Things that Don’t Suck: Leatherman Multi-tools

Leatherman MUT Multi-Tool

Hank for TTAG

Leatherman tools have been my go-to multi-tool for decades. A lot of gun owners refuse to buy their tools after the company’s owner publicly endorsed John Kerry in 2004. I don’t care about the man’s politics. I care about his products. I met him in person at SHOT Show a few years back and he was very humble and down to earth, someone you could have a beer with and talk tools.

Man crush aside, a few things that don’t suck that live in my range bag are the Leatherman MUT and the Leatherman Wave.

Leatherman MUT

Leatherman MUT (Courtesy Leatherman)

What I like about Leatherman’s products is that their warranty is very good, their products are made in the USA and the engineering and materials of the product are sound.

I have used my Leatherman Wave to help restart a car on the side of the road (which was the original problem that Tim Leatherman had on a European vacation that inspired him to invent his first multi-tool), to get guns running back at the range, and to fix countless numbers of “Dear, will you take a look at this….” problems around the house.

Leatherman Wave

Leatherman Wave (Courtesy Leatherman)

From tightening a loose battery connection to removing a wayward finishing nail from a heel (ouch), the Leatherman Wave has done it all for me and then some.

I have sent my Wave back to the factory for some warranty work. I was having a problem with one of the tools having a sharp edge where it wasn’t quite supposed to and it came back fully cleaned with all the blades sharpened and the offending edge buffed down to my liking. Their warranty department did the work quickly and at no charge.

As gun owners, we tend to love tools. We love them because they make our lives easier. They help us take things that are broken and make them work again.

Leatherman MUT

Leatherman MUT (Nick Leghorn for TTAG)

The other tool I have in my range bag is the Leatherman MUT. It’s every bit as useful as my Leatherman Wave…and more. The great thing about it is the seatbelt cutter/flat edge that lets me pull on stuck bolts or drive a wayward staple in or a stubborn takedown pin out.

Leatherman MUT

Leatherman MUT (Courtesy Leatherman)

Everyone has a favorite tool that they like to keep in their range bag just in case things go sideways, and you’ve heard about two of mine. What’s your favorite thing in your range bag that you won’t leaving home without?

(Besides extra ammo….)

comments

  1. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Would like to buy both, but….

    My Neos .22 doesn’t need repair or upgrade.

    And so far, have all the needed tools in the kitchen “junk drawer” (except a ball peen hammer).

    Rats !

    1. avatar Leatheredman says:

      MUTs rock. Best AR tool. But you forgot got to mention the bolt override tool in the MUT. That’s what really makes the MUT stand out.

      http://professorprepper.blogspot.com/2017/05/gear-review-leatherman-mut-ar15.html?m=1

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “…you forgot got to mention the bolt override tool in the MUT. That’s what really makes the MUT stand out. ”

        Since I don’t understand what a “bolt override tool” is, you can see why a specialized tool (ball peen hammer?) wouldn’t come to mind as a requirement. If I cannot pry open my Neos chamber with a screwdriver and hammer, time to get a new Neos.

        1. avatar Spoiling Up says:

          A bolt override is when a shell casing somehow gets wedged above the bolt under the charging handle. Without the proper tool the gun is DOA.

          Basically the MUT has a strong hook and solid handle that allows for a solid grasp on the bolt giving the necessary purchase and leverage to rip open the bolt and clear the jam.

          The MUT is a battlefield tool for when you don’t have a stainless steel rod, ball peen hammer and tiny gunsmith in your loadout.

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “The MUT is a battlefield tool for when you don’t have a stainless steel rod, ball peen hammer and tiny gunsmith in your loadout.”

          Since you did not include a large screwdriver as a mandatory item in the loadout kit, I would say you are going into battle unprepared.
          (there is a world-wide shortage of tiny gunsmiths, so you get a pass on that)

      2. avatar WI Patriot says:

        Gee, what ever did we do before leatherman came out with the MUT…??? Another solution to a problem that didn’t exist in the first place…

    2. avatar Robert Bacher says:

      Leatherman contributes to anti second ammendment organizations. Buy Gerber instead

      1. avatar Sam Caruso says:

        Yes. And if the nice guy who owns Leatherman had his way(Kerry), you very well may not be a gun owner. Just sayin’………..

