Monday, October 02, 2017

Review: Eachway Tactical Pen

My views on the value of so called tactical pens hasn't changed. Nor has my appreciation for the LAIX Q1-H pen, which I carried for the last year as both writing implement and self defense helper. What has changed is that my LAIX ran out of ink. I went on a fairy wide ranging search for a replacement ink cartridge, but came up empty. It was time to buy a replacement.

I was looking for three things in a self defense pen:

First, it should be built for that purpose. I know there's plenty of advice out there that suggests using a simple metal pen is as good, if not better, than you're typical tactical pen. I'm not buying this. The weight and shape of a pen built to approximate a kubotan is far easier to hold and strike with than a skinny aluminum pen. I'm hardly on an expert on these matters, but if I'm counting something to deliver maximum effect in a few precious moments, I'm going to go with the heftiest option available.

Second, and apparently in direct contradiction to the first point, I want a pen that's discrete. I don't need something that's got a "DNA collector" or other crazy sharp ends, or something that's branded as being deadly (I'm looking at you, Cold Steel Pocket Shark). I want to be able to stroll through TSA with this pen and not worry about being thrown into an interrogation room.

And finally, it should write well. For the last year, I carried the LAIX, and not once did I need it to fend off an attacker. I did, however, find it useful for saving the day in other ways, mostly by writing down important notes.

After searching around, I settled on picking up the ridiculously named: Eachway Anti-Skid Tactical Pen. Somewhat disturbingly, the Amazon link to the item is now completely dead. I did find it being sold on eBay.

Here's how the pen compares to a Pilot G2 and the Q1-H:

Here's a few other shots, including an example of its writing:

Let's see how it stacks up against my original criteria.

Purpose Built: A. The pen is heavy, easy to grip, and fits nicely in a hammerfist. The clip is solid, and I'm generally satisfied with the construction.

Low Profile: B. The presence the carbide tip is a bit funky. It makes the pen look 'open' even when the cap is on. So far, I've traveled with the pen and used it in public frequently and nobody has given it a second look. The cap unscrews, and then screws onto the end with the carbide tip. It's a strange'ish design, but oddly effective.

Writes Well: A. The secret of the pen's writing success is that it takes standard Parker refills. I swapped the ball point refill with the pen with a gel refill and couldn't be happier with the result. I may eventually opt to replace the medium tipped refill with a fine one if I can get my hands on one. I never appreciated how important finding refills would be and how bummed I was that I had to retire the Q1-H simply because I couldn't get a refill.

While the carbide tip of the pen makes it stand out, it's fairly subtle, and does add important additional functionality: that of being a glass breaker. Ideally, I'd find myself an old piece of automobile glass and confirm that the pen works on it. As an alternative, I did some unscientific tests in my kitchen. I grabbed a glass jar out of the recycling bin and tried to break it using an aluminum pen and then the Eachway. The metal pen didn't make a scratch. It took only a couple of strikes to break the glass using the Eachway. I'm not entirely convinced this would work on auto-glass, but clearly, the carbide tip is doing something. As of now, I think it's a useful addition to the pen, nicely adding to its self defense and writing skills.

I'm sorry to report that buying a tactical pen isn't going to turn you into Jason Bourne. It is, however, a handy tool to have in your deal-with-what-life-throws-at-you toolkit..

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