It has been a while since a multitool has come along that has generated so much excitement and anticipation as Gerber is doing with the new
Center Drive Multitool.
I don’t believe any tool has created this much of a stir since the releases of the Victorinox Spirit and Leatherman Skeletool. Best of all we should have one on the way shortly for a review!
According to our friends over at Knifenews.com (full story HERE) the famous firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson has purchased Taylor Brands LLC for $85 million. For those who don't know, Taylor has long produced knives and multitools with the Smith & Wesson name on them, and I have often commented on the quality (more accurately, the lack therof) of Taylor knives, whether they are marked S&W, Schrade, Uncle Henry or Imperial.
For years I had labored under the impression that the folks at S&W were blissfully unaware of the crap that Taylor was producing with their name on it- I am a big fan of Smith & Wesson firearms, and that name has become (in my mind at least) synonomous with quality revolvers. I had assumed that someone at Taylor had arranged for a dump truck full of cash to arrive on a bi-monthly schedule at the house of S&W's licensing manager, and that as a result, he or she just didn't ask any questions. It seems that isn't the case, and that S&W is fully aware of the crap that Taylor is producing, and that is very disapointing to me.
The worst part is that S&W doesn't appear to even want to fix it- they seem content to merely take advantage of the distribution network that Taylor has, so that they can make their own in house accessories more available. As if having their name on crappy knives wasn't damaging enough to the brand, now Smith & Wesson will be selling their actual merchandise on the shelves right next to crud, strengthening the connection.
This is one of those times when I really hope I am wrong. As I said, I have lots of respect for S&W, and I hate to see them take a bad decision (like giving a license to Taylor in the first place) and make it worse.
Pry tools seem to be a dime a dozen these days with everyone wanting to get in on the action. Pry tools used to be something only the higher end knife makers made as a way to save users from using their knives in ways they were not intended to be used. Since the Atwood craze, the mafket has been flooded by all kinds of styles and designs. Some are very creative and interesting while others giving you the impression that they are out to make a buck.
Today’s market is filled with off brand Multi-tools, most of them are copies, clones of Leatherman’s butterfly style pliers or Swiss Army knife style pocket knife. The Piranha Multi-tool is an exception, it has interesting design but shockingly, no one claim the credit of designing such tool.
Before I bought the Gerber Mini Suspension-P, I'd never owned a Gerber multi tool, so I wasn't sure quite what to expect. I've owned a couple of Gerber knives over the years and I was very impressed with them, and I'd had my eye on the Gerber Suspension multi tool for a while now. (The Paraframe is still, for my money, one of the best pocket knives there is.)
Then recently I saw the Mini Suspension-P at Home Depot for about $10. The price was right, so I took a chance and bought it. After carrying it and using it for a couple of weeks now, I have to say I'm a little let down.
Every now and then I see a cheapo tool, and think “that might actually be worth trying”. Sometimes it’s a huge waste of money, and other times you end up with a very useful tool for very little cost. Several months ago, I saw some details of one of these little tempters, but was unable to actually track one down ..... till about two weeks ago. As soon as I saw it, I ordered it. It arrived only a day or two ago, and figured it would be rude not to review it.
Tools are often based on a particular function, be it pliers, scissors, or sometimes even a flashlight. This particular multitool is based on the humble utility knife, known generically here as a Stanley knife. The fact that this is actually a Stanley FatMax model did give me some confidence, as it is a brand I have had good products from in the past.
After Gerber’s sliding plier head patent expired, Leatherman decided to try their hand on this particular design, and their first offering is the OHT. It’s a large tool aimed at the tactical/EMT crowd. Leatherman doesn’t say what OHT stands for, but I’m guessing there probably is a One Hand somewhere. It comes with a MOLLE compatible sheath which will also work with belt.
Most parts of the tool are finished with black oxide coating, and handle scales come in either tan or black. Black oxide finish isn't particularly wear resistant, so expect the black to fade with use. The scales are painted stamped sheet metal, despite my initial impression of anodized aluminum.
Lost in a sea of better known competition, the T10 Multitool by IDL Tools is a lesser known, but not lesser quality, contender.
The tool is all stainless steel construction, and held together with peened pins. The tool is 2" (51mm) long, 1 1/8" (29mm) wide, and an incredibly thin 5/16" (including pins. Without them, it's only 1/4" (6.5mm) thick. Weight is 1.7 oz (49g).
Here is the tool folded up.
It wasn't a planned purchase. I didn't even know it existed until I saw it in the display case at the Brigade Quartermaster on Ft. Stewart more than a year and a half ago. I liked the idea of having a small tool to carry on my keys, since the Gerber MP600 I was issued was too big and bulky to carry out of uniform. I purchased the tool for around $20. It has been on my keys ever since.
I have been aware of the Gerber Curve for quite some time now and was attracted to it for it’s organic shape, locking implements and minuscule size. I was just never able to justify paying $10 for the tool and $5 shipping. I found one while browsing in a Dick’s store about two weeks ago. Its the first time I’ve seen one in a store, and seeing it in person made me want it even more. I ignored the $15 price and bought it.
An often-overlooked entry into the keychain size MT market is the SOG Crosscut. I was talked into buying one from ‘Sharper Image’ or some such mall shop many years ago, and as overpriced as it was, I would have paid it again. The original Crosscut was an absolutely excellent tool. It has been replaced by the Crosscut 2.0, with only a few refinements, and a fairly major drop in build quality since production switched from the United States to China. While it’s not what it used to be, it’s still an excellent option for keychain carry.
These tools are a bit like fraternal twins, at first glance they look nearly identical however they are very capable individuals. Both tools are lower cost options in the full size category from Leatherman but don’t be misled by cost alone as they are no Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson or Ethel to Lucy. The Wingman is a trusted friend and companion and the Sidekick a competent multitool ready for a task. I feel Leatherman nailed these offerings, though not just for the budget minded consumer but for anyone looking for a tool to do exactly what it was designed to do, which is perform.
When you need pliers on the go a multitool is great to have. But what about when that multitool feels like a brick in your pocket? Sheaths are an option but not everyone wants one on their side and not everyone wears a belt. There are also keychain tools, but the pliers on them are too small for many tasks. So what do you do? You get a Leatherman Mini-Tool.
Locking pliers are a feature seldom explored by the multitool manufacturers, and not a tool I frequently need – but when you do need them, nothing else will suffice. Gerber entered the fray with the Grappler which features one hand deployable locking pliers (one fixed jaw and one movable one) with anvil style wire cutters. On the outside of the tool are four additional one hand opening tools, which means this was the world’s first full sized multitool where everything can be opened one handed, despite conflicting claims from elsewhere.
For years, I never understood the allure of one-piece multitools (OPMTs). I have carried plier-based MTs for as long as I can remember, and I always thought the OPMTs (One Piece Multi Tools)were too small to be of any real use... and besides, I already had full functionality with my plier-based MT, right? Then one day, it dawned on me -- one of these OPMTs could complement my usual EDC! After doing some research, I settled on a TT Chopper from, and now I wonder how I lived without it.
The Chopper is made from 3/16” thick 154CM stainless steel and loaded with features. (pictured next to a Victorinox Classic and a Leatherman Micra for size reference)
How useful a review of a discontinued Leatherman pocket multitool might be? Well it depends. The Leatherman Juice Pro has very subtle differences from the Juice's line flagship, the Xe6. Essentially it just adds two hidden small tools, a pair of tweezers and a small curved blade with mini serrations, known as a foil cutter. Thus, a potential buyer of the Xe6 might find this review helpful.