The Best Bolt-Action EDC Pens in 2020

The Best Bolt-Action EDC Pens in 2020

So you want to carry a pen, but you're worried about it leaking or breaking? Those are valid concerns that rule out so many pens as EDC options because they're not durable, pocket-friendly, and easy to use enough for EDC. We suggest a “bolt action” style pen, which draws inspiration from the channel and bolt system of a rifle to extend, lock, and retract the refill. Bolt action keeps your pen from accidentally extending in the pocket, avoiding leaks. They're usually built from EDC-worthy metals for durability, not to mention the action itself is fun to fidget with. In this round-up, we're highlighting a few new bolt action pens from 2018 as well as some tried-and-true classic picks.

The Best Bolt-Action Pens

Boker Plus Rocket Pen

The Boker Plus Rocket is a bit of a departure from Boker's usual .45 and .50 cal inspired pens. It's more of a no-frills, minimalist pen that's sleek and pocket-friendly yet just as durable. The black metal pen features a silver bolt, uses a Parker-style refill, and measures in at a comfortable 5.14” long. You can grab a Boker Plus Tactical Pen for just under $30, making it one of the more affordable options.

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Cool Hand Carbon Fiber Bolt Action Pen

This compact pen from Cool Hand is made from aircraft-grade aluminum and 3K carbon fiber. The result is a sturdy, yet small pen that feels like it should cost several times more than the sub-$50 asking price. The pen is easy to carry too, thanks to the deep pocket clip. What’s unique about this pen is the bolt action channel. Extending it downward extends the ink writing tip, while extending it upwards reveals a stylus tip for use on tablets and smartphones.

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Tactile Turn Slider and Glider in Aluminum

Tactile Turn’s Slider (shorter, uses Parker-style refills) and Glider (longer, uses G2-style refills) have been updated for 2018 in a new material and new colors. These excellent bolt action pens feature a unique C-shaped bolt channel that’s especially easy to operate with one hand. These new aluminum versions are lighter weight and come in a variety of anodized colors that will nicely coordinate with the rest of your EDC.


Inventery Co. Bolt Action Pen

Inventery Co. is rather new on the pen scene. They’re a design outfit that’s produtcing premium writing instruments with excellent design, fit, and finish. Their Bolt Action Pen is no exception. Unlike the competition, it features a bolt mechanism that looks seamless whether it's extended or retracted. The strong spring used in the pen retracts the pen with a satisfying “snap.” There's also a sleek pocket clip that can be removed depending on your carry preferences. The Bolt Action Pen comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. They use the ultra-small D1, Parker-style, and G2 refills, respectively. You can pick one up in matte Onyx black, polished brass, or brushed stainless steel.


Maxmadco Bolt Action Pen

The Maxmadco Bolt Action pen is widely regarded as one of the best EDC pens out there. The rock-solid construction, simple design, and smooth bolt action add up to an excellent writing instrument. While the Maxmadco isn’t brand new for 2018, this limited edition made from naval brass is. This hefty material will pick up a patina the more you use it, making the pen uniquely yours with each nick, scratch, ding, and fade. The manufacturer boasts that this is their smoothest bolt action pen yet because of the brass-on-brass bolt and channel.


Machine Era Co. Makerset Field Pen

For a compact, well-built option, check out the Field Pen that released late last year. This small yet comfortable bolt action pen from Machine Era Co. has a unique way of extending the refill. Instead of a dedicated bolt, the entire clip slides along the bolt channel. This matte black pen is sized just right for a comfortable writing experience, while taking up minimal room in your pocket. Each pen is precision machined in their Richmond, VA, USA shop to the highest quality standard. The pen is available in stainless steel, brass, or DLC black coated.

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Karas Pen Co. “The Bolt” Pen

Karas Pen Co.'s Bolt uses a different method of extending the refill. Instead of a bolt sticking out from the side of the pen, you push down on the top plunger and rotate it into position. It's sort of a hybrid between a click pen and a bolt action pen. The primary benefit is that there isn't anything sticking out of the side of the pen. This means that there's nothing to get in the way when writing or carrying it. While The Bolt has been around for a while, Karas Pen Co. is constantly releasing new color ways of anodized aluminum, and combinations of other metals that they offer.


Boker Plus Micarta Tactical Pen

The Micarta Tactical Pen is another solid offering from Boker. This pen is constructed from micarta — a durable composite made from resin and cloth that results in an intriguing pattern across the pen's body. The hardware is crafted from aluminum, and then coated with a black titanium treatment for both better wear and a sleek black appearance. The back of the pen has a bolt action mechanism to extend and retract the Fisher Space Pen refill, and a super sturdy pocket clip.

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Do you have a bolt action pen as part of your EDC? Let us know what your favorite is in the comments below.

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Discussion (13 total)

I really like the idea of a bolt pen but I can't bring myself to spend that much on one. The Parker Jotter has such a satisfying click that I'll probably just stick with it.
yet another old repost?
I was thinking about dropping $52 for the Move. I want something classy and black with a loop to put on my keychain. The Move looks amazing, TI, and a bolt. Any one have one or have any other recommendations?
Micarta body... never knew. That’s pretty cool.
i just got my tactile Turn slider , great attention to detail and finish . Very happy with the feel of the pen fits great in my pocket good selection of refills and the service i got from them was great which is always a plus.
Does anyone know what the glasses are in the photo please?
2nd the TiScribe as my dress pen, along with dress watch, dress knife, dress lighter, dress flashlight

EDC Parker Jotter
Great article!
I bought the Karas “The Bolt” Pen in tumbled raw aluminum close to 2 years ago. It does not disappoint. It's not as expensive as some and it will cost you 70 bucks unless you can get a discount but it definitely gets the job done. It took just a little adjustment for me to smoothly operate and now it's my go-to for work. The pocket clip is very stiff, but that does not take away from function. Very smooth writing, non smearing and I get lots of compliments, thus it never leaves my sight.
my mistake. It's anodized not tumbled....but even better
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