Sunday, January 10, 2016

Review: SpiffyLab - Tactical Marker

I back a lot of Kickstarter projects, and sometimes they're just on a whim. I have plenty of tactical pens, I like the metal body construction, and the durability that comes with that, not to mention the ability to increase the tool-bearing nature of an every day item like the common pen, so when the chance to get a tactical pen that is built around a Sharpie permanent marker, I jumped at it.

The Tactical Marker upgrades the Sharpie refill from a simple writing implement into a rugged multi-function writing tool, making it a value-added item for camping, work or using as part of your EDC.

As well as the casing for the Sharpie Refill pen, the Tactical Marker includes 3 tool tips machined from  7075 alloy different to the more lightweight but durable 6061 alloy the barrel is made from. The cap and tip tools are made from super tough 7075 alloy (7075 is even used in the M16 series of rifles), which is useful, given the intended uses.

The smaller "Tapper" is fine great for little tasks such as dislodging items, or tack-driving and other small tasks. The "Hammer" is especially handy when you want to leave the house without dragging your tool box along. Neither are especially weighty, and won't effectively drive nails into timber, but for breaking small things, and dislodging items, defrosting a freezer or the like. If you need a proper hammer, get a proper hammer.

The “Spike" end works for punching leather, plastic and sheet metal or using as an awl, breaking hard ground, breaking and gripping ice, boating, prying, rope work and the like. Even being a hard-wearing alloy, the 7075 is still just aluminium however, and the end will bur and bend under hard use.  Again, if you intend to do hard punching work, get a hardened steel tool.

Without the cap, it measures about 145mm (5.75") in the standard configuration and about 165mm (6.5") with cap in the standard configuration. The "Spike" adds and is about 2.30" making the tool a fairly sizable 215mm (8.5") long. The “Hammer” end puts it at around 195mm (7.75") long. The TM weighs in at about  60g, for the "Tapper" 70g, for the "Spike" and 80g for the "Hammer". 80g isn't much for a hammer, but it's not bad for a tactical pen.
The Tactical Marker pen cap attaches with a screw cap requires two hands, but holds very tightly, with o-rings at both cap and tool ends, to ensure the ends stay snug, without putting undue strain on he threads. One problem I had with the tool is that the tool-ends and pen-cap ends are not interchangeable, and their threads are not compatible. It would have been nice if the cap and tool could have been combined into a smaller tool.

The Tactical Marker is also available in 'non-sparking’ Aluminum-Bronze, for use in high risk work environments, which is a nice thought, as well as a carbon-fiber barrel option, for extra fancy flair. I mostly got this tool to help with rope-work and rough and ready hole-punching in sacks and hags and the like when camping, but it's a well thought out tool for what it is. Good for hobby-use and workshop tasks when a light touch is needed. 

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