Karas Kustoms pens comparison – metals and finishes overview

Karas Kustoms Pens
Karas Kustoms Pen Variety
Karas Kustoms makes many different machined pens, it’s just figuring out what which one is best for you. Left to right: Aluminium Mini Render K, Tumbled Aluminum G2 Bolt, Tumbled Copper EDK, Tumbled Aluminum EDK, Brass Render K, Aluminum Render K, Copper Bolt, and the Brass RETRAKT.

I first found Karas Kustoms on a Kickstarter Campaign back in December of 2011 and I received my aluminum Render K in early 2012. There was something about a pen machined in the USA that could stand the test of time. It’s been exactly what they promised it’d be, as it’s been a core part of my EDC since then. There are some other great brands out there, but I often come back to my Render K. I’ve put this pen through tough daily use and the marks on it tell that story.

When I launched Option Gray in 2014, Karas Kustoms was a must brand to carry. We are proud to offer a lot of options from Karas Kustoms, from the Render K to the EDK, from aluminum to copper.

If you’re on the hunt for a machined pen from Karas Kustoms, the choices you have can be overwhelming. I wanted to put together a quick overview so you can better understand the metals, finishes, and models. 

Video overview

Here is an overview video so you can see for yourself which Karas Kustoms pen is best for you.

Different types of metals

There are three main metals when you’re choosing a Karas Kustoms Pen, with each one having its own pros and cons.


Karas Kustom Aluminum Render K Mini with flashlight, notebook, and knife
At less than 1.1 ounces in weight, the Aluminium Render K Mini is the smallest and lightest weight Karas Kustoms pen.

Available in both tumbled and polished, aluminum is the lightest of the Karas Kustoms pens. I show you examples of both in the video above. One has been through 6+ years of daily pocket carry, so it shows a ton of character. It has developed different nicks and scratches and dings, which I really like. In my previous life, I had a job where I had to travel a good distance every day, constantly taking notes. The markings on this pen really show that and will be a great gift for me to give my son one day.

I also show you a polished aluminum RETRAKT that mostly stays on my desk. It hardly shows any signs of use because I don’t pocket carry it. The shine and circular marks from polishing can still be seen, even though I’ve used it for about 3 years.

Hands down aluminum is the best option if you’re wanting to pocket carry your pen as part of your Primary EDC. I have pretty large hands (I’m 6’2″) so for longer use during the day (taking notes during meetings, having to capture investigative notes, etc.) a bigger pen is usually best. Small, pocket-friendly pens that are made out of heavier metals are better for shorter use or as a backup pen.

Aluminum offers the utility of a larger pen without the weight. It makes it a really good option during the summer months since most of my shorts are lightweight. Here in Texas, it gets HOT and I try to go for a lightweight EDC.

Also, aluminum does not tarnish (patina), like brass and copper, so the color will stay the same.


Karas Kustoms Brass RETRAKT and Otter Messer knife
The Brass RETRAKT is a clicky-style pen that comes in at 2.5 ounces.

Brass is a really awesome metal. It pairs so nicely with leather and has an old-world look to it. For a machined pen, you get a unique look that will really stand out against someone carrying a free bank pen.

Brass will patina with use, developing a color that is unique to you. It reacts to the oils on your skin and the environment you’re in (dry versus humid). If you prefer the bright shine of raw brass, you can decide to polish any of the Karas Kustoms brass pens, but I let my brass pens age naturally.

If I’m wearing canvas or denim pants, I consider a brass pen because it’s quite a bit heavier than aluminum. Where I usually keep my brass pen is in my briefcase or backpack. Keeping it in my Secondary EDC prevents it from being in my pocket, but I still use it for meetings away from the office.


Karas Kustoms Copper EDK with Syperco, word notebook, and Fenix flashlight
The Copper EDK is a compact Karas Kustoms option, as it’s only 2.1 ounces in weight.

Very similar to brass, copper is heavy compared to aluminum but about the same in weight when compared to brass. Even though it doesn’t work that well for summer attire, my copper Bolt pen is my favorite Karas Kustoms pen in terms of looks. 

It also has an old-world look to it as the patina develops. In terms of looks and aging, I like to compare it to leather. The result after a few months of carrying it daily will look nothing like it did when you first bought it. It really does get better with time. It’ll have colors ranging from matte chocolate to an orange or gold. 

The EDK or Mini Render K are both good EDC pens if you are wanting the uniqueness of copper but in a compact size, reducing weight. But if you are looking for an awesome desk or Secondary EDC pen, you’ll be happy with any model in copper.

Let’s just say my Bolt isn’t a pen I want to lend to others …

Different finishes

Tumbled Aluminum Bolt Pilot G2, Polished Aluminum Bolt Pilot G2, Tumbled Aluminum Bolt, and the Polished Aluminum Bolt
Left to right is a Tumbled Aluminum Bolt Pilot G2, Polished Aluminum Bolt Pilot G2, Tumbled Aluminum Bolt, and the Polished Aluminum Bolt.

There are two important finishes to consider when picking a Karas Kustoms pen. 


Tumbled is well, tumbled metal. The pen bodies and parts are put into a barrel and then rotated, which polishes and brightens the metal until it reaches its final look. It produces a matte color to the different metals, versus the shiny look that polished gives off.

Overall, the tumbled finish is a more raw looking. Nicks and scratches aren’t going to be as noticeable in the tumbled finish.

The EDK pens only come in a tumbled finish. 


Polished gives each pen a more finished look. You can really notice the difference between aluminum and copper. The copper will be a bright and reflective color.

Hope you’ve found this helpful. The great news is that you can’t go wrong with a Karas Kustoms pen. No matter if you’re wanting a super lightweight aluminum or an incredibly unique copper, you’re getting a machined pen that will stand the test of time.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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