Rebirth of the Multitool

There was a time when no working man’s belt was complete without a multitool. First, there was the Leatherman, then Gerber and soon almost every knife or tool maker were offering their own version. After falling out of favor, the multitool has experienced a rebirth, due mainly to the EDC movement. Let’s look at one of the models that started it all and continues to dominate the market.

I admit it, I was a multitool junkie. I had the Leatherman, the Gerber and at least looked at many others. Regardless of which model I favored at the time I was never without one- always hanging from my belt both when on or off duty. But suddenly it was not there anymore. No, I did not lose it. For some reason, I just stopped carrying it. I soon noticed many others were no longer wearing theirs either.

I do not know why the multitool fell out of fashion but looking back I think it was probably related to the increasing availability of tactical folding knives. Now there was a knife that could be clip to your pocket and readily available. No need for a multitool that was all the way up there on your belt AND in a case. I guess trends change. But they sometimes they change back again and multitool is experiencing its own resurgence. Let’s look at one of the models that lead the pack then and continues to be a top seller – Leatherman’s Heritage Wave +. The Heritage Wave + is Leatherman’s best selling multitool, first introduced in 1998 and with over 10 million sales in the last 20 years.

  • Specifications
    • Closed Length: 4 inches
    • Weight: 8.5 ounces
    • Blade Length (primary): 2.9 inches
  • Features
    • Needle nose pliers
    • Regular pliers
    • Replaceable wire cutters
    • Electrical Crimpers
    • Wire Strippers
    • 420HC serrated knife
    • 420HC combination knife
    • Saw
    • Spring-action scissors
    • 8” ruler
    • Can opener
    • Diamond coated file
    • Large bit drive
    • Small bit drive
    • Medium Screwdriver

For those of you who have never carried a multitool are probably thinking “wow, that is quite the list of tools for one device” and you would be correct. This is one of the reasons modern EDC enthusiasts have taken a liking to the multitool and was not a reason why my generation stopped carrying them. However, despite the impressive list of tools and gizmos multitools do have their limitations.

1. You will never have a need for most of the tools. 2. When you do use a tool it will probably get the job done, but not as efficiently as if you simply walked to your toolbox or workbench and got a real screwdriver, file or saw. 3. None of the tools are designed for quick deployment. Unlike your pocket clip knife use requires removing from pouch, unfolding tool and then unfolding specific tool.

Yes, when I carried on I found it handy. I could make quick fixes without the need for full-size tools or when those tools were not readily available. I did not need to risk potential damage to my knife prying a nail or turning a screw. Even if I only used it only used it once in a while when I did need it I was glad I had it- or had it to hand to someone else who did not.

I guess the reason it has recently found a spot in my go bag is not all nostalgia.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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