I have been trying out some pens to see what carries well, writes well, and is overall a good option. I wanted to get something lighter than what I had been using, as brass looks nice, but carries like lead. You don’t have to explore the everyday carry communities long before you see that Tactile Turn’s Bolt Action is incredibly popular.
This pen comes in four material options, three lengths, and two bolt options. I chose titanium to lessen the weight (1.2oz), and the short model (5.1” long) to aid with pocket carry, while still allowing for a large range of refills. Lastly, I chose the standard bolt, because I am apparently boring.
After using this pen for quite some time, I love it. So much so I actually have two of them, in the same configuration.
Fit and Finish
The thing about the Tactile Turn pens is that they have a texture across the entire body of the pen. This is actually hard to see in most pictures of these pens, but I have tried to capture it here for you.
The texture is essentially a series of rings from the tip, to the tail of the pen. They are smooth, incredibly well machined (even that feels like an understatement, I’ve never felt anything like it) and yet they are insanely grippy. If you ever get annoyed because you have sweaty or wet hands, and they slide down a pen shaft, this is going to be the pen for you.
The one problem I tend to have with grippy pens is that my hands are a bit sensitive to grippy pens as I clutch pens rather tightly when I write, and this can cause discomfort on my hands. That has yet to be the case with these pens, as the texture is so even, so well done, it just works.
And it’s not just the texture that is done well on this. Even the pairing of the tip that unscrews, to the body of the pen, is so clean and precise, that it might take you a moment to actually see the seam in person.
One statement Tactile Turn makes on their website is that they never compromise on quality, and I believe it. Both of the pens I have are perfect and identical.
The Writing Factor
The Short model comes with a Schmidt 9000 Easy Flow ink cartridge in the pen. This is a very popular ink cartridge and one that I absolutely hate. Perhaps it is because I am left handed, perhaps it is because I love Mont Blanc rollerballs so much, but these cartridges could die and I would rejoice with a nice glass of whiskey.
That said, Tactile Turn offers an expansive guide of the refills that they know will fit (with or without modification) in each of their pen sizes. Since I didn’t want to wait to order some new refills, I dug around my drawers here and found that my Delta cap-less refills (D8900) fit nicely with no modification. I love these cartridges as the ink seems to rush out of them — offering you a fantastic writing experience. I now run these in both my pens.
With the new refills in place, writing is sublime. The grip on the pen itself, the action of the bolt, and the flow of the ink is superb. I’ve been using both pens along side my others to take notes throughout the day and have zero complaints. Even the lightness of the titanium is appreciated during long stints jotting down notes.
The Fidget Factor
A good pen should also offer you a distraction. Whether it is a screw on cap you spend countless hours twisting on or off, or a good deployment mechanism — give me something to fidget with. And I think that’s why people love bolt action pens so much, because they are seriously fidgety.
Initially the bolt didn’t glide as smoothly as I had hoped, but by the end of the first day it was moving right along quite nicely. The action is very strong, can be loud if you let it slam into place, and is overall very satisfying to play with. The bolt itself has enough of an edge to it so that your finger/thumb grabs right on, and actuates it nicely.
There’s been far too many calls where the other participants have heard me thwack the bolt back to rest when I am done writing. It’s hard not to play with this pen.
One of the big reasons I got this pen was to carry it with me. The lighter weight and the clip are supposed to make it lovely to carry. And it is a great pen to carry, but pocket space is now becoming a real issue for me.
The clip on this pen is perhaps the most robust I have seen on any pen, and is more robust than even the clips on many of my pocket knives. It is seriously nice, but because of that you have to take a bit if finagling to get it to clip over thicker material. It takes some getting used to, and might wear out pockets quickly as well.
The weight is basically nothing, while the length is short enough that it fits in any of my pockets with ease. The only issue I have experienced with carrying it in my pocket is that the bolt can get caught when you are removing the pen from you pocket, and slightly actuate before clacking back closed. This is decently rare, and has yet to cause a single mark in my pants. At no point has it even gotten close to fully deploying, the bolt requires too much force for that.
What I have yet to sort out is the best way to carry this long term, and until we return to a more active ‘out of the house’ state, it will be hard to sort that out.
At $99, there are cheaper options, but for the quality you get with this pen, I have to say that it rivals many of the pens far more expensive than it. While this pen may not convey the status of a Mont Blanc, it certainly is an amazing quality pen, fun to use, durable, and easy to carry. It is easily one of my favorite pens.
I highly recommend it.