The Tactile Turn Safety First pen was released as a “Winter 2020” special edition pen. While I’m not a huge “side click” fan, this one is close enough that I snapped one up! Here’s a bunch of photos, and a few thoughts. Read on!
Official Specs and Features
Here’s the official product page.
There are many versions! First, just of this specific line – the Safety first, there are three sizes:
Standard, which is 5.8 inches long
Short, which is 5.3 inches long
Mini (seen here), which is 4.6 inches long
But the Safety First edition is just one of many editions. There are standards, in Titanium, Copper, Bronze, and Zirconium. These are all also available in all three sizes.
Also made in the past are these two very limited editions: Zirconium Damascus, and Full Zirconium Damascus.
These special models were available in various configurations, and all are essentially “one off” or individually patterned – such is the nature of the metal stock.
Specifically Tactile Turn Safety First pen models were $149, and have all sold out. The standard editions range from $99 to $249. Special metal editions go up from there, all the way to around $1k.
Tactile Turn Safety First Pen Short Review
I’m very happy with this pen. I would likely buy it again, which says a lot. The black and orange finish looks great – it’s the “right” orange. I like the embellishments on the clip, and the size is my target size.
- Tactile Turn Safety First pen
- Safety First metal card
Being that this is a special edition, there’s also a special edition card included. This is a thicker metal card, which has been laser etched with a safety message:
This pen serves as a reminder to carefully consider your actions – whether it’s writing down something in an important meeting or scribbling notes on the shop floor.
Build Quality and Disassembly
I’m not sure exactly what superlatives to use about the build quality of this pen.
First, the body metal is actually titanium. That titanium has a cerakote finish, in “high-vis orange”, with black accents.
There are other “safety” touches, like you see on the pocket clip below – an exclamation point in a triangle.
The clicker is proud (of course). It’s also broad – nearly the width of the pen itself.
This pen is referred to as a “side click” – it’s not a bolt action, but it has somewhat of that feel. To “open” the pen, push down on the plunger. To “close” the pen, push this little button on the side. This is “side click.”
Design of the Tactile Turn Side Click pen is just right – the tip points in a way that the standard Pilot G2 Mini ink when extended, is exactly where you want it to be.
When the pen is closed, there’s no chance of accidentally accessing the ink.
Below you can see the seam where the tip of the pen attaches to the body. This isn’t a “hidden” seam, but it’s very subtle. (Indeed, I’m not sure it’s possible to hide seams on coated items.)
The tip unscrews easily but never accidentally. If you’ve ever experienced titanium threads (such as on a flashlight), then you’ll recognize this feel immediately…. this is clearly a titanium pen! Not to say the threads aren’t smooth. But it is to say they have a characteristic titanium thread feeling.
With everything disassembled, you can see this spring. I am not sure if Tactile Turn makes this spring as well, but it’s quite big and springy. This spring is available separately (for just half a dollar).
It’s hard to see anything from the following photos, but what I’d like to point out is that the tip is built in such a way that the ink doesn’t meander out – it comes straight out due to the internal build of this tip, firmly every time.
This also means you probably won’t be able to replace the Pilot ink with some other ink. I would love to be able to use a ballpoint in this pen, but I don’t think I’ll be able to find one that works.
As stated above, there are three sizes of the Tactile Turn Safety First pen. Mine is the “Mini” which is 4.6″ long.
I measure as follows:
116.68mm long (closed)
114.45mm long (open)
10.94mm in diameter (body)
13.76mm in diameter (at the clip)
11.53mm in diameter (at the side click)
The tail plunger is 7.56mm in diameter.
The clip is 44.48mm long, and 6.14mm wide.
Also, the pocket clip holes look to be 5.94mm center to center, though I am unable to measure this as accurately as I wish.
As you can see from the image below, this is practically identical in length to the pen I build for myself, and use lovingly. Here’s that pen – a custom Bic Click Stic. Sounds like a joke post but I assure you, I love those pens once I’m finished with my mods.
The Mini is just great. Certainly not too long, and I don’t find it too short at all.
The Tactile Turn Side Click Safety First pen comes with a CNC milled, coated pocket clip.
I’m unclear what the coating is. I’m relatively sure it’s not cerakote like the orange, but now that I consider it… maybe it is also cerakote.
The clip sits just off the body, and is great for wearing on a thin pocket like a dress shirt. Putting this over something thicker (like blue jeans) is tougher. And the clip doesn’t really allow for deep carry: When “closed” fully 1″ of pen sticks out over the pocket clip.
I believe this to be a standard hole spacing pocket clip though. So if you wish to replace this clip with some other, you should be able to. (However, in this case, the clip is such an integral part of the design, it’d be almost a shame to swap in a skull or whatever.)
This clicky has very pleasant action. Like, very good. Pushing the plunger down locks it in place, and it can be released only with the side click.
When pushed down, the plunger doesn’t go under the edges of the body, however, which is a bit of very good design.
Now with my Bic Clic Stic, I simply re-click the plunger to close the pen. But on these side clicks, you press this little button on the side, which pops the plunger right back out.
I didn’t disassemble the mechanism – I’m not entirely sure how it gets in there.
As I said above, the design here put the ink tip in a great spot.
The ink is gel, and 0.7mm.
This is a standard Pilot G2 Mini 0.7mm refill, so you won’t have trouble refilling it once empty.
Tactile Turn maintains a page dedicated to helping users find inks that might be more suitable. For the Mini version of their pen, however, there isn’t much. “It’s a weird oddball of a refill” but they recommend this adapter, which will help use other refills. (Including an 0.5mm ball point, which I will look into immediately!)
But how does it write? In hand the weight is great. It’s probably heavier than you’d expect out of a titanium pen, but the weight is good and very well balanced in this shorty. There isn’t much in the way of grip on the body….
But there are in fact very light striations all the way down the body, and those do help with vertical grip. I suspect on non-coated versions of this pen, those ridges would really aid in grip. But the cerakote thickness practically wipes those ridges out. If you grip the pen with some firmness, though, those ridges come out and do help a bunch.
One more thing about this pen I noted is the diameter. This pen is much thicker than my beloved Bic Clic Stic, and that took some getting used to. But it’s not overly thick (like a Dr. Grip or whatever) and won’t take long to adjust to.
What I like
- Safety Orange!!
- I enjoy limited things – I’m happy to get in on the first of the limited runs!
- The length. 4.6 inches is the right length for a pen.
- I like titanium!
What I don’t like
- Clip depth. I would like the clip to put the pen deeper into my pocket.
- Pilot G2 Gel Mini refill. I really want to be able to use an 0.5mm ballpoint more easily
The side click is a bit of a wash for me. I really love the click on click off of a Bic Clic Stic pen, and I positively do not like bolt action pens. This side click is a nice middle ground – but much more on the side of the Bic Clic than of bolt actions. As a result, I like it!
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