by their belief that their pens are the toughest on the market with a life-time warranty against manufacturing defects. Their pens can be constructed from a variety of materials with a variety of different finishes available. The pen I had the pleasure of using was their Mini-Click in olive drab, which in my opinion, is one of the best colors anything can be. The clip is constructed of cold pressed spring steel, while the body of the pen is made from 6061-T6 Aerospace Grade Aluminum. Both the pen body and the spring were extremely sturdy, and the finish failed to show any markings or wear throughout my use.
Tuff Writer markets all their pens as tactical pens, meaning their pens are built to be usable in a self-defense situation as an impact device. Unlike most other tactical pens on the market, there is no spike or point to the pen design. However, pens are inherently shaped towards being useful in such situations, with or without an added spike, and Tuff Writer clearly builds pens that are sturdy enough to endure such use. An added benefit is that when traveling with a Tuff Writer product there is no risk that an over-zealous TSA Agent sees the need to confiscate your “dangerous pen.” While often other tactical pens are overlooked—my own from CRKT has passed through a few times—I do know of occasions where pens were confiscated after being permitted dozens of times previously.
The Mini-Click is perfectly sized, it is large enough to be perfectly comfortable for extended writing periods, while also being small enough to be almost unnoticeable when carried in a pocket. Six O-rings are set into the design to increase comfort and grip, making writing from any position a simple task. The Fisher Space Pen ink cartridge also allows it to write from any position, including upside down. While I confess that most of my writing is done on a level surface, there are many instances where writing leaning against a wall, or even lying down are required in some occupations.
I’ve been using this pen for almost a month, and while I haven’t done anything extreme with this pen, it has gone with me almost everywhere. The shooting range, gym, on home repair tasks, everywhere it has been used it has performed well. The only complaint I could possibly find is that the tip of the pen occasionally came lose carrying it around in my backpack or pocket. It was never a true issue, I’d simply tighten the pen and continue with my writing, but it occurred often enough that I always check the threads for each use. That may sound a bit critical, but if someone is going to spend $85 for a pen I want them to be aware. Other than that small issue, I didn’t experience any other problems.
I love this pen. It is extremely well built. It has a weight to it that lends itself nicely to the quality of the workmanship. It writes well and the ink doesn’t bleed or run. I’ve dropped it numerous times, thrown it around with my gym notebook, my toddler son has given it a few good throws, and the olive drab finish continues to show no signs of wear. While I couldn’t justify buying it, that does nothing to take away from the quality of this writing implement.
Cost: 3/5- $85 is quite a bit to charge for a pen. While the quality of this pen is undeniable, and it’s durability as a tactical pen evident, that is still quite a bit of cash to throw at a writing device.
Appearance: 5/5- This pen is gorgeous, even the options I viewed online that weren’t olive-drab were very visually appealing. It has an appeal of simple quality that makes it useful in any environment.
Durability: 5/5- As I said this pen has gone with me everywhere, been dropped, thrown, and endured a kitchen renovation without showing any sign of wear.
Functionality: 5/5- I do not have any formal training with tactical pens, or even much knife training to speak of that would justify me giving an opinion on its capability in that area. I can only offer my experience with its usefulness as a pen, and there were no issues whatsoever in that area.
Weight: 5/5- This pen has some clear heft to it, but it is not so heavy to make writing for an extended period painful. The weight adds to the quality feel of the pen, but it is not so heavy to be noticeable carried in a pocket or during use.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
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