Do you ever have those moments where you discover something great that you had completely forgotten about? A year or so ago I threw a couple of inexpensive retractable ballpoint pens into my shopping cart during an Office Depot run, intending to keep them around as utility pens and, eventually, to review them on the blog. I discovered them again in my wife's car this past weekend while moving some furniture. One of them was this Dr. Grip Full Black, and I've been using it off-and-on since.
The Dr. Grip Full Black is the "stealth" entry in Pilot's long running, and very popular, Dr. Grip series. Loved for their comfort more than their looks, Pilot advertises Dr. Grip pens as intended for "students, office workers, or anyone who writes a lot and requires a comfortable pen in their hand." The Dr. Grip series has also received an Ease-of-Use Commendation from the Arthritis Foundation, because it's "easier to use for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand problems." The central feature of the Dr. Grip series is the wide, comfortable rubber grip.
The Dr. Grip Full Black uses Pilot's Dr. Grip "Center of Gravity" ballpoint refill, which from what I can tell comes only in a medium point. Though a touch wide for my taste, it's one of the smoothest standard ballpoint refills out there on the market, and it writes a consistent dark black line. The "Center of Gravity" line of Dr. Grip pens claims to be better balanced than the standard Dr. Grip, and I suppose it is. Taking into account the cushioned grip, overall balance, and light weight, this is a very comfortable pen to write with.
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.