Several weeks ago, I talked about some of the multi-tools on the market. I mentioned that SurvivalBlog readers should avoid the no-name, no-brand of multi-tools on the market. They are junk, and you don’t want to have to depend on one of these tools to save your life if TEOTWAWKI hits – that’s not the time to discover the cheap look-a-like multi-tool won’t do the job you ask of it. My contact person at Leatherman alerted me to the new Military Utility Tool (MUT) that Leatherman is now producing. “Oh great,” I thought to myself, “she’s playing mind games with me – again.” My contact at Leatherman is always sending me yet another new multi-tool or knife to test and write about. She likes making my life miserable – just when I find the perfect multi-tool from Leatherman, she sends me yet another slightly different tool. Then I have to put it side-by-side with some of the other multi-tools and decide if I want to carry the newest and coolest, or one of the other ones I have. Just when I get comfortable with a particular Leatherman multi-tool, that I think will take care of all my needs, something new pops up.
I’ve got to say, this new multi-tool from Leatherman, may just be the one I’m gonna start carrying. The MUT was designed, with input from a couple guys at the US Army Marksmanship Unit, down at Ft. Benning, Georgia. I really respect these guys – they are into guns. I took a two-week course from some of these guys in 1970, and was certified as a Coach and Rifle Instructor through them – still have the certificate hanging on my wall, too – I’m proud of it. Let me put it bluntly, if you own any type of AR-15 style rifle, you need the MUT. Please go to the Leatherman web site, and watch the video that shows all the neat things the MUT can do.
The MUT isn’t just any ol’ multi-tool, although it does have a lot of the familiar tools you’ll likely use everyday. There is a knife blade, as well as a wood saw, and I like their wood saws, they allow you to cut through some pretty thick and tough brush – ideal if you’re making a sniper’s hide or building a shelter from the weather. The knife – it’s sharp – right out of the box, too. Many knife blades found on lesser multi-tools are dull and simply won’t take and/or hold an edge, no matter how hard you work at it. The MUT has screw drivers – several of ’em, too. There is the standard flat and Phillips head screw driver on the bottom of the MUT. There are also some other driver bits – that are much longer – in the handle of the MUT. These are designed to reach into areas that require a longer screw driver. One driver bit even has a Torx head on it – for working on scopes.
What multi-tool wouldn’t come with regular pliers and needle-nose pliers? Well, the MUT has both, as well as hard-wire cutters – for cutting through thicker than speaker wires – and they are replaceable, should they become dull or damaged – great idea! Need to strip some covering off of a wire? The MUT has wire strippers, too.
Now, here’s where some of the interesting tools come into play for those of you who own an AR-15 style rifle. There is a bronze carbon scrapper – for removing built-up carbon deposits on your bolt and inside the bolt carrier. I’ve seen some folks scrapping the carbon off their bolts and inside their bolt carriers with a pocket knife blade. Wrong! You will damage both the bolt and bolt carrier if you do this ’cause it removes material. The bronze scrapper won’t damage your bolt or bolt carrier. And, if you don’t clean the carbon build-up on the bolt and inside the bolt carrier, you are only asking for your AR to malfunction at some point.
How many times have your had problems pushing out the pins that keep the upper and lower receiver together ’cause the fit between the upper and lower is extremely tight? Yeah, that’s what I thought – quite a few of us have had this problem. The MUT has a punch on it, that will easily allow you to push the two pins out that keep the upper and lower together, without damaging or marring the pins. Here’s one feature I’m sure you’ll appreciate. Have you have had a jam, in which an empty case got caught between the bolt and the top inside of your upper receiver? It’s one heck of a jam, and not easily cleared, especially during a fire-fight. Well, the butt of one of the handles of the MUT is specially designed to “hook” the bolt – then you just give the MUT a good pull reward, the the bolt will come back and the empty brass will come out…why didn’t someone think of this sooner? This one feature on the MUT is worth having. The butt of the MUT can even be used for an improvised hammer – it’s “that” tough. Matter of fact, the entire MUT is built Marine Corps tough – I don’t think a US Marine couple break the MUT if they tried – it’s one tough tool. The screwdriver bits alone, are really nice to have when tightening a scope down on your rifle. However, sometimes, the nut on the other end of the screw can’t be held tight enough with your bare hand, and it turns as you are turning the screw to tighten it. Leatherman thought of this, and included a separate wrench, that has the two most popular closed end wrench openings are included.
If you need something to cut through a seat belt or light string or rope, the MUT has a “V” cutter on one end of one of the handles. It’ll easily zip through seat belts, web gear or other similar material, without having to open the full-sized knife blade on the MUT. The MUT also has a set-up that you can use to attach cleaning rods, and use the MUT’s handle as the handle of the cleaning rod. Who thinks of these things? They are doing a great job, if you ask me.
There are several different ways you can carry the MUT. There is a MOLLE sheath that you can thread through a MOLLE vest, for a very secure set-up. Also, the sheath can be adjusted for belt carry as well. If that’s not your cup of tea, they there is a (removable) clothing/pocket clip on the MUT itself, so you can carry it inside of a pocket, or hung from a tactical vest. One more mode of carry is the carabiner – if you want to clip the MUT to a belt loop on your pants.
The MUT has a lot of different features that are designed specially for those of us who carry and use AR-15 or M4 style rifles. The MUT is also a full-sized multi-tool as well – not some itty-bitty one that won’t get the job done. I guess if I were to change or add one thing, it would be to add a file to the MUT. I use the file on my Leatherman Blast multi-tool all the time. The Blast also has a can opener, which the MUT doesn’t have. I’ll be honest, I’ve only used the can opener a couple of times on my Blast. If I didn’t have the can opener feature, I’d open a can using the knife blade. So, I can live without a can opener – albeit, it would be nice to have. The file: I’m not sure where Leatherman could put it on the MUT, but I’m giving it some thought.
The Leatherman MUT doesn’t come cheap – then again, as I’ve mentioned before, quality is never cheap. And, the MUT is high-quality no matter how you look at it. If you want a multi-tool that can really take a beating, the MUT is for you. If you carry or use an AR-15 style of some sort, the MUT is a necessity if you ask me. I can see a lot of our military troops buying a MUT. I’ll have to hide my MUT from my youngest daughter when she comes home on leave from the US Army – ’cause I know she’s gonna want one of her own. Right now, the MUT is hard to find – they are selling like crazy. The suggested retail price is $180 — not cheap. They can be found on Amazon for as little at $110. Even that is fairly expensive. But as I’ve said, quality never comes cheap, and you are buying from the originator of the multi-tool – Leatherman! – SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio