The Dual-Force is Gerber's latest multitool and it breaks the mold in so many ways. Gerber took a lot of the design cues from the Center Drive and modified them for Dual-Force. These simple yet radical design changes have showed Gerber is ready to show the others how it is done.
The new tool comes in 4.65 inches closed and a whopping 12oz. The Dual-Force comes in a little bit heavier than its brother the Center Drive but it's closer to the Leatherman Surge (4.5inches 12.5oz)
This whale of a tool has a lot to offer just on the outside. On one side of the tool we have a one hand opening blade coming in at 2.5 inches. Blade opens easily and locks into place with a liner lock. Blade is made of a 420 series stainless, it's not cutting edge (no pun intended) but it will hold up decent and sharpening is a breeze. On the same side of the tool we have a wood saw. The saw works really good, went through a limb pretty quickly and didn't feel the wood hung up in the teeth. It feels like I got more results on the pull than I did pushing the saw through. It's not super long but for small dowels, limbs etc it should do the trick.
On the opposite side of the tool we have a file and the signature center drive screwdriver. The 3.25 inch driver is great because it's in line with the axis of the tool and not off to the side like other multitools. This allows the driver to receive maximum torque rather than it being centered on the outside of the tool frame.
The file has a fine and a course side with a metal type saw being located on the bottom. The file works ok; I don't feel it's aggressive enough to remove metal as effortlessly as other tools on the market. I don't know if it's the coating that they are using on the tool or the fact the grooves are not deep enough. The best part of the file is a chisel that is ground into the end of the tool. The chisel comes extremely sharp and is able to push wood shaving really easily. I could imagine this tool being used to budge something stuck to another object or scraping an object. I see the chisel being used in places you wouldn't typically use your knife.
Lastly on the outside of the tool are two bit holders. These holders are in the lower part of the handle and are designed to rotate out by pushing your thumb on the ramp. On my model one pushes out super easy and the other requires more of a pull and rotate outwards. I like the addition of the included bit holders and it feels more convenient than carrying around an assortment of bits in the sheath.
Concerning the outside opening tools on the Dual-Force I feel there's a small quality control issue. With my Center Drive the liner locks for the outside tool are centered or close to it when the tool is open. The Dual-Force locks are not centered like it's American counterpart but goes all the way to the opposite side. The lock is fully engaged but it maxed out and hits the stop on the other side due. It doesn't make the tools any less secure or safe but does make the lock a little finicky. On top of the lock not being centered the lock itself is stronger than that on the Center Drive. So disengaging a stiff lock that's traveled further than it should being new is a bit of a bummer.
The pièce de résistance of the Dual-Force is the new plier head. Gerber didn't go with a traditional multitool plier head and this go around designed a two position slip lock. The pliers feature a layered construction similar to the Schrade Tool and are stronger than standard cast heads. I love the strength of the pliers and its ability to grab objects not possible with other multitools. Not having needle nose on the end of the tool allows you to grab nuts and objects without worrying about clearance. The jaw features two gripping surfaces, one for smaller objects and a larger one for pipes and such. There are no fine or precise teeth in the front of the head but I don't feel it hinders the tools performance.
The design doesn't allow the wirecutter to be in the traditional location. Gerber opted to place it behind the pivot. They include both regular and hard wire notch. The cutters work really good on standard copper wire and small steel but didn't fair well with small diameter or braided wire.
The handles on the Dual-Force are 47% more narrow than similar tools. One downside to being able to grab larger objects is your handles are further apart and harder to apply pressure. Gerber designed the tool so the handles are very close together in the closed position and it makes using the pliers more comfortable. The design is closer to a channel lock in terms of handle span versus standard multitools.
All in all the Dual-Force is an amazing tool and a game changer from the folks at Gerber. It's not without some small issues but I feel they don't hinder the tool at all. Anyone who works a trade job would find this tool great for many situations. It's not a replacement for real tools, but I think it's close enough to the real thing. I would love to see the new handle splay featured on more tools in the future, this felt like a huge improvement.
Slip lock law allows for larger gripping area.
Handle are more narrow than standard multitools.
Outside opening tools
File isn't as aggressive as it could be.
Wirecutter doesn't handle fine wire well
Weight might be a deterrent for some.