      2. avatar Mike Oregon says:

        I can’t speak to past politics, but as a long time employee of Leatherman Tool Group the employees have formed a gun club and Tim has attended a few shoots.

        1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          That’s pretty neat.

      3. avatar 20TON says:

        That’s why I carry a Gerber Clutch every day. It has a lot of options on it.

  2. avatar Scholarcat says:

    I use my Wingman every day and rarely leave home without it.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I have the same Leatherman I’ve used for 25+ years, still in its original leather sheath. In my truck right now.

      And I carry a mini version in my pocket. Just used it last week to help out a young couple whose car had broken down on the side of the road. Got them back up and going. 🙂

      As I pulled out the mini and leaned over the car engine, the girlfriend said aloud “wow, that’s cool”. The boyfriend kept silent, and I gave him one of the eye-looks that told him “you’re a young man now, so be more prepared in the future, okay?”

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    The MUT is a great tool. I keep one on my plate carrier whenever I go to a competition. Quite frankly, I have yet to run into a field-serviceable issue that couldn’t be resolved with that tool and the adequate application of elbow grease. I keep an el-cheapo multi-tool I got in a goodie bag a few years back in my range bag for less organized trips that generally does the job. Unfortunately, it’s easily twice the weight and bulk which reserves it for range bag use.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      A Leatherman Wave is on my belt, always, and with my old house, it is always needed. But, now, I want the MUT. The replaceable tools are a great idea. But…that will have to wait until after my next gun purchase. First things, first.

  4. avatar BLAMMO!! says:

    I’ve had a Micra on my keychain for about 20 years but I like their largest tools best. My Super Tool 300, Surge and Crunch have all bailed me out in a pinch. I can’t believe what I can do with my Surge.

  5. avatar arc says:

    In my range bag / bug out bag? Tourniquets, cause shit happens.

    Leatherman multitools have a tool set for just about everyone and as long as you stay away from the ultra tacticool MUT/EOD multis, they aren’t too pricey either. . . then again now that I’m looking at the prices, it looks like they went up $20 across the board. Maybe I just remember MCX prices.

    My first leatherman was stolen by my SoI west instructor, Sergent Miley, bastard.

    Someone gave me their old AF leatherman supertool, it was nice until someone else ‘borrowed’ it without my permission and broke the knife off using it as a pry bar.

    Now, I’m a fan of the ‘Squirt’. Its compact, useful for every day nuisances, and my second one lasted for a few years before I manage to break the pliers. IIRC, I lost the first one somewhere.

    Good tools, if you can keep people from stealing them.

    1. avatar Trever Dart says:

      I also broke the pliers on my Squirt (used it as a pry bar). I sent it to Leatherman, told them that the damage was due to abuse and not a defect. They replaced it free of charge anyways.

      1. avatar MyName says:

        Same story with my Skeletool – I used it as a pry bar, broke it, told them what I did and they sent me a new one anyway.

      2. avatar arc says:

        I’ll keep that in mind, I got it in my closest somewhere and keep it because its cute. Doesn’t seem right to send in a product that was intentionally abused… ok, used really, really hard on a small engine, and ask for it to be replaced.

        But I’ll entertain mailing it off.

  6. avatar Phil Wilson says:

    Love Leatherman tools. I’ve lost two minis at airport security, unfortunately. You’d think I’d learn after the first time.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Interesting. Never had to give mine up. In fact, every time I’ve gone through TSA with my tobacco pipe bag, they’ve never said a thing about the cleaning pick. And that steel pick is about 3.5″ of thin, stabby, shanky mayhem if one were so inclined. Much more dangerous than any wimpy box butter. But it’s not on the prohibited list, so they always wave me on to my gate.

    2. avatar arc says:

      TSA just wanted to pocket them.

