One of the most used tools I ever had on my gunbelt when I worked the street was my Leatherman. I wore that thing out. I used to complain about the edges and I couldn't shine the black leather pouch because of the gold lettering that said LEATHERMAN, but I never took it off my belt either. Recently I received a Leatherman FUSE as part of the equipment included in the ASAP Hurricane Survival Kit (review linked in below). Across the span of that few weeks I've made a point to try to use it as much as possible and to keep it on my person every day. After all, a multi-tool is only any good if you can conveniently carry it and only use reveals whether or not it's as handy as it's meant to be. Here's what I found out.
The first thing I noticed when I unpacked the FUSE from its box was the nylon pouch (instead of leather) and the second thing I noticed was the rubber padded edges along the grips. As I mentioned above, on more than one occassion I had squeezed my old Leatherman with some force and the bare metal edges - although not sharp - were never comfortable. Leatherman's simple and expedient answer to that issue was to put a rubber/plastic composite lining into the tool that wrapped up and over the edges. Very smart. Very simple. Much more comfortable.
Folding the FUSE open I felt for the friction points that would show wehere it tried to hold itself shut or would be useful when folded open as pliers. The friction spots were in the same traditional places and felt sure in the hand. With the handles folded out flat I found an 8" ruler on one side and a 20 centimeter ruler on the other. On the back of each handle piece I found a locking mechanism that provides a secure lock-out for each tool contained in that handle. With older designs you always had to worry about using too much force because something might fold and you end up cut or pinched. That hasn't been a problem for a number of years - but since I don't tend to buy new gear until I've broken or worn out the old stuff, this is the first Leatherman I've had with this handy security feature.
The paperwork that came with the FUSE lists all of the following tools, and as I've listed them, each is either on side A or side B. I only use that designation to show which tools are in a given handle together.
- Needlenose Pliers
- Regular Pliers
- Wire / Hard-wire cutters
- Knife - about 3.5" long (A)
- Large Screwdriver (A)
- Medium Screwdriver (A)
- Lanyard Ring (A)
- Wire Stripper (B)
- Can/Bottle Opener (B)
- Phillips Screwdriver (B)
- Scissors (B)
Across the span of the past couple weeks I've made a point of using each tool in the FUSE. No, it's not as comfortable as using a full size tool if you have it available, but if the FUSE is what you have and you need one of those tools, it's plenty serviceable and convenient.
An online search found listings for the Leatherman FUSE priced as high as $52 or as low as $28. In my opinion, $28 is a dang good price for such a versatile tool. For more information about the FUSE or other leatherman products, visit Leatherman online via the link below.