The basic tools you need in a convenient package.
Photo credit: Gerber Gear
I have long been a fan of multi-tools – as far back as when I got my first Leatherman that, when you opened it to use the pliers, the metal edges of the handles dug into your skin. Multi-tool designs have come a long way since then. Gerber’s Bullrush is a recent release that is basic, comfortable and relatively compact. It has what you need and not a bunch of stuff that you probably don’t.
Let’s get the basic stuff out of the way first:
- Closed length: 3.6”
- Overall length: 5.8” (opened for use of pliers)
- Weight: 8.3 ounces
- Steel type: 7Cr17
- Needle nose pliers
- Regular plier
- Wire cutter
- Phillips screwdriver
- Slotted screwdriver
- Partially serrated Tanto style blade
- Strap cutter
Every tool that folds out of a handle has its own liner lock device making it more secure for use. The metal framed handles have G-10 scales for a more comfortable and secure grip.
The Bullrush is packaged with a black nylon carry pouch that can be worn vertically or horizontally and can be mounted on MOLLE if need be. I like that they designed those mounting options into the pouch. Some manufacturers build a decent tool but then cut corners (and related costs) when it comes to the sheath or pouch. Gerber did not and the result is a pouch that you can carry in whatever manner is most convenient for you or that conforms to your situational needs.
There are two design features about this multi-tool that I like; one I’ve seen before on their Crucial multi-tool, but the other is new to me. The one I’ve seen before is that all the tools stored in the handles can be opened without having to fold the tool open. Although the tools are stored (obviously) within the handles, they’re set to fold open while the tool itself remains folded shut. You only have to fold the whole too open if you want to use the pliers or wire cutters, and if you do then you find that second design feature I like: The spring loaded feature.
One of the biggest challenges, at times, to using a multi-tool is that all the pivot points are so tight and stiff that it’s as much work to OPEN the pliers as it is to hold them closed. The Bullrush has a spring-tension feature which holds the pliers open unless you apply positive squeeze pressure to close them. I like that. It simply makes the tool more convenient to use.
Designed with rescue/public safety workers in mind, the Bullrush includes a strap cutter as one of the fold out tools. In testing, I was able to pull that strap cutter through some one-inch straps I had on hand (amongst all that junk in my shed that I keep just for these tests). I did not have any seatbelt straps to test it on but the results of my tests on the one-inch material I had lead me to believe that the cutter would handle seat belt straps with ease.
The knife blade measures just about 2.25” and a little more than one inch of that is serrated. It is easily opened by way of a thumb “stud” that is pinned on. It is designed for right handed users, by default of the tools structure, but that meets the need of 92% of the population and I can’t believe that sales for left-hand-specific tools would ever justify the cost of mirroring all the machine tools necessary to make such.
I put the knife blade through all my normal cutting tests. I tested it on that same one-inch nylon strap material as I did the strap cutter, plus I tested it on string, twine, paracord, ½” cotton rope, some of that ugly yellow plastic rope and various strengths of fishing line. Like every other blade I’ve tested, it took a couple pulls on that ugly yellow plastic stuff, but it cut cleanly through everything else. Although the overall length of the grips is just over 3.5”, it still fills the hand nicely and provides an adequate grip for cutting chores. There is a slight curve to the overall shape of the tool and that serves, ergonomically, to increase grip security as well.
MSRP on this tool is $69. The cheapest online price I found via a Google search for “Gerber Bullrush” was $64.95 and, when you add on shipping and handling, that brings you right back to the MSRP. It’s well worth it in my opinion. My only criticism of anything related to this tool is the white/silver stitching on the otherwise all-black nylon pouch that identifies it as a GERBER product. I understand the branding intention but the old-world cop in me thinks any pouch on the gunbelt should be all black. Were I to put this on a gunbelt, I’d use a black permanent magic marker to darken those letters. Otherwise, I give the tool and its pouch two-thumbs up. It’s got what you need in the most common tools incorporated into a safe, comfortable and convenient design.