  7. avatar Squiggy81 says:

    My EDC includes a Skeletool CX. Great multi. Not a ton of tools, but it has the essentials and is light/small enough to not be a burden. I’ve made countless small repairs with just that one tool when I’m either away from better tools or just too lazy to get them.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      I carry the same and the extra bit set rides in my truck. I use it constantly and the one time I broke it (by using it as a pry bar), Leatherman replaced it quickly with no questions asked. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Leatherman certainly ranks as “does not suck” in my book.

    2. avatar SoCalJack says:

      My Skeletool paid for itself faster than any tool or EDC item I own; I use it everyday. IMO, aside from a gun, holster, flashlight, knife, everyone should EDC a Skeletool.

  8. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Three or four years ago I was kayaking with Renee. We pulled into a cove off the river for a beer. They weren’t twist off caps. I was exasperated. Renee asked, “Don’t you have a MacGyver tool?” Me, “Why yes I do.” Among the things in my Galco butt pack was a Leatherman. Never mind starting a car. I wanted a beer.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Nice!

    2. avatar Slow Joe Crow says:

      Mountain bikers don’t have that problem. Shimano SPD pedals are very effective bottle openers, plus you can get actual openers built into your bike.

    3. avatar Someone says:

      Anything hard with an edge is a bottle opener. Grab the bottle neck so the cap is even with your index finger and thumb. Slide dull side or your knife (or trowel, hammer claw, wrench, key, lighter etc.) under the cap, above your index finger large knuckle. Twist edge side down, using your hand as a fulcrum, which will pry the cap up. You can even use other beer bottle. When Sony made cell phones with titanium frame I used my phone to open beer bottles.

      Other way is using large object with a hard edge like a table top, barrel, metal post or top of the boat. Hold the bottle so the cap’s side sits on the edge and then hit it with your other hand heel to push it down. I don’t like to use this method as sometimes the cap brakes off bit of glass from the bottle.

      1. avatar Hankus says:

        In a pinch i’ve opened a bottle with that method using a nylon comb. Desperate times.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “In a pinch i’ve opened a bottle with that method using a nylon comb. Desperate times.”

          “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

  9. avatar Felixd says:

    Hey Hank! Do you buy your Leatherman products at Dick’s?

    1. avatar Hankus says:

      Dick’s? DICKS!? Sweet mother of pearl, bite your tongue.

      1. avatar Someone says:

        Hey, he did say he doesn’t care about politics.

  10. avatar SkorpionFan says:

    Twenty years ago I replaced my EDC worktools (Leatherman and Gerber multitools) with a Victorinox SwissTool with a separate 1/4″ bit tool and still carry it. I’ve used the bit tool much more often than the multitool itself. The bit tool is much more convenient than using a multitool with the bit socket in the handle. There is set of bits in a plastic carrier and fits in the nylon holster with the multitool, but I quickly replaced most of the original bits with Chapman Manufacturing gunsmithing screwdriver bits. The Chapman bits are made from chrome nickel molybdenum alloy tool steel and have knurled bases to use the bits with just your fingers if needed. The bits I carry include hollow-ground (parallel sided) flat blade, Phillips head, and Allen hex drivers.

    Works for me, and they’re both still in production 20 years later. YMMV

  11. avatar obidon says:

    I once took some college kids on a mission trip to Jamaica. The rental vans down there are built out of the worst kind of flimsy metal. A kid backed our van into a sign at a KFC which crumpled the rear quarter like aluminum foil.

    We had two early-model Leathermen with us.

    Long story short: using the Leathermen we dismantled the van, smoothed out the rear quarter on the grassy lawn at the KFC, put the thing back together – and it looked as good as new.

  12. avatar AlanInFL says:

    The Leatherman is not a bad tool. Just don’t do a bali-song move with the pilers or use the flat screw driver blade as a pry-bar.

    I just my tools hard. Sometimes very hard.

  13. avatar Vinny says:

    Leatherman just repaired/returned my 30 year old tool (an original from the 80’s),,, happy times.

  14. avatar Bitter says:

    I carried a Gerber for years including my time in Iraq.
    I have since upgraded to the Leatherman wave + and don’t leave home without it.

