Fellhoelter is most known for making excellent knives. And while I've never owned one personally, I've read great things about them and they've definitely caught my eye from time-to-time. Gorgeous and functional. So, the Fellhoelter pen should follow suit, yes? Mmm... Kinda.
Overall, I really like this pen from an aesthetics standpoint. It definitely follows a sort of "Tactical" look, but doesn't present itself as being overly tactical like, say, the Hinderer Investigator with its ridiculous pressure point thing on the back end for taking out would-be attackers. This pen presents itself as more of a tough, rugged approach to an EDC pen while being suitable for a less aggressive environment like a standard office or classroom.
The Ti Bolt comes in both Standard ($145) and Deluxe ($150) variations with this being the latter of the two with the extra stippling, etc. I opted for the Deluxe because I felt like the Standard version was a little plain.
The grip grooves on this pen are shallow enough to be very comfortable, but deep enough to provide some purchase. They didn't dig in to my grip at all or cause me any discomfort when writing. They're machined beautifully and the do a nice job of hiding the seam where the tip of the pen screws into the barrel. And, speaking of the tip of the pen, Fellhoelter did a nice job with a rubber O-ring and machine work to make sure the tip doesn't come unscrewed during carry and to ensure there was no play or wobble in the tip when writing.
The clip on the Fellhoelter TiBolt is held in place with two beautifully-machined Torx screws. They're low profile so they don't stick up above the clip and the clip itself has a generous ramp at the front to allow it to slip over stiffer materials like denim, cordura and webbing.
The bolt mechanism on this pen is very smooth with just a bit of feedback. I'm not sure if it was just that I was getting used to it or if it was my imagination or what, but I felt like the action got smoother with use. The spring tension was enough that it didn't rattle around and the bolt stayed pinned to the top of the "J" until engaged, but it was soft enough to make the pen comfortable to use. A generous "knob" on the bolt mechanism made quick work of deploying and retracting the tip by feel and the lack of any sharp edges kept it comfortable. I'm confident that this pen could be operated with gloves on as well if you were out in the field using it.
This pen accepts any number of Parker G2-Style refills available from dozens of manufacturers in ballpoint, gel and hybrid variants. My personal favorite for this pen was the Fine Blue Fisher Space Pen Refill which fits beautifully and makes so much sense in a pen like this one — a pen meant to be truly carried every day and used in less-than-ideal environments. Fisher refills aren't my top choice usually, but they are perfect for a pen like this and the fine blue variant is nothing to sneeze at. Thanks to my buddy Mike Dudek at The Clicky Post for turning me on to that one. The Schmidt EasyFlow 9000 is another favorite and provides a little more pleasant writing experience albeit with a slightly broader line.
So overall, this pen is really nice. But it suffers in one major area for me and that is ergonomics. The size and shape of this pen is darn-near perfect, but unless it was held absolutely perfectly, either the thumb stud or the pocket clip dug into the webbing of my hand. I found that I could deploy the pen quickly, but then had to fiddle for a couple of seconds to get it to sit just right in my hand. Which sort of defeats the purpose for a "fast deployment mechanism" like the ones found in bolt-action pens. And if during writing I found the pen rotating, I'd have to stop, correct my grip and start again. The clip was less offensive than the thumb stud, but both were uncomfortable enough that I didn't want to use the pen.
You may have noticed that this review is written in past tense and that's because I no longer own the pen. I really loved it, but the obnoxious thumb stud and clip position made it unusable for me for daily carry and at $150, it needs to be usable for daily carry. Your mileage may vary and if you like the looks of this pen, it's definitely worth checking out. It's beautifully made and solid as a rock. But the thumb stud / clip placement just didn't do it for me. I think if the thumb stud were shaped more like his Torx screws (flatter with a chamfered edge), it'd be far less offensive to my hand and would be something I'd love using. Maybe a revised version in the future?
Thanks for reading,