My inner 12-year-old loves retractable pen mechanisms. While the adult me knows they're nice because of the practicality, the kid just can't stop click, click, clicking them. And retractables with a different twist to them, like bolt-action pens, are even better.
My current pen of envy is the TiBolt, an all-titanium bolt-action pen created by Brian Fellhoelter, an Arizona knife-maker turned pen designer.
The TiBolt is sleek and utilitarian with a gun-metal gray finish that reminds me of an old '50s sci-fi movie robot. As Fellhoelter says, any part that can be made from titanium is, from the clip to the tip. And its retraction mechanism is the highlight, a bolt on the barrel that opens and closes the pen with a simple push and slide with your thumb.
It ships with a Fisher Space Pen refill, but can be filled with any standard Parker or Fisher-type cartridge. And while the default pen option includes a smartphone stylus on the end, buyers can choose to have the stylus tip switched out for a titanium cap.
The pen is so popular that Fellhoelter opened a TiBolt Kickstarter project to expand his production capacity. His goal was US$19K. He hit that number and kept going, more than tripling his goal. So far, he's raised a little more than US$68K.
While it's my favorite so far, there are others that are nearly as cool.
ThinkGeek offers a bolt-action 'tactical' pen with a sexy black barrel made of anodized aluminum.
And Economy Pens has reviewed the W.A. Stark .30 cal. Bolt-Action Pen, which looks great, but is ultimately too gun-ish for my tastes.