Eons ago, in a time before regular disposable income (a time also known as “childhood’), I owned some form of Pilot Dr. Grip writing utensil. The memories are a bit hazy—it could’ve been a pencil, or maybe it was a pen—but either way my writing instrument probably had a Ph.D in writeology (or maybe I’m thinking of the Paper Mate PhD) and because I had no discerning taste I probably loved it. Seeing these new Dr. Grip models in my local pen store, I decided to see how the modern model stacks up against the nostalgia.
Though there is a statistically significant portion of this pen that isn’t, as the name claims, Full Black, I’m willing to give it a pass. I love the matte black bits, and wish the whole barrel had been made with that material. But what do I know, I’m not paid to design pens.
The grip is supposedly some kind of fancy dual-layer construction which, like pretty much every other deluxe grip invented, seems patently designed to collect lint and debris on its surface. I’m beginning to think this is the weird trade-off for luxury grips. You can sort of get a sense in this picture of the two layers. It’s pretty comfortable, but I like a squishier grip (think Alpha Gel). But it’s undoubtedly a step up from a nothing grip.
Here’s the part I’m certain beats out whatever Dr. Chumpstick I had in days of yore. This refill is surprisingly smooth. And undeniably black. I tried to compare it to my 0.7mm Pilot Acroball (Pilot’s own supersmooth) and it was no contest; the Dr. Grip was hands-down the winner in terms of ink gliding across the page. Now, it’s possible my Dr. Grip is actually 1.0mm and I’m comparing that orange to the apple of a 0.7mm, or maybe the passage of time and not being regularly used has left my resident Acroball not as smooth as it once was…but this is a fine writing pen and I’d pick up my Dr. Grip a hundred times before I’d pick up my Acroball again, given the choice between the two.
The Dr. Grip is not only refillable, but it’s solid enough to feel like it’s worth refilling. You can either take it apart in the middle, or take it apart utterly and completely because you want to watch the world burn.
I got this bad boy cheaper at my local pen store than what JetPens is offering, but if you don’t have a local pen store, and don’t want to set foot in a big box office supply store (which some of them surely carry this pen), you can fork over a little extra and get it from JetPens. Either way, it’s worth it.