Here at TPF we’ve had the pleasure to review a pair of tools built primarily for the AR-15 platform. The TUBE and the Ultralight have been reviewed prior, and showcase some of the quality and design excellence which has become expected by Shane Keng and his Company, Multitasker Tools. Here is the rub however, the tool that is featured in this installment of TPF is not the newest design released by Mr. Keng, it is however the tool which launched Multitasker into becoming so well known for it’s platform specific tools.
Enter Multitasker’s Multitasker Series 2, AR platform field multi-tool. The Series 2 has some changes over the initial build of the Multitasker, which are mainly in regards to tool location and the addition of the now common #8-32 Male thread for OTIS cleaning attachments and the ever present cleaning pick. Unlike many other companies, Multitasker has made it a priority to improve upon their tools and take into account critiques and suggestions for improving their products. The Multitasker reviewed by TPF is in fact a later Series 2 model noted by an alterations to the plier jaws that improved cutting ability and the jaws themselves were upgraded with a roller bearing joint for smooth operation.
The Multitasker is similar in construction to the other quality tools manufactured under the Multitasker brand. All metal components contained in this tool are machined parts with only the Springs and plier-stops being the exception. From scraper to screwdriver the whole mutli-tool is made from stainless steel which is treated with a black oxide finish. The liners, tool arms and springs are manufactured from 420 stainless steel where as the knife blade is 440C stainless steel. The main jaws are precision machined from D2 tool steel and the attention to detail is evident by the nearly seamless nesting of the teeth when the jaws are closed. With the outer handles covered by extremely durable G-10 fiberglass panels, the grip on the Multitasker is very good in form fit and function.
All seven tool arms contained in the Multitasker handles. There are a total of seven tool arms on the MultiTasker Series 2, AR15/M4/m16 specific platform tool.
All tool arms are made to have the position/resistance springs retain the arms in a closed or open position.
Tool #1- The first tool is the versatile and effective Tanto styled blade which has a thumb stud for one handed opening and is the only “tool arm” which has a liner locking mechanism to secure the blade in the open position.
Tool #2- The Larue wrench. A 3/8″ hex wrench for tightening nuts on the very popular Larue Tactical scope mounting components.
Tool #3- The Screwdriver/File tool arm. A large flat blade screwdriver with good thickness for any sort of torquing operation and a combined file for some additional versatility. The sharp edges of this tool allow it to double as a carbon scraper for larger surfaces.
Tool #4- A Castle Nut Wrench for cinching up loose stocks on Carbine/collapsing stocks. Multitasker does warn that the tool is not for assembly and proper torquing, but field fixes.
Tool #5- The 1/4″ hex magnetic bit driver. Originated in the Multitasker and carried over into both the in the TUBE and the Ultralight, it is one of the most acclaimed features of Multitasker’s tools. As always the driver comes with the 4 prong A2 front sight adjusting bit installed.
Tool #6- OTIS attachment arm. With the robust and very effective cleaning pick installed, the arm sports a male #8-32 thread enables owners to connect many OTIS attachments and use the Multitasker as a cleaning handle. As with the bit driver, this attachment feature and pick is carried into the other previously mentioned Multitasker tools.
Tool#7- Form fitting carbon scraper for cleaning the bolt of the AR15/M4/M16 platform. With the tip made with the same radius as found on the bolt, the carbon scraper allows for simple and efficient cleaning. Also with a thumb stud for opening ease, this scraper is another common feature across this line of platform specific tools, albeit slightly differently mounted on the tube.
The pliers themselves are very durable and incorporate a roller bearing for flawless functionality. As discussed earlier, the jaws are CNC machined from a single billet of D2 tool steel which allows for nearly seamless tooth interaction. In addition, the pliers are mounted very securely and allow for considerable pressure to be exerted through the jaws. The cutting surfaces of the jaws are also sculpted to allow for a great effectiveness on a variety of wire types and construction. You will not find any forged pieces or weight relieving cuts which would otherwise reduce the strength of the jaws themselves. This was a mandate by Mr. Keng and his designs; No sacrifices to quality and performance in order to save costs and mass.
