October 17, 2013

Leatherman Surge Review

The Leatherman Surge is a titanic multi tool. The Surge is truly a beast of a tool. The Surge is a bruiser, made to be beaten up, tossed around, and worked hard. The Surge is one of Leatherman’s largest multi tools and it is tough to beat.

At first sight the Surge is an eye pleasing multi tool. This obviously really shouldn’t be a huge factor in picking a multi tool, but none the less there is no reason function can’t look good. Beauty and function should go hand in hand. It is kind of like a Corvette, a beautiful car that flies down the road. The overall design in devoid of excess markings, which I like because I hate owning a billboard on my multi tool. The finish is a smooth stainless steel, and has the right kind of shine to catch your eye. The tools are all designed for function, but are smooth and appear almost artisan in nature.

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The first thing you notice picking the Leatherman Surge up is the weight. This thing is a lineman, it weighs twelve and a half ounces. This multi tool is nearly a pound of metal, and you feel a certain surety when it comes to the weight this tool packs. This multi tool was not built to be delicate with.

The Leatherman Multi Tool packs 18 tools in its bad self. The Surge is built to be on a job site, while it is also suitable for the outdoors type. An electrician, a carpenter, or anyone whose job is to build things will love this multi tool.

Leatherman Surge Review – Pliers

First off the pliers are what you’ve come to expect from Leatherman. Able to twist, grip, bend, and do anything you need it to. The pliers are larger than any pocket multi tool pliers. In fact, Leatherman claims these are the longest they’ve ever made. The pliers are more reinforced than normal and have more squeezing force than most. The wire cutters were tough as nails, literally I went out and cut nails with these things. Will I ever really have to cut a nail? No probably not, but I can.

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Leatherman Surge Blade and Saw

The heavy and durable 420HC steel blade is also an extra-large tool. This is also the largest blade Leatherman has ever put on their multi tools. The edge holds very well, and after a hard day of work it still smoothly cut through rope, paracord, and twine. I also had to cut a plant out of a pot on a recent landscaping job and this thing slid right through the plastic pot.

The small saw included was a powerhouse as well. It was perfect for trimming some tight quarter carpentry work. The blade cut extremely well, and I have a lot of confidence in that little saw. The Leatherman Surge also includes a wood and metal file as well as a diamond coated file, which are perfect for both small wood craftsmanship and some emergency metal trimming. The files are tough and actually work very well for the niche they fill.

Leatherman Surge Tools

As I mentioned before this is a great tool for the various kinds of construction you’ll see on a job site. Just for an electrician you have a wire stripper and an electrical crimping tool. These do not feel like add on tools either, but tools an electrician could really use at any moment. I’m not an electrician, but I’ve shocked myself more than a few times, so take my opinion for what it is.

Even if you don’t swing a hammer for a living you are going to run into screws, that just part of life. Ever needed half a dozen different sizes of screw drivers? If you said no, then you don’t have kids on Christmas who love electronics.  The Surge can take care of you though. The Surge features a large bit driver, a small bit driver, and a large screw driver. The bit drivers are also compatible with the Leatherman bit extender, for when you need a little extra reach. There are a large variety of sizes and types of bits the Leatherman Surge can utilize, so the likelihood of you coming up empty handed is low.

The scissors are also the toughest pair I’ve come across on a multi tool. They feel and are strong. I used these to cut 550 cord, plastic, paper, and even thin wire. The scissors are often overlooked on a multi-tool, but in my opinion can be easier to cut some materials than a knife blade.

You also have a tough as hell awl, that comes with a threaded loop for stitching if necessary. Of course a 9 inch ruler is included. You also have a can opener and a bottle opener for a lunch or an after work beer.

My favorite feature of this knife is the unique blade exchanger allowing you to attach different blades. I experimented with a few different brands, and Dewalt fit very well, I couldn’t find any Bosch blades that allowed the Surge to close. This did give me the idea that I could use larger blades if I needed, and blades are cheap and easy to pack.

