with Lindsey J. Bertomen
Product Review: Leatherman M.U.T. (Military Utility Tool)
One of the most exciting debuts at SHOT Show 2010 is the Leatherman M.U.T. (Military Utility Tool). This collaborative effort is unique in the field of multi-tools. The Leatherman M.U.T. resembles their trademark folding needle nose pliers but has specialty tools for… now, get this: AR-15/M-16 users.
When I first heard that Leatherman was going to introduce their latest and greatest at SHOT, I speculated they were going to unveil either a larger or smaller tool with a new blade combination. When they brought out a tool featuring a user-replaceable firearm disassembly punch, user-replaceable (bronze) carbon scraper, a hammer, and a bolt override tool, I nearly fell over.
A few years ago, I was a small arms instructor in the military. Our team fantasized about having a portable toolkit for our M-16s. We all carried small backpacks full of odds and ends for the purpose of keeping our shooters on the firing line. The Leatherman M.U.T. is this whole backpack full of tools in a single handheld package. Additionally, it has the most usable MOLLE compatible case in the inventory. The Leatherman M.U.T. is approximately the same size a Leatherman Super Tool, except that it was specifically designed to keep operators in the firefight.
I should explain what bolt override is. It is a stoppage when a cartridge has wedged itself between the top of the bolt and the area above it, near the gas tube. There are a couple of possible causes, but they look essentially the same: The bolt is stuck partially open and something is preventing movement. One method of fixing this problem without the appropriate inventory is to draw the sidearm and continue the fight. With the right tool and training, the carbine can be up quickly. The bolt override tool on the Leatherman M.U.T. allows the mission to continue.
Obviously, the Leatherman MUT is a collaborative effort with experts using the AR-15 series of firearms. In fact, US Army Sgt. First Class Aaron Hampton and Sgt. First Class Robbie Johnson, combat veterans, competitive shooters and subject matter experts, were the forward observers for this product. Their influence and the impeccable manufacturing process of Leatherman have created a product that clearly addresses the needs of military, law enforcement, and competitive civilian shooters who deploy with the most recognized firearm in the world.
The M.U.T. has geometry and tooling specific to the AR-15/M-16 platform. Parts are user-replaceable and most tools are easily put into action one-handed. There are 18 tools in the M.U.T. Utility configuration. Additionally, it comes with Phillips screwdrivers, Torx and Hex bits and a separate wrench accessory for clamping a scope mount on the rails without marring it. The tools and bits were selected to fit mounts, adjustments and accessories in the small arms inventory. The needlenose tip was designed with bolt disassembly, including the firing pin retainer pin, in mind. Even the pouch is dual purpose. It’s the right size for an M9 magazine. This wasn’t an afterthought. The M.U.T. has a carabiner clip for users who like to clip it on rather than sheath it.
The Leatherman M.U.T. will also accomplish its usual tasks like wire cutting – especially with the replaceable cutter blades, sawing and attaching the accessory bits. The knife blade has a little more meat on it than other models. The disassembly punch has the same threading as a military cleaning rod and there is a female socket so the M.U.T. can be used as a cleaning rod handle. Having used plenty of field expedient hammers in the field, I can appreciate a tool with a deliberate design.
There is even a M.U.T. EOD (17 tools, three-piece bit kit) model with a cap crimper, fuse wire cutters and C4 punch. It retains the AR-15 operator features necessary to get the job done.
Leatherman Tool Group Inc. is not known for doing things halfway. I did not expect them to get into the firearms accessories trade. The tens of thousands who work behind one of the greatest carbines in history will be glad they did.