Pen

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Karas Kustoms made a name for themselves amongst EDCers and pen addicts with their exceedingly successful Kickstarter campaign for their first pen, the Render K. Part of that success stemmed from the demand for a durable, functional pen body to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use that plastic pens couldn’t. The newest Karas Kustoms pen, The Retrakt, follows suit by offering both rugged construction and a unique clicky design that makes it a great option for EDC. Dan Bishop of Karas Kustoms graciously sent this pen to us for this review.
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The Retrakt body is machined from 6061-T6 anodized aluminum (also available in copper and brass) and fitted with stainless steel hardware. Its fully metal exterior weighs in at just 1 oz for a 5.625” overall length. To access its interior, the front half of the barrel unscrews from the pen just below the pocket clip. The threads are machined as well, and while not sloppy, they aren’t buttery smooth. The pen accommodates Pilot G2 and similar refills with the help of the included spacer. A knurled tailcap, stainless steel pushbutton and pocket clip round out the pen. Aesthetically, it looks very much like a high quality instrument. Upon very close inspection, I found some fine scratches on the barrel – but this would likely result from everyday use anyway. The pen doesn’t look overly polished or luxurious, but instead, its appeal lies in its sterile, understated ruggedness.

Other pens in the Karas Kustoms lineup differ mainly by their operation (Render K has a screw cap, while the Bolt uses a bolt-action mechanism). The Retrakt’s unique, all-metal “clicky” mechanism allows for a retractable tip and easy deployment, making it ideal for everyday carry. The purchase on the pushbutton is decent, but it forgoes the satisfying audible and tactile clickiness of plastic pens in favor of a smoother, muted action. The size, weight, and balance of the pen make it feel surprisingly nice both in hand and in the pocket. However, my main disappointment when writing is that the smooth, uniform barrel causes me to lose my grip. I think some slight knurling near the tip would improve grip and keep in line with the utilitarian aesthetic. Otherwise, the added heft of the body helps to ‘do the work’ of writing, but isn’t too heavy to be fatiguing or to weigh down your pocket. If you carry it clipped to your pocket, you’ll find it sits securely, albeit not very deep. The exposed portion of the pen, however, looks totally natural, unassuming, and non-threatening. 

With its sturdy clip and clicky mechanism design, the Retrakt lends itself best to jotting down notes quickly, frequently, and easily. Opting for a pressurized Fisher refill would make it an excellent “field pen,” but its compatibility with various G2-styled refills shows its versatility. Regardless of your refill of choice, if you tend to write for long sessions, the lack of any additional grip on the barrel might be an issue. Despite this, my overall writing experience was highly satisfying. In my hand and in my pocket, it feels like nothing less than a dependable, quality writing instrument.
Everyday Carry Score: ★★★★☆
Pros:
High quality, sturdy construction
Retractable tip with full-metal knock mechanism (no loose cap to lose or break)
Decent versatility with multiple refill compatibility
Sterile, non-threatening aesthetic
Great balance of weight and size both for writing and carrying
Strong, removable pocket clip.
Cons:
Lack of additional grip near the tip of the barrel
Slight imperfections to finish on body and hardware
Internal spacers and spare parts made of plastic, does not match sturdiness of the rest of the pen
(Knock mechanism neither audibly nor tactilely satisfying, personally.)
Overall, if you’re looking for a reliable, no-frills writing tool for everyday carry, the Retrakt makes a strong case.
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Karas Kustoms made a name for themselves amongst EDCers and pen addicts with their exceedingly successful Kickstarter campaign for their first pen, the Render K. Part of that success stemmed from the demand for a durable, functional pen body to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use that plastic pens couldn’t. The newest Karas Kustoms pen, The Retrakt, follows suit by offering both rugged construction and a unique clicky design that makes it a great option for EDC. Dan Bishop of Karas Kustoms graciously sent this pen to us for this review.

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