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The Best Bolt-Action Pens For Everyday Carry

Best Bolt Action Pens 0 Hero

With a secure mechanism, rugged alloy bodies, and an undeniable fidget-factor, bolt-action pens have become increasingly popular in the everyday carry space over the last few years. And while this has resulted in more bolt-action writing tool options to pick from than ever before, it’s also made it increasingly difficult to sort through the ever-growing sea of options in order to hone in on the few stand-out models in the space — the finest of which we’ve rounded up for this curated guide to the best bolt-action pens for everyday carry. In addition to counting down our picks for the latest and greatest bolt-action-deployed EDC pens currently on the market, we’ll also be defining what exactly a bolt-action pen is, and delving into the most crucial factors to consider when shopping for one. 

The Best Bolt-Action Pens Breakdown

What Exactly Is A Bolt-Action Pen?

A bolt-action pen is a type of writing instrument with a deployment mechanism that’s modeled after traditional bolt-action rifles. Instead of ejecting spent shells or chambering the next round like a rifle, a bolt-action pen’s bolt-handle connects to its internal ink cartridge which is deployed by pressing the bolt in a J-motion. Bolt-action pens are also spring-loaded, allowing the cartridge to be retracted with a simple tap or swipe — following the same basic motion and pattern as when using a bolt-action rifle. 

Additionally, while it’s not technically a defining quality or trait, the vast majority of bolt-action pens on the market — especially those of the EDC variety — feature a rugged alloy construction that allows them to hold up to daily use markedly better than a regular plastic pen. What’s more, aside from being less prone to accidental cartridge deployments, bolt-action pens don’t really possess any advantages of regular top-click or side-click pens in terms of performance or durability, however, bolt-action EDC pens boast an undeniable fidget-factor that makes these pens particularly fun and satisfying to play with. 

What Makes A Good Bolt-Action Pen?

If you’re unfamiliar with the product space, it can be a little tricky shopping for a bolt-action pen, and there are a variety of factors you should take into account — the most important of which we’ve broken down directly below. 

Construction: Like any other piece of everyday carry gear, the materials used to construct a bolt-action pen will play a monumental role in the item’s overall quality and durability — making this arguably the single most important area to consider when shopping. Aluminum and stainless steel are the most commonly-utilized constructions in this space, though it’s not uncommon to also see bolt-action EDC pens composed of more high-end materials like brass, zirconium or titanium.  It’s also worth noting that a decent number of our favorite everyday carry bolt-action pens are produced in multiple material options. 

Size: Not unlike regular pens, bolt-action pens come in all manner of different lengths and widths, ranging from full-sized items to super tiny compact pens that can fit in your palm of your hand. Smaller pens are more pocketable but don’t offer as comfortable of grip or as balanced a writing experience. What’s more, it’s not uncommon to see the same bolt-action EDC pen offered in multiple sizes. 

Shape & Tip: Though the primary purpose of a bolt-action pen is to serve as a writing instrument, some manufacturers have opted to deliver bolt-action pens with shapes and profiles that incorporate additional features or functions such as a tactical striking tip or a tungsten or carbide glass-breaker. 

Hardware: When shopping for a bolt-action pen it’s also well worth your while to examine smaller elements such as the hardware. This consists of any screws or mounting hardware, as well as items like pocket clips or keyring attachments, and of course the actual bolt itself. 

Cartridge Compatibility: Unlike disposable pens, bolt-action EDC pens are typically built to last a lifetime. As such, these pens have the ability to swap out their ink cartridge, making refill type and compatibility another crucial area to review. It’s also worth noting that some pens are capable of accepting a wide variety of refill types. 

Available Upgrades: A handful of bolt-action pens on the market are offered with a variety of optional upgrades. This includes everything from upgraded titanium Damascus bolts and pocket clips to custom engraving. 

