Review: United Cutlery Tactical Defense Pen

I had recently retired my 3 year old Lamy because my mod broke it.

Some old/new requirements I had:

  1. Cost: It couldn’t cost a fortune.
  2. Looks: Even as a “tactical pen”, it couldn’t have features like a crown/DNA catcher that would more likely hurt me (or my clothing) than for its intended purpose. Also, it needs to be able to get through airport checkpoints without undue delay.
  3. Features: It had to be the twist to open/close type because I don’t really want to be fumbling with a cap.

So… for USD18 or so, I think this one is pretty good. The grooves offer good grip and looks rather cool. The anodising looks solid. There is a positive stop when the tip is fully extended, so the force of your hand when writing won’t force the tip back into the body. The clip is strong, but doesn’t look like it was designed to tear clothing apart. It also sits pretty low in a shirt pocket.

The downside? I don’t know how it will perform for its “non-intended purpose”, but out of the box it wrote like crap. This wouldn’t do – hey its a PEN!!

Happily, this is easily resolved by replacing the cartridge it came with with one from Parker. Direct drop-in – no mods. I personally prefer gel-type inks, I understand Parker does offer it in this form-factor but all I could find at short notice was ball-point. I chose the fine-tip, good for 3500m of writing. Much better.

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