Pros: Durability, Materials, Overall Quality
Cons: Refill Quality, None
An excellent value--well-made
I tried out the Benchmade tactical pen in stainless steel and titanium. For me, both were very heavy and uncomfortable, particularly while writing. I did not compare the Benchmade aluminum version to the Smith and Wesson for weight and comfort. However, the S&W model is much more comfortable while writing because of its rounded barrel. If you compare it to the Benchmade's fluted grip area, you'll see what I mean. The Benchmade cap snaps securely both open and closed with an internal o-ring fitting, and the S&W cap simply unscrews. Unlike other reviewers, I had no difficulty with turning the cap friction-tight to close the pen and it did not unscrew. Similarly, I had no problem with the cap falling off while writing--friction worked perfectly. The S&W pen lacks the attractive knurling found on the Benchmade, but the machined grooves on the S&W serve equally well. More importantly, the fluting and points on the business ends of both pens are similar, and appear to be equally strong and effective. The pocket clip on the S&W gripped shirt pocket material very tightly. This made the pen difficult to place in my pocket, and over time, would prematurely wear out the shirt material. I have been bending the clip back and this has reduced the pressure to more appropriate levels. I would prefer a "sanitized" version of the clip. The Smith and Wesson logo attracts more attention than necessary. The Benchmade pen also carries a logo, with the same detrimental effect. The S&W factory refill left blobs of ink all over the page and on my hands. I replaced it with a Fisher Space Pen refill (along with the plastic adapter that accompanies the refill). The fit was perfect and the Fisher refill is outstanding. At approximately one-quarter the cost of the Benchmade, the S&W is a great value and provides some unobtrusive extra security. I plan to buy more of them as gifts.