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Valiant Concepts EDC Key Chain Pens

Discussion in 'EDCF Forum Store' started by JonSidneyB, Mar 20, 2010.

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    Underhill Perpetually Hungry

    Hey guys, it will be a while before I can get another batch of pens machined, so for the time being there are some titaniums left that are ready to be finished and assembled, as well as those currently on the store, but we are out of stainless unless I can find a few hiding in a corner somewhere.

    bkdotcom Loaded Pockets

    Thanks for the update. I'll be patiently keeping an eye on this forum and the store.
    :)

    Packleader Empty Pockets

    Background

    I spent quite a bit of time looking a very small, very convenient ballpoint pen.

    I was very pleased with the pen that came with the Swisscard Lite. In fact, the pen and the magnifying glass were about the only two features of the Swisscard Lite that I actually used. Unfortunately, the Swisscard Lite shattered not long after I bought it.

    To explain: I had the Swisscard Lite in a BigSkinny Super Skinny wallet w/vertical pockets. That's the older design of the wallet and its known for spilling credit cards. I happened to be standing on a hardwood floor for this particular spill, and the Swisscard Lite could not survive the 2.5 foot drop onto the hardwood. I'll save a Swisscard Lite and a Super Skinny review for another post. That's enough background information.

    The Search

    So, being in the market for a tiny pen, I had the following non-negotiable criteria:

    (1) Reliable (must be able to write in "ordinary" situations - I won't be writing underwater or in outer space)
    (2) Teeny-tiny (preferably shorter than my longest key, which is 3.25 inches)
    (3) Sturdy (must be able to survive in my wallet when I sit or on my keychain, bumping against my titanium gear)
    (4) Attachable to something else (fits in wallet or on keychain), as opposed to being separately carried.

    These are some of the pens that I considered:

    (1) Making a homemade sheath for my Swisscard pen.
    (2) Axel Weinbrecht Beta K
    (3) True Utility TelePen
    (4) Valiant Concepts Keychain Pen
    (5) Zebra F-301 Compact
    (6) Fisher Bullet pens
    (7) Fisher Specialty Trekker Ballpoint Pen
    (8) Inka Pen
    (9) TEC Picopen
    (10) Teenie Weenie Pen
    (11) Zebra Penpod
    (12) Tombow Pfit
    (13) Levenger Walletini Pen
    (14) Palm Bazic
    (15) Derringer Wallet Pen
    (16) Card Reel Mini Pen
    (17) Caribiner Mini Pen
    (18) The Wallet Pen
    (19) Elite Tornado Pen
    (20) IGot Pen (strange concept)
    (21) 1coolpen
    (22) Dinky Ball Pen
    (23) Kaweco Liliput
    (24) Faber-Castell Pocket Pen
    (25) Kaweco Al-Sport
    (26) Mont Blanc Meisterstuck Ballpoint
    (27) And this cool little no-name pen that I found on a Chinese wholesale website:

    [IMG]

    After much research, only a few of the pens fit all four of my requirements. I do like the Fisher, Zebra. As I recall, most of the Fisher Bullets and Zebras don't have keychain attachments and would be too wide for a wallet.

    The Inka pen is wider than I would like, but I haven't ruled it out completely. I like how it can be converted to a larger pen, if needed.

    The Picopen is held on by a magnet and would never survive my pocket.

    The Axel Weinbrecht Beta K is solid metal. As you write with it, you leave a trail of metal on the paper which serves at the "ink". It's pretty cool, because you can write anywhere at any time and there is no liquid ink to spill or dry up. It's also very small. I did see some writing samples online and decided that the "ink" was a bit light for my needs. I won't have it for EDC, but I'm awfully tempted to buy one for a survival kit.

    The IGot Pen looks like a credit card and you write with one of the corners. It's cool, but not quite what I was looking for.

    As for the others, some were quite nice, but most were either too long and/or weren't designed to fit on a keychain or in a wallet.

    My First Purchase: The Telepen

    The Valiant concepts pen had just sold out (again), so I bought the True Utility Telepen as a placeholder.

    [IMG]

    When the Telepen arrived, I was so impressed that I thought it would go from placeholder to permanent EDC. The design is fantastic. It virtually disappears on the keychain, and its easy to remove. There is a definite "whoa!" factor involved when you telescope the pen off your keychain and feel that little "snick" as you pull it off to write with. I was very happy with the murmurs of approval that I got when it came time to use the pen in public. Unfortunately, the implementation is not as amazing as the design. The cartridge is not pressurized, and the pen writes either poorly or not at all. It failed to let me sign my name on the slick paper of a store receipt. Sadly, the pen has gone from "whoa!" to "ohh.. :(" in my eyes. Reliability was my number one criteria. Yes, it's still cool, but it is definitely not my endgame pen.

    Second Purchase: Valiant Concepts Ti

    So it was back to hunting for the Valiant Concepts Titanium pen. After seeing them for sale, then disappear, for sale, then disappear, for sale ... I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a Valiant Concepts Titanium Pen before they sold out again (and they did).

    [IMG]

    I opened the package today. The Valiant Concepts pen is only slightly longer than the Telepen, but also slightly thinner and it feels lighter. I ordered a 20mm titanium McGizmo clip to go with it. When I put the McGizmo clip on my keychain and then attached the Valiant Concepts' split ring to the McGizmo clip, I found the combination to be longer than I liked (it was longer than my longest key). I also found that when I pulled the pen off the McGizmo clip to write, it still had the little split ring at the top, which made writing less comfortable for me.

