I’m a gear nerd at heart, and a writer by trade, so over the last 2 years I’ve looked at the Surefire pen from both perspectives. I've used this pen every single day, more than any other piece of kit in my EDC, and it is now my favorite piece of gear. The most obvious feature of the Surefire Pen is its durability. The shaft is made from hard anodized aircraft grade aluminum, while the nib, pocket clip, and end cap are made of 303 stainless steel. The result is a 1.8oz bruiser of a pen that will probably last as long as the written word. My Montblanc developed a hairline fracture in the cap after only a few months of back pocket carry, and had to be sent back to the factory to be repaired. By comparison, in two years of serious use, my Surefire barely has a scratch on it – proof of the excellent hard anodizing used in its construction. When you consider the Surefire costs about 1/3 the price of a Montblanc, and is made in the USA, it’s even more impressive. I realized just how ludicrously tough the SF pen was a few months ago, when I visited a camping store in lower Manhattan. The owner showed me his own EWP-01, and how he practiced striking by smashing it over and over again into a 2×4. This is the second 2×4 he has gone through, and he told me he has also struck concrete blocks a few times- and chipped the concrete! The other famous feature of the SF pen is its “glassbreaker” end cap, which is actually why I bought the pen in the first place. This ended up being rather ironic, as the glassbreaker is the least useful feature of the surefire pen — its just a 3/16” stainless steel ball bearing built into the cap, rather than a purpose built glassbreaker. I went to a junkyard and tested it on some loose automotive glass and was unable to break the window. However, other people have managed to break windows with theirs when they tested glass still attached to a car, so the glassbreaker does work, just not very well. Here it doesn’t work- if that car was under under water he would be dead. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LePGf94tYaY Here it works, although not as well as the Benchmade with tungsten tip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfzdZyQOjAY I believe that Surefire should either re-design the glassbreaker so that it works reliably, or they should remove it entirely. Unreliable tools can get people killed, and this glassbreaker does not jibe with Surefire's legendary adherence to high performance and reliability. One simple way to improve performance is to replace the Stainless Steel BB with an ultra hard ceramic BB. Added cost per unit would be less than $1. I pimped mine out by adding a silicone nitride ceramic BB to my end cap, and that worked much better. Here's a photo from the prototype glassbreaker, which was just a ceramic BB in an aluminum rod. Notice the powdered glass from the impact. More importantly, the Silicone Nitride BB has a much higher cool coefficient. An interesting thing I discovered when working on the glassbreaker is that the EWP-01 has a “secret compartment” under the cap. I don’t believe this was intentional, rather, it is caused by the hollow cavity beneath the glass breaker and the space above the ink adjustment screw. Regardless, it gives about 1″ of space for hiding a small object. I was originally going to glue a miniature firesteel into mine, but decided that was kinda mallninja so I decided to go for something a bit more practical, a folded up piece of paper for taking notes should I not have my notebook handy. The cap holds half a sheet from my Molleskine notebook. So far I have never had to use this backup piece of paper, because I always carry my SF pen in my red Molleskine Vollant notebook. Carrying a pen and paper is infinitely more practical than just carrying a pen, and it also helps keep the pen from getting lost, since the notebook is bright red. What makes the Surefire Pen such a pleasure to write with is its ability to adjust to almost any ink cartridge in the world. Let me repeat — the Surefire Pen has an internal screw that can be adjusted to allow it to use almost any ink cartridge you want. This is, far and away, the best feature of the Surefire pen. While there are many durable pens on the market today, to my knowledge the EWP-01 is the only pen that has this magnificent capability. If you’re a gun guy, this is the pen equivalent of having a handgun that can shoot every pistol caliber in the world. This capability cannot be overstated. The ink cartridge is the soul of the pen. It’s what people are talking about when they say, “wow, nice pen,” which is what people tell me when they borrow my Surefire. Instead of using the standard “tactical” Fisher Space Pen refill, which provides a mediocre writing experience, I use the delightfully luxurious Montblanc Medium Ballpoint refills. Made in Germany, they write exceptionally smoothly with a sexy, metallic flecked black ink that makes writing a pleasure. And I would know. I just wrote the rough draft of my first novel in long hand, using my Surefire Pen and Montblanc refills. Here is the typed up version – 265 pages, not including all the other writing I have done with this pen over the last 2 years. The ability to accept “battlefield pickups” is an essential feature if you like to write while traveling. While Fisher Space Pen cartridges, or the factory Schmidt® brand are available here in the US, they are not universally available all over the world. I spent 9 months living abroad last year, and being able to use locally available ink cartridges was essential. Part of the reason this is necessary is because if you drop the pen while the ink is extended, the heavy mass of the pen will cause the tip of the ink to become dented and dysfunctional. I have broken several ink cartridges in this fashion and it is an annoying, but unavoidable byproduct of the heavy-duty nature of the SF pen. Another annoying habit the EWP-01 displays is that the stainless end caps tend to come loose. I wrapped mine in teflon tape, but the problem persists and I have to periodically tighten the caps. Other than the unreliable glassbreaker, my only real complaint is with the pocket clip. It is the best pocket clip I have ever had on a pen, but its still not perfect. My first clip broke after being clipped to a thick pair of Duluth Firehouse Dungarees, and while Surefire did replace the clip free of charge, it took them a while to do so, and I ended up spending the first leg of my Europe trip without my SF pen, until my family mailed the clip out to me. The other issue with the clip is that it has the Surefire emblem laser engraved in the clip. Now, this is a cool, discrete logo, but it does open up the possibility of the pen being confiscated if a security officer recognizes the logo, and deems it a “tactical pen.” For this reason, I would prefer a sterile pocket clip in the future. Still, in the grand scheme of things, these are two minor flaws in an otherwise outstanding product. The Surefire Pen is the toughest, most versatile pen I have ever come across, and as a writer, it has become a very sentimental item for me. There will be a follow up article which will discuss the tactical use of the Surefire Pen, and compare it to other pens in its class.