Finish: The vast majority of bolt-action EDC pens sport bare alloy finishes that leave their construction on display. With that said, there are a handful of bolt-action pens that are offered with blacked-out PVD or DLC coatings or even special Cerakote patterns or colors. If you’re interested in picking up a pen that adds a dash of color to your EDC loadout, than this is definitely an area worth looking into. 

Price & Value: Modern bolt-action EDC pens can vary pretty massively in terms of pricing. It is true that you almost always get more when paying for a more expensive pen — such as more premium materials and smoother bolt-action mechanisms — but there are a handful of accessibly-priced models that offer incredible bang for your buck. 

Flytanium Titanium Mini Bolt-Action Pen

Flytanium Titanium Mini Bolt Action Pen
Photo: Flytanium
  • Offers outstanding value
  • Features a full titanium construction
  • Can serve as a keychain pen
  • Made be renowned aftermarket knife upgrade brand
  • Tiny size limits grip & balance

Best Mini Pen: Spanning just 3.23” and measuring only 0.195″ in diameter, the Flytanium Titanium Mini Bolt-Action Pen is a super pocketable bolt-action writing instrument that offers incredible bang for your buck. Priced at below the $20 mark, this pen is machined from satin-finished grade TC4 titanium and features an O-ring-secured housing with a simple spring-loaded bolt mechanism. Tipping the scales at just 0.15oz, this pen accepts Mini D-1 Ballpoint and ships with both extra refills and spare O-rings, ensuring years of regular use. 

Construction: Titanium
Length: 3.23”


Photo: Amazon
  • Body crafted from anodized aluminum
  • Offers great value
  • Is equipped w/ tungsten glass-breaker tip
  • Ships w/ quick-drying Schneider gel ink refill
  • Pocket clip requires frequent tightening w/ regular use

Best Budget Pen: A bolt-action everyday carry pen with a light tactical influence, the NITECORE NTP31 Pen is a 5.20” item that boasts an anodized aluminum body with a tungsten glass-breaker tip and a bolt-action mechanism with a super secure lockup. Machined grooves just before the pen’s taper afford it extra grip while also adding a few style points. Weighing only 0.7oz, this pen comes loaded with a quick-drying German-made Schneider gel ink refill that’s fade-resistant and capable of writing in harsh weather conditions. Rounding out the pen is a color-matched anodized pocket clip secured via a dual screw setup. 

Construction: Aluminum
Length: 5.20”

Inventery Bolt Action Pen v.02

Inventery Bolt Action Pen v02
Photo: Inventery
  • Updated, 2nd-generation EDC pen
  • Offered in 3 sizes & 3 material options
  • Is precision-machined in America
  • Large & small sizes only accept 1 refill type

Best USA-Made Pen: Made in America, the Inventery Bolt Action Pen v.02 is a new and improved take on what was already one of our favorite EDC writing tools. Sporting a top-notch level of fit and finish, this second-generation model benefits from numerous updates including new chamfered edges around the bolt track and a newly fitted O-ring-equipped threading setup. In addition to being offered in Small (4.45”), Medium (5.13”), and Large (5.625”) sizes, this bolt-action pen is also machined from the buyer’s choice of either 303 stainless steel, black Cerakoted stainless steel, 360 brass, or top-shelf grade5 titanium. Compatible with a wide variety of different refills (depending on which size of the pen you opt for), this pen is also offered with optional engraving on its pocket clip. 

Construction: Brass (Or Titanium, Onyx, Or Stainless Steel)
Length: 4.45”, 5.13”, Or 5.625”

Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen

Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen
Photo: Tactile Turn
  • Made in America
  • Outstanding craftsmanship & fit & finish
  • Can be upgraded w/ clip engraving or Timascus bolt
  • Also offered in variety of seasonal limited edition variants
  • Backed by lifetime warranty
  • Timascus bolt costs extra $20

Best Overall Pen: Precision-machined in Texas, the Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen is simple-looking EDC item that’s incredibly refined, having now been through multiple generations. Backed by a lifetime warranty, this boutique-made item is made from a variety of different high-end constructions that all sport visible machining lines that slightly bolster grip while also speaking to its meticulous craftsmanship. Tactile Turn also makes this pen in a trio of different sizes, plus regularly releases limited edition seasonal variants that often sport special Cerakoted colors, patterns, or designs. With its stellar fit and finish, wildly smooth and reliable bolt mechanism, immense durability, and insanely-well-balanced nature, Tactile Turn’s Bolt Action Pen is unequivocally one of, if not the single nicest EDC bolt-action pen currently on the market. 

