Benchmade 1100 Tactical Pen Review
Benchmade is a premium knife manufacturer that has used their expertise to expand their line up to feature one of the best tactical pens on the market. It also happens to be one of the more expensive pens available, but die hard gear enthusiasts will find the investment well worth it.
|Benchmade Original 1100 Series||$$|
|Benchmade Damacus 1100 Series||$$$|
|Benchmade Titanium 1100 Series||$$$$|
|Surefire EWP-01 Twist Tactical Pen||$$|
Benchmade is proudly designed and manufactured right here in the US; you know you’re not going to get a Chinese piece of shit when you pick up one of their pens.
Benchmade 1100 Series Tactical Pen Review
The 1100 series is the only tactical pen that Benchmade still manufacturers. They had other lines but have since discounted their production.
The 1100 Tactical Pen Line Up: A Difference In Material
The 1100 series comes in three models the Ti, or the Titanium, the Damasteel and simply the 1100 series which is the base model.
There isn’t a ton of difference between the three pens, the exception being the price and the material that they’re crafted out of.
Your standard tactical pen is made out of aerospace aluminum which is designed to be affordable, light and extremely durable. This is the material of choice for the basic 1100 series.
You may be wondering how a pen can justify being 3x more expensive than one of it’s competitors who also uses aluminum as their material of choice. Of course we could discuss the quality (like how it’s manufactured in a sweat shop in China) but that alone doesn’t justify the price point.
The real kicker is the quality of material. There are well over a dozen types of aluminum on the market and unfortunately most manufacturers don’t specify which aluminum they are using. That being said, it’s noticeable when you actually get one of these pens in your hands. The Benchmade brand is practically indestructible and I’ve never heard of anyone complain that they damaged their pen. Some of the cheaper brands are a lower quality aluminum and simply won’t stand up to combat or in emergency situation.
What The Hell Is Damasteel (Damacus Steel)?
I have a background in materials engineering and I had never heard of Damacus steel before. Once I dug into the material a little bit I realized there was a great reason for this. Damascus steel is a material that was originally used for Middle Eastern sword making. It’s exact properties and manufacturing methods couldn’t be determined because there were so many variations of it.
It’s also rife with legends of a sword made from Damacus Steel being able to dice through an entire wine barrel. Needless to say whatever alloy Benchmade has built their Damasteel pens out of you can bet they’re badass.
They also look incredibly slick. One of the defining features of the Damasteel 1100 is the wood-like grain that Damacus steel in known for.
Ti Series: Titanium Bodies
Titanium is a little more straight forward. It’s an expensive material, largely due to the fact that it’s strength to weight ratio is off the charts.
This is reflected in the cost of the Benchmade Ti 1100. Any titanium tactical pen is going to be far more expensive than it’s aluminum counter part, that’s just a given.
Benchmade Versus Surefire Tactical Pens
I quite like Surfire as a brand and they make top notch tactical pens. The original Benchmade 1100 and the Surefire EWP-01 are in the same price point so I thought a quick comparison of the two would be justified.
Both pens are made out of a high quality aerospace aluminum. If I had to guess I would say they are both grade 6061. The Benchmade features a snap on and snap off cap and an extremely sharp carbide tip. You can watch this video of both pens breaking glass.
You can conclude that they’re fairly similar when it comes to an emergency glass breaking scenario. That said, if I had to choose one or the other in a combat situation I would take the sharp Benchmade carbide tip over the rounded Surefire end.
The downside of having an extremely pointed, exposed carbide tip is of course the lack of discreetness. I doubt you’re getting on a plane with a razor sharp carbide end (in fact if I was on that plane I’d be pissed if they let you on with that.)
Both pens come with high quality ink cartridges to start. Surefire features a Schmidt cartridge and Benchmade has a Fisher. I prefer the Fisher cartridge over the Schmidt, but that being said I find the weight and the balance of the EWP-01 to be better.
Overall these are both extremely high end (hence the price) tactical writing instruments. If my primary purpose was so I had a reliable tool in the event of an emergency or an altercation I would take the Benchmade 10 times out of 10. However, if you’re looking for an every day writing tool that is practical for day to day use I would point you towards the Surefire EWP-01.