While the model I tested had a stainless finish there is a black oxide finish available as well. The black oxide finish is incredibly tough and resistant to corrosion and chipping. There are a variety of sheaths available for this beast, leather, nylon, and even a MOLLE sheath. The MOLLE sheath comes in large and extra-large, I found the extra-large sheath much easier to remove the tool, but the large offered more retention. Also available is a removable pocket clip if you choose not to go the sheath route.

The Leatherman Surge is definitely the way you go when you’re looking for a full size multi tool. The strength and quality of craftsmanship is amazing. The amount of tools makes it incredibly versatile. The Surge does have weight issues, but on a sheath is comfortable, in a pocket you’ll find it filling.

Let us know what do you think about this Leatherman Surge Review in the comment section. We appreciate all your feedback.

 

Leatherman MUT Multi Tool Review

There is a simple truth when it comes to a few things in life, taxes will always be paid, no one lives forever and guns get dirty. Perhaps the next great advance in firearms will be the self-cleaning gun or ammunition that doesn’t leave residue. Until then though we buy cleaning kits, oils, solvents, and tools to break weapons down to the smallest pieces. This is where the Leatherman MUT Multi Tool comes in.

First thing to mention in this Leatherman MUT review, Leatherman has always been my go to company for multi tools and you can see we have ranked many Leatherman multi tools on the chart, because they are unique in quality and performance. I’ve packed one variant or another for the last five years. I own multiple sizes for multiple jobs, and I love when one wears out so I can buy a newer model. Don’t get me wrong, wearing one out is a challenge. Leatherman’s quality is infused in every tool they release.

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The Leatherman MUT tool is unique, in the fact it was designed for shooters, for people of the gun. The MUT is at home hanging off a Marine’s flak jacket overseas, hooked on the duty belt of law enforcement officers, and in the pocket of the shooting enthusiasts. The MUT is the perfect tool to aid in basic maintenance and especially cleaning of a firearm. The multi tool is most useful when using it with the AR series of rifles, which most military and law enforcement will be armed with, and are one of the most popular civilian rifles in the market.

The MUT multi tool is no just a tool for weapon’s maintenance. The tool does feature some of the same tools Leatherman has always featured.  Let’s start with the Pliers. The pliers of the MUT multi tool have been over engineered, and designed to be stronger and last longer. They are noticeably bigger, but the increased durability is well worth it.

The wire cutters have always been the Achilles heel of pliers. They are used for a variety of purposes, and this isn’t always to cut wires. Wire cutters are a valuable tool, but do wear out. The MUT features a removable and replaceable set of wire cutters. Being able to replace these wire cutters is a blessing. Let’s face it, most of us wear out a pair of wire cutters and then deal with it. We let it go for a time, but the frustration of having bad wire cutters will be more and more frustrated until it gets the best of us and we replace the multi tool. So it’s a cheaper and more affordable option to just replace the wire cutters.

Leatherman also impressed the hell out of me with the way they redesigned the screw drivers. Honestly I can’t believe it took this long to engineer the screw drivers the way Leatherman did with the MUT. Previous multi tools treated screw drivers as tools that folded out like every other attachment, usually being stuck with one Phillips head. The MUT uses multiple heads that attach to a bit driver. The different screw driver heads are stored securely on the knife. The bits included are different sizes and types including a two Phillips, a Torx and a Hex.  You can also order back up bits, just in case you extra.

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Of course the MUT tool includes a high quality knife and saw blade. The knife blade is three inches, which in most localities is perfectly legal to carry. The MUT has a replaceable cutting hook that can become a makeshift strap cutter.  The carabineer can also be used as a bottle opener; I guess a cold beer while you clean your firearm is perfectly called for. A bottle opener is another tool you don’t think about needing, until your staring at beer and debating damaging your counter to open it.

