Years ago Leatherman introduced their now legendary Micra, which has dominated the keychain market for years. So much so that when Leatherman decided to upgrade the concept with the Squirt line, the Micra held fast. It seemed that not only could the Micra beat the competition, it could also easily take on it's technically superior replacement! I always find it amusing that Leatherman is such a great company that even they can't compete with themselves!
I awaited rather impatiently the arrival of several Super Tool 300s that I had ordered before they came out. As luck would have it, I finally got them, and it is time to write a small review about my thoughts and ideas about Leatherman’s newest addition to the multi-tool family.
The Super Tool 300 is 3rd in a family of large heavy multi-tools. You can see its lineage in the older models. The first Super Tool came out in 1994 and was discontinued in 2001. That was quickly followed by the Super Tool 200 which had a run from 2001 to 2005. At this point, Leatherman produced the Core which was introduced in 2005 and is still being produced although there are talks that it may be discontinued soon, but who knows other then Leatherman. The Super Tool 300 is a 2009 model that had a September roll out.
To better understand the Super Tool 300, you have to examine its predecessors. The whole family is geared towards Industrial/Construction trades, where a larger and tougher tool is in high demand. Special mention should go out to another large multi-tool, the Surge, which will not be talked about in this short review as it belongs to another Leatherman family and doesn’t quite fit into the lineage of the Super Tool 300.
One could almost argue that the Core does not belong in this group, as it came out along with the Kick, Fuse, and Blast, which belong to another branch of the family. These all contain Zytel liners. However, the Core shares quite a bit with the Super Tool 300 as you shall see, and is deserving of its place in this review.
Lets take a closer look…
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.
The KF4, though now retired, was introduced by Leatherman in 2001 with the launching the Juice line. It’s been released in “solar” yellow as well as “storm” grey. You’ll also see my customized beater in a few picks.
As far as the tools go, the KF4 tool list reads like a fully equipped large multi-tool, with the notable exceptions of scissors and can/bottle openers. Everything on this tool solidly snaps open with back springs like a slip joint pocketknife.
The original Big Boy of Multitools the Leatherman Super Tool
The Super Tool was the third tool produced in the Leatherman Lineup and the first 4 and a half inch tool. The Super Tool was produced from 1994 through 2001 where it was replaced by the Leatherman Super Tool 200. Also of note is that some of the early models of the Super Tool as with the early PSTs lacked a hard wire notch. The Super Tool had a great run in it's 7 year run. This is a tough tool that was built for everyday heavy duty use and abuse.
The tools of it where also bigger and beefier than it's smaller counterpart (PST) and each tool locked. It included 18 listed tools. A clip-point knife, a serrated knife, needlenose pliers, regular pliers, wire cutters, hard-wire cutters, electric crimper, small, med, large screwdrivers, a phillips head screwdriver, wood/metal file,a saw, a wire stripper, a bottle opener, a can opener, 9 in / 22 cm ruler, and an awl.
Similar to it's more affordable cousins, the standard Skeletool and the yet to be released Freestyle, the Skeletool CX is the premium model in this particular line. It boasts the same features as the standard model, but with a few extra bonuses.
If ever there was the One Tool to Rule Them All, it’s Leatherman’s Pocket (or Personal) Survival Tool, affectionately known as the PST. This was the original Leatherman production model, and the source of inspiration for all current issue multitools, and the One Tool (see?) that was single handedly responsible for resurrecting a virtually extinct niche market and bringing it to the masses.
Another member of Leatherman’s Charge family, the Ti is now discontinued, along with it’s original titanium handled sibling, the XTi . While the XTi was replaced by the ALX model, the Ti was replaced by both the AL and TTi models.
So imagine you're at a fancy dress party, and there is a big plate of hors d'oeuvres sitting on the table. But alas, there are no more forks! "Darn." You think to yourself, but you remember you have your trusty sidekick, Leatherman Flair on your belt! What can a Leatherman be any good to you at a fancy dinner party anyway? Well, let me show you.
All I can say is, “Wow!”
From the moment I opened the box it was clear that this was no ordinary multitool. On the contrary, it may well be the most industrial-strength multitool ever produced. No thin, flimsy sheet metal construction is to be found on it anywhere. The handles are all solid cast aluminum, just like a big Rigid brand pipe wrench. The shears themselves are two slabs of hardened stainless steel ground to perfection, and they pivot on a massive 1/4” diameter bolt. The whole device simply oozes quality and strength.