Recently I wrote that I’d bounced back to ballpoint pens after a long period of using the Pilot G2. While I was at it, I thought I might as well post my observations about these pens while I was busy being obsessed.
The Fisher AG7 is the original space pen, and still is the pen issued to astronauts. It’s pretty unremarkable looking, being plain, chromed brass. I’m assuming by the heft that it’s brass.
Here are the pros:
- It has a great clip, that takes abuse pretty well and can be clipped over substantial thickness of fabric without getting “sprung”.
- It has a side release, which while not an incredible advantage over the click in/click out design, is very satisfying to use.
- The knurling down near the point is very sharp, which makes it effective.
- The pen is built like a tank, good heft, solid threads where the pen separates into two halves.
- It has no annoying refill rattle – the refill doesn’t click everytime the point touches paper.
- The spring in the lower end is captive, which means it won’t fall out when changing the refill.
- It’s just thick enough to avoid the metal toothpick feel that other pens (notably Cross) have.
- It takes Fisher refills, which write great when used often.
And the cons:
- It’s pretty expensive at $50+ list price, perhaps $40ish street.
- The clicker is not quiet to actuate.
- The knurling is aggressive enough to mar other items sharing a pocket with the AG7.
- The reveal, that is the amount of the pen that shows above the clip, is pretty much just the click tip, which makes it very hard to pull the pen out of loops in briefcases and the like.
I think what attracts me to it is the indestructible feel it has. It feels like a reliable tool should feel: Heavy, solid, with no annoying creaks or rattles or looseness or play in the components. It’s the kind of pen you take when you don’t know what you’ll be writing on, but you need something reliable and not so valuable you’ll cry if someone borrows it.