Every once in a while a truly unique product gets developed, created and actually released for public consumption. In this case it’s the SureFire Pen I (EWP-01). The Pen I is a combination pen and window breaker designed with the Emergency Services and Public Safety Officer in mind. The tip, clip and tailcap are all crafted of solid hardened steel. While the barrel of the pen is crafted of two pieces of aerospace-grade aluminum that’s been hard anodized to Mil-Spec Type III. Outside of hard drops onto rough surfaces such as concrete, brick, and the like it’s pretty hard to dent this writing instrument. For example, while at work I accidentally hit the pen on a steel window sill twice. Each time with a decent amount of force that would have surely scratched up the average pen. After a thorough check there were no signs of damage to the Pen I. There wasn’t even a light scratch or mark indicating the point of impact that I could notice. So I couldn’t even point out the exact location on the pen that met the sill. Don’t get me wrong the pen isn’t scratch-proof or indestructible but it can take a beating and still work. As an owner of several SureFire products I can safely say it’s going to be near impossible to destroy by any normal means. That said though, over a period of time wear and tear will eventually show with regular use.
Writing with the Pen I has been a very nice experience thus far. Even though it may seem a bit on the large side, it is made for writing. The triangular shaped barrel is designed to be held in a naturally light yet sturdy grip which seems to reduce hand fatigue during extended use. It also feels well balanced, making writing a breeze and easy to forget that this pen has some weight to it. The ink is supplied by the included Schmidt easyFLOW 9000 ink cartridge which writes evenly and flows very smoothly as any good writing instrument should. When it’s time to replace the cartridge simply unscrew the two halves, discard the old cartridge for a new one, screw the two halves back together and your ready to go.
What’s really different about the Pen I is that it is fully adjustable to accommodate nearly any ink cartridge of the same type between 3.875″ and 4.25″ in length. This gives you more control over what ink cartridge you use. Don’t like the Schmidt easyFLOW 9000 ink then use a different one of your choosing. Ran out of ink and the cartridge you bought is a bit longer… well, that’s not a problem for the Pen I. Surefire did some fantastic engineering to make this possible. Removing the tailcap reveals the adjustable flat-head screw inside the top half of the barrel. Using the pen clip or a flathead screwdriver to turn the screw controls the length of space containing the ink cartridge. Once set just reattach the pen clip and tailcap and your done. This really makes it very easy to purchase a refill on the run from most any local pen supply store.
My favorite and most important part of the Pen I is on the top of the tailcap which contains a built-in window breaker. This one operates simply by holding the pen upside-down and striking the glass in the appropriate place. No pieces to adjust, lose, maintain or break just nice and simple.
SureFire has combined two instruments into a single form factor that makes sense and works. As you can see lot of thought not only went into the outward design but also into the internal engineering and function. The adjustable ink cartridge design has set a higher bench mark for writing instruments to reach in my opinion. Add to that a strong hardened aluminum body and the window breaker and you have a truly multifunctional pen with no compromises. All this and it’s still easy to use.
After using the Pen I for the past 8 months (the longest any pen has survived me), I find myself extremely pleased with my purchase. As an EMT and a Campus Police officer I highly recommend the Pen I. I also consider it a must have to any Emergency Services worker or Public Safety officer who is out in the field responding to calls in a regular basis. I would even go as far as to say that anyone who drives regularly or for a living (especially long distances) should keep one in their vehicle in an easily accessible place or on their person. Unlike your average window breaker that you have to remember to carry with you, or keep in an emergency equipment bag, a pen is something many of us always carry.
Now some may find $129.00 a bit expensive, but if you own, have owned or know someone who has ever owned an equally or more expensive Monte Blanc for example (of which I have owned two; both of which broke) you’ll find you get more than your moneys worth the first time you drop it, or you save a life and it didn’t fail or break. You most likely won’t be able to say the same about most other expensive “writing instruments” under the same repeated circumstances because they need to be treated with care like a show piece. We are accustomed to paying for style and status symbols, now you can step it up and pay for quality and functionality that stands out for all the right reasons. So, if the Pen I fits your needs head on over to SureFire and get yours. For those who like the Pen I but don’t want or need the window breaker check out their Pen II.