New "Bolt Action" Pen From Tactile Turn (Formerly Slider and Glider)

Will Hodges of Tactile Turn has been making machined pens for at least 7 years now (maybe more?…) starting back in the early days of his X, Y, Z models. The Clicky Post has been running just about as long and one of my favorite things to see are makers refining their craft and continuing to produce higher and higher quality products.

Back in 2016 Will released his own take on the bolt action mechanism in a pair of models called the Slider and Glider. These pens were well received and no doubt have been some of Will’s top sellers over the past few years. Well, even though the pens have been a success, Will determined that there were ways to adjust the design to be a bit cleaner, and more functional.

Many folks might think, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”. But, in receiving a titanium sample of the new pen I’m really glad Will was willing to take a few things back to the drawing board.

During this review I am mainly going to focus on the new version of the pen, but if you want to go back and revisit my original thoughts on the Slider and Glider to give yourself a comparison it is one of the reviews where I actually made a video. (I should do more of those…)

Let’s start with the first obvious change, which is the name of the pen. Fans of Tactile Turn will no longer need to remember “Now, is this a Slider or a Glider?…” since Will has opted to simply refer to this new pen appropriately as the Bolt Action Pen. And, you then pick either short or standard size. THANK YOU, WILL!

The sample sent to me is the standard titanium model, but one can also purchase barrels of copper, bronze, or the ultra-cool zirconium (so sweet). The knob at standard price is made from titanium, but can be upgraded to Damascus for an extra $20 which Will included in mine.

The standard is 5.6” in length, a great size, and comes with the popular Pilot G2. While I don’t mind the G2, I immediately wanted to see if other refills could fit and with a little trimming the Energel needle 0.5 worked like a charm.

In the aesthetics department, the Bolt Action Pen now features a flat top which I think is a nice move. There are a few benefits of this like its profile when sticking out of your pocket when clipped, but I just think it looks better overall. It provides a bit more contrast to the design.

Another adjustment is the overall shape towards the grip and tip of the pen. Will has shaved off a bit more material which brings the taper in a bit closer to a more “refined” and cleaner tip. This is actually a pretty big adjustment to the design in my opinion and gives the pen a bit more of an elegant look. From a practical standpoint, having less material near the refill makes it easier to see where you are writing which is a big plus.

If already familiar with Tactile Turn, the Bolt Action Pen retains the signature “spiral” texture along the entirety of the pen which adds some visual interest as well as an enhanced grip.

The ultra strong clip is a workhorse of bent steel, is nicely polished to remove sharp edges, and I think fits the pen. It isn’t fancy, but blends in well. The clip is affixed to the pen by slotting into the barrel underneath the finial which means it won’t come unscrewed or loose.

There are no clear logos on the pen, but tucked under the clip is etched “TACTILE TURN 2019” which you can see if you look closely.

By far my favorite upgrade to the pen is the mechanism itself. The bolt slot is now half the size, is easier to deploy, and has a stiffer spring which makes activating the pen infinitely more snappy and, dare I say, satisfying. The previous model was an ok fidget pen, but the new one is next level.

Another adjustment to the bolt is the slot itself is now closed. The old one had a visible open space within the pen barrel while the refill was deployed, but this cleans things up a bit.

Overall, it feels like Tactile Turn did a great job of streamlining and updating the classic design, and all of the adjustments are for the positive in my opinion. And, never hurts to give something a fresh coat of paint and a good tune up. I also think the price Will is asking for the pen is a great value as he has also streamlined the price of the “base” models to all be $99 (the Zirconium is considerably more).

Thanks Will for sending the new and improved Bolt Action Pen my way to check out!

The System: Alloy - Limited Edition Retro 1951 Tornado (Announcement and Pre-Order)

I’m pleased to announce that The System is back, but this time with a shiny new exterior…

Since I first laid eyes on the Metalsmith series by Retro 1951, I’ve always loved the combination of an acid etched design mixed with an all-metal finish. From the very beginning of The System, I knew eventually it would get the same treatment.

I’m excited to present The System: Alloy, a new limited edition Tornado in collaboration with Retro 1951!

The System Allow Side.png

The System: Alloy shares a similar design to it’s predecessor, but with a more durable finish to take on even more adventures. And, let’s be honest, the monochrome metal finish looks pretty awesome.