  15. avatar Hankus says:

    I carried a Leatherman Wave for years. Not sure where it is now, somewhere in a drawer. After discovering SOG tools I’ve seen the light. The SOG EOD and Aegis are currently my EDCs. Having said that…

    INCOMING!

  16. avatar jimmy james says:

    Multi tools work in a pinch but they are kinda like a 4 wheel drive sports car. Not really good at being a sports car or a an off road vehicle. Give me a purpose built tool everytime. Having said that I ve had a Gerber forever. Its in my GO BAG. Thanks for the heads up on Leatherman politics. Now I know I will never own one.

  17. avatar Heartbreaker says:

    I’ve carried some model of Leatherman on my belt for years. Currently have a Wave. It is super useful for all sorts of small tasks where I’m too lazy to fetch my other tools. That and a flashlight are with me almost all the time, I feel naked without the weight on my belt.

  18. avatar Juice says:

    Don’t get me wrong, they definitely don’t suck. But after Mechanix gloves, Harris bipods, and Leathermans, I’m expecting the next couple TTDS’s to be “Sliced Bread” and “The Assembly Line.”

  19. avatar Kevin says:

    Yes, I like my Leatherman tool a lot.

    In addition, the company recently bought Led Lenser flashlights: https://www.ledlenserusa.com/

    Very nice flashlights, great warranty. They are like a very well-kept secret, I guess maybe because I don’t think they advertise.

  20. avatar Buck says:

    Is there any love out there for the lowly P-38, granted I’ve carried a wave for 20 years. My father gave me my one and only P-38 34 years ago when I bought my first car at sixteen. It is the first and my favorite multi-tool.

    1. avatar Sam I Am says:

      “Is there any love out there for the lowly P-38”

      Yes, yes indeed !! One has been on the key ring since…uh…ummmm, a long time. Right after reading the article, immediately began to review the many uses for the P-38, and how often that tool was useful to the task, where a Leatherman would have tools rusting from disuse over the same time.

      Gave a P-38 to each of my sons after college graduation. Explained the history and the utility. Not one ever used it, nor can they find theirs. Somehow a hammer and screw driver seems to fit all their needs.

      1. avatar Mike Carbine says:

        P-51 is my can opener of choice bigger/faster.

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “P-51 is my can opener of choice bigger/faster.”

          Single engine. Two is one, one is none.

      2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        Anyone had a P-38 opener confiscated by TSA?

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Anyone had a P-38 opener confiscated by TSA?”

          Not yet, for me.

  21. avatar Mike Carbine says:

    Leatherman policy is that no employees will have weapons in their vehicles, even if they are parked off company property. I still use one from the 90 I picked up. Will replace as soon as I find better from another company.

  22. avatar Ahil925 says:

    I carry a skeletool usually, always found it the right balance of useful and pocketable. I lost it for a few months and ended up buying a Rev as a temporary replacement. It worked well enough but I was overjoyed when I found my skeletool in the couch cushions.

  23. avatar Slow Joe Crow says:

    I’ve had an original Leatherman PST and bit driver since the early 90s, usually in my work bag. I actually have a Gerber in my range bag because they come in several Otis cleaning kits. As an odd bit of trivia Gerber and Leatherman are on opposite sides of Portland Oregon. Leatherman is NE just beyond the airport and Gerber is in the SW visible from I-5 just north of Kershaw in Tualatin.

  24. avatar Chuck says:

    Almost lost a finger to the Original Leatherman, and have steered clear of them ever since. The original was a pain to keep sharp due to their use of 440 Stainless (440 is the absolute worst material for a knife IMO). I have a collection of multitools, it seems like every birthday or Christmas I receive another one. Gerber and SOG’s offerings I tend to lean more towards.

  25. avatar Jeff says:

    You can buy nice multi-tools made by lots of companies. I don’t care which one, but I do care about their politics. The only Leatherman I own is one that I got free as a promotional item. The assembly screws (a security or tamper-resistant design) regularly loosen, and the company won’t sell me a bit to fit them. They want me to send it back every month or so for them to tighten it up. Nope. I bought something else, from someone else. I now call them Neverman tools.

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