There’s no doubt that Zebra’s got a hit with their 301 series of retractable stainless steel pens. There was a stretch of time when the F-301 – the original ballpoint version – was my everyday, go-to pen. While I’ve since moved on, there seems to have been an explosion of the 301 series. They’ve got the M-301 (mechanical pencil), the H-301 (highlighter), and even a fountain pen they’ve called the V-301. Because I’m more of a gel pen user, I was pretty excited to pick up the gel version of this pen called – you guessed it – the G-301.
I feel no shame in stating that I love the design of the 301 pens. It’s the kind of pen a cop would use to write your speeding ticket. Like the others in the series, the G-301 has a thin, stainless steel body with a black, hard-plastic grip. The thinner barrel design is not something that everybody would enjoy, but I find that it suits my grip-style very well.
Unfortunately, while I loved holding the pen, I really didn’t like writing with it. Its gel ink runs so quickly that it feels very slippery while writing, and though it’s a 0.7mm tip, the line it dispenses ends up looking like a 1.0mm or higher. I like the darkness of the ink, but it smears like crazy. I also had problems with the grip frequently becoming very slightly unthreaded from the barrel, causing the ink cartridge inside to rattle around when writing.