The System Alloy Jupiter.png

The barrel and furniture are finished in a stonewash pewter which gives it a broken in and “worn” appearance but that allows the Sun and detail of each of the planets in orbit to pop through.

The System Alloy w Logo.jpg

To maintain the uniform, all-metal design, this time I opted to cap the pen off with a metal disc to make everything look super sleek.

And, Pluto is still there if you look close enough…. #weloveyoupluto

The System Alloy End Cap.png

Pre-Orders Now Open!

The System: Alloy is a Limited Edition of only 555 pieces, each individually numbered. The pens are now available for pre-order and will start shipping the week of July 29th!

Platinum President Fountain Pen - Am I the only person that has one?...

Well, I’m sure I’m not the ONLY person that has a Platinum President, but I think my point is fairly clear...

When there is talk of the Platinum pen lineup it is generally always about the 3776 series. Why? They are great pens for a great price when compared to their competition. I have owned several and love them.

A few months back the President fountain pen came to mind and I thought, “I don’t actually know anyone that has one.” This sparked some curiosity in my mind as to why? Is it too boring? Too expensive? Is the 3776 just a way better buy?

So, what did I do? I bought one in an attempt to try and answer these questions.

In truth, going into this I had immediate thoughts questioning why anyone would actually buy the President model in the first place? The 3776 and President are both in the “mid-range” price point in the Platinum lineup, but are actually really close. Almost too close I think to make a lot of sense.

In comparing the full retail prices on the two, the 3776 pens start at $220 while the President is $275 ($325 for the rhodium model I got). See what I mean?

The President only comes in three color variations: black or burgundy with gold trim, or black with rhodium trim. In contrast the 3776 is getting new, limited edition colors all the time and has a broader selection in the standard models.

Can you easily tell the difference?…

The pens themselves are relatively close in size (the President slightly longer), more of a moderate “full size”, but not large.

A key distinction between the two pens is the nib. The 3776 comes standard with a 14k while the President is 18k.

Now, in my opinion, the President nib has a lot more going for it in the aesthetics department. I find it to be a much more attractive design. It is a two-tone affair with elegant lines and the word “President” engraved and it feels more like a more “upscale” pen than the 3776 which has a very plain (boring really) nib design.

Maybe a slight rant, but the 3776 nib really is super boring and even a bit awkward against a more professional looking pen barrel. Not all brands have fancy nibs… Lamy nibs are very plain, but they are put up against more modern and “odd” designs and generally fits their style. But the 3776? Just boring.

While writing, the President is nice. The nib is a medium and puts down a fantastic line. On the page there is some feedback, but enough to where it is actually pleasant in my opinion. Lets you feel the writing on the page a bit.

Is the experience dramatically different than the 3776? Not that I could tell.

From a a quality standpoint, compared to my 3776 Nice Pur (clear with some textured stripes), the President feels a bit nicer and more substantial. Like the material is of a higher quality if that makes sense. But, holding it up against the Black Diamond 3776 which is closer in look and overall style, the quality is almost indistinguishable.

The clip is also somewhat different than the 3776. Rather than being flat, near the top it has a raised Art Deco-esque design which adds a little elegance.

Maybe it comes in a nicer box? It does not.

You would think that the filling system might be upgraded to a piston due to the price variation? Strike again. It takes the same cartridge or converter system as the 3776 models.

It may sound like I am bashing the President a little bit, but that really isn’t my intention. It is more to represent that weird space I’m in while trying to understand. Maybe I’m over thinking it…

Other brands make the lines a bit more distinct. Montblanc 146 to 149, Sailor 1911 large vs standard (vs slim)… the only one that comes a bit close is the Pilot Decimo vs Vanishing Point, but even those two vary enough in size to understand why you might choose one over the other.

As a conclusion, would I actively try to dissuade someone from buying a President over a 3776? I probably wouldn’t go that far, but I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint any major (noticeable) features that would sway the decision of the average user to buy one instead.

Regardless, it really is a nice pen and Platinum has done a fine job on it. For the price of $325 for this version, that is in striking distance of a large Sailor 1911. But, if you really like the nib design and the limited colors are suitable, I don’t expect folks to be disappointed with their purchase.

Would love to open up the comments for thoughts on it. Are there other products in the market that feel the same way?