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The Power of the Pen

I like writing by hand, and I love the feel of writing with a good pen. In my experience, though, good pens are hard to find.

Several years ago I decided I wanted to give fountain pens a try. While I enjoyed the character that the fountain nib added to my writing, I always had a couple of issues: first, I could never get consistent ink flow through the nib. (Maybe I just wasn’t willing to spend enough on a pen? The Lamy Safari is usually spoken of highly, though.)


Second, my handwriting tends to be small, which means I value thin, precise lines. Not so easy with a fountain pen. (I keep a Pilot Varsity disposable fountain pen around for signing things at work. My signature: not so small.)

Then I found the Uniball Signo gel ink pens, which are awesome. (I prefer the 0.38 mm width.) Unfortunately, they’re not sold directly in the US; I splurge every year or so and order a few from, which imports them from Asia.

uniball signo 303

Then last week somebody linked to and highly recommended the Parker Jotter ballpoint retractable pen. This little gem is stainless steel, refillable, and a little smaller than your normal sized pen; all winners as far as I was concerned.


Then I found out it was the pen used as James Bond’s exploding pen in Goldeneye, and that sealed the deal. (I’m a sucker for Goldeneye for some reason.) The video here is queued up for maximum clicky-ness. (Unfortunately I was unable to find one that ran long enough to get computer hacker Boris’s final, exultant cry of “I am invincible!”.)

And friends, the pen sounds exactly like that when I click it. Which is awesome. (Come back in a week to find out if I’ve completely annoyed my wife with the clicking yet.)


  1. disqus_F4SmnQr4GD disqus_F4SmnQr4GD

    A mighty pen indeed!!

    • I remember reading that back in the day. Trust Rands to do such a thorough evaluation. I’ve tried the Pilot G2 (the one he landed on) a couple of times and I’m just not sold on it. Not sure why.

      • Jason Wenger Jason Wenger

        My go to pen is a 0.5 G2 with green ink. Yes, I’m one of those people.

        Also, if you want to go really nuts, you can cut the little plastic nib off a Mont Blanc rollerball refill and they fit perfectly in the G2s as well.

        • Hmmm. I think the only G2s I’ve used (at least the only one I have at my desk) is a 0.7. I might like 0.5 better.

  2. disqus_F4SmnQr4GD disqus_F4SmnQr4GD

    What is your favorite, Chris? THAT is what I really, really need to know. I want ONE pen that I can love and trust. Kathy Dronebarger

  3. disqus_F4SmnQr4GD disqus_F4SmnQr4GD

    That jotter ballpoint retractable doesn’t look comfortable. Is it? It just looks to “cold”.
    Kathy Dronebarger

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