Let’s talk about what makes the Leatherman MUT a little different than the rest of the multi tools out there and why gun owners will love it. It features a bolt over ride tool, so what exactly is this? Well, a bolt override tool is needed when a piece of brass gets stuck between the roof of the receiver, near the gas tube, and the top of the bolt. The override tool is used to pull the bolt back when the charging handle fails, and using your fingers isn’t an option. This feature is extremely useful in order to keep your gun in good conditions and avoid any unsafely gun cleaning practices.

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Next we have a punch, and punch is probably the simplest tool when it comes to guns. It’s a simply a piece of straight steel that can be used ten times over for different things. First the Leatherman MUT’s punch is absolutely perfect for disassembling the trigger group on an AR 15. Sometimes you have that stack pin, take down bolt, or even a stiff mag that needs some encouragement to download.

Cleaning stuck on carbon in a gun is a double edged sword. Stuck on carbon needs to come off, but what is the benefit of cleaning a weapon at the cost of scratching the finish? The MUT multi tool includes a bronze scraper. Bronze is a softer metal, and the scraper is designed to remove carbon without scratching or damaging the finish. The design and shape of the tool makes it easy to reach smaller and harder to reach areas.

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The MUT also has the ability to attach a male or female end of a cleaning rod. This effectively makes this your universal three piece handle. You can mount cleaning rods or chamber brushes and punch your bore with ease. You also have a front sight adjustment tool built in for quick and easy adjustments in the field.

There are a few additional features that really make this multi tool shine. The Black Oxide finish is extremely tough, and extremely corrosion resistant. The Leatherman black oxide finish is perfect for hard and heavy use. The metal is a tough stainless steel as well. The multi tool also comes with a replaceable titanium pocket clip, which is new for Leatherman. This makes keep the device on a belt or in the pocket much easier.  If all else fails, and somehow the multi tool is destroyed you are covered by a twenty-five year warranty.

The MUT is a huge step forward for multi tools. This is the first multi tool built with firearms in mind. Not only that, but the redesigned features make it a valuable multi tool for non-shooters as well. I do believe and hope that Leatherman will incorporate these features in their next few multi tools. The Leatherman MUT is a great multi tool, designed to do work, and do it well.

Leatherman Skeletool CX Multi Tool Review

In my opinion the Leatherman Skeletool CX is the multi tool to replace the pocket knife. It is light and easy to carry thanks to its compact size. Keep things at minimum weight and volume are a must if you enjoy traveling and outdoor adventures. Having a multi tool with these characteristics definitely is a great asset for you.

The Skeletool CX multi tool is an easy excellent replacement for the pocket knife. First of all, the weight of the Skeletool CX is only five ounces. Five ounces is barely a blip on the radar that is my pocket. The lower weight just makes carrying the multi tool a joy, and much easier than using a belt pouch. The Skeletool CX is the design that has rewritten the book on multi tools.

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For the first time in a long time it truly seems like Leatherman has thrown out the old designs and started from scratch. The tool retains the classic Leatherman pliers, but that’s about it. This design is definitely part of the new school of multi tools.

The overall of the length of the multi tool closed is four inches. The combination of light weight and shorter overall length make this multi tool just as convenient as any pocket knife. A lot of the weight cut is from the Spartan design. The Skeletool CX does not have any specialized tools, it only retains just the basic tools most one needs on a daily basis. Opening these tools is effortless and smooth from the very beginning. Everything moves with grace and clicks into place and gives you a sense of satisfaction and workmanship.

My first impression of the Skeletool multi tool is its appearance. It has a certain gracefulness to it, and the appearance is so much different from the traditional blocky multi tool. This multi tool has curves and lines that show a design with some ascetics in mind.  The holes machined into the tools are designed to both save weight and look awesome.

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A lot of times people associate weight with strength and quality, and that’s not the case here. The lighter weight does not mean lowered quality, and breakable tools.  The Leatherman quality is still present. This tool will withstand years and years of heavy work. The Skeletool can be tossed around, beaten up, dropped, thrown, and even submerged and it will keep going. You can see where the Skeletool draws its namesake.

