REVIEW: Gerber's MP1 multi-tool
PUBLISHED: 09:27 23 November 2015 | UPDATED: 09:27 23 November 2015
"The MP1 stands out in this field because the pliers are forged from high-carbon steel"
Multi-tools are fantastically useful and I’m seldom found without one. They’re on hand for any one of dozens of small jobs I do every day, but you have to remember that they’re a compromise. To make them compact enough to carry easily, they cannot be as strong as individual tools, and this is most clearly seen in the cutters. Most multi-tools are stainless steel, which is great for most things, but it cannot be hardened like the steel used in heavy-duty cutters. For this reason, your multi-tool cutters will work well on copper wire, or soft iron wire, like you use for gardening, but hard wire as used in fencing is too tough and will damage the edges.
The MP1 stands out in this field because the pliers are forged from high-carbon steel, rather than being cast in stainless, as other multi-tools are. Gerber claims that these are very strong, so a torture test was demanded. I should note that the pliers are sprung, which makes them easy to operate. As expected, copper wire was no challenge so I took on some chain-link fence and, as promised, the MP1 cut right through. I tried some thicker wire, which defeated it, but I checked carefully and it did no damage to the cutting edges. That’s seriously impressive for a multi-tool and makes the MP1 something quite special.
There are 14 tools in total, comprising the usual plain blade, serrated blade, screwdrivers and bottle openers, but there are some unusual and interesting ones as well. There’s a female socket that accepts standard driver bits, which is such a good idea. You can select all the bits that your gun might need, such as hex and Allen drivers, and travel light. Next, I was impressed to see that they’ve added what the Americans call a ‘pry-bar’, in other words, a tool for levering things. Many knives are ruined every day being used to pry things apart when they were never designed for that purpose. It speaks of Gerber’s confidence in the construction of the MP1, because they’re inviting trouble with this, so it had better be as strong as it looks. Another innovative blade is a short chisel, which is sharp along one edge as well as the end.
The handles are made from a high-tech composite, G10, which is very tough and also resistant to oil, water and general grime, so is a good choice, in my eyes. The overall construction is quite bulky and it has a more industrial feel than some other multi-tools, like Leatherman, which will appeal to some but not others. The two main blades can be opened with one hand, but strangely, the plain edge is right-handed while the serrated one is a lefty. All the tools lock and it’s a two-handed operation to unlock and pack them away.
The MP1 stands out in a crowded market for its strength and cutting ability. Only time will tell how it holds up to such hard use, but if you’re tough on your kit then I recommend having a look at one of these fine tools.