onsdag 17 januari 2018

Review Fenix T5Ti Halberd, Tactical Pen

- Is the Pen mightier than the Sword?

The concept of  "Tactical Pens" is a bit "Tacticool" and probably not for me since it reminds me of the military, secret ops and spying was the first thought I must admit. 

But the concept isn't to bad when I think about it. The origin can be traced to a need for pens that can manage for instance wet and cold conditions better than the ones that were available before them. Pencils are reliable for sure but have ha tendency to brake. 

I addition some more extreme demands came into play such as being able to write under water or even in space. If you pair that with the always present need for gadgets a new category was born. Nothing new under the sun as they say, expensive writing instruments have been in existence as long as the pen so I guess it mostly the name that's new. I wonder if there ever was a "TQ - Tactical Quill"?

Thereafter new applications have been added and this pen, the T5Ti Halberd have for instance a built in glass breaker and is also designed for being used as a improvised "Kubotan" in self defence if so needed.

By the way it's my first pen belonging to this category and my experince with nicer pens is otherwise a number of Parker pens in steel and fountain pens from Mont  Blanc. 

T5Ti "Halberd" from Fenix

Despite the fancy name and the rather extreme look Fenix, the company behind Halberd, foremost aimed at a well balanced pen good for writing when it was developed. I think it's a bit ironic that I'm behind a keyboard writing those words.

However I really appreciate that the primary function was the main focus. It would be easy to get lost in the jungle of marketing tricks, materials and high-tech. In the end it's still a pen and it is as such it should be evaluated. 

"The business end" or one out of two to be more precise

Design and looks

It can be said right from the start that this pen is a veritable beast in a positive way. Most probably indestructible and that is something that reflects in the overall appearance. Halberd can be had in three different color schemes and this is the most tanklike of them. Or rather it reminds me of a battle ship from Star Wars in my eyes. If you want to lighten up the overall impression you can opt for the purple or blue versions instead. On this sample the gray dominates.

The material is TC4-titanium and from that a body measuring 12,5 millimeter at it's widest point have been CNC-machined. The pen ways in at 40 grams which is respectable for such a sturdy construction. We are talking about a pen that is made for smashing through a windshield as well. Therefore it's not a really lightweight pen and that of course influences how it feels in hand.

Halberd is an emergency glass breaker device as well as mentioned. With that purpose in mind one end is equipped with a hardened YG8 Tungsten tip. The tip that isn't too sharp also helps if the pen is used as an improvised Kubotan or mini staff used on pressure points.

A hardened tip in case of emergency 

With the cork removed the pen is close to symmetrical. The futuristic look is enhanced by the milled tracks in the middle section that mirrors the latticed parts of the top.

The clip is milled and attached with two screws. In appearance it reminds about a good knifeclip even if the truth is told is the other way around. Penclip existed long before knives got that feature.

It can also be said that I appreciate the mix between intricate and stylish design. In a world when things are either overloaded like many customfolders with a never ending amount of exclusive materials on top of each other or in true "Apple-fashion" are minimalistic beyond reason it's nice to see that someone try to balance the two. There are some elements here added only for looks but not enough to transform it into a christmas tree decoration. 

Build Quality

The overall build quality on this pen inspires confidence. Materials used and the precision shown in assembly are remarkebly good and there are no traces of tools or grindmarks present.

I have had the Halberd for a couple of month by now and the only show o wear is a slight patina of thin lines in the titan surface, nothing else. It have been carried constantly either in a pocket of a hoodie, a jacketpocket or in a bag. It has been seeing daily use and even som abuse just to test the alleged strength. I therefore stabbed it a number of times into wood as an example. 

To Carry

This pen has a clip and as said before it's a good one both in that it's good looking and versatile. Enough tension to keep it in place so you don't loose your valuable pen in a thinner shirtpocket. But also flexible enough to allow it to be used together with thicker fabrics like in jeans or jacketpockets without to much struggle.

The clip is rather oversized in regards to ordinary pens which is a good thing since I don't fear that the clip shall get stuck and bend in any way. There is a bit of "Parker Pen meets Sci Fi" over the design.

You can't deny that this pen i a tad bit thicker than others. Not as in heavily pregnant but with certain roundness. So Halberd isn't totally discreet. Something that is underlined by the weight. The fourty grams isn't to bad for this category but it is heavier than your average pen och lowbudgetversions thereof. In other words, it's notable in pocket.

In Use

Pens can of course be o two mayor types, click or turnable or as in this case equipped with a cork. Both systems have their pros and cons. This variety is simpler with less movable parts which of course simplifies production and at the same time makes them more robust generally speaking. The latter is a huge advantage if they are made for more than one application such in this case. For that reason the threads of this pen is oversized for added strength.

One of the major drawbacks with screwcorks is of course that it takes longer to pull out the pen ready for use compared with a clicktype. Especially so if one opts for elonging the pen by screwing to to the other end. Well, to be true there is another big disadvantage too. There is the possibility to loose corks even if they are rather exclusive such in this case. Regarding this you have to weigh strength/looks against how often you need to use your pen. 

The P950M cartridge  make this a very versatile pen

Since the T5Ti is rather solid you do feel it in hand. But it's also well balanced as in neutral. That mostly goes for how the pen feels with the cork removed which of course also makes the pen significantly shorter. I you choose to have it on the balance changes and the weight feel more present. Not enough to be an annoyance but enough to make clear that this is a pen more for writing signatures, notices, shopping lists and small notes rather than being used for extended periods of time.

