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Reviews > Knives > Multi-tools > Gerber Compact Sport MP 400 > Owner Review by David Below

GERBER COMPACT SPORT MP 400 MULTI TOOL
BY DAVID BELOW
OWNER REVIEW
May 11, 2014

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: David Below
EMAIL: below4 AT hotmail.co.uk
AGE: 24
LOCATION: Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 0" (1.82 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.00 kg)

Backpacking Background: I started backpacking around 15 years ago with the Scouts, and I now run camps and trips as a Scout leader which are my most common outings. I form part of a 4-man leader team supervising 10-15 Scouts, but also enjoy social trips with 3 or 4 friends. I have been on numerous walks throughout the United Kingdom in all weathers and terrains. I like my pack to be small and light but I'm not an extreme lightweight backpacker. I have always used mid-range gear but have recently started upgrading to more expensive equipment for greater comfort and reliability.

PRODUCT DETAILS

Manufacturer Website: http://www.gerber-store.co.uk
Year of Manufacture: 2006
MSRP: 59.99

Knife Blade Length: 5.7 cm/ 2.25 in - verified
Overall Length (Pliers extended but not including tools): 14.3 cm/ 5.6 in - verified
Closed length (Pliers and tools all folded away): 11.1 cm/4.3 in - verified
Weight: 193 g/ 6.8 oz. - verified

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The Gerber Compact Sport MP 400 Multi-Tool is a very sturdy, reliable and dependable tool. It is a simple to use but extremely safe tool, thanks to Gerber's Saf.T.Plus fully locking system. It is made from good quality stainless steel, which is not only reliable but will also keep the tool looking very good even after many years of use. All of the tools are fully lockable, they simply click in to place but then remain locked out until the black slide on the handle is pulled back, which releases the mechanism and allows the tool to be folded away. The pliers are also lockable, they easily slide up and also click in to place and remain out until the two centre pins on the handles are pushed in, which releases the lock and allows the plier nose to slide back down the handles in to its packed position (this can only be done when handles are closed together).
It features 12 tools (No. 5 counts as 2 separate):
1. Needle nose pliers
2. Wire strippers
3. Wire cutters
4. Fiskars scissors
5. fine edge and serrated knife
6. Phillips screwdriver
7. Small flat screwdriver
8. Medium flat screwdriver
9. Large flat screwdriver
10. Bottle opener
11. Can opener

FIELD USAGE

I have used the Multi Tool on 8 years worth of Scout Association weekly meetings and annual trips, and numerous social camping weekends. It has been used mainly for the purposes of cutting through sisal, string, rope, netting; whittling sticks and thin lengths of wood and carving in to larger sticks and logs.

PRODUCT REVIEW

I have had my Gerber Compact Sport MP 400 Multi Tool for around 8 years now and it has been the most reliable tool I have ever owned. I have experienced a wide variety of Multi Tools, mainly from my scouting experiences, and no other product I have used comes close to the quality offered by the Gerber MP 400.

To start with let's look at the tool as a whole. It folds away to a nicely compact size, only 11.1 cm (4.3 in), which is a good size to fit in a pocket, or take up very little space in a bag. It does come with a protective carry case which increases the packed size slightly (see picture below) but it is a good quality case offering a lot of protection and I have always chosen to use it. The Compact Sport MP 400 is made of stainless steel, which isn't the lightest material; causing it to weigh 193 g (6.8oz)., but it does make the knife feel very sturdy and reliable. Even when the smaller tools are unfolded for use the tool has never felt delicate or flimsy. The stainless steel combined with the carry case has kept my tool damage free and looking almost new for 8 years, with minimal maintenance, even after a lot of use!

IMAGE 1



We then move on to the pliers. As stated in the description, to access the pliers slide the nose upwards out of the handle using the pins on the sides, and it will then lock in place. The handles of the tool will then open apart and the tool can be used as a very sturdy pair of pliers. I have 6 years experience of working in the motor trade and used a large number of standalone pliers, and the main problem I find is that the teeth will often be quite grippy to start off with but then become damaged very easily causing the pliers to lose grip. The teeth on the Gerber however are all fully intact after 8 years and still have an extremely good grip, and not just for a Multi Tool, but for a pair of pliers full stop. The wire cutters have not been of as much use to me, but from the limited use they have had they appear to be just as durable. Due to the style I am not sure how effective they would be when used for wire strippers, however this is one of very few features I haven't used.

