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June 5, 2012 Comments (0) Blades & Tools

Leatherman MUT and Lenser P7 LED Light Review

Ever since Tim Leatherman rolled out his PST (Pocket Survival Tool), the consumer market has demanded more features, stronger tools, better knives, and more options. Leatherman was all too happy to oblige, and has released a plethora of multi-tools all aimed at various purposes.

MUTsawA

In 2010, Leatherman came out with the MUT, or Military Utility Tool, and aimed it squarely at AR-15 rifle owners. About that same time, Leatherman purchased LED Lenser, manufacturers of excellent flashlights. Leatherman has graciously provided the Monkey with a MUT tool and the P7 LED flashlight and that’s what we’ll be taking a look at in this review.

With the wide spread use of the AR-15 platform, especially the recent boom in the civilian market, Leatherman made a wise move coming out with a tool specifically designed for that firearm. AR’s today are far from the combat arm of the Vietnam era. Now, you can get an AR platform rifle for doing everything from hunting whitetail, to taking out invasive hogs, to a fifty caliber, hard hitting, brick bashing pile of fun. But, while designed for the AR, I discovered the MUT tool had many features useful for a multitude of firearms. Based on Leatherman’s largest plier head, the MUT is a totally new frame design. Leatherman started from the ground up, and incorporated so many useful features in the tool, that it is really the only tool you might need for routine maintenance, cleaning, and malfunction correction for the majority of firearms out there.

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The MUT tool features a heavy duty set of plier jaws, which feature needle nose and regular pliers, along with 154CM steel replaceable wire cutters. The jaws are housed in stainless steel handles that include a new design of tools. While carrying and using the MUT tool, I cut everything from 16ga stranded electrical wire, to bailing wire, solid core electrical wire, a gas pedal return spring, several fish hooks, and even antenna coaxial cable. I was recently out for a ride in my Bronco and came across some old barb wire in one of my favorite shooting spots. Testing the cutters on that proved they were up to the task. It did take a lot of pressure to get through it, but afterwards I noticed no damage whatsoever. I couldn’t even see edge damage to the replaceable cutters.

MUT2A MUT1A

On one side of the handles a knife blade and saw are accessible from the outside with only one hand. Both the blade and saw are made from stainless steel, with the knife blade being 420HC, an excellent steel for working tools. The knife and saw both lock open via liner-locks, and are easily closed with one hand, a feature I have come to appreciate. The knife on the MUT is half serrated, and opens smooth, easily, and locks securely. I was even able to open and close the knife with leather gloves on. This is easily the best knife I’ve ever seen on a multi-tool. During use, I found the serrations to be extremely efficient, cutting rope and nylon webbing easily. The plain edge section is ground even on both sides of the knife, and came shaving sharp right from the factory. I always look at a multi-tool with the thought, ‘could this be my one knife?’ In the case of the MUT… yep, it could. Its shape is excellent for general use, and it’s just as at-home on the firing range cutting targets as it is in the woods building your lunch fire. After months of use, the knife barely needed sharpening. I easily accomplished this with my Lansky ceramic dogbone, and got the plain and serrated sections back in shape with minimal effort.

The saw, also accessible from the outside of the tool, opens just as easily. Secured with the same strong liner lock as the blade, I was able to cut though several types of wood without fear of it folding up on my. I processed some juniper for a quick fire in my hobo stove, and the saw really impressed me. What’s better, the back of the saw makes an excellent scraper for your firesteel. While you’ll never build a log cabin with a saw from a multi-tool, I enjoy having one for those small jobs like getting a quick fire going or building tent stakes. A good saw, like the one on the MUT, can really come in handy.

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On the opposite handle from the blade and saw, you’ll find two useful firearm specific tools. One side has a pin punch, designed to push out stubborn AR-15 take-down pins, and the other side has a bronze carbon scraper. The pin punch can be unscrewed from the tool, and the threads are designed to take cleaning rods screwed directly into them. For those unfamiliar, a carbon scraper is a small tool used to clean fouling and built up residue from the operating parts of a semi-automatic rifle. When I cleaned my 16” barreled AR-15 after an afternoon of suppressed shooting, the bolt and bolt carrier were extremely filthy, a typical side effect of attaching a suppressor to a gas operated semi-automatic. I used the bronze scraper exclusively and easily got the internal parts spick and span with no damage or marring of the firearms finish. The bronze carbon scraper is entirely removable and replaceable, and spares can be purchased through numerous knife and outdoor supply retailers.

The end of the MUT features a flat section designed to be used as a hammer. In this feature, Leatherman has pointed one end of the hammer to be used as a bolt-override tool on an AR style rifle. I will admit, I have put thousands upon thousands of rounds through AR rifles, both full and semi-automatic, and I have never had the failure to eject/double feed problem so severe that I could not clear it without tools. If this did happen to me, I would solve the problem with a string of profanity and a quick transition to my sidearm. I did, however, find the hammer section to be extremely useful. I used it to adjust the front sight to my AK, and even used it to drift the rear sight over on my Ruger MKIII 22/45 using a brass punch while at the range. Doing things like driving tent stakes or putting a nail in a tree to hang a lantern from takes some careful attention to aim. There isn’t a lot of surface area on the hammer face, so it’s easy to miss what you’re hitting and put you hand into the target.

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Directly under the hammer, Leatherman has included a replaceable “V” cutter blade. I discovered this tool was expertly quick at busting through zip-ties, packaging straps, string and paracord, and I even tried it on flex cuffs with great success. Attached to one side is a very sturdy, removable titanium pocket clip. While a bit on the heavy side for normal pocket carry, I found the MUT carried nicely clipped into the pencil pocket of my Carhartt pants. On the same side as the pin punch and carbon scraper, Leatherman has built in a wire gate carabiner style clip that functions extremely well as a bottle opener. Because hey, let’s be honest, if a multi-tool won’t open your beer, what good is it?

As far as the bit drivers go, the MUT takes a unique approach. The MUT uses a bit driver built into one of the handle ends. Three different, double ended bits, are stored in separate locations around the tool. The bit driver locks securely onto the bits, and creates a nice platform for their use. The small flat head and Phillips bit is stored on the back of the handle between the knife blade and saw. This is surprisingly secure, and with two months of use, I have never found it loose. The other two longer bits are stored in the handle and secured in place with a pin that pushed from side to side to release the selected bit. In use, this arrangement is a little slower than traditional bits stored folded in the handle, but having everything replaceable and customizable for specific bits is a winner. Having used the bits for everything from adjusting the fuel/air mixture on a carburetor to tightening down a scope base on my Remington 700, I can confidently say this set-up works well.

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The MUT tool comes housed in one of the best sheaths I’ve ever seen for a multi-tool. It is entirely MOLLE compatible, and very well built. The MUT tool includes a wrench that stores securely in the MOLLE strap on the back. The wrench has a 3/8” and 1/2” ends, and is designed with optics and accessories for firearms in mind. The 1/2” wrench fits the scope bases on my Armalite AR-10 perfectly, and the 3/8” wrench fits my Crimson Trace light/laser vertical foregrip like it was made for it. Inside the sheath is a pocket for accessories, like extra bits or a P-38 can opener (what I have stored in there), and the sides feature elastic loops for a pen or slim flashlight. For over two months now I’ve carried the MUT tool in the MOLLE webbing on my daily use bag and have been extremely impressed. It’s always handy when I need it, but has never come unsecured, even during some harsh use.

MUTsheathA

On that same carry bag, I have the LED Lenser P7 flashlight. This is a 3 AAA flashlight, with an adjustable beam, and multiple output settings. The P7 is the perfect companion for the MUT tool, and has truly impressed me over the last several months. The P7 uses a AAA battery carrier, containing three batteries, which are included with the flashlight. The rear of the light has a typical clicky-style switch, which also selects the output mode. A light press on the tail switch gives you Boost mode, which is the brightest. A full push to the click gets the user High mode, 175 lumens for 1 hour. A second click gives you the Low setting, 27 lumens for 13 hours. That’s a lot of light for a long time! The front of the light is adjustable from flood to spot by pressing in or pulling out the head of the flashlight. I found this to be a quick and easy way to get the right amount of light where I needed it without a lot of fuss. With a lanyard attached and an excellent sheath, the P7 is a great compliment to the MUT.

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While not advertised as it, the P7 would be more than capable as a ‘tactical’ light for investigating that bump in the night. The adjustable beam gets you a full room of light when the head is pushed “in” towards the body, and a tight, night piercing beam when pulled “out”. If you’re more concerned with the P7’s performance in the out of doors, I can say it’s impressive. I have a tree that’s dead on fifty yards from my back deck. While standing on my deck in pitch black night, I can see the bark on the tree easily with P7 on the high mode. If you were looking for a downed deer, trying to find your way back from the creek, or simply looking for those dry socks in the bottom of your pack, the P7 can get it done. All in all, a great light that’s available for $47 and some change from a few online vendors.

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While the MUT comes in around $112 for the lowest I could find, you can certainly say it’s not the cheapest multi-tool out there. But, for that price, I expect a serious tool that performs well when called upon. If you need a tool that works hard when you need it, the MUT may just be for you. It will keep you rifle up and running, build your camp fire, and fix that wiring problem in your truck. The MUT, paired with the P7 is a great combination that could handle anything you throw at it. Check out:

www.leatherman.com

www.ledlenser.com

 

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