It is by that inspiration that a MT should be a serious consideration for everyday carry. This way one can be prepared for many different tasks, whether the MT is intended to be carried as an occupational aid for maintenance/repair needs, a back up to a full toolbox, a general "fix-it" tool, or even as a piece of survival gear.
Selecting the right MT may be a different process for each person, depending on the features that are needed. For example, an electrician and a police officer may decide very differently on which MT to go with. Rather than comparing all of the vast options available however, this article will focus on a particular model, the Suspension Multi-Plier offered by Gerber.
The Gerber website and other online retailers such as Amazon and Ebay list generally good customer reviews for this product, typically hovering around the 3.9-4 out of 5 mark. With the solid construction of the MT, I can see why. There are some downsides to the package offered by Gerber, and we will get to those as well.
Weighing in at (WEIGHT), it gives a good sense of heft in the hand. This solid weight grants stability when working with some of the finer tools such as the needle-nose pliers and screwdrivers, and also gives a very solid handle when using the saw or knife blades.
The handles containing the individual tools on the Gerber Suspension have an automatic lock, which secures the tool being used in place when it is pulled out. This prevents the tool from moving or collapsing on its own. The lock itself is a spring-loaded bar which runs the entire width of the handle just behind the row of tools.
In most cases this is a very important safety measure, such as using the saw or serrated blade and it becoming bound up in whatever being cut. If there were not a locking mechanism, the tool could then fold back towards the handle, potentially catching fingers that are in the way.
To release the lock, one simply needs to push down on both sides of the lock lever at the same time, and then push the tool(s) being used back into the handle. The lock does not need to be manipulated while pulling the tools out.
Pliers / Wire Cutter
These are what the name of the product is based around. When opened, the pliers are spring loaded, and will open themselves, which I feel is a tremendous feature. After using tools which do not have a spring assist this is a world of difference, and makes working on items much easier. I have also noticed that it reduces the amount of fatigue experienced in the hands. The texture cut into the pliers works well, and there is a tiny portion of the pliers' tips that enable very fine grasping. There is also a straight section and a wider rounded gripping area toward the center of the pliers for grabbing bolt heads and more rounded items.
The wire cutters function well for small electrical wires and thin gauge metal wire. Thicker wire and cordage requires a bit more work to get through, but is possible. Again, the spring assist is extremely helpful especially in the case of cutting multiple wires at the same time. This would be particularly helpful in an electrical job setting, but it would require some finesse to do wire stripping without cutting all the way through.
|One side of the MT with its tools. These tools will be described below individually.|
The smooth edge knife is one of the tools located on the handles of the MT, and has a thumb-assist attached to the blade which rests in a notch cut out of the handle. This makes the knife very easy to get out and lock into place for use.
The knife is very sharp new out of the package, and does work very well for general tasks. The point is narrow enough to stab through items, and blade itself also has a thin profile, enabling the user to get into tight places to cut and slice.
The Phillips (cross) head screwdriver is of a very thin design, which folds in with the rest of the tools. Despite this slim profile, it does work very well for a wide range of Phillips screws.
The larger of the two flat screwdriver bits is approximately 6 mm wide, and is useful for standard flat-head screws, flat/Phillips-head screws, and also for prying open small objects and containers.
The teeth of this fold-out saw are very sharp, and the pattern they are arranged in provides a good means to dig into the item being sawed. Wood is the medium which it saws through most easily, however with more effort it can be used on plastics as well. It is not suited for sawing metal or wire.
The large handle of the MT itself gives a good hold when using the saw, making it less likely to slip out of the hand.
|The opposite side of the MT with its tools. These tools will be described below individually.|
Serrated Edge Knife
I have found that I use the serrated blade less often, as most tasks can be performed with the smooth blade, and heavier needs can be done with the saw. It does also seem to work fairly well for wire stripping though. The serrated blade also has a nesting nub to make the knife easier to get out of the handle.
One very handy application for the serrated blade is for cutting off zip-ties, as the grooves in the blade keep the tie in place when applying pressure to cut them.
The can opener feature of this tool is effective, but does require some effort while using. Holding the tool is a bit awkward while opening a can however the locking feature in the handle prevents from having to reset the opener in the can.
The bottle opener is pretty straight-forward, and works well with bottles, and also prying other types of lids like those found on mason jars.
The lanyard loop is useful for attaching a static or elastic line to the MT, and stays in place without error thanks to the locking feature. When not being used, it folds in neatly with the rest of the tools.
One thing that it could be used for as well in an emergency would be a glass punch, providing a very small point to direct force.
Small Flat Screwdriver
Measuring in at only 3 mm, the small flat driver is handy for very fine screws, but may not work for all types of eyeglass screw sets. Just as with the larger flat-head it does fine with prying things open.
I have found that this is another tool that I do not use very often however this may differ depending on the setting it is being used in.
The scissors are one of the best individual tools in this MT, being surprisingly useful and durable despite their small size. They fold flat into the handle, and then when deployed one arm locks into place, allowing the other to pivot. Once compressed, the stiff wire spring pushes on the pivoting arm, opening the scissors back up automatically. This wire spring functions very well, and after many uses I have not noticed the spring deviating from its position or slipping over the arm.
The scissor blades themselves are very sharp, and work extremely well for cutting paper, thin and medium cardboard, zip ties, small electrical wires, thin cordage including paracord, and cloth.
After several months of use, one disappointing thing that I have noticed is that while folded into the handles, the tools themselves have a small amount of play. This causes them to rattle a bit, however this does not affect them while being locked in the out position.
I attempted to fix this by tightening the bolts which go through the pivot point of the tools but this did not fix the problem. Even by removing it and resetting the cross-bolt the rattle still exists.
So far there have not been any instances of the tools, especially the knife blades, coming out on their own, even when the MT is carried loose in a pack or pockets.
Ballistic Nylon Sheath
The Suspension comes from Gerber with a nylon belt sheath which, as any other online review will show as well, is junk. It is very cheaply made and tears quickly after some use.
Most people have reported in their reviews that the sheath only lasts about 1-2 months before the seams start to rip and the sheath itself starts to deteriorate. Because we do make our own kydex gear, the solution to this problem was easy. A simple belt sheath ensures that the MT is always secured, and is also much easier to get to than having to undo the velcro enclosure on the normal ballistic sheath.
For those that already have a Suspension multi-tool or those looking to purchase one, look no further for a better sheath! You can order your very own Suspension sheath from us for $20 plus shipping within the US. Follow the link below to view and order: