The Fisher Space Pen Classic Bullet is a great daily carry pen is a great daily carry pen
I was on vacation a few weeks ago and, as I was flying and did not want to check luggage, I could only take a very limited selection of pens and paper for the trip. I travelled basically “naked” of stationery with only two pens and three small notebooks. Without access to my normal dozen or so daily carry pens, I chose these pens very deliberately. I considered uses, carrying size, durability and type of pen. The two pens I chose were a Kaweco AL Sport fountain pen with an EF nib in a distressed blue finish and a Fisher Space Pen Classic Bullet in matt black. I chose the fountain pen for regular writing and the Fisher Space Pen for those times I need a quick note or to write on a receipt or when flying and not daring to upcap the fountain pen at altitude.
While on the trip, I found myself using the Space Pen to write long-form journal entries in an Apica notebook. This was necessarily by choice, as I snuck out of the family hotel room at an early hour to write in Starbucks and forgot the Kaweco. Despite owning the Space Pen for some time, and carrying it daily, I don’t normally use it for long, continued writing projects, as I usually have fountain pens with me. The long writing session gave me a fresh perspective on the Space Pen and so I wanted to share the experience of using the pen (and wrote the first draft of the post writing with it).
The Fisher Space Pen story came about when Paul Fisher, the developer of the Space Pen, began development of a pen that wouldn’t leak. He developed the AG7 Anti Gravity Pen, which he patented in 1966. The ink is a special thixotic ink that is contained under pressure in the cartridge. The Fisher company further developed the ink cartridge during the great space race of the 1960’s as felt that the had made a pen that could be used in any situation, and especially in space. NASA used the pen for the space program, starting with the Apollo missions, and Fisher began to sell to the general public.
The unique ink cartridge design means that the pen is very reliable and almost always works in any situation - and it doesn’t leak. The pen writes in a wide range of temperatures and will even work in zero gravity.
The main advantages of the Fisher Space Pen are it’s small form factor, which makes it a perfect pocket pen, and the unique, pressurized ball-point cartridge that will write almost anywhere.
The compact size of the pen is very small when closed and capped, measuring only 3.5 inches long and only about 3/8 of an inch wide. This small footprint fits perfectly in a jeans pocket or a small bag. Beacuse of the ingenius way that the cap fits the Space Pen, the pen becomes a longer - to 5.25 inches - when posted for use. The posted length is long enough to fit comfortably in my hands, even though it is still a thinner pen. The convenience of a small footprint when closed offsets this narrowness.
The body seems to be made from aluminum which makes it light and durable. The matt black finish on my pen is not scratched at all, even after a couple of years of daily carry, stuck in a front pockets with a pocket knife, keys, and other metal pens. This is impressive durability!
The ink cartridge, as advertised, always works. It has never let me down even after all the abuse I give the pen. The cartridge is surprisingly long lasting for my use case.
While the pressurized cartidge provides an ability to write anywhere, the downside is that it is a ballpoint pen. If you enjoy ballpoints, this is a good ballpoint refill. However, if you, like me, prefer the smoother feel of gel pens and fountain pens, the transition back to the ballpoint format can be challenging, especially for long form writing.
The ballpoint tip drags when compared to the glide of a fountain or gel pen. This makes the expereince of writing feel heavy. Rather than gliding smoothly and effortlessly across the page, the Fisher Space Pen requires some effort, as do all ballpoint pens. The tip is smooth for a ballpoint and there is not a lot of feedback, but the best results in using the pen for long form writing come from a realignment of expectations. This is one of the better ballpoint pens that I have used, but my experience with recent ball points is limited. I find that the ink does not lay down as consistently as I like - sometimes it appears lighter on the page than at other times and feels like it skips. This is not terrible and doesn’t make the pen unusable, and perhaps is because of my poor handwriting skills.
There are both pros and cons to the Fisher Space Pen. I carry mine in my pocket daily and use it regularly, though mostly for small notes and signatures where a fountain pen is not appropriate. The Space Pen is quick to access and use and is very convenient. It is also very useful when I have to lend someone a pen and don’t trust them with a fountain pen nib or for quick notes in my Field Notes. The small form factor makes it ideal for carrying around with you.
The Fisher Space Pen is a great daily carry pen, and I do recommend it. It is the type of pen that every stationery enthusiast should have in their rotation. However, I still don’t recommend it for writing you next long form novel.