The problem you’re going to have stashing these tools in your range bag or bug-out bag is it will be hard to relegate them to occasional use. (Fear not. I have a solution, which I reveal at the end.)
Any of these, all are made in the U.S.A., would make a good addition to your everyday-carry list. I know because each has had a lengthy audition as my EDC selection.
KERSHAW TIGER-STRIPE BLUR
The Blur is a Ken Onion design (Onion is an innovative knife maker known for pioneering the assisted-opening concept as well as graceful, functional designs.); with a tiger-stripe pattern on the corrosion-resistant BlackWash-coated blade, this model is a Cabela’s exclusive.
The Blur’s SpeedSafe assisted opening snaps open the blade with speed and authority, with just a nudge of the ambidextrous thumb stud. An inset stainless steel liner lock holds the blade open, but moves easily out of the way for closing.
The lightweight aircraft-aluminum handle provides lightweight strength and just enough comfortable heft, while rubberized textured inserts provide a secure grip. The handle is predrilled so the pocket clip can be adjusted for tip-up or tip-down carry. It rides high in a front jeans pocket, about an inch protruding, which makes it easy to pinch and pull.
The 3.4-inch drop-point blade has just enough belly to create a nice slicing and skinning edge.
Solidly made, I found no play or looseness in the blade, though my field-testing fell short of prying and pounding on the blade, which is no way to treat a knife anyway.
The only rub, and it is a rub, the back of the thumb stud is an angled edge that sometimes scratches as I reach deep into my jeans pocket. Of course, it depends on pocket configuration. Riding lower on the deeper pocket opening of shorts, there is no scratching issue. Closed length: 4.5 inches; overall length: 7.9 inches. Weight: 3.9 ounces.
Leatherman makes the case that for too long multi-tool users had to choose between one-hand-opening pliers or one-hand-opening tools, but now the OHT (One-Hand Tool) puts the whole package together.
The pliers will open with a sharp, emphasis on sharp, flick of the wrist (holding it by the flat sides, close to the front seems to work best) or you can open or close it by holding in the buttons on either outside edge and tipping it up or down, letting the handle slide open or closed.
Including the pliers, there are 16 tools in all. The cutting tools (knife blade, serrated blade, saw and cutting hook) are all on the back end, making it easier to remember where they are. Impressions of the tools on the handle also help you locate the right tool for the job.
Screwdrivers and openers are on the other end. All the tools are accessible without opening the pliers. There’s also an attachment point for a cleaning rod.
The pliers are spring loaded, so the jaws open when you relax closing pressure; handy so you don’t have to reposition your hand to open, close, open, close.
I am not a fan of nylon sheaths because of their tendency to wear out or come apart. This one is MOLLE-compatible, but I still yearn for the return to leather sheaths, one of which still functions on my original Leatherman.
BENCHMADE D2 STEEL SERRATED BLADE MINI-GRIPTILIAN KNIVES
Smooth, precise, Benchmade. But I’m being redundant.
First, you need to know this is a design from Benchmade’s Mel Pardue, whose work leans toward simplicity and utility, and distinctive class.
Second, the specs.
The Mini Griptilian (yes, they make a full-size Griptilian) features a 2.91-inch drop-point blade made of D2 Tool steel, appropriate for a workhorse tool like this. A black BK1 coating prevents rust and corrosion.
The handle is nicely contoured, swelled in just the right place for a comfortable fit in your closed palm and textured to improve grip. It feels a bit hard, perhaps, but is nicely rounded to prevent that edgy feeling.
Closed, it measures 3.87 inches; open length is 6.87 inches. It weighs only 2.81 ounces. And, you can reverse the steel pocket clip, putting it on either side for personal preference.
Third, it’s smooth. But I already reported that. The ambidextrous thumb stud provides quick, one-hand opening.
And, it’s light and rides low and unobtrusively in your pocket, but is easy to draw.
Solution: As promised, the answer to whether to sentence these to occasional use in your range bag or bug-out bag is: yes, by all means, stash them where you’ll have them when you need them. Then buy a second of each and put them in your everyday-carry rotation.