I am a big fan of the Tactical Pen. Now I am not so keen on the term “tactical” as a marketing tool but I am not sure how else to describe the pens which are sold as such. Usually the pens are made of metal and feature a glass breaking tip. They often look very weapon-like and could be used as such if the wielder was so inclined. The problem with the highly tactical looking pens is that they can attract unwanted attention. I wrote a recent article detailing customs in Germany seizing my Schrade Pen as they felt it was a weapon. I argued otherwise but ultimately they won the debate!
The reasons I like and carry the tac style pens are numerous. Firstly I like to carry a pen to write with. If I carry a cheap plastic pen it is usually lost within the hour (or borrowed). A nice heavy pen tends to end up going back in my pocket after use. I use the pointy end alot when I work as an armourer. I have lost track of the times I have used a tac pen to push out pins or change gas settings when I am at the range running tests. These pens also tend to be robust enough to withstand a little abuse.
So I found myself looking for another metal bodied Pen but this time something a little more elegant in the looks department.. I finally settled on the Dino Bone Pen from Nextool.
Now I must admit that at first I assumed the Pen had been designed by some cool collaboration with a guy called Dino Bone.. When I looked on Nextools site it became apparent it was actually short for Dinosaur Bone. Yeah I felt pretty stupid. The Dinosaur Bone name is in reference to the skelonized design of the barrel. I really like the design and it fits with the less aggressive aesthetic that I had in mind. The pens body looks to be a CNC’d piece of Aluminium which Nextools specs list as being 6060-T6 Aerospace grade Aluminium. This has been nicely anodized and I must say it looks and feels superb. My pen was nicely machined with no jags or burrs and the coating feels smooth and even.
In true TacPen style the Dino has the obligatory glass breaker. As I mentioned I tend to use this as a punch to drive pins out and push against metal parts when working on triggers and such. The tip is Tungsten Steel which gives it a high hardness rating and good durability.
The lids on tac style pens often feature a secondary glass breaker. Personally I do not like that. If you did have to use the glass breaking tip then one would naturally grip the pen with thumb at the top of the cap. If the top of that cap is a point then that may not work out so well. The Dino has a smooth cap which doesn’t snag clothing or eviserate your thumb.
Another issue I have experienced with pens are poor quality clips. They get loose and although you can nip them back with pliers they never return to solid retention. So far the Nextool clip has been solid for around 3 months of EDC.
The pens core is a Fisher Space Pen cartridge (SPR4). This is my first ever experience with the Space Pen cartridge and I am very impressed. It writes smoothly on all manner of surfaces even when raining. I often use it in combo with a Rite-in-the-rain pad to take notes at the range. Typically it is soaking wet thanks to the fine British weather. The Fisher Space Pen coped admirably. Apparently the Fisher Pens can also function underwater and at temp extremes of -35c to +121c. I have put it in a Lab Freezer at -54c for around 8 hours. I used it (wearing a glove) and it worked just fine!
Overall I have found the Dino Bone Pen to be excellent. It still looks great despite residing in my pocket next to an Innova Penlight. The two items obviously make contact when you move and I fully expected to see wear marks on the pen after 3 months. The finish still looks brand new. Nextool did a great job with the hard anodizing. The Aesthetics are going to be a love it or hate it type of thing. I think it looks cool as hell but opinions differ. The cut outs make the pen lighter than others I have used in the past (the Dino is 28g!) which makes it comfortable pocket carry. The smooth finish and machining mean it doesn’t snag on clothing and feels good to write with.
The Dino Bone pen is really well priced. They can be found at Heinnie Haynes UK for around £37 and in the U.S. Blade HQ has them for $35. I have no issue with that price given the quality of components. Yes you can find knock off unbranded TacPens for $10 but they perform and feel like $10. As long as the clip holds out this pen will be staying on the daily carry list.
Nextool – www.nextool.cn
Heinnie Haynes – www.heinnie.com
Blade HQ – www.bladehq.com