Monday, September 28, 2015

Review: Leatherman Wingman Multi-tool for EDC

I’ve been carrying some kind of knife since I was about 9. At first it was my official Cub Scout pocket knife. This had the Cub emblem on the side, was black with silver tips on both ends, and had 3 blades. One thing I like about that knife is the large swivel D lanyard ring it had in one end. By the time I was a teen-ager I was carrying Swiss Army knives by Victorinox. I loved, and still love, these knives. They did so much! I carried these knives everywhere, including school, church, and government buildings! The times sure have changed. One of my rules that I’ve taught my kids is never leave home without a knife, or a gun. I know my children have always followed this rule most of the time. I usually give the kids I still have at home a knife every Christmas. I’ve had Young Women leaders raise their eye brows because one of daughters pull out a folder when someone asks for something to cut with. They ask my daughter if my parents know they have that knife. They just smile when they say “My Dad gave it to me for Christmas!” I know I’m known as the abusive parent. In Cub Scouting there is a training program called the Whittling Chip. My boys earned that as a Wolf in the Cub Scout program at about 9 years old. I take that program and teach it also to my daughters at that age. We review it yearly until my kids turn 12. By the time they are adults, they have a lot experience with knives. This is what we’ve done in our home, you and your spouse must decide what you will do with your children.
Let me say right here that I am not a knife guy. I’m a gun guy. I like weapons of all kinds, but am not really into knives. Having said that, I’d like to review the multi-tool Leatherman Wingman.
My first Leatherman was the basic survival multi-tool. It was about $30.00 in the 1980’s. Since then I’ve owned several Leatherman tools and even Gerber multi-tools.
I currently carry the Wingman and chose it specifically about 8 years ago. I was looking for several features that I did not have in my Gerber I was carrying at the time.
I had to have a tool that had scissors and a can opener on it. I had a Gerber that did not have scissors. Before that I carried a Leatherman that did not have a can opener but had scissors. I used both of those features so much I wanted them both when I went looking for a multi-tool again.
I also needed locking blades. Can’t tell you how many times I was using a screwdriver and had the screwdriver blade fold back in. Usually it hurt my hand! The Wingman has locking blades.
Pliers were always a plus with Leatherman products over Swiss Army knives. That was one of the draws that drew me away from the Swiss Army. Well the Wingman has not only pliers, but pliers that are spring loaded to stay open. I love that feature.
Something that stood out also is the knife and scissors are on the outside of the tool. That’s what bugged me about my first Leatherman, I had to open up the tool completely just to get to the knife.
Leatherman is made very well. You can feel the quality as you use the tool. Everything is solid and there is no wiggle or movement in any of the blades. The locks are built into the frame and are solid. The outside blade and scissors has a liner lock. Even the pliers have frame locks for positive opening of each side.
Leatherman uses 440A steel I assume because it can be stamped. That makes it easy to build compared to other hardened steels. Some balk at 440A but it’s a good steel. But the whole tool is steel. There is no plastic of any kind anywhere on the tool. Victorinox uses 440A and I’ve always liked their product. Knife purists don’t like this steel they want 154CM. I am happy with Leatherman’s products overall. I don’t need a knife that I can chop down a tree with! But that is just me.
Weighing in at 7 ounces I would consider this a mid-size tool.
The features are:
Knife blade ½ drop point, ½ serrated.
Small slot-head screwdriver
Medium slot-head screwdriver
Phillips head screwdriver
1½ inch ruler in/cm
Metal/Wood file
Package opener
Bottle/Can opener
Needlenose and regular pliers
Wire cutter
Wire stripper
I like the heavy duty deep pocket clip. It can be removed but I leave it even though I carry it in a pouch. I like the option.
There is very little I don’t like about the Wingman. Let me explore the cons.
It’s a little heavy. 7 ounces is not too bad, I’ve seen some weighing 9 or 10 ounces. For me and my EDC weight is everything. I would prefer 5 ounces but I like the all steel tool.
The wire stripper sucks. I have used everything on this tool and I would not have known there was a wire stripper if I didn’t read the manual. It doesn’t work very well so I ended up stripping the wire with the knife blade. Maybe it’s the operator. I tried…
There is a tiny triangle hole that I use for a lanyard. I haven’t seen this feature referred to anywhere so maybe it’s not meant to be a lanyard hole. If it is meant to be, it’s too small. If not, I’ve managed to get some gutted 550 paracord in mine. It assists getting the tool out of a pouch. It’s not meant for that, they should consider putting something a little bigger in future models.
All in all I like more than I can find wrong. I think my cons are minor and they don’t even come close to over shadowing the positive features.
I would recommend a Leatherman Wingman for EDC or for a bugout bag. They are versatile, well priced, and rugged.

Semper Paratus
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