Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Product Review: Gerber MP400 Compact Sport

A while back, I picked up a Gerber MP400 Compact Sport multi-tool, and after putting it through its paces for about 5 months, it's time for a review.

Gerber lists the MP400 at 6.8 oz and 4.37" closed, making it a very slim and light attachment to the belt.  It's a "SHOT" tool, meaning the pliers extend from the front of the tool with a flick of the wrist, to an open length of 5.63".  It's made of stainless steel, and the tools and pliers have a positive locking mechanism that holds them in the open position.  Its tools are a pair of scissors, 3 slotted screwdrivers, a Phillips screwdriver, a bottle/can opener, and a knife blade, in addition to the needle-nose pliers/cutters and crimping point.


I'm not normally a fan of goofy torture tests, because they're just, well, stupid.  Instead, for the last few months, I did something worse:  I wore this tool on my belt, 7 days/week.  I took it to work, I took it to Boomershoot, I wore it around the house and working on cars.  I've taken it with me everywhere.

The scissors are excellent, sharp and precise.  So too is the knife blade, which is quite sharp out of the box.  It's got scallops that aren't quite serrations, and they look like they'll be far easier to actually sharpen than a standard serration.

The screwdriver tips are adequate, as is the bottle/can opener.  The big weakness of these types of bits on a multi-tool is that the tool itself,  just by its design, gets in the way. I've yet to see a multi-tool overcome this, and cannot envision a non-convoluted way in which one would accomplish this.

The tool locks are plastic over metal, spring loaded, and quite stout.  They hold the tools in the open position well, but don't jam under use.  However, manipulating them easily takes a little bit of practice compared to the locks on my EDC pocketknives.

The pliers, though, are excellent.  I've done my level best to beat them to death, and they just keep going.  The locking mechanism for them has held up through repeated direct impacts and twisting with no jamming or binding.  (One of the techniques we use at work involves knocking a metal slug out of a box, usually with pliers.  I've used my multi-tool for this on a great many times.)

Now the criticism:

  • The sheath works well holding the tool close to the body, but the nature of its design makes it take up about 1.5 times as much space on as it could with a better pattern.
  • I wish that the tool had a file, because they're wonderfully handy. They probably removed it to keep the size down, which is understandable. 
  • Speaking of size... the tool feels a touch "dainty," a product of its slim size and light weight.

That said, it is an excellent value.  Were I grading it, I'd give it 4 stars out of five, due to the sheath and lack of a file. More importantly, I'll give it the strongest praise I can as a capitalist: I'd readily buy another one.

The Gerber MP400 Compact Sport can be bought at Amazon for around $30.


(Dear FTC: I paid my own money for this tool, but would have given the same review had it been free. Shove off.)

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