Fisher Bullet Space Pen Review

Many, many years ago - over a decade now (wow) - I was given my first Fisher Space Pen. I carried it in my pocket all the time until I (tragically) lost it on a flight from France nearly eight years ago.

Earlier in 2011 my girlfriend - who seems to do more to support my gear habit than I do - purchased me a replacement. Since then, it has been in one pocket or another everyday.

The Fisher Space Pen line is relatively iconic. Most people are aware of its existence and are familiar with the pressurized ink cartridge and its versatile performance. For those of you that aren’t familiar, it’s touted to write in zero gravity, underwater, over wet or greasy paper, at any angle, and in exceptionally extreme temperatures. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to test all these claims myself.

It’s a great little pen; versatile, compact, and relatively stylish.

Materials: 2

The pen is constructed of brass. My particular model has a chromed finish. There are plenty of other colors available.

The cap’s walls are relatively thin and can sustain minor damage if mistreated. Even so, it’s a robust construction that isn’t prone to failure.

Fit: 2

The two barrel sections screw together without any play or wiggle between the parts. The cap is a simple slide-on design but doesn’t have much play when fully capped or posted.

Mechanism: 2

As mentioned, the pen uses a simple cap-type design. There isn’t much to mention short of saying “it’s well-executed.”

There is, of course, the longstanding question of whether capped pens are “right” for EDC, but that’s a different discussion for a different time that has no bearing on the quality of the Fisher’s build.

Line: 1

I’m currently using a medium point black cartridge. There are other sizes available, but the pen retails with the medium point.

It performs as one would expect a ball-point to perform. There isn’t anything too particularly special about it. The ink is relatively viscous and has a slightly longer dry-time, it seems, than others. Occasionally the ink will “clump” on the point and find its way onto the page.

Due to the pressurized nature of the cartridge some ink can “bleed” from the point if it’s unused for long periods of time (or so I’ve noticed). It’s not a major annoyance and can be avoided if you use the pen with relative frequency.

Writing Comfort: 2

The grip section of the pen is knurled with a tight spiral. It’s abrasive enough to achieve a non-slip grip but not so aggressive as to be uncomfortable. The grip gradually tapers to the point.

The pen has a nice heft to it, despite its small stature.  The knurling is one of my favorites on all the pens I own.  I filled a page with text during a recent class (over the course of about an hour) and didn't find it to be uncomfortable.  The knurling makes it possible to write for a decent amount of time without having to readjust your grip because of finger-slipping.

I haven’t used this pen for long periods of time (writing for more than 10 consecutive minutes, say), but I haven’t found it to be uncomfortable.

Design: 2

The overarching design concept of this particular pen seems to emphasize minimalism, both in terms of size and appearance. The knurling on the grip section is clever; I do appreciate the spiral design. There is a black o-ring on the middle of the barrel which serves to secure the cap when it’s on. Short of the grip section and the o-ring the pen is streamlined.

Markings & Insignia: 2

The only markings on the pen itself are the words “SPACE PEN by Fisher … USA …” on the cap. They appear to be stamped or rolled into the brass. Without reasonably close inspection one doesn’t notice the text. Overall, this pen is adorned with the most minimal of text.

Carry Method: 0 (without clip)

In terms of a primary carry pen the model I have isn’t the greatest. It didn’t retail with a pocket clip. There are some that do, depending on which store you choose to purchase from. There are also aftermarket clips available at places like Jetpens.com. In any case, I’m evaluating the Fisher Bullet Space Pen as-is: without a clip.

Without a clip, the pen sits at the bottom of whatever pocket you’ve stashed it in. This can severely inhibit retrieval depending on what else is in the pocket.

I have carried this pen in my front pocket for quite some time; it’s hard to get out of that pocket quickly or otherwise, particularly when it manages to find its way to the very bottom and rotate itself to sit horizontally. If there’s anything else in the pocket besides the pen it’s even harder to retrieve. You find yourself jamming your hand into the pocket, fishing around, and hoping to get a hold on it.

Without a clip, this pen isn’t great for primary carry.

Carry Durability: 2

Even when sitting in the bottom of a pocket, this pen is practically indestructible. Its solid brass construction is robust and doesn’t damage easily. Even the cap, which has substantially thinner walls than the rest of the barrel, cannot be damaged easily.

Carry Comfort: 1

The size of this pen significantly affects how comfortable it is to have in a pocket. Due to its size, it all but disappears in a pocket - right up until it orients itself horizontally. Then, it’s a bit annoying and has the possibility to sit uncomfortably. A pocket clip would eliminate this problem, of course, but this model didn’t include one...

Total: 16/20

I use the Fisher Bullet Space Pen as a secondary pen; it’s always in one of my pockets and it is used occasionally. It’s small enough not to be noticed and, due to its performance in “extreme” conditions, it makes a great backup.

Perhaps, in the future, I’ll purchase a pocket clip and revisit this review.

1 comment:

  1. I, too, have carried the bullet space pen for years...in my front pocket. I've lost more of these little pens than I care to admit to, but fortunately have a few replacements that I got off e-bay for less than the 19 or so dollars that Staples charges. My right front pocket is filled every day with my must-carry stuff: my house keys in a small leather key case, a handkerchief, a small pack of tissues, a folding knife and the Fisher pen--a lot of stuff, esp. for a small pocket. But I feel most comfortable with all this stuff going along for the ride!