Of lesser notation, but still of importance, are the small attentions to details that are shown in the excellent material selection and quality. Machined brass washers between the tool arms for a perfect mating and for durability and survivability. The usage of fiberglass comprised G-10 covers on the handles for durability, resistance to chemicals and general wear are typical of the designs produced by Multitasker. A small ring for attaching a lanyard is also incorporated into one of the tool’s handles.
The Multitasker Series 2 comes with a Molle compatible nylon pouch which has a compartment for holding the additional ten (10) driver bits. The black, 1000 denier nylon pouch is very rigid and has a strong snap clasp for holding the flap closed and retaining the Multitasker when stowed away. The overall size of the Series 2 Multitasker is fairly large and it is not a lightweight in the mass department. However, the Multitasker Series 2 multi-tool is not meant to be used for EDC. It is firearm specific and aside from the utilitarian knife blade, is designed to be a miniature armorer’s kit for the AR15/M4/M16 platform.
Those interested in acquiring the Series 2 Multitasker; can do so through Brownells where it is listed for $104.95 USD. As always however, it is up to the reader to decide if Multitasker’s Multitasker Series 2 AR15/M4/M16 platform specific multi-tool is: Practical, Tactical or Fantastical
It was a statistical given and was only a matter of time as TPF has given an overview of both AR-15 specific tools in the past. Multitasker’s Ultralight and Gerber’s eFECT are good tools in themselves and are both quality products. However, in this installation of TPF we will be comparing the similar features of both tools and focusing on the differences between them. We will be reviewing various categories and features and giving our opinions. GASP! That is correct, TPF will be rating both on various features and details. So without further ado, let TPF’s first showdown begin!
PHYSICAL SIZE: The Ultralight, while narrower than the eFECT, is longer by nearly 25mm (1″) and is heavier by nearly half again.
TOOL ARMS: Ultralight 4, eFECT 6. However, two of the eFECT’s arms are for attachments.
- Front sight adjustment tool. The eFECT has a switchable bit for either 4 or 5 prong AR-15 front sights, where the Ultralight only comes with a 4 prong (A2) version.
- Carbon scraper. The Ultralight has a design which is dedicated to cleaning of the bolt from the AR platform, where the eFECT has a large, very effective scraper for any long linear areas.
- Flat screwdriver. Both tools have a large flat tip screwdriver, the eFECT’s being mounted to have a decent reach for tight fits. The Ultralight’s version is meant more for surface usage (tightening of slotted nuts and screws for attachments). Both can double as an additional carbon scraper.
- Attachment arms. The eFECT has two (2) with female threads versus the single male threaded version of the Ultralight.
- eFECT ONLY: A dedicated push pin arm.
- Ultralight ONLY: First. Part of the screwdriver arm incorporates a butt stock castle nut wrench for field tightening of the aforementioned nut. Second, as briefly mentioned, the one arm is a dedicated 1/4″ hex bit driver.
LOCK MECHANISM: For each trio of arms on the Gerber, there is a spring loaded sliding lock. Simple and reusable for both sides. The Ultralight uses a combination of lock styles for each individual arm.
CONSTRUCTION: The eFECT is comprised of stainless steel sheet metal for the liners and the stamped punch and screwdriver arms. The remaining 4 arms are cast and held together between two polymer panels. The Ultralight is made from stainless steel and all major components are machined and/or wire EDM’d. The entire package is wrapped in G-10 fiberglass panels and includes a wire EDM’d pocket clip.
- eFECT: A Molle compatible sheath. The reversible front sight bit and the dental pick and bristle brush for the attachment arms.
- Ultralight: A Molle compatible sheath. The A2 sight bit, plus 10 more common bits for the 1/4″ hex driver. Only comes with the dental pick attachment, but is far more robust than that of the eFECT’s.
COST: Multitasker has an MSRP of $74.99 USD versus $79.99 USD for the Gerber eFECT.
So now we do the comparison showdown.
