Sunday, July 29, 2012

Leatherman Super Tool 300 Black

After my attempt to fillet my hand with my Spyderco Endura4, I decided that it might be a good time to get my hands on an alternative to just a knife in my work load out.  For years, I have been carrying the Kershaw Needs Work knife without issue.  However, when I packed up and moved, I put the knife in my bag and forgot it was there.  Since I was carrying my Spyderco, I took that to work instead. Well, that knife is sharp.  I'm here to tell ya.  However, if I had a pair of pliers on me instead of the knife, things might have worked out differently for my hand.

This is where the multi tool comes in.  I've owned a few different types, and while they are all good tools in their own right, they aren't suitable for professional use.  What I really need is something that can lock each tool up and is a little bigger and tougher than say the Wingman, which is a good tool itself, but is sort of cheesy for the kind of work I do.  Tools get used hard in a work setting.  Dare I say they also get somewhat abused?  Hey, when you do generator field service for a living, you sometimes have to improvise and you don't have all the convenience of a shop environment with every tool necessary to perform your job.  If I could, I'd have to drive a tractor trailer to work everyday because that's what it would take to fit all those tools inside!

This is the Leatherman Super Tool 300 in black.  For what I do, it is ideal.  It is big.  Weighing in at 9.6 ounces, it's not exactly lightweight.  Measuring 4.5" closed, it's not exactly small either.  That's okay though because it rides on the outside of my belt when I'm working.  The long handle allows me to really grip it and work the pliers and cutters if need be.  You can also see a knife on the tool, which in my opinion is the wrong direction, but it's a secondary tool anyway.  I don't use it often.  Ever since I found my Needs Work knife, I've used the knife on this ST300 even less.

In actuality, the tools I find myself using the most are the little flat blade screw drivers.  The small one on the left side is small enough to turn pots (potentiometers) on control boards without damaging them.  The larger ones are suited to bigger tasks, obviously.  The tip of the needle nose pliers are precise.  I pulled a metal shaving out of my hand with it.  The regular pliers are ideally suited for a lot of different tasks and I've been able to use it to hold nuts on the back side of panels while turning bolts with my wrench.  I like the removable blades for the wire cutters.  That was such a good idea.

The screws that hold all the tools together are proprietary.  It seems Leatherman doesn't want you to tighten or loosen them.  That's a shame because the tools on the right handle seem to be a bit loose for my taste, and the knife does wiggle a little bit.  The locking mechanism, however, holds the tools firm despite the fact that they wiggle a bit.  Overall, I give this setup 4 out of 5 stars.  I'd give it 5 stars if not for the wiggling tools and the blade location.

While we are talking about tools, let's see what you get with the Super Tool 300.

1. Needle nose pliers
2. Regular pliers
3. 154CM Removable wire cutters
4. 154CM Removable hard wire cutters
5. Stranded wire cutters
6. Electrical crimper (it actually works)
7. 420HC Knife
8. 420HC Serrated knife (I love that it is a separate blade)
9. Wood/Metal file
10. Saw
11.Small Screwdriver
12. Medium Screwdriver
13. Large Screwdriver
14. Phillips Screwdriver (and it's not one of those flat kind either!)
15. Awl with Thread Loop
16. Ruler (9 inches/22 cm)
17. Bottle Opener
18. Can Opener
19. Wire Stripper

I appreciate that Leatherman does not count the lanyard ring as a tool just to get their tool count up.  So this has 19 tools, more or less, and not all are useful for the work I do, but I've used most of them on one occasion or the next, and they seem to work well.  It is also a good time to note that the tool is stainless steel throughout and has a black oxide finish over it that gives it a killer look.  Since mine gets used everyday, it has some wear on the finish that give it character and make it look really cool.  Leatherman does offer a 25 year warranty on the tool, so if it breaks, send it back and they will fix it.

MSRP on this bad boy is is somewhere in the $90 to $100 range, but don't be a sucker.  By it at Amazon.com for the best price.  I bought mine with a MOLLE sheath for $59.99 dropped shipped to my house. Heck, I didn't even need to leave the house to get a good deal like that.  And you can do better.  I just saw the same tool on Amazon.com for $54 right now!  Well, right now as of July 29, 2012.

The sheath itself is constructed of a durable nylon canvas material and has a large webbing strap on the back with a snap enclosure to attach to your MOLLE gear.  Note the drain hole at the bottom and the large protective flap on the front with the ever-so-cool Leatherman logo in subdued grey.  The front enclosure is velcro, which works as intended.  It's not flashy, but it works okay.  I would actually prefer a normal belt sheath for work use because that large MOLLE strap allos the sheath to walk a bit.  It's nothing against the design itself.  I'm just not using it as intended.  So, I might get a different belt sheath and stick this sheath on my T.A.G. Gladiator chest rig.

I wouldn't classify this as an outdoorsman's multi tool.  I think you'd be better off with something like the Wave if you wanted something for backwoods use.  But if you're a working man, or woman, you'd do well to put this little tool on your hip.  I've said before that I'm a huge fan of multi tools because they do serve a purpose for people like me.  I'm a big believer in having the right tool for the job, and the Super Tool puts many right tools for the job on your hip.  Being prepared for anything is what makes the average Joe a super hero... so to speak.

-James

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