So, there I was... walking around the 17+ miles of walkway on the SHOT Show 2011 floor when I found the Gerber booth. Truth be told, I was looking for it and was delighted to find it; finding what you're looking for at SHOT Show isn't always easy. When I got to the Gerber booth I was introduced to the new Bear Grylls line of knives and tools. One of the items I was shown was the Ultimate Multi-Tool - and a few weeks later I received one for field testing.
Now, right off the bat, before someone accuses me of liking something because I'm a fan of Bear Grylls or his television show on the Discovery Channel, let me put this in writing: I'm not a fan. I don't watch the show. "Reality television" and Frank Borelli don't mix. I have nothing against Bear and I admire his background and experience - but I'm not a fan. That his initials are on this Ultimate Multi-Tool or that it's part of his Survival Series of products being produced by Gerber means nothing to me. My only questions and concerns were:
- What tools does it actually have?
- What design features make it stand out?
- How does it perform?
My first impression was that it was shaped funny. As I pulled it out of the packaging and held it in my hand I found that - like other recent Gerber multi-tool designs - it wasn't the nearly perfect rectangular shape like so many multi-tools across the years have been. Instead, it's narrower at the pliers end and thicker near the ends of the grips. Folding it open I was pleased to discover that there were no sharp edges to dig into my palm or fingers when I used the pliers AND that the pliers were spring-loaded to open. That was two design features I noticed and liked just in opening it.
I closed it back and took a good look at the grips. There are three blades in this multi-tool:
- A plain edge blade
- A serrated edge blade
- A saw blade
Then I found another design feature that I liked: On both the plain edge and the serrated edge blades, there's a small thumb-stud allowing for one hand opening (as you hold the tool, in the closed configuration, with your right thumb). Further, those blades LOCK out. Many multi-tools that have locking blades require a skilled safe-cracker to get the blades unlocked and closed back into the carry position. Not so with these blades on this Ultimate Multi-Tool. With one hand I can open the blades and close the, but they lock out securely and I had no worries that they'd close during use.
Before I go much further, let me list out the tools included / provided:
- Needle nose pliers
- Fine edge knife (plain edge)
- Serrated knife
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Small Flat screwdriver
- Medium Flat screwdriver
- Lanyard Ring
- Bottle Opener
- Can opener
- Wire Cutters
Now I assume that all you readers can figure out how to use the pliers, knives and screwdrivers. In all honesty, the saw blade - which MAYBE reaches 3" long - has limited use. Yep, you can cut small branches with it, but let's be realistic - you're not sawing through logs with it. The bottle opener, scissors and wire cutters are all no-brainers for 'how to use'. The Can Opener is easy enough, most especially if you've ever used a P-38 can opener. If not, find someone over the age of 40 who can show you how if you can't figure it out.
For field testing I wore this Ultimate Multi-Tool in the provided embroidered black nylon belt pouch for a few weeks. I had opportunity to use every tool - although I had to set up the situation to use the saw. Every other tool I found or experienced a need for in the four week testing time frame. I was real happy with the spring-loaded pliers function and got pretty good at opening and closing the two knife blades one-handed. The tool itself handled everything I reasonably asked of it. Even the scissors - which on almost every multi-tool are so small as to be next to useless - managed to handle the paper and string cutting chores I presented.
Given the design features I described above, and taking into consideration how pleased I've been with this multi-tool's practical usage and functionality, I think I'm going to keep this one on my belt for awhile. I'll be recommending it to friends and probably giving some to family as gifts. I think that's about the highest recommendation I can give it.
About The Author:
Lt. Frank Borelli (ret) is the Editor In Chief for Officer.com, and has over 28 years of military and civilian law enforcement experience. An instructor since 1989 and having delivered training around the country, he stays active in police work, training, and writing. Frank has had four non-fiction and two fiction books published along with two research papers of specific interest to the law enforcement and/or military communities. All can be found / purchased on his Author Page on Amazon.com linked above. If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email to [email protected].