Itís a BenchmadeÖÖInk Pen?!


by Greg Quinn

photography by Greg Quinn

June 12th, 2008




Benchmade has been making high quality knives for many years.  Among my favorite carry knives is a Benchmade 10200 Ambush that Iíve been using without fail for some 4 years now.  Iíve used it as a screwdriver, a pry bar, a scraper, and a knife.  Iíve lost it in the mud, dropped it, ran over it with a 4-wheeler, and abused it severely, and it is yet to fail me.  It holds an edge well and still looks good after several hard years of use.  Itís not one of my nicest knives, or nearly the most expensive.  It is simply a hard-working, tough, inexpensive knife that has worked well over the years.  It is a Mel Pardue design.  Mel has a 20-year experience of designing and making knives, and has been teamed with Benchmade for some time.  Unlike most Benchmade knives that are made in the good olí USA, the Ambush is imported (unfortunately).  Even more unfortunately, it is no longer available. 

Over the past several years, Benchmade has moved from creating knives for tactical, hunting, and general purpose use to specialty knives for unique functions.  Their rescue tools, for example, are utilized extensively in the field and are very well made and do their job well.  No doubt that many people trapped in cars have owed their lives to brave rescuers and emergency personnel, and the tools they carry, such as the Benchmade Models 5, 6 (now discontinued), 7, 8, 100SH2O, or 10105.

When I saw at SHOT 2008 the Benchmade Ink Pen, the subject of this article, I thought that pretty Emily DuPlessis was pulling my leg.  To my brother Jeff, a knife is a tool.  To me, an ink pen is a tool.  I use them and go through them more often than most, and never could understand the person that spent $100 or more for a quality writing instrument.  Until now.

I have been using the Benchmade 1100 Pen Series ink pen for nearly 4 months as of this writing.  It is practically part of my daily business wardrobe.  As a business executive with a technology company, and as VP of Business Development with, I use an ink pen daily.  If I have on a shirt, then I have an ink pen clipped in its pocket, or between the buttons of a golf shirt.  For the past several months, the pen has been the Benchmade 1100.

The 1100 has a charcoal body out of hard-anodized T6 aluminum.  The body, cap and grip are all made of the same durable aluminum material, and are all anodized charcoal, except for the blue ink instrument, in which the pen grip is anodized blue. The pen has a removable stainless steel clip containing the Benchmade logo.  Cartridges are manufactured by Fisher, and are of the excellent Fisher Space Pen cartridge type. 

The body, cap, and grip have an ergonomic texture pattern that makes the pen easy to hold.  The edges are sharp on the body so to offer firm grip, even with wet hands.  The charcoal finish is non-reflective, much like a tactical folder knife.  The end of the pen body has a sharp point, almost like a small 3D arrowhead.  While affording a nice look, it is made to double as a self-defense weapon in a crisis situation.  This is one pen body that could, if necessary, inflict serious injury with proper thrust and placement.  Iíd hate to have one of these things gouged in my eye, for certain.

As one who flies a lot, I was concerned about TSA confiscating the Benchmade 1100 pen in airport security.  Looking at the pointed end, one might consider this a ďweaponĒ, or so I feared.  However, it has accompanied me on several flights, and has yet to become an issue.

Iím not an ink pen expert.  They are tools that are used daily and not given much thought by most.  Iíve used nice ink pens in the past, and own several other high quality writing instruments.  Iíd say that the Benchmade 1100 is among the finest I own.  While it doesnít have the luxury feel of a Mont Blanc, it is designed for one that appreciates utility function over luxury.  The fit and finish are excellent.  The function is flawless.  The Fisher refill is very high quality.  Some may say it is a bit heavy, but I appreciate the heft of the instrument.  It works.  It is tough.  It is made in the USA.  It is manufactured of quality components.  For a high-end writing instrument, the price of a bit over a hundred bucks isnít bad.  And, in a crisis situation where an ink pen was the closest thing to a weapon to be found, Iíd prefer the Benchmade 1100 to any other pen out there. 

Leave it to Benchmade to blur the line between an ink pen as something to write with and something to use in a defensive situation.  The 1100 does both very well.

For more information on this and other fine Benchmade products, go to

Greg Quinn


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