I've got to admit, I've been excited to see this pen come about. Nolan reached out to me early on for thoughts and opinions during his development process and it's been great to see his idea come into fruition. There is an excitement and, I'd dare say, inspiration that comes from seeing people accomplish things like this. What can I say? I'm a sucker for entrepreneurship.
The Stryker is a new pen on the Kickstarter market by Nolan Brundige that is described as a tactical, anti-microbial rollerball pen. Nolan himself works in the medical field, so the idea came from wanting a pen that looked tough, but also kicked serious butt against germs. With a pen that looks and feels like this one, these grimy things don't stand a chance. Whether you're working a shift at the hospital or fighting a zombie apocalypse, I'm thinking Stryker will have you covered.
The metal itself doesn't have any germ fighting properties, but a coating is put over the pen which provides this protective barrier. This is kind of the "secret sauce" of the pen which does make it unique in the market.
Brass and copper barreled pens can carry germ fighting properties, but do patina and tarnish over time which not all people are fond of. Whatever the coating is, it puts almost a clear, lacquer finish over the entire pen which makes it smooth, almost glossy, which creates a comfortable surface.
From looks alone, the Stryker carries a very assault and tactical aesthetic (as it should) with the sample he sent me being milled from titanium. Like many pens of this kind, the body is covered in machined lines and grooves that act as grip, but also some visual texture. The tip is surrounded by 12 "holes" which look like the vents of a machine gun that add looks and grip if you hold your pen really close to the tip. The Stryker doesn't have any sharp protrusions, "glass breakers", or stabbers of any kind, but follows the styling that a lot of EDC people should really enjoy. The pen also comes in aluminum.
The pen is very big and quite weighty. The weight overall of the titanium model with a cartridge is 2.3 oz, which is hefty to say the least. For really long writing stints this would absolutely cause some hand fatigue, but for quick notes or filling out charts/paperwork it should do fine.
In length, the pen comes in at over 6 inches which, for a retractable pen, is quite long, but mixed with the weight is bound to make a statement in a big way. The added length could lend itself to being a bit top heavy for smaller hands.
The refill that comes standard in The Stryker is the Schmidt Safety Ceramic Roller which is dark and smooth, a solid choice for a nice writer. With the size of the refill being nearly equivalent to that of the Pilot G2, I wonder which options we could fit in there...
The current clip looks killer and is one of Stryker's more noticeable features, but isn't quite as functional in it's current state. It is bolted to the barrel with two hex screws, but doesn't have any spring which makes clipping near impossible in a shirt pocket. Nolan did let me know that he has worked out a redesign on spring loading the clip as to make it easier to use which is not found on my prototype. This is good news as it will make for a better experience. Still, I like the design and I hope the overall look sticks even with the changes.
Progress, right? Love this stuff...
The knock presses into place with a stiff "click" (or clunk) and is substantial. You definitely know that you are pressing something.
The cap of the knock on the prototype does sit slightly higher than the barrel which creates a small visible gap, but this is another design element that Nolan has already worked out and will be resolving in the final production models. This slight design nuance creates a little drag when clicking as it catches on the lip of the barrel a bit, but this should be a non issue in the end.
One thing I've noticed is just how secure everything feels on the pen. A big part of this is probably due to the weight and heft, but it doesn't feel shaky, rattly, or like parts are cheap. Fit and finish: top notch.
Overall, I give Stryker a thumbs up. I do enjoy the "just enough" tactical to make it look cool, the materials chosen, and the refill. Concerns I would have might be simply regarding it's size and how that might limit some people's enjoyment who have small hands. Maybe another model, The Stryker Mini might be in the future?...
Well done, Nolan, and thanks for sending Stryker my way to check out.
Visit the official Stryker Kickstarter page for more info!