Bypassing all of the implements on his crowded duty belt, Deputy First Class Peter Sabella of Forsyth County, Georgia, reached into his trouser pocket and extracted a well-used Leatherman multifunction tool.
"I probably use this more than anything else I carry," said Sabella, who also teaches classes in disaster preparedness. "It has hundreds of uses, for anything and everything. A tool like this gives you a lot of flexibility and capability."
The Surge is a newer, more inclusive version of the Leatherman tool Deputy Sabella has carried for many years. Cinch your belt up a little tighter if you strap on this bad boy. Its hefty, 12-ounce (340 gram) weight will put some drag on your pants. Closed, it measures 4.5 inches (11.43 centimeters). In addition to 18 tools plus two double-sided bits, it features a stainless steel body, all locking blades and tools, and a blade exchanger so you can choose which four blades are accessible from the outside.
Here's the complete line-up of implements:
- Clip-point knife
- Serrated knife
- Needle nose and regular pliers
- Three types of wire cutters
- Wood/metal file and diamond coated file
- Wire stripper
- Electrical crimper
- 5/16 inch (7.9 millimeter) screwdriver and two sizes of bit drivers
- 9-inch (22-centimeter) ruler
- Awl with thread loop
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
Like other Leatherman tools, it's made in the USA and comes with a 25 year warranty. The stainless steel Surge will cost you around $90 [source: Bass Pro Shops, Leatherman]. A black oxide version is also available for a premium.
If you're looking for good quality on a modest budget, consider the Gerber multi-tools on the next two pages.