It really seems like Leatherman designed the Skeletool to be as handy as possible. The carabineer is extremely handy to quickly clip the knife anywhere. The pivot screw on the knife is larger than average and really easy to open, even wearing leather work gloves.

The blade is made 154CM stainless super steel, and the edge holds very, very well. I gave the knife a run around, cutting rope and twine of varying thicknesses. I stripped the bark off branches, cut into plastics and carved notches into wood.  The knife help up, the blade is short at only a little over two and a half inches. The finish held strong as well, and the metal resisted chips or blemishes. One of my favorite features on this multi tool is the fact I can open the blade without opening the multi tool. This means I can do it one handed while holding whatever else I had to work with.

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The pliers are slightly smaller than most Leatherman models, both in length and thickness. They do feature the standard wire cutters all Leathermans have. I tried out the pliers first, using them to grip and twist nuts off bolts, to aid bending thin metals, and a variety of other oddball tasks I could come up with. The plier’s grip was amazing, it held very well. This is where I felt the thinness and small grips the most, they weren’t the most comfortable to grip things tight with.

The wire cutters were spot on though. I started small and worked my way up, starting with a coat hanger, then to thicker and thicker gauges of wire, and finishes by cutting thin nails in half. They worked great, but had the same problems with a tight grip not being incredibly comfortable. I could feel the thin metal bite a bit when I really torqued down on it.

The Bit driver and spare bits was spot on though. The bit driver is designed to work with the handles open and better simulates a screw driver this way. The Bit drive itself is compatible with all Leatherman bits and the Leatherman bit extender. The driver actually locks, and that’s pretty handy and I’m surprised this was the first time I have seen that. After I discovered this locking feature I have become spoiled, and now I don’t think I ever want to use a bit driver without a lock again. The extra bits provided are a tight fit and feels like it will hold well. The bits are only held in by friction, which wasn’t a problem so far, but after years of use things may loosen.

The multi tool also features a removable and replaceable pocket clip for easy access. The Leatherman of course features a 25 year warranty so you’ll probably lose it before you break it. There is also a variety of sheaths available for it. You have the option for a basic leather belt, to the tactical MOLLE attachment for flak jackets or load bearing gear, and a flashlight-multi tool combo pouch.

The Skeletool is setting the standard for multi tool design. I do believe it will not be very long before we see other companies beginning to emulate this design. We may be seeing less and less of the traditional rectangle, and blocky shaped multi tools. The sleek, weight saving design is going to become more and more common. The Skeletool CX multi tool is a simple and effective. Its Spartan design is both lightweight and tough, and bound to become a favorite tool in the multi tool world.

Leatherman New Wave Multi Tool Review

The times a multi tool has been exactly what I needed in a pinch are too high to count. I believe everyone should own a multi tool. Even someone with little experience in do- it-yourself, repairs, or any form of mechanics or construction can find value in having a multi tool around the house. In fact, if you aren’t going to keep a tool box in your home or apartment, then you should at the minimum have a multi tool handy.

With this being said it’s easy to make the mistake of buying the first multi tool you see in the dollar store. These are often cheap and break pretty fast, the knife and saw blades will dull and be nearly useless. The pliers will bend, the wire cutters will barely cut paper, and the screw driver will be a joke. A quality Leatherman packed to the brim with tools is a much better option for only slightly more than the cheapo tool.

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The Leatherman Wave is the most popular multi tool Leatherman has. The Wave is the perfect representation of Leatherman products. The quality, tools, and price have made this a favorite Leatherman. This multi tool is a perfect jack of all trade style tools and it is not designed with a specialty use, but for any kind of use.

The Wave is a very solid tool, even when placed under stress it does not give the feeling of bending or straining. The tool is tough and solid. Because of the solid construction and frame, the Wave does come in at a hefty eight ounces. Eight ounces is slightly on the heavy side when riding in the pocket, but once placed in a pouch becomes much more comfortable. This tool is designed to be carried when it’s going to be used. As an everyday carry tool it’s a bit much.

