Alternatives to the CON-40

The Pilot CON-40 converter has often been criticized as being difficult to use and difficult to get a full fill in. This is such a problem that Goulet Pens issued a “life hack” video giving their tips for filling the converter completely, and even asked John Lane of Pilot USA directly about why the CON-40 was so disappointing.

But luckily—as you know, since you've read the title of this post—there are a number of alternatives.

Currently in-production

CON-70

The longer button-fill converter which comes with the Custom 74 will also fit in some of the lower end pens. Capacity is ~1.0 ml.

Wing Sung 659 converter

This converter comes with the Wing Sung 659 fountain pen, and can be purchased separately on eBay or AliExpress. Capacity is ~0.7 ml.

The design resembles a CON-50 but is longer in length, and thus higher-capacity. It has a weight agitator similar to the CON-50.

Moonman A1/A2 converter

This converter comes with the Moonman (Majohn) A1 and A2 pens, which are nib-unit compatible with the Capless/Decimo. The converter is a traditional screw piston design similar to older versions of the CON-50 without agitator. It's a similar length to a Pilot cartridge. However, the capacity is low compared to the above two options. Capacity is ~0.5 ml.

This can be purchased separately from the pen, and comes in a kit with the converter, 1 empty refillable cartridge with stopper, and a pipette.

CON-B

The squeeze converter that comes with the MR in some markets has decent capacity, more than the CON-40, and works OK. However, some people find it hard to use or have had issues with leaking, or the sac sticking and not re-expanding. It also doesn't fill up all the way unlike the CON-20. Still, it is an option. Opaque, so you cannot see the amount of ink you have left. Capacity is ~0.9 ml.

Some people describe this as useful cleaning tool to flush pens with.

Out of production

CON-50

The converter that used to come with the Capless can occasionally still be found NOS on eBay or local marketplaces. Some versions have a weight that acts as an agitator. It's a similar length to a Pilot cartridge. Low capacity but works well. Capacity is ~0.5 ml.

CON-20

This aerometric converter has the second highest capacity after the CON-70, and is the same size as a cartridge but slightly wider. This was the standard converter on Pilot pens for decades until the CON-70 and CON-50 came along. The biggest con is that it's opaque so you can't tell how much ink you have left. Capacity is ~1.0 mL.

Refilling cartridges

You may also decide just to refill cartridges. You can use blunt ink syringes which are widely available on major marketplaces for inkjet cartridge refilling. If you don't already have cartridges, you can buy one pack of IC-50, use up the ink, and then use the empties for refilling. A Pilot cartridge is quite sturdy and should take about 15-20 fills before you get a crack or leak. Each cartridge holds ~0.9 mL.

An alternative if you don't want to buy Pilot cartridges is the Moonman A1 refillable cartridge kit. This comes in a carrying case with 5 empty cartridges which have rubber stoppers; this allows you to prefill them with your preferred ink and then store them in the carrying case to use on the go. It also comes with a pipette to use for filling, as an alternative to a syringe.

More resources