Dr grip ballpoint pens

Review: Pilot Dr. Grip Full Black Dual Layer Grip Ballpoint 0.7mm

Two and a half years into it and this is my first Dr. Grip review? A staple of the office supply world and I have never reviewed one? Yep, this is the first one to grace the pages of the Pen Addict. The way I see it, either you are a Dr. Grip person, or you aren’t. Well, it’s taken me 2 1/2 years to review one – I wonder where I stand?

That is a bit unfair right out of the gate, but I have had a Pilot Dr. Grip around the house and office for years, but never really fell in love with it. In fact, I have the refill swapped out with a Uni-Ball Signo RT ink cartridge and I still rarely use it (I haven’t seen what other refills fit this model yet). I think it is the grip part of the Dr. Grip that I am not crazy about in my older model. It is too firm for my liking. The grip in this Full Black model is nicer though, and is one of the big selling points of this pen. Check out the product page at JetPens and you will see that this is a dual layer grip, with a softer inner layer surrounded by a harder, more traditional outer layer. I definitely prefer this newer style grip.

The ink cartridge is very nice, but it is impossible for me to not compare it to a Jetstream, and of course it falls short of that. And if I may unfairly nitpick one thing – this pen is named “Full Black”, but the big chrome pen clip kind of disagrees with that, don’t you think? Believe me, I ordered it full well knowing the clip wasn’t black, but it would be so much cooler if it was.

I hate to be too hard on this pen though, because it is actually very nice. It isn’t for me personally, but if you are a fan of the Dr. Grip line I think you would like this pen a lot.

for the XL review.

Product links:
Pilot Dr. Grip Full Black Dual Layer Grip Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Black Accents from JetPens
Large Writing Pad from Doane Paper

See also:

Review: Uni-Ball Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip Ballpoint 0.7mm

Exploded view:

The Dr. Grip Full Black falls into the category of pens that I think of as “cheap refillables”: non-disposable pens that are inexpensive ($10 or less) and readily available. Previously, I reviewed the Pentel Energel Alloy, and the Pilot G2 Limited, both of which are excellent options if you need a sturdy pen body, enjoy a specific refill, and don’t have a lot of cash to burn. These pens are all readily available at big box office supply stores, and most are Prime-eligible on Amazon. The Dr. Grip Full Black and its sibling, the Dr. Grip Pure White, are available via Amazon as both stand-alone items and lower-priced add-ons. There’s even a Dr. Grip Full Black “Shaky Pencil,” which I’ve not tried.

I’ve always believed that you can get an excellent writing experience in an non-disposable pen for around $10, even at the big box stores. I’d highly recommend you give the Dr. Grip Full Black (or any of the Center of Gravity Pens) a try, especially if you value comfort and ergonomics.

(Note: A few years ago there was a rumor that Pilot was discontinuing the Dr. Grip series. I don’t think that’s the case, since they are still widely available and Pilot has been introducing new models.)

Disclaimer: I purchased the pen featured in this review with my own funds for my own use. This post contains affiliate links. All Amazon prices and availability are subject to change, and only current as of the time and publication of this review.


Image from samsclub.com

As part of my new category about the tools of a writer’s trade, I’d like to introduce you to a tool I couldn’t do without — the Pilot Dr. Grip retractable pen.

First let me explain why this pen in particular has so completely won me over. Even though I love pens, they’ve never loved me. Maybe it’s because I’m a lefty, but pens have never worked satisfyingly for me. Fountain pens will give me a watery little trickle and then stop completely. Other fancy pens won’t even start, no matter how many times I vainly scratch or swipe at the paper. Other pens that are supposed to guarantee a smooth flow, like gel pens, inevitably work well for about five minutes, then start to show gaps in parts of letters. It’s incredibly frustrating. Sure, a good old Bic ball point will work, but it doesn’t look elegant or feel satisfying. I’ve been longing for a high quality pen for years, and never had one that didn’t become spotty just weeks after getting it.

Enter the Pilot Dr. Grip pen. I first got this beauty in my Christmas stocking, and I was immediately blown away by the writing experience. It’s a pleasantly weighty pen, excellently balanced in your hand, with an elegant design and smooth rubber grip. It is technically a ball point pen, but with a smoother, darker flow of ink than I’ve ever had from a ball point. It feels like a fountain pen — but manages like a ball point. The ink flows so smoothly, with almost no scratching, that it soon became my go-to pen for all important writing. This pen saw me through four years of college exam blue-book writing, an entire notebook of notes on new stories, and much more before I needed to change the ink cartridge. More than any other pen I’ve had, this one made me feel like hand-writing was effortless and fun again.

While everyone’s pen experience is different, I can tell you I’ve gotten three of these pens now and won’t use any other for my important writing. I highly recommend the pen and would like to see it in other colors. Right now I’ve only found it in black, but the design of the pen itself comes in a variety of colors.