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…

Leatherman MUT
Length: 5″ (closed)
Blade: 3″
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.

40 Responses to Gear Review: Leatherman MUT

  1. Leatherman and Gerber tools were the standard when I was in the Marines. Today, it is one of my top 3 tools I consider neccessary for survival. I feel confident that with my compass, my lighter, and my multi-tool, I can survive anywhere indefinitely. GREAT idea, that they have with regards to developing a gun specific multi-tool. Hopefully, it hasn’t lost its general survival functionality.

      • You’re are absolutely correct. Gerber is not the same company it used to be both with quality product and customer support. On the bladeforums.com site, the knife enthusiasts and collectors refer to Gerber steel as mystery metal. Gerber is generally not popular with the knife community: the guys who like to spend their evenings carving things and weekends out in the woods chopping, batoning, slicing, building traps, and shelters, etc. I’ve only read praise for one or two current models of Gerber tools and lots of criticism. The Gerber Bear Grylls line gets two thumbs down.

        • Gerber Patriot 2 – purchased in Schweinfurt, Germany ’92 (ish). It’s lasted 20 years, including 2 years field use.

  2. On my recent roadtrip my phone slipped through and opening on my Jetta’s utilty tray. After my intial panic (lots of swearing and gnashing of teeth) I relaized oh, I have a letherman. I took apart the console and rescued my phone. I would have been lost with out my tool. I will definately get this verson as well.

  3. I’m a big time Leatherman guy too. If you use a knife a lot, by all means, carry a knife. But I’m as likely to have to tighten a screw or bend something as I am to cut something. And it’s got a pretty good knife blade to. I’m partial to my Surge and Charge. I’ve had a Micra on my key chain for as long as I can remember.

  4. I’ve had one for over a year. The bronze scraper snapped the first time I tried to clean a bolt tail. The punch came cross threaded from the factory.

    • After years of use, the serrated blade on my original Leatherman Wave hyperextended. I sent it to Leatherman and they sent me a new Wave. Don’t whine about Leatherman quality if you haven’t given them a chance to make it right.

  5. No blasting cap crimper? What the hell?

    Seriously I’m a big Leatherman fan, I’ve got at least half a dozen of them…one in the range bag, one in the toolbox, one on my belt, one hanging off the body armor, one in the tacklebox. Unless I’m in Class A’s (a rare occasion) or in a suit (even rarer) odds are I have one on my person. I’ve probably bought ten for other people as well, usually as a result of “Hey sir, can I borrow your Leatherman?” and forgetting to get it back. This will probably be the next one I purchase.

  6. I wonder if they’ll cut me a discount…

    I see what you did there.

    This article had a lot of punch, and I imagine that returning a tool than can get you out of a bad scrape would be a wrenching experience. Here’s a tip: if you hammer the point home, Leatherman won’t screw with you.

  7. Don’t hold back Nick, tell us how you really feel about this product (LOL). Sounds like a pretty neat tool to have in the range bag. I’m partial to Victorinox Swiss Army knives myself, because I like having a Phillips screw driver, scissors, tweezers, etc in my pocket, but for shooting sports, this sounds like the one tool to definitely tuck into the gear bag.

  8. The MUT is definitely one of my favorite tools. Nick missed a few of the features (http://www.leatherman.com/product/MUT) but it’s worth checking out. The only bit that has pissed me off about it is the sheath. The one that Leatherman sells is not really made to go on a belt, it’s more for the molle crowd. I’ve also tried the Maxpedition Single Sheath, while better than the Leatherman one, is still not optimized for the MUT. A sheath I found that gets awesome reviews is the Skinth XL from Skinth Solutions (http://skinthsolutions.com/the-skinth-xl/). While they’re always on back-order, it looks to be one of the best sheaths going for the MUT and the bit tools that you can carry with it.

  9. I don’t buy anything Leatherman since Tim openly supported the liberal Democrat in the presidential election. Also, they won’t even SELL me or tell me where to get a bit to tighten up the hinge screws. No thanks. My SOG works just fine.

  10. I keep a Skeletool in my pocket at all times, I love having a good knife, screwdriver, pliers, and bottle-opener/carabiner clip on me at all times.

  11. I did not send it back. The retailer replaced it for me. I am not knocking Leatherman. My wave or super tool are never out of reach.

  12. I love this tool. I carry it almost everywhere I go. I have the EOD version w/ the blasting cap crimps and c4 punch. Mine is a little worn but it still does its job well. The only problems I have had are with the pocket clip working its way loose. I also might replace the c4 punch for the takedown punch. But other than that, no complaints.

  13. Just bought mine. No longer Blasting so I did not get the EOD version (though sorely tempted).

    Only regret thus far is no file. Would rather have a File than a Saw, but I’m not grousing too much.

  14. […] The Truth About Guns – It’s 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… […]

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