An often-overlooked entry into the keychain size MT market is the SOG Crosscut. I was talked into buying one from ‘Sharper Image’ or some such mall shop many years ago, and as overpriced as it was, I would have paid it again. The original Crosscut was an absolutely excellent tool. It has been replaced by the Crosscut 2.0, with only a few refinements, and a fairly major drop in build quality since production switched from the United States to China. While it’s not what it used to be, it’s still an excellent option for keychain carry.
These tools are a bit like fraternal twins, at first glance they look nearly identical however they are very capable individuals. Both tools are lower cost options in the full size category from Leatherman but don’t be misled by cost alone as they are no Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson or Ethel to Lucy. The Wingman is a trusted friend and companion and the Sidekick a competent multitool ready for a task. I feel Leatherman nailed these offerings, though not just for the budget minded consumer but for anyone looking for a tool to do exactly what it was designed to do, which is perform.
When you need pliers on the go a multitool is great to have. But what about when that multitool feels like a brick in your pocket? Sheaths are an option but not everyone wants one on their side and not everyone wears a belt. There are also keychain tools, but the pliers on them are too small for many tasks. So what do you do? You get a Leatherman Mini-Tool.
Locking pliers are a feature seldom explored by the multitool manufacturers, and not a tool I frequently need – but when you do need them, nothing else will suffice. Gerber entered the fray with the Grappler which features one hand deployable locking pliers (one fixed jaw and one movable one) with anvil style wire cutters. On the outside of the tool are four additional one hand opening tools, which means this was the world’s first full sized multitool where everything can be opened one handed, despite conflicting claims from elsewhere.
After the well received introduction of Leatherman Supertool 300 as replacement for the venerable Core, Leatherman shrunk the Supertool by half inch, and gave us the Rebar. It has since replaced the Blast family of full sized tools in Leatherman’s line up, and I would say it’s a worthy successor.