Review: Leatherman MUT

We have all been there at some point in time. You are at the range and that nut or screw comes loose.

A cartridge sticks in the chamber. Your scope mount loosens on the rail, etc. Firearms put a lot of stress on fasteners. Rarely when we go out and about with out firearms do we want to drag along a whole tool box. This is especially true for our Marines and Soldiers in the field. They don’t have the luxury of adding heavy tools to their already massive equipment burden. This is where the Leatherman MUT comes in.

The Leatherman MUT is a compact multi-tool. The concept of the multi-tool is nothing new. I carried one over a decade and a half ago when I was far away from home. The problem with the tool I carried back then, was that it had a lot of functions I never used and was missing several that I needed. The MUT solves this issue. It is specifically designed for military and law enforcement gunslingers. The Leatherman MUT is geared towards optically sighted M16 platforms and their larger .308 brothers.

When I first opened the box I was greeted with an extremely high quality nylon pouch. The pouch is coyote brown and MOLLE compatible. It can also be easily worn on a belt. The sheath is well thought out with a large hook and loop flap on the front. Some may complain that the hook and loop is loud, but lets face it. If you are taking a tool to your weapon, you better not be in a high risk situation. There are elastic bands on the sides to add compression and keep the MUT secure while allowing easy removal and replacement. Inside the pouch is a hidden compartment that allows for storage of extra bits.

The MUT comes packaged with a small double ended twelve point wrench. This seems like a very small thing, but it made me very happy. One side of the wrench is 1/2?. This is correct for the rail mounting nut on Badger Ordnance rings as well as several others. If you properly install you optics, they should not come loose……but stuff happens in the field. You also may find yourself in a situation where you need to jettison a malfunctioning or damaged optic. Having the proper wrench at your fingertips makes the situation a little easier. On the opposite side is a 3/8? twelve point. This covers many other scope rings as well as the adjustment nut on LaRue locking levers. This is not earth shattering, but it shows the folks at Leatherman were really thinking.

When you remove the MUT from its pouch it feels good in the hand. It is not lightweight, but it is not overly heavy either. Goldilocks would have been happy with this tool because it’s “just right”. It has enough heft to reassure you that it is a tool not a toy.

With the MUT in it’s closed/stored configuration you have access to several features. The first that catches the eye is the “cutting hook”. This is a protected blade that will make short work of webbing. A tool like this is critical for cutting jammed seat belts and aircraft harnesses without risk to the crewman. It is also extremely handy for cutting gear off of a wounded warrior.

On top of the hook is a flat grooved surface that is intended for use as a hammer. While I don’t believe I would attempt to build a barn with this as my only hammer, it works well for tapping pins into place.

The tip of the hammer is shaped to fit inside the ejection port of the M16/M4. This is the “bolt override tool”. In a bolt override malfunction or “Type ATE” a tool must be used to hold the bolt back while the charging handle is pushed forward. This will release the trapped case. The tip of the MUT hammer is designed to accomplish this is a safer manner than using a knife blade (never do this with a folding knife).

Moving south from the cutting hook, we notice two attachment options. If you decide to forego the pouch for storage, you can attach the MUT to your gear with either the carabiner or the pocket clip. The pocket clip shows some real thought towards the final intent of the tool. You won’t find any wimpy spring steel clips on the MUT. Leatherman used a beefy piece, but to keep the weight down it is skeletonized and made of titanium. Also demonstrating that Leatherman knows their customers, the carabiner doubles as a bottle opener! This wasn’t just a happy circumstance (like the catwalk railing outside your barracks room), it is actually mentioned in the users guide.

When you grab the MUT while closed you immediately have access to four tools. One that most of us will need immediate access to is the knife blade. For right handed users the thumb falls perfectly on the hole in the blade. A swipe of the thumb easily swings the blade into it’s locked position. It won’t win any speed contests, but it’s fast enough to kill any MREs that happen to be charging you at chow time. The 420HD combo edge blade locks open with a liner lock and has no play when deployed. Closing the blade can be accomplished easily with one hand by depressing the lock with the thumb and VERY carefully starting the blade forward with the index finger. Once the blade is unlocked the thumb can pull it forward into the stowed position.

Opposite of the combo edge blade is a saw blade. It is also designed for one handed deployment, but due to its position, it is a little more fiddly to access. The saw has large sharp teeth that are at home cutting wood or bone. They will not work well on thicker metal. These type of saws are usually very useful if you need to make survival shelters or traps.

Both blades are protected by the metal body of the tool. The chassis wraps around the them in a manner that guards the tips of either blade from catching and accidentally deploying.

Rolling the MUT over in your hand reveals a pin punch. The MUT comes with a punch perfectly sized for the fire control group pins on the M16/M4 family of weapons. This is also the same size as required by the M110/SR25/AR10 etc. It can also be used to knock out stubborn take down pins. The punch is replaceable and for LE/Special users a Glock sized punch is offered. If you use both systems, the spare punch can be stored in the pocket on the sheath.

Adjacent to the punch is a small scraper blade. The scraper is made of bronze to allow you to remove the stubborn baked on carbon from your bolt without harming the weapon. This is a great addition for those of us who remember using the tail end of a cleaning rod or the back of your knife blade for the task.

While holding onto one half of the tool, a quick flip of the wrist opens the MUT butterfly knife style. Squeezing the handles together locks the MUT into pliers mode. Here you are able to use the needle nose and regular plier functions as well as the wire cutter and crimper. On either side of the plier head you will find a hole that is threaded to accept standard GI cleaning rods. The extra weight gained by threading the MUT onto a cleaning rod can be extremely helpful in tapping a stuck case out of the chamber. The threaded hole on one side can be accessed with the tool closed.

The tips of the needle nose pliers are well finished and able to handle delicate tasks. The regular pliers section is serrated to offer purchase on fasteners. The wire cutters were well thought out. The blades have no problem cutting small gauge wire cleanly. Large gauge wire may take two passes, but is easily accomplished. The wire cutters are designed with flats towards the hinge to cut coat hangar type wire. It is easily done without any damage to the edges.

This brings us to one of the most useful features of the MUT. Stored in the body of the tool and retained by a safety like cross-bolt are two long bits. The first contains a 1/4 flat blade screwdriver and No.2 Phillips Head. The other bit has a 7/64 hex and T15 Torx side. On the outside of the tool is a short 3/16 flat blade and No.1 Phillips Head. These bits snap securely into the receiver in the end of the “handle” opposite the hammer head. They are held securely and released by pressing on a spring clip.

While the combination of flat and Phillips bits will allow you to tighten and disassemble much of what we use daily, the T15 Torx and 7/64 Hex will work on many scope rings.

The MUT folds quickly and securely when not in use and is fairly unobtrusive in its pouch/sheath. It lives in my every day bag and I am confident in the knowledge that I have a tool at hand that will let me solve most minor problems.

Now back to that multi-tool that I carried for years. The blades are chipped and ragged. The wire cutters have cut so much hard wire that there is no hope of them ever cutting electrical wire cleanly again. The screwdriver bits are stripped and it’s a mess. There really isn’t any hope for it. The MUT has a solution to this problem. Almost every working surface on it is replaceable. Replacement bits and tools are available on the Leatherman website as well as expanded bit sets to make your MUT more functional. If you are hard on tools, you can rest easy knowing that replacement parts are available and reasonably priced. In fact they are reasonable enough that you could pack some spares in your seabag for your next deployment.

For more information, check out Leatherman’s website: http://www.leatherman.com/product/MUT