Gerber Legendary Blades has been making knives and tools now for 70 years; hard to believe they have been in the market since before Leatherman was founded. Since Gerber released their first multitool (1991) they have been churning them out in an effort to keep them selves ahead of the pack. Gerber continues to innovate and gives us tools that we both thought were cool looking and some that made us wonder what they were thinking. Gerber went back to the drawing board and decided to create a tool from scratch that was very different than the usual Gerber product line. There seems to be a trend involving a lightweight tool that features a minimal amount of basic functions. Gerber has come through and brought a design which I feel will do the Gerber product line some justice.
Dubbed the Crucial the new tool features several basic features that you would use on a daily basis and cuts out the tools you probably wouldn’t need. At 5 oz the Crucial is quite a light tool, perfect for EDC (Everyday Carry) and right at home in your pocket. Featuring sleek curved handles which are both ergonomic and have a sense of flair, they house a number of simple tools to get most jobs done.
The Power Plier is one of those tools that seemed to disappear from the collective conscious when it was discontinued. The predecessor to both the Pocket Power Plier and the PowerLock the Power Plier is well worth tracking down. And not just for collecting purposes; but as a great EDC tool that has some advantages over the PowerLock. Don't be mistaken, it does show it's age during use; the tools clump, implement finish is slightly lower quality than current production tools and none of the blades lock. But it has the sleek simplicity of an earlier time and the rugged functionality that the industry was born of.
The Freestyle has been one of the most anxiously awaited models from Leatherman for some time, but has gone through a number of changes since it's inception. Originally it was expected to look like the Skeletool series, and in fact, we had heard about the Freestyle long before the Skeletool emerged. Still, at the 2008 SHOT Show I had seen three very similar variations of what was expected to be the Skeletool, Skeletool CX and the Freestyle. At the time, the Freestyle was expected to have the same basic layout of the Skeletool, only with a fixed “multipurpose” driver expected to fit both slotted and phillips screws, rather than the interchangeable bit drivers found on the Skeletool series.
When Buck teamed up with Outdoorsman Peter Whittaker to create the next line of multitools, I don’t think Buck thought they would be as popular as they ended up being. Buck was defiantly bold when they pushed forward with a design like none other; a tool where all the tools are opened with one hand. This vision and determination has gotten Buck back into the multitool market and given the tool community a product that is both of quality and totally unique. Since its release Buck has produced their original X-Tract model, the LED model (a basic X-Tract with an LED) and the FIN which adds a plain edge blade and scissors to the tool. It was only natural for Buck to take the next logical step and do what X-Tract fans have been yelling about from the start, make the X-Tract with a pocket clip.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools has been one of the top competitors in the multitool market for a long time. In my opinion they are second in status, with Leatherman of course being the top dog. They have come along way since their toolclip and they continue to produce models that are nothing short of unique. SOG is one of those companies however that does not release new models every year and is slower to innovate than most people in the industry today. I believe SOG has the philosophy; that “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it.”
For the longest time we thought SOG would never release anything new into the tool market. Then they totally surprised us with the release of the Powerlock 2.0. The new model was not much different than the original model but had some key features that showed that they were willing to do some innovating. The new Powerlock featured a gear cover, so the teeth don’t dig into the palm of our hands as much and what SOG calls “Piano Keys”. The keys are there to aid in preventing the tools from clumping when getting a tool out of the handles. Both designs that were introduced on the Powerlock 2.0 were a testing ground for a new breed of SOG tool they had in the works. Dubbed the PowerAssist it was to be the first tool in the world with dual spring assisted blades. Needless to say the public was divided in two; those who thought this was a cool idea and those who thought this was just a marketing gimmick from the folks at SOG. Only time would tell if the PowerAssist lived up to the hype and would help launch SOG into a future that is full of mystique.