IMAGE 2



Once the pliers are pulled out, the handles then separate allowing access to the rest of the tools. To access the tools unfold them from inside the handle, and lock in the outward position. To fold them back in, the black lever on the handle slides upwards, releasing the lock and the tool will fold back in. The one that I have had the most use of by far is the knife. I own a large collection of penknives and the blade on this Multi Tool is just as good if not better than all of them. When I bought it the knife came sharper than any other knife I owned, and it also seems to last longer before going blunt again. I have had to sharpen it a few times due to the length of time I have owned it, but even after doing so numerous times, and after all of its regular use, the blade is still scratch free and undamaged. While it is a fairly small blade when compared to some penknives, it is a good size blade for a Multi Tool (5.7 cm (2.25 in)) and has always served me well, whether I have been cutting through string, using the serrated edge to saw through rope, whittling small sticks, or carving in to larger logs, etc. I like this knife in particular because it splits the blade 50:50 between a fine edge and a serrated one, a feature not shared by a lot of knives/tools. This means that for delicate work and generally most wood work I can quite happily use the fine edge, but when I need to work with thicker material such as rope, then I have the serrated section to use to saw through it. I have used it for both purposes and it has so far never let me down.

IMAGE 3



We now come to the screwdrivers. There is a good selection of sizes of flat headed (small, medium and large) and one Phillips. The problem I have here, which I must say is the same as every other tool I have used, is the Phillips screwdriver. What I have always found is that whenever I happen to need a Phillips screwdriver and I would choose to use the MP 400, I am always out in a field somewhere, or just generally travelling, and the appliance or item I need to use the screwdriver for is therefore something portable, like a torch or an mp3 player or some other small item. The issue is then that because the item is always portable or travel sized it inevitably uses extremely small screws that are too small for the head of the Multi Tool to fit in. I don't know whether it is based on stability, or to keep things looking in proportion, but the Phillips screwdriver is always too big for the jobs that I personally would want to use it for. It is a good size for a regular household screw, but if I was in that environment I would use a regular screwdriver. The whole point of the Multi Tool is to be able to take it around with me and use whenever and wherever I am, so why make the Phillips screwdriver the correct size for something household based and not for something portable? The flat head screwdrivers on the other hand, as I mentioned before, come in three sizes, and cover pretty much all uses that I've found for them. Whether it's for actual small screws, or to use as a small lever, one of the three size drivers is almost sure to be a suitable size for the job. And as with everything else on the knife they have always been very sturdy and strong, and never left me worrying that they might snap.

IMAGE 4



The final features to look at are the can opener, bottle opener and Fiskars scissors. There is very little to say about the can and bottle openers, other than they are both functional and dependable. They have always successfully served their purpose without any problems or issues, and what more can I ask for? This leaves the scissors. Before I got my MP 400, I had always seen scissors on multi-tools as a bit of a gimmick and not really anything useful or worth having. They were often rather flimsy and bendy and didn't seem to be very effective at actually cutting anything. The Fiskars scissors on the Gerber however are fantastic! I don't often use scissors, and so they haven't had a lot of use, but Gerber claim that they are strong enough to cut through a seat belt so on a few occasions I have had a bit of a play around to experiment. I can happily announce that Gerber were right. Referring back to my time in the motor trade, I know exactly how tough seat belts are; I could quite easily use a few seat belts to lift the full weight of a car off the ground, and worry more about the anchor point than the seat belts. The Fiskars scissors however are made in such a way that they can quite easily cut through the belt, or anything else I might need to cut through (sisal/thin plastic, etc.) and without even putting too much strain on my hands or fingers squeezing the handles together. Often scissors can be strong enough to do such things, but either the joint isn't as strong as the build material is, or the force required by the user is too high, therefore making it an unpractical use, but the brilliant quality and design used by Gerber makes using these scissors very easy.

Overall the Gerber Compact Sport MP 400 Multi Tool is a very high quality and very reliable tool to have on any outdoor trip, and I know that I will still be using mine for many years to come.

PROS & CONS

Pros:
" Excellent quality
" Very reliable and durable
" Requires minimal maintenance to keep it in good condition
" Very safe Saf.T.Plus fully locking system

Cons:
" Feels slightly heavy for a tool of its size, but a compromise I am happy to live with given its reliability
" Phillips screwdriver head too big to use for the majority of purposes I have wanted it for

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

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