- grip

It's often alluring on more exclusive pens to make the grip area more prominent, read "thicker" than usual. Partly because it looks good and partly to facilitate a stable grip. In this case Fenix has choosen to make the pen more ergonomic by letting this area be concave and ad some texturing if you grab the pen high up. If you hold it further down the corkthreads serve the same purpose. They functions well by adding friction without causing hot spots. But it isn't the softest to the touch.

- to write with

The first impression, that this is a pen foremost for shorter sessions, are enhanced when you actually starts to use it more extensively. It's a well balanced pen but somewhat heavy which is more noticable after prolonged use. A minor detail perhaps but if you are a student with long lectures ahead of you or your work demands for long meetings you should perhaps go for another alternative.

For most other tasks the T5 Halberd is really pleasant to use. I must point out that it almost can be experienced as two pens. With the hat off it's a "2/3" pen lengthwise but is then ligther and very neutral in balance. With the cork in place at the back end it's a full length pen but also a tad top heavy.

I have of course also tested the more spectacular claims about these sorts of pens. Yes, it writes perfectly fine up side down. Neither is there any problems with writing on cardboard both wet and dry or even a bit messed up and knobbly. The fact is that this pen even works totaly submerged under water.

A well balanced pen both in appearance and in hand. 

- refill

As standard T5Ti Halberd comes equipped with a German Schmidt P950M cartridge of the "Parker variety". That means that there are a lot of replacements to chose between. The great advantage with pressurized cartridges is that they offer that little extra and turns an average pen into a "space pen". You can write up- side down, in high or low temperatures, on uneven surfaces or even under water and in zero gravity. The latter is probably not the most necessary for most of us but cold and moist conditions are more common at least where I live. The same goes for rougher surfaces since it includes paper of low quality, cardboard and the like.

Halberd comes with an inkcartridge from Schmidt but all Parker-type cartridges can be used

The color is black which isn't my favourite since I prefer blue ink. Therefor I'm going to change color as soon as this cartridge is empty. For how long it will last I can't answer right now since it's still going stroing. After the "age of the keyboards" I'm no longer the frequent writer I once was. By hand that is.

As far as the "extra finesses" this pen offers I must confess that I haven't used it at all in self defence applications. Mostly because I have little or no use for it in that roll. I used to do martial arts including some stickfighting but with significantly larger versions like "jo" and "bokken". My experience with pressure points are therefore limited.

Maybe, god forbid, the Halberd will be handy if I have to defend my person via correspondence in some future dispute.

A somewhat scratched up pen after being smashed
 through glass a couple of times

But what I actually did test is the glassbreaker function. The tungsten tip does exactly what it is supposed to. It shatters and smashes glass rather easily. When I hammered it through a thicker glassbottle it initially just punched a whole without even shattering it.

But I highly recommend you to save this application for real emergencies. The titanium is of course not as hard as the reinforced tip and will be pretty scratched up after a while. Glass is an evil material.

To Conclude

There are a lot of things that  can be said about titanium as a material. Sure you can find advantages such as being super strong and lightweight in relation to that strength but is it really necessary in a pen? Oh yes, mostly because titanium are for EDC-gear nerds what carbonfiberdetails are for sportcar enthusiasts. It is addictive simply put. A fact easily proven by the vast amount of "TFFs - Titanium Framelock Flippers" on the folding knifearena combined with the array of flashlights in the same material for the moment.

The material is close connected to a pens "other function" which is being a status symbol. If somebody objects and says "but that isn't the case, it's only a writing tool". I want this person to take a second look at what is used to sign the loan for your house or car the next time you are in that situation. It might be a commercial pen for the company in question but it won't be a cheap ill worn plastic Bic pen anyway.

Fenix Halberd, a good option for those who like the design and needs a real robust pen

Regarding this type of pens in general I want you to consider in which situations you are going to use it the most. If you know that you will write for extended periods of time I would actually recommend something else over the Halberd. For that I think this pen is a bit too stout and powerful built, read "heavy" even if the weight is well distributed.

The weight is of course connected to the fact that this pen is extremely strong and overbuilt to be able to cope with the other applications it can be used for besides writing. You can probably run it over with a truck without damaging it. The robust build includes the dimension of the clip. And that is something I really appreciate. I don't know how many clip I bent and destroyed over the years on cheaper pens, but it sure is quite a few. That isn't anything that ever will happen to this knife. 

One thing to keep in mind is that a pen with a hardened carbide tip at one end needs som thought when carrying. It will nibble on everything close to it. So don't put your mobile or fanciest pocketknife in the same space.

Fenix T5Ti Halberd is a pen for the ones who are drawn to this modern and slightly futuristic look and also searches for something more or less indestructible able to write under all conditions. Maybe not for extended periods of time but in style.

It is more of an outdoors pen than a pen for the conference room to put it that way. Besides the obvious you get a pair of extra features that can be more or less important to you. But sure, if you are in an emergency and needs to brake a windshield or some windows this pen works excellent. So under those circumstances the pen is actually mightier than the sword! Especially since you always have it on your person.

The products home page


Length: 138 mm
Diameter: 12,5 mm
Weight: 40 g
Material: TC4 Titan
Tip: YG8 hardened Tungsten
Cartridge: Schmidt P950M

Made by Fenix

/ John

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