Construction: Titanium (Or Copper, Bronze, Or Zirconium)
Length: 4.40”, 5.10” , Or 5.60”

Big Idea Design Bolt Action Pen

Big Idea Design Bolt Action Pen
Photo: Big Idea Design
  • Top-shelf titanium pen engineered specifically for EDC
  • Uses patented design
  • Titanium body has black DLC coating & reversible deep-carry clip
  • Compatible w/ huge variety of refills
  • Ships w/ free extra Timascus bolt
  • Backed by limited lifetime warranty
  • Beefy diameter provides solid grip but makes for less pocketable pen

Best Titanium Pen: Utilizing a patented design (technically patent pending), the Big Idea Design Bolt Action Pen is another top-shelf interpretation of a bolt-action EDC pen that’s been precision-machined from titanium before being further fortified in a blacked-out DLC coating (though is also sold in raw and stonewashed finishes, as well as in brass, copper, or zirconium constructions). Backed by a limited lifetime warranty, this pen is compatible with an enormous variety of different refills, plus ships with a Schmidt MegaLine pressurized ink refill and a free additional bolt made from titanium Damascus.

Construction: Titanium (Or Brass, Copper, & Zirconium)
Length: 4.64” – 5.11”

Modern Fuel Bolt Action Pen

Modern Fuel Bolt Action Pen
Photo: Modern Fuel
  • Boasts beautiful craftsmanship
  • Is blended & finished entirely by hand
  • Backed by generous 100-year warranty
  • Has unique adjustable cartridge tip system
  • Expensive price

Best Adjustable Pen: Protected by an incredibly generous 100-year warranty, the Modern Fuel Bolt Action Pen is a beautifully-crafted, minimalistic-looking writing instrument that conceals a clever internal system that affords it the ability to adjust how far the ink tip protrudes from the pen when deployed. The pen’s stellar fit and finish has been made possible through meticulous small-batch production that sees each unit blended and finished entirely by hand. Also offered in copper, stainless steel, or titanium constructions, this pen ships with a Pilot G-2 ink refill, plus an additional set screw, an extra spring, a refill adaptor, and a custom wrench. 

Construction: Bronze (Or Copper, Titanium, & Stainless Steel)
Length: 5.43”

Benchmade Shorthand Pen

Benchmade Shorthand Pen
Photo: Benchmade
  • Has Kubaton-inspired design
  • Made in America
  • Features AXIS-style bolt mechanism borrowed from Benchmade’s knives
  • Pocket clip was designed to eliminate hot spots
  • Expensive price

Best Tactical Pen: Made by one of the most legendary knife brands on the planet, the Benchmade Shorthand is a compact tactical pen that was engineered for everyday carry duties. Machined from non-magnetic 303 stainless steel alloy, the Shorthand features a profile modeled after Kubatons that makes it a wildly effective striking weapon — as well as a stellar writing instrument. The Oregon City outfit also incorporates several features from its knives into this pen, including a deep carry pocket clip and an AXIS-style bolt. What’s more, on top of a being made in a 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum version, the brand also produces a full-length (4.62”) version of this bolt-action pen known as the Benchmade Longhand. 

Construction: 303 Stainless Steel (Or Aluminum)
Length: 3.49”

The Best EDC Pens To Buy Right Now

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Photo: Tactile Turn Bolt Action Pen

Interested in checking out a wider selection of EDC writing tools that aren’t limited to just bolt-action models? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best everyday carry pens for a hand-picked guide for today’s best fountain pens, click pens, mechanical pencils, and other options for EDC scribes.