The Wave features an impressive 17 tools. Basically, you have a small tool box in your pocket. Like I said, if you don’t carry a multi tool and you’re not too handy this is a great tool to keep in the drawer or the closet just in case. A major addition to this design is the fact all the tools lock. This is extremely handy, and much safer when dealing with sharp tools.

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The Pliers are tough and the body of the multi tool makes an awesome grip. The pliers definitely feel strong and the ridges guarantee a sure grip. The solid construction of the tool gives me a lot of confidence when twisting, pulling, or bending with these pliers. The wire cutters are longer than earlier Waves models and work very well. I tested the wire cutter with some old wire hangers. First, I started with one to see the result, it was smooth and fast. Later, I began adding additional strands to test the toughness. They cut whatever I threw at them, and cut it quick. The only problem I had with the wire cutters is they aren’t replaceable. So you need to use them properly in order to avoid damages.

The tools also feature a double sided file, one side for wood and one side for metal. I didn’t have much to do for the wood file so I used it to smooth out a corner on my workbench and it worked well. Like all multi tool files its short so you have to put in some extra time. I used the metal file to smooth a burr on a revolver base pin that was bothering me. The file worked perfectly for the small job.

The small scissors are a tool most may regard as useless, until you need them. The small scissors are surprisingly tough and especially the spring action, it is quite impressive. The medium screw driver is a quick and handy tool, probably the most used besides the knife blade. Also included is a large and small bit driver. Of course included in this bit driver is a bit kit with multiple Phillips heads and flat tip bits. You have a lot of options with a screw driver, large and small bits. No size of screw shall stop you.

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Next we come to the blade. Made of tough 420 HC the steel is tough and element resistant. The blade holds an edge even after time and heavy use. The blade doesn’t bend or falter, and cuts through rope, twine, and tape with ease. The Saw blade is just as tough and perfect for small cutting jobs; of course, it’s no replacement for a regular saw.

Three tools that may rarely be used are still tough as nails. The can opener is perfect and easy to use with a little practice, handy if you are camping or in a survival situation. The next tool is the bottle opener, and lastly a ruler is built onto the handle. Leatherman really crammed some tools into this thing.

The Wave is honestly the perfect multi tool for both the do-it-yourself crowd and the this-is-the-only tool-I-will-ever-own crowd.  The Wave can ride in the pocket, tool box, the boat, and the truck and be handy in any of them.

The Wave has some optional accessories one can purchase, including bit driver extender, an additional bit kit, flashlight combo sheath, leather or nylon sheath, lanyard and pocket clip. Leatherman also realizes that the troops love and use these tools, and designed a sheath built for use with a MOLLE system, which is the common webbing used to hold military gear.

The multi tool has a few characteristics. As mentioned the tools all lock into place. The Wave is made of tough stainless steel. There is also a black oxide version available. The black oxide is an incredibly tough finish that looks great. This type of finish is perfect for the military, since the regular stainless steel is shiny and reflective. Many of the tools are able to be operated with only one hand. Plus Leatherman offers a 25 year warranty on all their products. Leatherman also has amazing customer service and quick turnaround for any work done.

All-in-all the Wave is an amazing tool that can be used in almost any situation. The amount of tools makes it invaluable to anyone.

Leatherman Charge TTI Multi Tool Review

Recently, my dad and I went on a backpacking trip for three days and two nights. We try to do these trips at least bimonthly, and we carry everything we need, and as a matter of principle we do not go back to our vehicles for anything. I thought this would be the perfect chance to test my new Leatherman Charge TTi. Because this was an untested tool by my standards I also packed my Leatherman MUT. I had confidence in my Charge and made a rule where I’d only pull out the MUT if the Charge TTIi wasn’t capable of a task.

First of all, let me give you little background on the Charge TTi. The original Leatherman Charge AL and Leatherman ALX were awesome tools, and made from aluminum, which is where the AL designation came from. The Charge TTi uses titanium, a tough, durable, and also very light weight metal. The Charge series are on the heavier side due to the amount of tools packed in it, and titanium is a welcome addition to aid in shaving some weight off. The Charge TTi is a combination of the Charge AL and ALX, made unique by using titanium. This tool definitely won a position in our top 15 multi tool rank.

