At one time, I decided that I had to have every pen with a hooded nib and I had an affinity for oversized pens. Conveniently, the Sniper is both.
It is made to order in India by ASA. It took four months for my Sniper to be made, which sounds like a long time, but it is fairly quick for a handmade pen. It arrived in a lovely cloth pouch along with a free Click Falcon, which was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.
This pen is quite unique–like an enlarged cross between a Lamy 2000 and a Parker 51. Under the hood is a modified JoWo #5 nib unit, which allows the user to switch nibs, although the process is more complex than with an open unit.
The body is a matte black brushed ebonite, although ASA’s website has other options available.
Being oversized, the pen has a nice, fat section. This, along with its light weight, make for a comfortable writing experience. The pen technically posts, but it becomes hilariously long and somewhat unwieldy, so I don’t personally do that.
The clip is plain and functional. The fit and finish of the pen, overall, is quite nice–no seams or rough spots, the threads are smooth, and so on. The hood on mine is very slightly asymmetrical, which may really bother some people but I’m willing to give it a pass because of its handmade nature.
I personally wasn’t really impressed with the #5 nib, but it was acceptable out of the box. The beauty of JoWo nibs is that they are ubiquitous and cheap, so the end user can practice nib adjustment without fear of destroying some rare nib or replace them as they see fit. Like all hooded nibs, the hood has to be removed to work on the nib beyond a few simple adjustments, which adds extra steps to the process that may be fairly intimidating for beginning users. The customer service at ASA did impress me, though, so I’m sure they would be accommodating to a customer should they receive a defective nib. That said, the owners are fountain pen people so your pen gets tested before being shipped to you.
Because of the nature of this pen’s design, it can fill from a converter, but excess ink in the hood can get a bit messy, and the converter doesn’t really fill fully. This is not unique to the ASA Sniper–I have other hooded pens that suffer the same or similar issues. This is typically resolved by inverting the pen and expelling air from the converter then filling it again followed by a liberal application of a napkin for excessive ink. If the user prefers eyedropper filled pens or cartridges, this is a non-issue. Either way it’s worth consideration.
Finally, the cap doesn’t have an inner cap to speak of, so the nib dries out a bit when left unused.
Overall, I’m impressed by what I received from ASA, especially given the price–$58 shipped. The pen is quirky to be certain, but a great value, especially considering that it’s handmade and a semi-custom piece.
- Unique, fun, customizable.
- Comfortable writer.
- Good value.
- It’s huge.
- Nib was a little weird out of the box and working on a hooded nib can be a bit trickier.
- One can fill the pen via converter in the traditional sense, but it doesn’t work that great.
- The nib dries out when not used.
- It’s huge.
- Screw cap.
- A very secure/borderline absurd four turns to remove the cap.
- The cap isn’t practically postable.
- Modified JoWo #5 nib unit.
- This one is a Fine.
- Presently only fine and medium are available on ASA’s website, but in theory any #5 nib could be swapped into the special unit, or any JoWo #5 unit could be modified to work.
- This model is not really conducive to easy nib swapping, though.
- Brushed black ebonite.
- Other options are available on Asa’s website.
- Filling system:
- Standard international.
- Long standard international cartridge compatible.
- Eyedropper compatible. I measured a capacity of around 3.4mL.
- Capped: 147mm
- Uncapped: 136mm
- Posted: 180g
- Total: 23g
- Pen: 15g
- Cap: 8g
- Section diameter: