If you’re seeking the best military multi-tool to buy for 2020, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve scoured the market, investigating multiple alternatives before buying and testing out the six that we’re going to cover here today.
Not all multi-tools are created equally. This guide will introduce you to the top six best military multi-tools on the market, and we’ll also cover the top qualities on what to look for in a multi-tool as well.
Take note that in this article we will occasionally be using acronyms with the following meanings:
|OHT||One Hand Tool|
|MUT||Military Utility Tool|
|MRO||Maintenance, Repair, Operations|
|EOD||Explosive Ordnance Disposal|
|TSA||Transportation Security Administration|
Let’s get started!
- Tools 16
- Weight 11.2 oz.
- Material Stainless Steel
- Best for: weapon carry/edc
- OHT Yes
- Ready to be used with firearms
- Very practical
- Only requires one hand to use
- Tools 17
- Weight 9.70 oz.
- Material 420HC fine&serrated blade
- Best for: weapon carry/repair
- OHT No
- American made
- Compact size is good for concealment
- Comes with a twelve piece bit set
- Lacks some most common multi-tool pieces (scissors, can opener etc.)
- Tools 6
- Weight 5.8 oz.
- Material Stainless Steel
- Best for: emergency
- OHT Yes
- Good choice for professional medical and paramedic work
- Comes with MOLLE compatible sheath
- Less adept to use for everyday tasks
- Requires considerable hand strength to use
- Tools 18
- Weight 9.6 oz.
- Material 420HC Stainless Steel
- Best for: demining
- OHT Yes
- Comes with eighteen different tools
- Pliers are strong enough to cut a coin
- Black oxide coating is very rust and corrosion resistant
- Built out of durable 420 stainless steel
- Tools 37
- Weight 1.24 lbs
- Material 440HC stainless steel
- Best for: weapon carry
- OHT No
- Comes with hook peak for gun carrying
- 440 stainless steel construction
- Comes with a ballistic nylon, MOLLE compatible sheath
- Great for guns and outdoor use, but less adept for other practical uses
- Tools 14
- Weight 8.32 oz.
- Material 2Cr13/3Cr13/PA66+glass
- Best for: survival
- OHT Yes
- Very lightweight and portable
- Comes with fourteen different practical tools
- Plier body is very rust and corrosion resistant
- Not quite as durable as some other multi tools
Best For A Weapons Carrier
|Best for||weapon carry/edc|
The Leatherman MUT is the only multi tool in this list that comes with a glass breaker and a hammer. It’s also a multi tool that is designed to be used in a military or law enforcement situation with a weapons carrier. That’s why it comes with a variety of gun-related tools such as punches that can be used to push pins out of firearms when disassembling them (such as if you have to field strip an AR-15). It also comes with a cleaning rod/brush adapter that you can use for cleaning your firearms.
That being said, the MUT can be just as practical as it is tactical. It comes with tools such as a wire cutter, crimper, pliers, saw, knife, cutting hook, bolt override tools, bronze carbon scraper, and a bit driver. The entire tool comes with a pocket clip and only requires one hand to use.
Best For Maintenance and Repairs
Gerber MP1 MRO
|Material||420HC fine&serrated blade|
|Best for||weapon carry/repair|
The Gerber MP1 MRO is a 100% American made multi tool that is a perfect choice for concealment do to its smaller size than the other multi tools on this list. It’s also a perfect choice for maintenance and repair related work due to the fact that it comes with a number of essential tools including a twelve bit set, serrated knife blades, utility blades, cotter pin hook, and a pry bar with a bottle opener.
The Gerber MP1 is also built with heavy duty forged steel to ensure excellent durability over the long term. All in all, this is an excellent multi tool to use for repairs and maintenance related work, but it will be may be less adept to use for more practical everyday uses.
Best For Paramedics and Medical Professionals
If you’re looking for a multi tool to use with rescuing and paramedic work, the Leatherman Raptor is the multi tool you’re looking for. This is a multi-tool that comes with all of the necessary tools for medical professionals, including emergency response shears, a ring cutter, strap cutter, ruler, carbide glass breaker, and oxygen tank wrench.
The sheath the Raptor comes with makes it easy to carry around on your belt at all the times, while the pocket clip gives you the option to instead carry it more hidden on the inside of your pants if you want. The sheath is also MOLLE compatible, so it can be carried to the outside of a MOLLE pack if you so desire.
Scissors on Leatherman Raptor made of super durable 420 HC steel super durable that cuts more than 3.6 mm x2 layers (tested on a rubber belt)
Best For Deminers
SOG Powerlock EOD
|Material||420HC Stainless Steel|
The SOG Powerlock EOD is a heavy duty multi tool that may be large and heavy in its class, but it also incredibly strong and durable. This multi tool is built out of a very strong and durable 420 stainless with a black oxide coating for excellent rust and corrosion resistance.
This multi tool comes with eighteen different tools, including a knife, screwdriver, and pliers. The pliers in particular are the real standout, because they are capable of cutting through a coin, having been tested on a ten cent dime. SOG even claims that the pliers are so strong they will never break.
Best For Gun Carrying
Real Avid Gun Tool
|Material||440HC stainless steel|
|Best for||weapon carry|
If you carry a handgun on you every day as part of your everyday carry, you’ll definitely want to consider adding the Real Avid Gun Tool to your list of EDC. This multi tool comes with features such as a hook peak for carrying a gun, detachable pin punch for disassembling firearms, two carbon scrapers, detachable pick, and a choke wrench that will work for shotguns from .410 bore up to 10 gauge.
But it also comes with a number of other essential tools, including a knife blade built out of 440 stainless steel, a locking bit driver, needle nose pliers, wrenches, and a screwdriver. It also chips with a ballistic nylon sheath that is MOLLE compatible and can be easily attached to your belt.
Best Survival Choice
Roxon CM1349 SPARK
If you are looking for a multi-tool that you can carry with you out into the woods or for survival purposes, look no further than the Roxon CM1349 SPARK. This would be an excellent multi-tool to keep in your survival kit or bug out bag for when times get tough. It comes with fourteen different practical tools including a knife, saw, can opener, bottle opener, screwdrivers (flat and Philips), pliers, wire cutters, scraper, awl, and a flint stone.
This is also a very compact and lightweight multi tool, being made out of nylon and fiber plastic. The plier body, meanwhile, is very rust and corrosion resistant thanks to its black coating.
When searching for a multi tool, make sure that you go with one that comes with each of the following qualities:
ONE HANDED OPENING
You should be able to operate any multi tool with just one hand. This is important to remember, because not all multi tools are made with only one hand operation in mind. That being said, most can still be operated with one hand so long as you do it right.
You may think that a multi tool will need to be spring loaded in order to be operated with one hand, but this is not necessarily correct. They just need to be able to fit comfortably in your hand and be ergonomic so you can reach each of the levers with your fingers.
THE SIMPLER THE BETTER
Your multi tool will also need to be as simple as possible. This doesn’t mean that it can only come with a few tools. It just means that it needs to be easier to use. If your multi tool is capable of being operated with one hand, for instance, it’s likely a very simple design.
Furthermore, simpler multi tools are often more durable as well, which is what we will talk about next.
Some people will go with a very small multi tool that is essentially tiny enough to fit in their wallet. Such a multi tool will not be very long lasting nor durable. The most durable multi tools are small, but not small enough to be carried in your wallet. Instead, they’ll be carried in your pocket (clipped to the inside of your pants), or they’ll be carried in a sheath that you can then attach to your belt.
If you want your multi tool to be as useful and versatile as possible, it should also come with each of the following tools:
Have you ever been in that situation where you have a can of food, but you don’t have the necessary tools to open it? Most people would probably answer yes. This is why carrying a multi tool with a can opener will be a major plus. Keep in mind, a can opener can almost always be used as a bottle opener as well.
The next most important tool to have in a multi tool is a knife. This is because a knife is simply so practical and has a variety of everyday uses. A plain edge knife will be the better blade choice for making push cuts, while serrated blades will be better for a slicing cut. Push cut are where you push the blade away from you, and slice cuts are where you pull it towards you. Keep in mind that plain blades will usually dull faster than a serrated blade will.
Not every multi tool comes with a pair of pliers, but most do. In fact, pliers are arguably the most prominent tool in most multi tools today. You can use pliers to compress, bend, and grip different objects. You can have a choice for needle nose and flat nose; needle nose give you more precise gripping.
Virtually all multi tools made today come with screwdrivers, with flat heads and Phillips being the most common options. However, some multi tools will even come with both, although at the expense of the multi tool itself being bulkier. Flathead screw drivers can be used in Phillips screws but it’s still recommended that you use a Phillips screwdriver when possible.
A saw will be a must have on any multi tool made for survival purposes. You can use it for cutting through rope or webbing, or for sawing down wood to use for shelter or to make a fire.
Additional accessories that you may want to consider in a multi tool, but that won’t be fully necessary, include awls, rulers, hex bit drivers, files, and scissors.
How To Choose A Military Multi-Tool
Now that we’ve covered the qualities and features that your multi tool needs to have, the next important question we need to answer is this: how do you go about choosing a military grade multi tool out of the abundance of options on the market?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a mini multi tool, a pocket multi tool, or a heavier duty multi tool. You need to know how to choose a specific model for your specific needs.
Fundamentally, you need to make sure that you do not buy a multi tool that is less than what you need, but also not one that is more than what you need. Stay within your budget and make a list of the tools that you desire your multi tool to have. That automatically should narrow down your list of options.
You are also going to need to answer the following questions as you go about selecting your next multi tool:
HOW WILL YOU CARRY IT
There are two main options for carrying a multi tool today. The first is to carry it in a provided sheath on your belt, while the other is to carry it clipped to the inside of your pans in your pocket. Either option is fine, so it’s up to you to decide. Remember that some sheaths provided with multi tools today will be MOLLE compatible, so you can carry them attached to the outside of a MOLLE backpack. If you are going to buy a multi tool for survival purposes rather than for everyday carry, for instance, you may just want to keep it lashed to the outside of your bug out bag or survival kit backpack.
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU NEED?
Take the time to make a list of tools that you want in your multi tool, and then only buy a multi tool that actually comes with each of those tools.
However, think carefully about the tools you think you will need…but likely won’t. You don’t want a multi tool that has forty or fifty tools on it, because it will simply be too big and heavy to be carried on your person every day. Instead, think about your daily applications and what tools will help you with those applications.
HOW FUCNTIONAL IS IT
Almost all multi tools are handy, but only some are functional in contrast to other full sized tools. As we stated earlier in this article, it is not the role of a multi tool to replace a toolbox. It’s just designed to make your daily life easier.
Again, you just need to ask yourself what you see yourself using your multi tool every day. Also remember that a multi tool is better suited for smaller tasks. There’s simply no possible way that a multi tool can replace a wrench, for example.
DOES IT COME FROM A REPUTABLE BRAND?
What’s the number one way to know that you’re buying a durable multi tool that will also last you a long time?
Simple: buy from a reputable brand. There are an abundance of high quality manufacturers of multi tools on the market, and they each come with a phenomenal reputation. Examples include SOG, Gerber, and Leatherman.
DO YOU REALLY NEED A BLADE?
A knife blade is one of the most versatile and practical tools ever invented. And contrary to what some people think, not all multi tools come with a knife blade either.
If you do go with a blade, make sure that it is very durable and locks firmly into place. You don’t want a multi-tool with a knife like a Swiss Army knife, which won’t lock into place and can therefore cause serious injury.
You also need to ask yourself how long the blade should be, and whether it should come with a plain edge or be serrated. We discussed the pros and cons of plain edged and serrated knives earlier in this article.
It could be that you don’t even think your multi tool should have a knife blade, because you already carry a knife with you. This is fine too, because it means that the blade would be replaced by another potentially useful tool.
Hopefully this guide has taught you everything you need to know about searching for a multi tool. Any one of the six military-grade multi tools that we have covered here today will be an excellent option, but if you’d prefer another option from the many that are available on the market, just follow the buyer’s guide that we outlined for you above.
Frequently Asked Questions
All of the products in this list come with a sheath, with the exception of the Roxon CM1349, which comes with a pocket clip instead.
In general, all multi-tools are prohibited from being carried on an aircraft either on your person or in carry-on luggage under current TSA rules.
The Roxon CM1349, the Leatherman Raptor, and the Leatherman MUT come with a pocket clip, but the other options on this list do not, as they instead come with a sheath to be carried on your belt instead.