Tools (and the absence of tails, for most of us) separate us from the vast majority of the other members of the animal kingdom. Backing up the badge, the tool that gets the most attention, and justifiably so, is the sidearm. Your handgun may seldom be used (hopefully never outside the range, if you’re careful and fortunate during your career), but when it is, there is a lot riding on that tool and your ability to use it effectively. Now, how about those everyday little chores that come up? We’ve all encountered those screws that seem to loosen up overnight from pistol grips or eyeglass frames, bolts that need tightening (or removing), and a world full of things that need to be cut, both large and small. If you’re a former Boy Scout, you understand the meaning of “Be Prepared.” Even if you’re not, it’s an easy enough concept to follow.
Today’s uniform duty belt continues to gain weight and clutter, and the importance of maintaining properly svelte and bulgeless couture for plainclothes investigators can never be overstated. Therefore, tools need to be reasonably small while still providing as many useful functions as the envelope’s size allows.
Take a look at two diminutive multi-tools and one very light blade:
Leatherman Skeletool CX
One of the first, and among the best, names in the small multitool field is Leatherman. The company continues to monitor user needs and feedback, and at five ounces on the scale and four inches closed, its new Skeletool CX has a place in law enforcement. The top of the line CX version uses a superior 154CM stainless clip point blade and carbon fiber inserts in its DLC-coated stainless steel handles. This version includes needlenose plier jaws with wire-cutter capability, a large bit driver in one handle end, a bottle opener, carabiner clip, removable pocket clip, double-ended Phillips #1 and #2 bit, and a double-ended 3/16” and ¼” standard slotted screwdriver bit.
Wide open in screwdriver mode, the Skeletool CX measures 7.5 inches long, the bit snaps in place via a pivot lock, the partially serrated blade opens one-handed and locks with an easy to release liner lock. The lightweight tool can be clipped in a pocket or pouch and hung from a D-ring or other gear loop,and the function-to-weight ratio is excellent at a suggested retail price of $102. A black nylon MOLLE sheath to match runs $12.
Columbia River Knife & Tool Guppie
Columbia River Knife & Tool produces an odd looking little duck in its Guppie. Offered in two sizes and two finishes, the full-sized Guppie in two-tone beadblasted gray and black is quite a practical small tool kit. A tad on the bulky side in a uniform pocket, the Guppie may be more at home in a vest or BDU. Relatively sparse on features compared to larger traditional multi-tools, the Guppie swaps the usual pliers for a ½-inch adjustable wrench jaw for a solid no-slip/no-strip grip on bolt heads, and includes a detachable driver bit carrier containing two single-ended Phillips bits and two single-ended slotted bits and a small LED light with momentary contact and constant ON switch. On one side is a carabiner gate clips to MOLLE and other gear attachment points (doubling as a bottle opener), on the other is a non-locking one-hand-opening 2-inch 3Cr13 steel blade that pivots out. The driver bit in use is retained magnetically in a mount on the opposite end of the wrench jaw, a steel spring clip on one flat side can attach to a pocket or a wad of cash, and the 5.3 ounce tool provides basic screwdriver, wrench, knife, and light functions at a very reasonable $39.99. Few other multitools incorporate a separate light source to illuminate the job at hand from any direction needed.
SOG Access Card 2.0
How much does a feather weigh? Probably not much more than SOG’s new Access Card 2.0 folding blade. If weight and bulk are concerns (see above references to duty belts and svelte lines) in deciding on a very simple cutting tool, this cutter may be the one.
At 3 3/8 inches closed, 6 1/8 inches open, a hair over ¼-inch thick at the stamped sheet steel handles, and weighing a whopping 2 ounces soaking wet, the Access Card 2.0 is built to travel flat, light, and unobtrusively. Don’t let its appearance mislead, there’s not much to it, but what is there is well thought out and quality made from the one-handed hollow-ground 2.75-inch VG-10 blade through the strong and reliable SOG Arc-Lock to the three finger grooves for secure retention in hand and the thumb serrations up top on the blade’s spine. The AC 2.0 travels lightly in just about any pocket, attaches to MOLLE webbing on a vest or to hundred dollar bills equally well with its removable spring steel side clip, and should provide very good edge retention for everyday use. This minimalist approach is easy to clean, can be lashed and lanyarded if desired, and comes in a choice of bright finish at $85 or tactical black at $100.