I recently tested the Leatherman MUT (Military Utility Tool), a specialized toolkit for the carbine user. The M.U.T. looks like most multi tools, but is more modular and has more task specific tools for a law enforcement officer or a military user.
The Leatherman M.U.T. is a collaborative product of Leatherman engineers, competitive shooters and real world combat veterans. The knife blades are 420 HC steel and the replaceable cutting jaws are made of 154 CM steel.
Probably the most attractive part of this package is the fact that most parts are end-user replaceable. In a perfect world, the excellent tool steels of the Leatherman products could survive everyday abuse. However, this product was built for users who continually push the envelope. Things break. Leatherman knows. Users can remove and replace these parts.
Bits and hammer
A Torx No. 8 tool can mount or dismount all of the commonly used tools. Although a Torx No. 8 is not included in the core MUT kit, Leatherman’s 21-bit accessory kit, available separately, has one.
The Leatherman comes in two models, the MUT Utility and MUT EOD model. Both tools include a three-piece bit kit. The MUT EOD model replaces the regular pliers jaw with a replaceable views/wire cutter and a cap crimper.
The Leatherman MUT EOD has a replaceable C4 punch which unscrews to reveal the same threaded stud, which fits the G.I. (and most standard) cleaning rod threads. I never did like military cleaning rods, but the MUT fits my civilian cleaning rods just fine.
I tested the Leatherman MUT utility version. Although I have had rudimentary training on how to crimp caps, the other tool is best left for the steady hands of the EOD specialists.
Leatherman put their tapered jaws on this device. Having used several different similar multi-tools in the field, I know that this particular configuration offers ample jaw strength and flexibility. For example, it can pull a stubborn firing pin retaining pin. A standard pair of pliers can not. I always liked this jaw configuration for whipping the ends of 550 cord and pulling a taut tripwire. When the original Leatherman tool debuted a similar jaw configuration, I used one to reattach an accelerator cable on 1/4-ton (yes, it was 1/4-ton, not a Humvee) in the middle of a training exercise.
The hammer is a butt stock shaped textured flat surface that protrudes when the tool is closed. It’s not exactly suited to drive in a tent peg, but it is up to the task of driving in an assembly pin or two. The backside of the hammer protects the replaceable cutting hook with the long portion, forming the bolt override tool.
The tool bits are flat and lock into place when inserted into a spring loaded locking mechanism which engages a notch in the bits. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to mount and dismount the bits. They don’t fall out when inserted, and could likely survive jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. The two longer bit sets on board are held in place with a detent plunger that works just like a trigger mounted safety switch. When pushed in, the bit can slide out. If Leatherman intended this to look and feel like a Remington 870 safety, that’s cool. If they didn’t, it’s still cool. The Phillips and flathead two-sided bit is shorter and fits in a different recess than the long ones held in by the cross-bolt safety.
The bits are thinner than most replaceable bits and don’t add to the bulk of the tool. The down side is the fact that one cannot just go to the discount rack at the local hardware store for a new bit set like similar models. The up side is that they are interchangeable with Leatherman’s Skeletool system.