After the initial surge in people starting to use fountain pens as their primary writing instrument a few years back, more and more people have started to upgrade from their original entry-level fountain pens to intermediate price point pens. Due to this, we often see requests for comparisons between a number of different popular intermediate fountain pens on the market as people try to work out what model is best for their needs.
Although Sailor are one of the dominant pen brands in Asia, they have been expanding their market share in the west over the last few decades winning over a large chunk of the market and earning a large user base for their products in the process. Due to this, more and more people have been looking for a direct Sailor Pro Gear vs 1911 comparison article in an attempt to find the best pen for their requirements.
Although the Sailor Pro Gear is probably the most common fountain pen from the Sailor range on the market right now, the Sailor 1911 is actually their flagship model with a steadily growing market share. Although both pens have different names, they are mechanically extremely similar to each other with the main differences being aesthetic with minimal differences in their price tags.
Due to this, we usually just recommend that our readers go with the model that they prefer the look of as you are getting a very similar writing experience from both pens no matter what option you go with. The more traditional fountain pen users tend to prefer the 1911 due to it having the classic cigar fountain pen shape where as younger fountain pen collectors tend to prefer the look of the Pro gear with its flat finial that is a very popular design at the time of writing.
We have out comparison table blow for both models for any of our readers who are short on time and just want the main features of each pen. Below our comparison table we have our more detailed look at both pens to offer as much information as possible for any of our readers looking at purchasing either of these pens.
Sailor Pro Gear Vs 1911 Head To Head
As you can see from our comparison table above, both pens are very similar to each other when it comes to their core features. Please note that we have also used the standard model for each fountain pen line for our comparison table above as they are the most common variants of each pen. There are a number of special edition options or specialist variants of each model that do have slightly different features.
For example, the standard variants of the pens use the controversial Pilot cartridge convertor system where as the Sailor Pro Gear Realo and Sailor 1911 Realo variants of the pens use a piston filler instead. As you would expect though, upgrading to the piston filler variants of either featured pen model does hike the price up but many fountain pen enthusiasts do prefer the piston filler mechanism and its advantages and are willing to pay for it over a cartridge convertor.
As you can see from the images in our comparison table for each fountain pen, the Pro Gear has the flat finial where as the 1911 has the more traditional rounded finial. Other than that, both pens are very similar to each other although they do have slightly different dimensions, weights, and price tags, the actual writing experience that you can expect from them is very similar.
Sailor Pro Gear Review
Starting off our deep dives for the featured pens with the model that is currently the most popular, the Sailor Pro Gear that saw an initial spike in its popularity a few years back but has managed to see steady, sustained growth since. Dye to the slightly lower price tag of the Sailor Pro Gear, it tends to be the default option for anyone looking for an excellent fountain pen at the lowest possible price tag.
The Sailor Pro Gear Nib
That majority of the Sailor Pro Gear nibs are made from 21 carat gold but there are some special edition releases that have a different carat rating than the standard nib for the pen. The 21 carat gold nib is unique to Sailor as no other large pen brand use the carat rating in their nibs but due to the more rigid designs of Sailor nibs, the higher gold content doesn’t offer as much value over a standard stainless steel nib as you may think.
Although they do tend to keep some of the natural movement of your hand when writing with the pen, it is no where near the level of something like a Pelikan m400 that does a much better job of keeping the natural movements of your hand when writing due to its higher flex, the Sailor range does a decent job. That said, some people do prefer the rigid nibs that offer a similar writing experience to a ballpoint or rollerball pen so if you want something with a stiffer nib then the Sailor range is perfect for you.
The Sailor Pro Gear is available with the standard extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad nib sizes as standard with most stationary shops stocking them due to their popularity. Although they are harder to come by in the west unless you specifically order them, the Pro Gear is also available with an oblique nib for anyone who prefers them over standard nibs. This helps to score the Sailor range some points as the only other decent pen at this price point that comes with an oblique nib is the Lamy 2000 allowing them to dominate the oblique nib sub-niche.
One of the main differences about the Sailor range of fountain pens that may catch out some of our readers is that they are a Japanese pen brand. The majority of Asian pen brands tend to run a little smaller than their western counterparts when it comes to their nib sizes. For example, the medium fine Sailor Pro Gear will write with a similar font to the Lamy 2000 fine nib. If you are used to using a western pen brand then be sure to up size your nib to keep a similar font size to what you are used to.
The Sailor Pro Gear is not actually as wet of a writer as some people think and although the nib is wetter than a standard nib, it is no where near as wet when writing as something from the Pelikan range for example. Sailor have done a good job of ensuring that their nibs are wet enough for a nice smooth writing experience but not so wet that they may cause you issues with bleeding, ghosting or smudging when writing.
Although it should not be a major issue, if you are left-handed then it may be an idea to use faster drying ink cartridges in your Sailor Pro Gear rather than the standard ones from Sailor. As they are the same price this should not be an issue but it can definitely help to reduce any smearing for left-handed writers who write at a fast pace.
Although some pens can have issues with their extra-fine and to some extent fine nibs when writing on low GSM paper, the Pilot nibs tend to do well no matter what paper you are writing on offering you a nice and smooth writing experience no matter what. This can make the Sailor Pro Gear an ideal fountain pen for work where you may have to sign forms from different suppliers where the paper is all of different standards.
The Barrel Of The Sailor Pro Gear
The barrel of the Sailor Pro Gear is made from high-quality resin that helps to score it some points over pens from some other brands in this price point. Although many of the more established fountain pen brands do use resin for their barrels, there are still some that use brass, stainless steel or plastic. Although these have their own advantages and disadvantages, resin has all the advantages of each without having the disadvantages making it the better option.
As we pointed out above, the barrels of the standard Sailor Pro Gear contains the cartridge convertor system for the pen and the Sailor cartridge converter can defiantly be hit and miss. Although you will usually have no issues with the system, there are some people who report having issues with ink supply to the feed not being consistent or issues with the cartridge leaking once mounted. Although all brands that use a convertor do tend to have these issues, it does seem to be slightly higher with the current Sailor converter.
This is why we usually recommend that our readers consider going with the Sailor Pro Gear Realo instead due to it using a piston filler rather than a cartridge convertor. We know a large number of our readers prefer to use a piston filler anyway and will be opting for the Realo varian of the Sailor Pro Gear no matter what but we just wanted to make our readers aware that there is a variant of the pen that comes with a piston filler as most people in the west seem to think that Pilot fountain pens are all convertors.
Another advantage that the Sailor range has over some of the competing fountain pen brands out there is that the Sailor Pro Gear is available in a huge range of colors. Some brands will only release their pens with a barrel that is only available in a small number of colors but Sailor have a wide range to fit all tastes. Additionally, Sailor also releases regional color schemes for their pens too that can hold their resale value very well for fountain pen collectors in other regions where that specific color is not available.
The Sailor Pro Gear Cap
The main difference between the Sailor Pro Gear and the Sailor 1911 is the visual design of the cap with the Pro gear having a flat finial with the Sailor logo on it where as the 1911 has a dome finial. Realistically, this makes no difference in the performance of the pen and is purely visual and why we recommend that our readers simply go for the pen that meets their budget or that they like the look of more.
The cap of the pen is made from the same high-quality resin as the body of the pen but there have been reports of the cap scratching the resin on the body when posting the cap. Although this does seem to be a rare occurrence, it is definitely something to be aware of if you do choose to go with the Sailor Pro Gear.
Speaking of posting the pen, the design and engineering of the Sailor Pro Gear ensures that the pen is balanced when posted and that the weight of the cap does not cause any issues when it comes to writing with the pen while posted. Although this should be standard for all pens in this day and age, there are still some issues, usually with pens made from brass or stainless steel that results in the pen back weighting when posting and making it a pain to write with.
The Sailor Pro Gear cap uses a twist-lock system to lock the cap in place when not in use helping to keep the barrel of the pen attached to the cap to prevent it from going missing. Although this is common at this price point for modern pens, some of the older variants of pens from other brands may have the push-to-lock system that seems to being phased out for higher price point fountain pens.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Sailor Pro Gear
As the standard Sailor Pro Gear uses a cartridge convertor system for ink storage and delivery, the regular variant of the pen does not have an ink reservoir and the maximum ink supply for the pen will depend on the size of the ink cartridge that you use. Although we do tend to agree with Sailor that you should always use their branded cartridges with your Sailor Pro Gear, there are a number of different ones that can mount to your pen from the Sailor range as well as a number for third-parties with different ink capacities.
The Sailor Pro Gear Realo that comes with the piston filler system has a maximum ink capacity of only 0.9ml and although this will probably be enough for most people, it is just below average for all fountain pens, never mind the competition at this price point. Provided you know you will always have easy access to your ink for a refill when needed though, this should not be a major issue for you.
Sailor Pro Gear Writing Samples
Sailor 1911 Review
Moving on, we will be talking about the Sailor 1911 and due to the pen having so many similarities with the Sailor Pro Gear that we have covered above, this section will be shorter than our review above to prevent us from having to repeat so many things. As we touched on above though, if you prefer the visual aspect of the Sailor 1911 then go with the 1911, if you prefer the visuals of the Sailor Pro Gear then go with that.