- Physical Size – eFECT wins. While the size and heft of the UL makes a more solid and secure feeling tool, the mass alone makes the eFECT the winner for a carried item.
- Tool Arms – Ultralight wins. The quantity of tool arms does not quite overcome the sheer robustness and versatility of the UL. The included pick on the eFECT is pitiful compared to the robust one that comes with the UL. Besides, how many OTIS connections can you use at once anyways? One. The bit driver alone puts the UL over the top in this category.
- Lock Mechanism – Tie. The UL has very solid locking devices for each of the four arms, but there are 3 different types. The eFECT has a lock for each set of three arms and they are identical. Simplicity versus strength results in a tie.
- Construction – UL from manufacturing edge. Both tools are well conceived and manufactured for light maintenance work on the AR platform, the detail to the processes used for construction goes to the UL. Both would most likely hold up to long term everyday usage, and I’m positive that people will break the UL more often due to misusing the castle nut wrench, however, the eFECT has the appearance and feel of being made as cheap as possible through the use of stampings and castings.
- Accessories – UL hands down. The inclusion of 10 additional driver bits (with many more customs ones being created) gives the thumbs up to the UL.
- Sheath – eFECT, barely… The Gerber eFect sheath is more compact and velcro closing which is good for storage and mounting comfort. The UL sheath is bulky due to the size of the tool and the accessory bits and is a snap enclosed pouch with a more rigid construction. Comfort edges out apparent robustness.
- Cost – UL. Cheaper by $5 USD is pretty self explanatory.
CONCLUSION: Now if you are looking for a smaller more comfortable tool that will still do nearly everything needed for routine maintenance on your AR-15, one would be hard pressed to go wrong with the Gerber eFECT. However! The higher quality manufacturing and the apparent versatility over the eFECT coupled with a lower MRSP make the Ultralight TPF’s chosen winner.
WINNER of the first Tactical, Practical & Fantastical Showdown – Multitasker’s Ultralight
Earlier TPF reviewed another weapon specific tool from Multitasker. The TUBE. It was a purposely engineered piece of kit that was meant to allow for a simple, multi-purpose, EDC for basic routine maintenance of the M16/M4/AR series of rifle platforms. The next step in evolution for Multitasket Tools? The Ultralight!
The Ultralight is a small self contained multi-tool akin to the Swiss Army knife, with one specific difference. Where a tool with clumping may contain five to six small stubby tool arms for each full size one, the Ultralight has only four tool arms… TPF can hear the collective question from you; What do you mean only four tools? Is it some sort of scam? Talking to Multitasker Tools, TPF was able to learn a couple things about the design ideals and ethics (yes we said ethics) of Multitasker Tools. Mr. Shane Keng was able to shed a bit of light on the subject and the following points give a basic summary of the reasoning behind the choices and decisions in regards to the company’s engineering practices.
- No quality will be sacrificed. That includes high quality, custom manufactured bushings. It is not a contest to make the most profitable tool by using cheaper materials, but the best tool out there from a quality standpoint.
- Clumping of tools is sure sign of not having a defined audience and it detracts from strength of those tools both in functionality and aesthetics.
- It is not a race to see who has the highest tool count on their product. That is a marketing gimmick and Multitasker prides itself on thorough engineering and use of focus groups for designing the best tool for the purpose audience.
It is evident by looking at the Ultralight that Multitasker Tools takes those guidelines to heart. Stainless steel components coated in a matte black oxide finish and wrapped by nicely patterned G-10 panels. Those chosen four arms are impressive and solid, both in construction and function. From upper right and going clockwise (as per image):
- Arm 1: The Scraper. The scraping arm is very similar in design to the removable one on the TUBE, in that it is rounded to fit the radius of the M16/M4/AR15 bolt carrier and can, if needed to, be used as a bolt hook (Not recommended by the manufacturer, but is mentioned by them). Thumb stud opening, and liner-lock release.
- Arm 2: The Cleaning Arm. Brandishing an #8-32 male thread, this arm come with the proven and effective cleaning pick by Multitasker. The threaded nature of this arm allows for usage of a multitude of cleaning options to allow for cleaning a firearm from bolt group to flash hider and pretty much everywhere else. This arm is opened with a thumb nail slot and locked in place using a second separate liner-lock.