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So the MUT went in my backpack and the Charge TTi went on my hip. Before it went on my hip I gave it a once over. First of all I’m a big proponent of beauty and function. I have no shame in liking the way my tools look. The Charge TTi is by far one of the best looking multi tools I have seen.  It could be the titanium handle scales or maybe the stainless steel clip-point knife; something about this tool is beautiful.

The first time I used the knife was to whittle a stick as we walked.  Not much of a challenged for the knife blade at all. The 2.9 inch blade made carving notches and random curves easy.  While the knife blade wasn’t challenged I discovered something awesome about the little knife. The ergonomics are a work of art, the knife is incredibly comfortable in your hand and easy to manipulate. The tool has some heft to it, a little over eight ounces, so it’s not pocket friendly.

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So I got to use the knife again as we hunkered in for the day. We set up half shelters and the knife went to work. I used the blade to cut the 550 Paracord to attach the half shelter to a tree. The knife performed admirably, and without issue. I used the blade again on a fire striker and had no problems. Even after the entire three days the blade remained sharp, a testament to its ability to hold an edge.

I also utilized the saw at this point. I sawed small branches off my tree of choice for my shelter. Again the ergonomics were wonderful, and the saw performed flawlessly. Next I whipped out a can of beans. I only brought this can to use the can opener included. It was rather difficult at first, not due to the actual can opener, but to my lack of skill. After I learned the technique I opened the rest of the lid flawlessly. I may not use a multi tool can opener regularly, but I’m glad to know that it works, and how to do it.

I also used the wire cutters on the rest of the can, just testing how well they cut. I was impressed it cut through the metal easily and left a perforated tin can when I was done. I then used the pliers to grip, twist and bend the different pieces of the can. They tore the can to pieces without fail. I actually was able to legitimately use the pliers to tighten a small bolt on my pack. Not much of a test, but a testament to the usefulness of a multi tool.

Along the way I purposely dropped the tool in some mud and really rolled it around. The tools still folded out easily, and securely. The Charge TTi must have tight tolerance to put up with the sand and dirt the mud left in there.

Even the spring action scissors still worked well. Spring action scissors are typically the weak of any multi tool, but that wasn’t the case with the Charge TTi. I cut through an old t shirt with them and discovered a good use for them. Should someone become injured the scissors can slice through their clothing to access the wound.

3Leatherman-Charge-TTi

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Throughout the trip the tool was covered in dirt, mud, sweat. Used to cut cordage, limbs, and aid in starting fires. The blade was stuck in the dirt over and over, washed off, and then used to peel an orange. Over and over it was used for random tasks and performed well with everything I could toss at it.

I didn’t get a chance to use the screw driver, but the Charge TTi utilizes large and small bit driver, and also comes with a medium screw driver. With the bit set included you have a lot of sizes and options to deal with a variety of different screws. I love the replaceable bit system Leatherman uses as well.

The Leatherman Charge TTi has three files, a metal, wood, and a diamond coated files. These small files are useful for smaller tasks. Larger tasks can be difficult for such small files, but not impossible. Of course a bottle opener and ruler are included.

My Charge TTi came with a nylon sheath that staid on my belt and held the multi tool well. There is also a leather sheath available, as well as a MOLLE sheath for tactical uses. You really can’t beat the locking features for every tool. Locking features make a much safer multi tool, especially when it comes to use the knife.

The Charge TTi is a dependable and tough tool. The tool is also incredibly pleasing to look at. The Charge TTi fits a variety of roles, from construction, to tactical, and even simple DIY projects around the house. The Charge is covered by a 25 year warranty by Leatherman, so any issue you have this quarter of a century are covered. Replacement bits are available, and the multi tool is compatible with Leatherman’s bolt driver extender. If you want a little more style in a tool you can trust you really can’t beat the Charge TTi.