I’m not sure when I acquired my first Gerber Multi-Tool, but it was early in the market life of the product. Ever the pocket-knife carrying lad, the emergence of multi-tools was for me simply the next logical step in the progression of portable tools needed for hard-core survival, wilderness hunting, or just everyday chores. For the record, I never did encounter a true survival situation in my young suburban existence. At the time, I didn’t even hunt. But the silver Gerber multi-tool you see here accompanied me everywhere else, and faithfully so.
The key features of this multi-tool, beyond the sheer convenience of having so many tools available in a compact package, were its outrageously useful, super-strong pliers and razor-sharp, serrated, sheepsfoot blade. The pliers proved their mettle in a hundred ways and, despite the blunt and flat nose, could handle some intricate tasks. They helped pull out more than a few slivers when no tweezers were even available. The sheepshoot blade could cut through virtually anything, and did. I had the knicks and scabs on my fingers and hands to prove it.
This early model wasn’t perfect, however. One particularly difficult filing project resulted in me breaking the file right off. Moreover, none of the tools locked in place. And, at times, closing the pliers would pinch the skin of my hand. Still, it truly is a classic.
Fast-forward to present day and you can see how Gerber’s Multi-Plier 600ST (“ST” for sight tool), one of many in the company’s current lineup, shows the good evolution of a great product. Made in the USA, this model has all the basic tools on board — pliers, knife, screwdrivers, can/bottle opener, etc. — but includes some unique tools for firearms enthusiasts. The M4/M16 front sight post adjustment tool is a handy addition, as is the carbon scraper. Moreover, the pliers offer needle nose ends and a carbide wire cutter. The knife combines a fine edge and a serrated edge and the Philips screwdriver is extra long. Even better, all the tools lock in place and the plier design won’t allow for any skin to get trapped between the handles.
The 600ST has been to the backcountry, served on the range, participated in emergency car repairs, and even pulled out slivers. Retailing for $95 and weighing 8.2 ounces, it measures 5.04” in length when closed and 6.61” in length when open. It’s just slightly larger than the old silver multi-pliers but, after just a year of regular use, it has easily proven its durability, usefulness, and value.
— Mark Kakkuri