    So, I took the split ring off the pen and put it aside. Then I put my keychain through the eye of the McGizmo clip and I put the pen on the clip end of the McGizmo. Now, the combination is much shorter and I am able to pull my pen off the McGizmo so that I am holding just the pen and nothing else as I write. Perfect.

    I am very impressed with it. I've tested the pen on slick store receipts and fluffy paper towels. It writes. Pressurized cartridges make a big difference. As for the fit and finish, its a little beauty. I would say that it's as solid as a rock. But, heck.. its titanium. It's more solid than a rock. It disappears on my keychain, and that is a huge plus. When I twist the body to expose the writing tip, it turns like butter. Again, perfect. If I find anything wrong with the Valiant Concepts pen, I'll be happy to update.

    But for now, I must say that it is well-machined, lovingly crafted and a credit to its maker.

    Best wishes,
    Packleader
    tal-c likes this.

    bkdotcom Loaded Pockets

    The stainless steal version is back in stock @ JSBurley's
    Ordered on Wed & Received on Fri.

    Now I need a McGizmo clip (out of stock @ JSB's)
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    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared

    Right now I can only buy what I think I can clear in 30 days. I want McGizmo Clips back in stock but it normally takes me three months to clear an order. They are absolutely with it for me to carry them but I need to get some breathing room before getting more of the clips.
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    Valerian Tea-powered admin

    Thanks for the review Packleader. There's always something new: I didn't realize you could put the VC pen on a McGizmo clip without a split ring, I'll have to try that.

    That's quite a list. I'm not sure which worries me more, that I have 9 of those pens, or that I only have 9 of those pens. (Plus a couple of other small but not keychainable ones.)

    Luis Enriquez Loaded Pockets

    Packleader Empty Pockets

    And now for the bad news. The 20mm titanium McGizmo clip failed and I lost my Valiant Concepts pen within a month after I bought it. I was heartbroken.

    I spent the last weekend in March out in the countryside and I was using the flashlight on my keychain quite a bit. At some point when I pulled out the keychain to use the flashlight, the pen must have slipped off. I realized all too late that the little latch on the McGizmo clip had somehow kinked to one side, leaving the clip open.

    I had no problems with the pen itself. It was a gem while I had it. It's been over two months since I lost it. I've come to realize that my keychain will always be less than perfect without it. So tonight I finally broke down and ordered another Valiant Concepts pen.

    I haven't decided how I will carry the new pen. Perhaps a steel McGizmo clip will work better than the titanium version?

    Best wishes,
    Packleader

    mcmc Loaded Pockets

    Packleader, I also have found the Ti ones to be weaker, just the nature of the material.

    What helped was:
    a) using a split ring (that the clip clips to) that was just wide enough for the aperture; that greatly minimized the chance of the clip popping off
    b) using a small pliers (like on a Squir PS4!) to squeeze the wire gate, so that it's narrower (and thus less slop)
    c) using a small pliers to gently bend the "hook" (the "top" part of the clip itself, not the gate) a little more closed, that way there is more of the gate that overlaps with the inside of the tip of the hook.

    Hope that helps! Sucks about losing the VC pen. Might want to pick up a spare too, as these go in and out of availability.

    Packleader Empty Pockets

    mcmc,

    Thank you for the advice. I'll try that out and then test the modified clip with something less valuable.

    There will be a fine balance between making the clip secure and making it easy to remove the pen to write with. Given the choice, I'll err on the side of making it secure.

    Best wishes,
    Packleader

    mcmc Loaded Pockets

    No prob, glad to help.

    That said, I do use the Ti clips for my tool carabiner, but the tools themselves are always tucked away in the back pocket of my 5.11 pants. So even if it falls off, it will fall off into my pocket and not be lost.

    For another pen I have (different maker) on my car keys, I use a SS clip, just because it's still sturdier.

    I think in a single use scenario, the tiny weight difference is outweight by the sturdy factor. For my tool carabiner, I have 17 tools on there, so the weight savings in going to Ti clips made sense. But for my one-offs, I still use the steel.

    I know that the EDCF store is out of steel clips though, if you need one pm me, and maybe we can swap or something.
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    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared

    The Titanium is back.
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    KeyeEl Loaded Pockets

    Ordered!

    MKLight Loaded Pockets

    Any eta on the next batch... SS or Ti?

    Thank you, MK
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    Underhill Perpetually Hungry

    I'm afraid I don't have an ETA right now. I definitely want to have them ready as soon as possible, but it will likely be a couple of months yet before they are.

    MKLight Loaded Pockets

    Thank you for your reply. I'll keep an eye out. I keep missing their availability. I hope to own at least one (probably 2) as soon as they're available.

    Best regards,
    Mike

    SamHaLeKe Loaded Pockets

    These are the nicest keychain Pen's I ever used. What a great concept and what a perfect machinery. They're awesome!
    Sadly, mine got recently stolen but still have some spare ink refill's. So I'm also waiting patiently for the SS versions to be in stock again.

    Many thanks in advance

    SamHaLeKe Loaded Pockets

    Bump

    Are these gone forever?

    sent from my GT-I9000 using Tapatalk
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    JonSidneyB Uber Prepared

    They will have to be sometime after the Spyderco Sprint run.

    SamHaLeKe Loaded Pockets

    Thank you Jon. I'm sorry (English is not my native language) but do you mean that after the Spyderco Sprint run they will be available again? Or be gone after that? I desperately need one as my previous one is stolen and I still got some refills left...
    Also can you give me some more info about this Spyderco Sprint run please (link?).

    Many thanks!

    Regards,

    -Sam-