The Ridge Bolt Action Pen in carbon fiber.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I understand that everyone’s taste varies, which very much applies to writing utensils. You might prefer a fine point, or maybe a medium point. Your penchant may lean toward very thin pens or thicker barrel types. Maybe your preference is for “clicky tops,” or you’d rather twist. And of course, not everyone even bothers with pens and pencils these days. If you do, I want to draw your attention to a pen I’ve found to be an absolute delight to use and show off.

Also: Best back to school tech deals for students

That pen is the The Ridge Bolt Action Pen. Over a year ago I decided to treat myself to the carbon fiber version of this pen and have found all other pens pale in comparison. It’s the perfect size for me, it’s got a great grip, the ink flows smoothly, and the bolt-action is not only cool but keeps the ink from getting on things it shouldn’t when the tip is retracted. On top of that, the carbon fiber barrel is a thing of beauty.

Ridge Bolt Action Pen


The Ridge Bolt Action Pen

A premium-feeling ballpoint pen with a textured grip and a slew of design options.

When I purchased this pen, the price was around $129. Now, The Ridge sells it for a more affordable $89, with the non-carbon fiber iterations going for $59. There’s also the gold-plated version for $125. No matter which version you select, you’ll find it to be your go-to pen for all occasions. Even writing checks to the U.S. government is made less painful with The Ridge Bolt Action Pen.

Okay, that last statement is an outright lie, but you get the idea.

The specs for the Bolt Action Pen look like this:

  • CNC Lathe Knurled textured grip
  • Internally pressurized refill has a 100-year shelf life
  • Compatible with any standard Parker pen cartridge
  • Comes with Schmidt® EasyFlow 9000 medium ballpoint
  • Pen length: 5.3 inches
  • Weight: 0.9 ounces
  • Manganese spring steel clip

Each pen also includes a lifetime warranty and a 99-day risk-free trial, so if you don’t like it you can send it back and get a full refund. Chances are pretty good you’ll like it…nay, love it.

Ridge Bolt Action Pen

Here’s how the aluminum navy color looks.

The Ridge

How the pen helps

My handwriting is atrocious. It really is. When I autograph books for readers, I’m actually embarrassed by how my penmanship is barely legible. I even used to handwrite every first draft of my novels, until I realized I was struggling to read my own writing. 

Also: How to use ChatGPT to write an essay

However, The Ridge Bolt Action Pen and its grippy texture have improved my penmanship. It’s still not good, but when using this pen, it’s mostly legible. I’ve tried so many other pens and none of them have had the same level of impact on my ability to write in such a way that others can read what I’ve scrawled. 

If that’s not reason enough for you to try this pen, here’s another: It’s smooth. That’s not just about the ink cartridge, but the carbon fiber barrel, knurled grip, and lightweightness. This pen is a joy to use. Every time I have to work with another instrument, I immediately think, “Where’s my Ridge?”

Is The Ridge Bolt Action Pen for you?

I realize that $59 to $125 is a good chunk of change for a pen, but when you consider high-end pens can run well into the thousand-dollar range, this isn’t bad. And if you depend on ink pens and long for something a bit more comfortable, dependable, and stylish than the standard issue Bics, this pen might be for you.

Also: The Rocketbook Pro makes a strong case for the smart notebook

Although I mostly use my Bolt Action Pen for signing paperback books (and writing checks to the IRS), every time I pick it up I feel like I’m punching above my penmanship’s weight. So, if you’re into pens, you should seriously consider making this purchase. It’ll not only impress you, but it’ll also impress anyone who sees you using it. 

For more back-to-school recommendations, check out ZDNET’s ultimate tech deals list.


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