FEATURED IN TACTICS AND WEAPONS
Ever since Tim Leatherman introduced the Leatherman Tool in the 1980s, there s been a wide variety of pocket tools introduced to the market. Some have been general purpose tools; some have included lock mechanisms or opening designs. Others have been specialized and aimed at specific needs (e.g., EOD, hunters, fishing, electrical work). Now there are several tools on the market designed for specific firearms families that are common among law enforcement practitioners.
At the 2009 SHOTShow in Orlando, I was introduced to the Multitasker and its designer, Shane Keng. At first glance, it appears to be like many other foldout pocket tools, but it s actually a tool for the user of AR-15 platform rifles.
The Multitasker was manufactured from 440C stainless steel that s been blackened and its handles are covered with checkered G-10 polycarbonate panels to ensure a good grip. Folded open, there s a pair of needle-nose pliers with both striated and smooth jaws, plus wire-cutting jaws. Unlike some tools, which seriously flex when in the pliers mode, the Multitasker has very little flex in the handles when squeezed.
A variety of tools are hidden in the handles and accessible from the outside without the tool needing to be open. A spanner wrench for securing the stock nut of AR-15 family rifles is hidden in one handle. Combined with heft and G-10 covering the handles, this wrench provides a strong and comfortable grip for locking down a stock. There s also a front-sight adjustment tool for rifles with four-prong front sights and a standard " socket, permitting one to use it as a screwdriver for any standard bit, as well as drive " hex head screws or hold " nuts. Because this is a folding tool, it may be used as a straight screwdriver or bent to 90 to permit additional cranking torque.
The other handle conceals four tools. First is a 2 3/8" tanto-style blade. Next is a 3/8" box wrench, which is noted as being designed for use with LaRue Tactical Mounts and also for the gas plug on an M14. Next is a file, both single and double cut sides, and with a straight chisel-like scraper on its end. Finally, there s a radiused carbon scraper, for scraping inside the bolt face and into the chamber of rifles.
The tool is available in a black, ballistic nylon sheath that s designed for vertical or horizontal belt carry, as well as to MOLLE gear. The pouch contains a small front pocket that contains a rubber insert that holds five, two-ended, " bits, including Phillips, two-flat, five-hex, and two-Torx bit heads, providing the user with bits for the majority of. A small zipper pouch on the flap provides storage for small loose parts or other small items.
I put the Multitasker to the test with my Eagle Arms M15, which had built up carbon in the chamber during Fail Zero testing. The scrapers, especially the hooked one, cleared the chamber of the buildup and put the rifle back in service. The spanner permitted me to tighten down the stock nut, which hadn t been properly adjusted after replacing the stock in March. The larger handles of the tool, as opposed to the usually sheet metal stamped tools, made it both more comfortable for me and permitted greater torque be applied to the nut.
The original Pocketsmith, which appeared at the SHOTShow several years ago, was an innovative idea, adopting the pliers to a 1911 bushing wrench design, plus several 1911-specific tools in the handle. The Pocketsmith III has improved on the design by first using the same handle design as the Multitasker. The thicker G-10 handles improve comfort. A major improvement was in redesigning the plier jaws so one side is sculpted for the 1911/Government/Commander bushing, the other side cut for the Officer s and similar bushings. The jaws also retain a pliers function and a wire cutter.
The Pocketsmith III also includes three flat screwdrivers, a file with both single and double cut sides, a drop point blade with partial serrations, two hex wrenches, and a pin punch. The knife blade includes a liner lock to protect against unwanted folding.
The Pocketsmith III is a great range tool for any user of a 1911/Government Model pistol. The variety of tools a shooter would normally need for field service of the pistol are conveniently carried in a single package. The dual bushing jaws permit service of a wide variety of 1911 designs. At 9 ozs. carried in a ballistic nylon sheath designed for vertical or horizontal carry, it may mount on the belt, be attached to a shooting bag or carried in a tool kit.
Depending on your shooting choices, either of these tools may be a useful addition to your kit. Simplifying one s kit while ensuring there are appropriate tools on hand is always a good choice. Both of these tools bring the shooter a variety of tools for the specific firearms that apply to most maintenance and armorer tasks.