When somebody mentions space pen, what pops into your mind? I bet it’s either the fact you can write in very hot or cold temperatures, upside down, and, yes, in space1, or you picture the Fisher Bullet pocket pen, as it is pretty much the only model sold in big-box stores. I have a Fisher Bullet, but it is not my favorite space or pocket pen2. My favorite Fisher pen is the AG7, or as Fisher markets it, “The Original Astronaut Space Pen”.
The design of the pen isn’t out of this world3, but it is a timeless, and classic design. I think it could safely be called a retro design at this point, because the design hasn’t changed much, if at all, over the years. The pen is wider at the top and tapers towards the grip section, which has a circular groove to provide extra grip. The pen is made from brass, but doesn’t have the weight of most of the solid machined brass pens available on the market today and is lighter than some of the machined aluminum pens I have. The brass is chrome plated, which gives it a nice and shiny finish, but the chrome finish means the pen is a fingerprint magnet. The chrome finish means the pen can be a little more slippery to hold, but the grooves grip area mentioned above does a really good job of counteracting the slipperiness of the finish.
The clip has a nice angle at the bottom which makes it easy to fit over the lip of a shirt pocket, notebook cover, pen case, etc. but the clip still rests against the barrel to provide a nice hold on whatever you decide to clip it to. The clip is mounted to the very top of the barrel which allows the pen to sit very low in a shirt pocket.
Compared to the minimal or no branding on many pens today, the branding could be considered a giant flashing billboard. Fisher AG7 is engraved into the clip, and the engraving takes up pretty much clip. “AG7 Space Pen by Fisher..USA..” is engraved around the circumference of the barrel, though the font size is a lot smaller and less noticeable than that on the clip. Even though the branding on the clip is very noticeable, I really like it and think it fits will the overall design of the pen.
The click mechanism is one of my favorite things about the AG7. Instead of using the top button to deploy and retract the refill, the AG7 uses the top button to deploy the refill and a side button to retract the refill. The mechanism makes a nice, satisfying click each time. Did I mention that this setup is really fun to play with and fidget with? The buttons are close enough that you can press the top button with the tip of your thumb and press the side button with the knuckle of your thumb fairly quickly to your satisfaction and to the annoyance of those around you.4
I found the AG7 to be slightly top heavy when I first got it, but after using it for a while, and especially after using some machined pens, I don’t notice the slight top-heaviness like I used. The opening of the barrel is a little wider than the refill which means there is some tip wiggle, which means clicky writing due to the refill hitting the side of the barrel. I solved this by unscrewing the barrel and rotating it before screwing it back on, so that the refill was always resting against the side of barrel.
As much as I love the AG7, I know it is not a pen for everybody. The main, possibly only, driving factor in whether the AG7 is a pen for you is how feel you about the Fisher space pen refill, because that’s the only refill that fits.5 If you like, or can tolerate, the space pen refill, I think you will the AG7. If you despise the space pen refill, I doubt the AG7 will change your feelings.
It wouldn’t be a space pen if you couldn’t write with it in space, now would it?↩︎
That’s a tie between the SCHON DSGN pen, and the Machine Era Co. pen.↩︎
Sorry. I had to. I’ll stop with the jokes now.↩︎
I warned you, so don’t blame me for any dirty looks or threats you may get.↩︎
I’m pretty sure the Rite in the Rain refill will fit and I believe Schmidt makes a space pen type refill, but neither are that different than the space pen refill.↩︎