Gear Review: Leatherman MUT
Leatherman tools rock. Period. End of story. If they had been around just a bit earlier, you can bet that MacGyver would have carried one of them instead of a Swiss Army Knife. The utility of these things is beyond compare. You not only get blades and screwdrivers and a bunch of other tools, just like the Swiss Army Knife, but you also get a pair of pliers as well. All of it is contained in a easily carried package.
Needless to say, I’ve had a Leatherman tool as part of my everyday carry kit for a long time.
A few months ago, I came to discover that in 2010 they released something called a “MUT”. I have no idea how I managed to miss that one. Probably because I wasn’t running this site in 2010 and, therefore wasn’t paying as much attention to products and such. I also didn’t have an AR-15 at that point.
The last reason is the main reason. This tool is made for gun owners in general but specifically for AR-15 rifles. It has 16 tools and 6 of those are specifically for firearm maintenance. Well, 7 if you count the hammer as a firearm tool. It has a pin punch to assist in the breakdown of an AR-15. It has a bronze carbon scraper for scraping gunk off your gun. The bronze is a soft metal so it can remove the baked on carbon but it won’t scratch your bolt because it’s not as hard as the steel. There are also numerous places to mount cleaning rods and there’s a torx screw bit built in that are in common firearm sizes.
It also has a bolt override tool to help fix a bolt override failure. That’s when a piece of spent brass gets wedged in the chamber in such a way that it locks the charging handle in place. When that happens, you can’t do the SPORTS method of clearing because there is a risk of actually damaging your charging handle. The tool allows you to pull the bolt back without using the handle and clear the brass out of the way.
Well, I came into possession of a MUT Tool recently and I’ve been using it extensively since I got it. I carry it with me every day and I’ve used it to assist in cleaning multiple firearms.
First and foremost, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s meant for everyday pocket carry. It’s bulkier than my original Leatherman tool and very heavy. It comes with a MOLLE pouch but my pants don’t have MOLLE straps. I’m not saying it can’t be used for everyday pocket carry, mind you. I’ve been using it just fine for over a month now and, after the initial “this feels different” wore off, it’s been fine. People who don’t wear cargo pants every day might have issues. There is, however, a built in clip to hang it from a belt and there’s also a carabiner so you can clip it to a belt loop.
Beyond that, the knife blade is partially serrated and can be opened one handed, a feature my previous Leatherman lacked. The MUT has a saw blade on the other side that is also set up to be opened one handed but that doesn’t work as well. The only way I’ve found to be able to open the saw one handed was to switch to my left hand as the layout doesn’t allow for a right handed opening. Admittedly, I feel like there’s far more situations where I would need to open the knife with one hand than the saw. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. For those left handed folks out there, you’re going to have the same problem just…uhm…opposite.
I like the way the larger bits are locked into the frame with a moving peg. They’re easily removed and I feel like they’re well secured in place. There’s a small bit that is snapped into the back of the tool that, once I got it snapped in, I’ve never been able to remove it again. I can’t help but feel like that piece, if I were ever able to get it removed, wouldn’t exactly stay in well. At least not compared to the larger removable bits. There’s a larger bit that has the same phillips head/flat head functionality that’s part of that “moving peg” set up and that’s what I primarily use if I have to unscrew something. Truth be told, I’ve yet to find a need for the little one so I find myself asking why they included it in the first place.
The pin punch tool worked great to remove some of the pain from my thumbs when breaking down my AR. Maybe it’s just not worn in yet but the pins on mine are really stiff. If you don’t have this problem, I found out that Leatherman also makes a 3/32 firearm disassembly punch that you can swap out with the AR take-down pin punch. This way you can use your MUT to work on you Glock as well as your AR. I should note that the 3/32 punch can be used to completely disassemble many popular polymer pistols, not just the Glocks. At around $10 MSRP, it’s well worth the purchase, if you ask me. Your mileage may vary. I actually did purchase the 3/32 punch. It took about 30 seconds to swap out (ironically, I needed a pair of pliers to do it). The punch is the perfect size to fully disassemble my Glock as well as my other pistols.
I’m happy to report that the bronze scraper works like a charm also. I can’t remember who said it but someone once described the AR’s firing system as “it vomits all over itself every time you pull the trigger”. Boy and howdy is that true. The way that bolt looks after a day at the range makes a .22LR gun look like an operating room. That carbon gets baked on also which makes it even harder to clean off. The scraper took all of it off and didn’t leave a scratch on my bolt. The shape of the scraper also makes it easy to clean out those hard to reach nooks and crannies.
The carabiner/bolt bypass also has a specialized blade which is meant for cutting ropes and such. While I have yet to encounter a situation where I needed to use it for it’s specified purpose, I’ve found that it works equally as well opening candy bags and other packages. It’s faster and a bit more safe than opening the big knife. The blade is also replaceable for when it gets dull.
Beyond those specialized tools, it’s a Leatherman. The whole thing unfolds into a great pair of pliers with a nice wire cutter built in. Like the candy bag opener blade, the blades on the pliers are also replaceable.
Let’s face it: a Leatherman tool is one of the most useful items you can keep in your pocket or purse. You want a Leatherman tool. You need a Leatherman tool. If you’re planning on buying/upgrading a Leatherman tool in the near future and if you have an AR-15 or other modern sporting rifle, a pistol or even a shotgun, you can’t go wrong with the MUT tool. I love mine and all my coworkers envy me every time they see me using it.