- Arm 3: The Bit Driver. Yet another common and extremely useful addition for any serious maintenance it the 6.4mm (1/4″) magnetic hex-bit driver. Akin to its smaller cousin (the TUBE), the Ultralight comes with an A2, four prong sight adjustment bit, and unlike the TUBE, come with an addition set of 10 other common bits. Opened simply by and operators fingers due to the size of the component part (and the 4 prongs work well for is using gloves), this arm has a substantial spine lock that is anything but weak.
- Arm4: The Wrench. This is the key component which sets the Ultralight apart from most of the other multi-tools. The receiver extension nut, aka Castle Nut, wrench. Multitasker insists that it is meant for field fixes. However, the construction of this tool in itself makes TPF believe that you could easily over torque the castle nut with this tool. Also includes an 8.0mm(5/16″) flat screwdriver on the end of the wrench. Opened using a protrusion/lug of the wrench and another strong spine-lock to keep it in open position.
A small lanyard loop and pocket clip complete the Ultralight itself, but it also comes with a black nylon, belt pouch which is also Molle compatible. This pouch has an internal pocket, securely containing the plastic carry strip which holds the 10 additional driver bits. With physical dimensions of 108mm x 25mm x 19mm (4.25″ x 1.0″ x 0.75″) and massing a mere 180gr (7oz), the Ultralight is no more obtrusive than a typical Swiss Army knife as compared to earlier…
For those interested in Multitasker’s Ultralight, it can be ordered from Brownells for $74.99USD.
Multitasker’s Ultralight – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
In this installment of TPF we take a peek at specific purpose tools meant for the AR-15 platform. Whether you have a old slab side Colt from the Vietnam era, or a brand new tricked out Armalite, these tools may interest you.
Multitasker has made three different levels of tools specifically for the AR-15.
The TUBE, Ultralight, and the company’s self named Multitasker, are their different levels of tools geared towards the field maintenance of the popular AR-15. At the 2010 SHOT Show, I was fortunate to talk to Mr. Shane Keng of Multitasker and talked to him about their AR platform specific tools and conduct a review of them. In today’s review we will be looking at the simplest product offered by Multitasker; The TUBE.
A simplistic description of the TUBE is an aluminum pen-like chassis with two removable aluminum caps. The caps are threaded on utilize o-rings which prevents the caps from coming loose and getting moisture inside the tool. The upper cap with the retaining clip has a built in pin pusher for AR upper/lower take down. The spring steel retaining clip doubles as a small (3/16″) flat screwdriver. The lower cap is plain and has no additional features.. Breakdown of the chassis of the TUBE has two distinct areas. The upper part contains a magnetic 1/4″ driver socket which comes with a removable A2 sight adjustment tool (4 prong). The lower part incorporates a male threaded #8-32 mounting for the included carbon scraper and hook shaped steel pick, but also allows for a variety of cleaning attachments to be used such as those from OTIS. The TUBE can be carried like a pen in a pocket when assembled (scraper and pick contained in the lower cap), or in a Molle loop with the clip holding it securely. At under 2oz in mass, it is very lightweight.
TUBE Expansion Kit:
Offered as well is a small carrying case with internal pockets and a ten piece 1/4″ bit set. While without a loop or other fastening device, the expansion kit makes an already specific tool have far more potential applications. Made with a fairly sturdy nylon covered case and a heavy duty zipper for securing the case close, the expansion kit is rugged and built for abuse and every day carry wear.
For those interested in Multitasker’s TUBE, you can order it from Brownells. Where the TUBE and it’s accessory package are listed for $39.95USD and $19.99USD respectively.
Multitasker’s TUBE – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
P.S: Some images of how much can be stored in the accessory kit. Included: Multitasker TUBE, expansion case w/bit pack, chamber flag, .223 chamber brush, 24″ wire Pull, 3 lock-up swabs, .22 bore brush , dry lube, and a bore reflector.