Its inevitable — the more deeply you become involved with firearms the larger your toolbox gets. And if you’re someone like me, who disassembles a 1911 to bare bones because they’re bored, you find yourself with an ever expanding toolbox full of strange and wonderful things that let you do all sorts of fun stuff with guns. But there’s a problem, namely that you can’t take your toolbox with you to the range. So when something breaks, you’re kinda screwed. Until now…
Everyone has their favorite brand of knife. My Dad loves Victorinox, Chris seems fond of Coast, the guys at the fire station all seem to be Benchmade fanboys, and my ex girlfriend was an absolute nut for Emerson. But for me, there was only one brand: Leatherman. Ever since I was a wee Boy Scout I’ve depended on one or another of their products to do just about anything that needed doing, and their products were rugged enough to take a beating and versatile enough to do everything I could want. The only time I had one fail on me was when the whole thing rusted shut after two months of constant use living in my life jacket when I was racing and maintaining sailboats. So when I heard that Leatherman was going to make a knife (or utility tool, whatever you want to call it) designed specifically to help shooters maintain their weapons I was all over that like a fat kid on cake.
The MUT has all the standard features of a Leatherman — pliers, wire cutters, screwdriver… — but in the MUT, they are refined past their previous designs. The pliers are overengineered and much chunkier than their previous designs. The wire cutters are replaceable, meaning you can swap them when they wear out instead of needing a new knife. And the handle has a clip on it instead of the old lanyard loop so it can be secured when you’re on the move, either on your pocket or secured to your gear. But one of the things I most enjoyed about the redesigned parts is the way they do the screwdrivers.
Previous designs had the screwdrivers directly attached to the body of the knife, and they folded out much like the old swiss army knives. But in the MUT, the heads of the screwdriver are seperate pieces which can be changed out as required and have storage areas on the knife where they can be securely retained. This not only saves space, but allows broken bits to be swapped out and more useful bits to be added. If, for example, you needed a specific hex head bit instead of one of the one included on the knife, you could get a replacement and keep using the same tool.
But enough about the improved features, let’s talk about the brand new ones.
The first one that came to my attention was the punch. There have been TONS of times on the range when a good punch is a required piece of equipment to fix whatever had broken, but whenever I needed one there never seemed to be a suitable tool for the job. Whether you’re swapping the trigger group on an AR-15 or just trying to knock out a stubborn takedown pin that doesn’t want to cooperate, a punch is the tool to use. And the MUT has a beauty of a punch built right in. I’ve personally used it to swap the trigger group on a test AR-15 already and it makes life much easier, even compared to my good ol’ brass punch set due to the nice comfortable handle on the MUT. It also works great for downloading magazines.
But what if you need more force than your arms can provide to un-stick the stuck part? The fine people at Leatherman designed the MUT so that there’s a large flat section at the rear of the tool upon which you could wail with a hammer to move things along. And, strangely enough, you can use it as a hammer itself if the need arises.
The bit on the end there can also be used to pull the bolt back if you find that a piece of brass has jammed and you can’t get it out. Which has happened to me before, actually. Not fun when you’re in the middle of a High Power competition. But this tool could have saved my bacon.
Another fine addition is the bronze carbon scraper. Especially with the powder used in the 300 AAC Blackout round, carbon buildup is an issue with firearms. The bronze scraper is soft enough to not scratch up the finish on the parts, yet firm enough to remove even the most stubborn carbon deposits. And I must say it does the job wonderfully, removing even those deposits that I feared would never come off again.
The last little nifty feature has to do with cleaning rods. It seems that no matter what you do you’re always missing something, especially with those 3-section rods. But fear no more!
The MUT has a built-in capability to act as the host for either a male or female rod or jag, which is a godsend for the forgetful. The female part is built into the side of the pliers and can be used with the thing closed, and the male part is revealed when you unscrew the punch from the body.
In summary, this tool should be in every shooter’s range bag. You can do almost anything you would ever need to on a firearm with this, from swapping out components to cleaning the working parts. The only thing I can see that is missing is a castle nut wrench, which admittedly is a little tough to make a micro version.
Yeah, there’s no way in hell that I’m sending this back to Leatherman. I wonder if they’ll cut me a discount…
Length: 5″ (closed)
Weight: 11.2 oz.
Price: $114 (Amazon)
Ratings (out of five):
Usability: * * * *
There’s almost nothing you can’t do. I get the feeling I could assemble an AR-15 from parts using just this and a hammer. There’s no castle nut wrench, though.
Reliability: * * * * *
Its solidly built with a tough-as-nails finish.
Overall Rating: * * * * 1/2
I can’t praise it highly enough. When things go wrong on the range, all you need is a MUT and a little ingenuity to get your guns working again. Add a castle nut wrench and you’d get five stars.