My very first ever multi tool was given to me at Christmas almost 20 years ago. It was nothing fancy; it was in fact a very small multi tool with a small keychain hoop to attach my keys. Since then I’ve owned, held, and used many multi tools. If you’re a multi tool/knife snob like me, then you’ve likely turned up your nose at many of the offerings you see in the sporting goods department of your local Wal-mart. End cap displays of $19.97 kits simply don’t impress me. The Gerber Multi-Plier 600 does, however.
Gerber has certainly been a popular name on those end caps, but don’t count them out just yet. Gerber is making a renewed push toward the mid and high end of the market – and doing it with more Made in the USA tools. The Gerber Multi-Plier 600 is one of those tools and they sent me the Bluntnose Black model to check out.
Gerber Multi-Plier 600 Bluntnose Black Features
The Gerber Multi-Plier 600 model has actually been around for many years and is a proven design with many hard core fans. This iteration has been improved with Tungsten carbide cutter inserts. According to Gerber, they’re designed to cut No. 26 gauge hard wire (0.4 mm) or No. 2 hard fish hook. I would be cautious in cutting anything bigger as it can damage the cutter.
One of the best things about this design is that if the cutters are damaged or become dull they can be rotated to a fresh side. After 3 rotations the entire cutter can be replaced. Although it doesn’t come with extra carbide cutters, Gerber does provide a T8 wrench to rotate or replace the blades. For those who will use the cutters daily and may need a replacement, they can be found online for around $15.
Wobbly tools are a common complaint among cheaply built multi tools, but you won’t find them on this model. The locking system Gerber uses is excellent. There is no play in the blades or other tools when deployed. The last thing you need is the tool folding back at your hand when cutting or opening your favorite bottled beverage.
Of all the multi tools I’ve owned, the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 has one of the coolest way to deploy the pliers. Unlike the traditional butterfly method, the pliers slide out by pressing a pair of locking buttons, or you can deploy one-handed with a flick of the wrist. My experience on this is that it took some practice and a bit of a “break in” period for it to operate smoothly. Once I got through that, releasing the pliers became a true joy.
I was initially impressed by the looks of the tactical non-reflective flat black coating. Like many black oxide coated tools, some came off from the tip of both the screwdrivers with mild use.
Black oxide coating is only about a micrometer thick and works great for corrosion prevention. It’s not going to stand up to abuse, though. This is a downside if you want to keep your tool looking like new. Also, be aware that in the beginning some black residue will transfer from the tool to your hands as it did on mine. A stainless steel model might be better choice if you prefer a cleaner look.
I’m used to carrying a multi tool with spring loaded pliers, so it took a little time to get used to how the MP600 functions. You’ll have to maneuver your middle finger between the handles to open the pliers, which isn’t at all hard to do. In fact, I noticed that I was able to achieve a much tighter and stronger grip than my favorite spring action multi tool.
This version of Gerber Multi-Plier 600 comes with a ballistic nylon sheath. I found it to be of great quality—tough, rip-proof, and easy to open and close. In my opinion, it’s the best way to carry the tool. It also works well if you happen to already have an EDC knife clipped to your pocket (I almost always do). The sheath helps disperse the weight of your gear, and on several occasions I even forgot that I had it on my belt.
The Sum of its Parts
Bluntnose or needle nose? That’s the question everyone has to ask when choosing which Gerber Multi-Plier 600 to go with. If you’re working around nuts and bolts in tighter spaces, go with the bluntnose. The needle nose has a place around more delicate applications, including electrical work. It can also handle nuts and bolts—it just needs more clearance to be effective. I can debate back and forth about which one is best, but it will ultimately be up to your preference…or you could just go with one of each!
There’s a different feel to the Gerber MP600 than I’m used to with other multi tools. It’s a more rugged, rough around the edges kind of feel, but it’s really solid.
Overall, I found the Gerber Multi-Plier 600 to be a solidly functional tool and performs well. It’s an excellent option for general purpose multi tool use with the most commonly used tools on board. However, it isn’t going to win a contest to see who has the most tools on one unit (that prize still goes to the Wenger 16999 Giant Swiss Army knife).
Gerber Multi-Plier 600 Bluntnose Black Specifications
- Made in the USA
- Patented Saf.T.Plus locking system
- Ballistic nylon sheath
- Tungsten carbide insert cutters
- One-handed opening pliers
- Lifetime warranty
- Price: $83
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Gerber Multi-Plier 600 – Bluntnose Black Components
- Bluntnose pliers
- Tungsten carbide insert cutters
- Wire crimper
- Plain edge knife
- Serrated knife
- Cross point screwdriver
- Small, medium and large flat blade screwdrivers
- Lanyard ring
- Can opener
- Bottle opener