This tool works overtime

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.

A bolt override is a failure to feed or eject stoppage, an interruption in the cycle of operation, in which a portion of ejected brass or a live round has lodged in the recess above the bolt. It is almost unique to the AR 15 family because of the space above the barrel extension and gas tube design. It differs from a double feed because a round is tipped up and lodged. This kind of stoppage takes a little more effort to clear than just sweeping brass from an ejection port. A bolt override is fairly uncommon and usually preventable (note: inspect magazines first). It is more complex than a simple failure to feed, but less involved than a case head separation, which requires a specific tool and taking the carbine out of service for a spell.

In order to clear a bolt override, the shooter must select from several courses of action. First, use SPORTS (Slap, Pull, Observe, Release, Tap, Squeeze). Then:

1A:   Communicate to others your status. From behind cover transition to another firearm, preferably a long gun. Clear the carbine when there is a lull in battle.

1B: Communicate to others your status. From behind cover, drop the magazine. Hold the carbine with the charging handle in the trigger hand and the forearm in the support hand. With the muzzle pointing up, and in a “safe” direction, bang the butt stock on the ground while pulling on the charging handle (Collapsible stock users: Close the stock!). Reload and re engage.

1C:  Communicate to others your status. From behind cover, drop the magazine. Tilt the ejection port toward the ground, draw the Leatherman MUT from the harness or remove it from the sheath. Hook the bolt face with the bolt override tool. In a deliberate motion, yank the bolt to the rear while the carbine is still on the shoulder. When the bolt is free, peek in the chamber. Reload and reengage.

There are several similar techniques for clearing this stoppage, depend on whatever system the shooter adheres to. Using the MUT for clearing is efficient and sound. I Found that I could even reach in and grab the scalloped portion of the bolt carrier with the hook of the MUT, depending on what is exposed in the ejection port. One can also use the hook area to pry stubborn parts, if necessary. 

 One can simulate a bolt override using dummy rounds and just about any AR 15 configuration. Do not attempt this exercise with live rounds. Perform this exercise only on a range designed for live fire practice.

Clear the carbine and lock the bolt to the rear. Turn it upside down and place a dummy round in the groove above the chamber. Hit the bolt release. The dummy round should be caught above the chamber. Insert a magazine full of dummy rounds. If the dummy round does not readily log in the chamber, place the tip of the dummy round just above the chamber prior to releasing the ball, holding it in place.


Clean and toss

Bolt override clearing should always be followed up with cleaning and tossing questionable magazines, which will address the most likely cause of the stoppage problem. This is where the MUT excels, and why I recommend this product. 

The scraping tool is simple enough. It has a taper that works in the bolt face and areas where the baked on carbon can get rough. It has just the right hardness to remove the stuff without “brassing” or scoring the parts. 

The threaded stud that holds the firearm disassembly punch (or the C4 punch on the EOD model) has the correct threading for GI cleaning rods and brushes. One can use the tool as a handle, which really speeds things along. 

I never liked GI cleaning rods because they always had an obvious seam where the sections mated. I used to assemble them, then sand the joints smooth, which seemed to help. After, I would color code the assembled sections with a marker. The MUT thread fits some of my civilian cleaning rods, which are one piece. 

Even the sheath demonstrates how much thought was put into the engineering of this product. The MUT has a carbineer clip, which, when used, will free the sheath for carrying a spare M9 magazine. The sheath can be threaded into webbing and the belt loop holds a wrench accessory with 1/2-inch and 3/8-inch heads. This covers almost all the nut sizes for optics mounting systems. Hopefully, it will convince some users to refrain from using the pliers to tighten optics mounts.

The MUT also features a removable 154 CM wire cutting jaw set. The cutters can be re sharpened or replaced. Yes, they can cut through most fence wire in a pinch. Replaceable means one is not reluctant to use this thing for its intended purpose without grimacing. If one cannot get enough cutting action from this tool, the saw, which cuts on the draw stroke, is fairly efficient. What would I add? I would like to see a model with a replaceable file, which I found handy in the field.

  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.