The Sailor 1911 Nib
The most common variant of the Sailor 1911’s nib is also made from 21 carat gold just like the Sailor Pro Gear but the but the 14 carat gold nib variant of the 1911 is much more common and easier to source than the 14 carat nib for the Sailor Pro Gear. This often allows people to pick up the Sailor 1911 with the 14 carat gold nib without breaking the bank making it an increasingly popular option.
As we touched on earlier in the article, as the nibs of the Pilot fountain pens tend to be more rigid than that of some other brands, the higher gold carat ranting of going for the 21 carat nib offers less benefit than usual. Due to this, a large number of people do opt to go with the 14 carat nib to save money and have a very similar writing experience than they would get with the 21 carat nib.
The Sailor 1911 is also available in the same standard nib sizes as the Sailor Pro Gear coming in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad meaning that there options available to meet the needs for the vast majority of people. Remember, Sailor are a Japanese pen brand so sizing up when it comes to your nib size is usually a good idea if you usually use a western fountain pen brand due to the size differences but same names for each nib point.
The 14-carat gold nib variant of the Sailor 1911 does tend to be a wetter writer than the 21-carat gold nib variant of the pen as well as the 21-carat nib Sailor Pro Gear. This does offer a slightly better writing experience for most people when writing on low quality, low GSM paper but can have the same issues with smearing for anyone who is left-handed.
The Barrel Of The Sailor 1911
The barrel of all variants of the Sailor 1911 is also made from the same high-quality PMMA resin as the barrels of the Sailor Pro Gear offering you the same tough quality while also being surprisingly lightweight at the same time. This can help to ensure that your Sailor 1911 is able to last you for decades to come and take any bumps or knocks coming its way without having any serious issues along the way.
Although the Sailor 1911 is the flagship fountain pen from the Sailor range, we really do feel that Sailor have managed to shoot themselves in the foot by not putting a piston filler in it as standard. The Sailor cartridge convertor system can have issues and the price hike from the standard 1911 to the Sailor 1911 Realo is probably enough to push people to go with compeating fountain pens.
The Lamy 2000 is probably the best alternative at the lower end of the intermediate price point with the Pelikan m400 being a decent alternative at the upper end of the price point. Both pens come with a piston filler as standard and can make excellent alternatives to both the Sailor 1911 and Sailor Pro Gear if you are set on wanting a piston filler in your fountain pen.
Just like all other fountain pens in the Pilot range, the Sailor 1911 is available in a wide range of colors and trims with regional special editions available for limited periods of time. Unlike the Sailor Pro Gear, some of the special editions for the Sailor 1911 can fetch a heft premium on the resale market as fountain pen collectors in other regions.
The Sailor 1911 Cap
As we mentioned above, the main difference between the Sailor 1911 and the Sailor Pro Gear is the visual aspect of the cap and base of the pen with the Sailor 1911 having a more traditional, cigar shape to it rather than the flatter, more modern design of the Sailor Pro Gear. A large number of people still do prefer the old school cigar shape though and it seems to be one of the main reasons that the 1911 is seeing steady growth in its sales amongst the fountain pen owning community.
The cap of the 1911 is also made from PMMA resin and although it is slightly larger than the cap on the Sailor Pro Gear, it still has no issues with back weighting the pen and causing problems when writing with the cap posted. In addition to this, the slightly different design of the 1911 cap seems to do better when posted to help prevent any issues with scratching the barrel too.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Sailor 1911
Just like the other standard variants of the pens from the Sailor range, the maximum ink capacity of your 1911 is going to depend on the ink cartridge that you use with the pen during use. The official Sailor cartridges usually range from 0.9ml to 1.2ml with some third-party brands offering a slightly larger ink capacity but we tend to recommend you stick with the Sailor ink cartridges to reduce the risk of having any issues during use.
On top of this, the Sailor 1911 Realo that does come with a piston filler system has the same issue as the rest of the Realo variants in the Sailor range with it having a maximum ink capacity of 0.9ml. As we have mentioned earlier in the article, this tends not to be much of an issue for if you have constant access to your ink bottle to refill the pen as required but it can be something that causes people to go with something like the Lamy 2000 or Pelikan m400.
Sailor 1911 Writing Samples
That brings our article going over our Sailor Pro Gear Vs 1911 comparison to a close. We hope that you have found our article helpful and although the Sailor Pro Gear does have larger market share and a slightly lower price tag than the Sailor 1911 both pens have their place in the market with the 1911 growing at a steady rate. Due to both pens being almost identical mechanically, the choice really does come down to personal preference of the visual aspect of the pens.