Reviews

Field Notes: Leatherman MUT

Here we are with yet another review of an item included in my deer hunting load out. In this review, I’m going to look at the Leatherman MUT multitool. Returning readers will notice this is one of the several cutting tools I carry with me attached to the PALS webbing of the hunting pack and also a tool that frequently is removed from the hunting pack and tossed into the range bag anytime I’m participating in shooting sports. I’m a big fan of Leatherman multitools. They come in quite handy and get a lot of use. However, the specialized use this particular Leatherman is intended for is not something I’ve actually used this multitool for.

The Leatherman MUT is a special purpose multitool designed to “maintain military gear”. At least, that’s how Leatherman’s marketing team describes it. Frankly, I see it as a well built general purpose Leatherman multitool where some of the more specialized tools have been replaced with other specialized tools designed to assist with maintaining an AR platform rifle. I’ll break down the tools momentarily.

The multitool is available in two variants. The first is the stainless steel variant and the other is black finish variant. The differences between the two in terms of finish are limited to the finish found on the knife blade, the saw blade, and the pliers. Both can be purchased with or without a black or brown MOLLE sheath. I found the sheath to be well made with the exception of the built in MOLLE weave-able nylon strap which has a bit of stretch in it. The stretch in the strap gives the attached sheath a bit of play and wobble. It’s not much and is hardly noticeable, but it’s present nonetheless and I found it a bit annoying.

The Leatherman MUT includes a separate 3/8″ wrench and front-sight adjustment accessory which can be stored in the sheath. The accessory has come in handy at the range when sighting in irons on an AR-15 which is not something I do often. The downside is that this tool is often left behind when the multitool is carried without the sheath in a pocket. Not a huge deal, since making adjustments to the front sight of an AR-platform rifle isn’t a common activity for me. I’ve also never found myself in a situation where I needed the 3/8″ wrench.

Here are the 16 different tools it includes (as per Leatherman’s website):

  1. Needle-nose Pliers
  2. Regular Pliers
  3. Replaceable Wire Cutters
  4. Replaceable Hard-wire Cutters
  5. Stranded-wire Cutters
  6. Electrical Crimper
  7. 420HC Partially-serrated Knife
  8. Saw
  9. Replaceable Cutting Hook
  10. Hammer
  11. Bolt Override Tool
  12. Replaceable Bronze Carbon Scraper
  13. #8-32 Cleaning Rod/Brush Adapter
  14. Replaceable Firearm Disassembly Punch
  15. Carabiner/Bottle Opener
  16. Large Bit Driver

To be completely honest, I think a couple of the tools listed seem like a bit of marketing gimmickry. The pliers, for example, are listed as two tools, but are really just one set of pliers with a needle nose front tips followed by a standard round plier behind it. That seems to me like combination pliers commonly found in hardware stores. The three listed wire cutters are another example of a single tool which can be used on three different types of wires (or maybe I’m using them incorrectly).

Personally, I get a ton of use from the pliers, the cutters, and the bit driver. Next to that would be the knife blade and the bottle opener. The rest of the tools are nice to have incase I need them, but I’ve yet to find myself in a situation where they are needed. Granted I’ve never found myself in a position where I have had to perform field maintenance on any AR-platform rifle, I suspect the carbon scraper (designed for scraping carbon from the bolt carrier group [BCG] and firing pin) and the cleaning rod/brush adapter would be useful.

The bolt override tool is a tool that makes me wonder if there is anyone who has ever actually used it in the field. It is designed to help clear a very specific malfunction where a spent casing is jammed between the BCG and charging handle and therefore the typical malfunction clearing procedure can’t be applied to clear the malfunction. From a layman’s perspective, it’s another one of those specialized tools that will rarely, if ever, be used.

The hammer and carabiner are two tools that seem to be a complete gimmick. Yes, the hammer can be used to tap on something or to press on something. Given the size of the multitool however, I can’t see how anyone is going to get any serious hammering done with it. The carabiner isn’t load bearing to my knowledge and is so small that it can really only be used to attach the multitool to something else. Perhaps somebody prefers this carry method, but I find that pocket carry or sheath carry are much better options and the carabiner just makes using the bottle opener a bit more difficult. Granted the carabiner does keep the bottle opener from snagging when carried in a pocket.

Perhaps my favorite feature on the Leatherman MUT is the bit driver and the built in bit storage. The tool includes three double sided bits out of the box for a total of six different bits which include: a long Trox #15 and Hex 7/64″ bit, a long Phillips #2 and 1/4″ flathead bit, and a short Phillips #1-2 and 3/16″ flathead bit. Optionally, one can purchase a Leatherman bit kit set to further expand the applications of the large bit driver.

Overall, I think the Leatherman MUT multitool is a great option for a shooting sports enthusiast who is looking for a well built general purpose multitool with some added specialized firearm tools. The drawback is this tool is among the most, if not the most, expensive multitools offered by Leatherman. Given that my experience as an enthusiast has yet to yield the need for any of the specialized tools, a more frugal minded enthusiast may be better served by a more budget friendly Leatherman multitool, such as the Wingman or the OHT , and forego the specialized tooling.

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