I’ve been known to bash multitools a little bit in the past. In all fairness, I don’t think multitools are bad by any means; it’s just that you always have to give something up in exchange for convenience. At the end of the day, it’s better to have the real tools.
That being said, the MP600 from Gerber Gear is a multitool that I really like. It’s a rugged workhorse that brings some solid functionality to a genre of tools that are all too often plagued by gimmickry and useless features. So what makes the Gerber MP600 different? First and foremost, it has a unique design that allows for one-handed deployment of its pliers. Let’s take a closer look.
Gerber MP600: First Impressions
Straight out of the box, I really like the heft of the MP600. I do give Gerber credit for making tools that feel solid and sturdily made. With all stainless steel construction, it feels great in hand, and opens smoothly. I like the look of it too, including the handsome black finish. I have no doubt that the finish will start to wear away pretty quickly, but I have no problem with that. It’s bound to happen when you really put a tool to good use.
Evidently, the MP600 series are the top-selling multitools to the U.S. military (as the folks at Gerber are quick to point out). That makes perfect sense to me, as the tool clearly has tough dependability in its construction, as well as a utilitarian military look to it. I asked my wife what she thought of the MP600 as I unboxed it, and she said, “it looks cheap!” At a glance, the black finish made her think the tool was made of plastic. She realized her mistake as soon as I handed it over to her. This thing is solid.
The MP600 measures 4.9” closed (6” open, give or take) and tips the scales at a hefty 9 ounces. It comes with a handy ballistic nylon sheath that attaches to a belt loop, which is a nice feature, as the tool can start to feel a bit heavy in one’s hip pocket. There are a lot of tools included, but when it comes to individual features in the Gerber MP600, the needle-nosed pliers are undoubtedly the star of the show.
The marquee feature of this multitool is the pliers, and the one-handed deployment thereof. There are plenty of situations in which you only have one hand free to get your pliers out and into position, and that’s a near-impossible task with just about any other multitool I’ve used.
In actual practice, deploying the pliers one-handed works every bit as easily as one would hope. The MP600 is uniquely designed so that the pliers slide in and out of the handles, as opposed to the more common design that would require you to unfold both handles to reveal the pliers. With practice, the pliers snap out and into place with a press of the locking mechanism—accomplished with the thumb and forefinger—and a flick of the wrist. It’s a little “sticky” right out of the box, but the system loosens up very quickly after doing it a few times.
The whole tool has a pit of play in it, which is to say that it feels loose, and rattles a bit when you shake it. That might seem alarming (as it was to me at first) but ultimately it’s not a mark of an unsound tool, but simply the result of the design that allows the pliers to slide in and out. Deployment method aside, the pliers themselves have a needle-nosed profile and solid grip. They might be my favorite multitool pliers that I’ve used, and that alone is enough of a reason for me to recommend the Gerber MP600.
Tools and Features
The Gerber MP600 is said to have 14 different tools. Technically, that’s true, but a lot of those supposed tools are either redundant or borderline useless (I’d love to meet someone who’s used the can opener on their multitool to open an actual can). At the end of the day, I don’t really hold that against the folks at Gerber. It’s par for the course when it comes to multitools. It almost goes without saying that some of the features on the MP600 are more useful than others. Some of the more noteworthy features, other than the pliers, include:
- Knife Blade: The knife blade is the main feature of some multitools, but on the MP600, it feels like an afterthought. The blade actually comes very sharp, which I appreciate, but at just 2” long, it’s not the most useful knife. It’s also a straight-edged Wharncliffe blade, which isn’t exactly my favorite blade style. It’s perfectly adequate for tasks like breaking down boxes, but it won’t replace my regular EDC knife by any stretch of the imagination.
- Serrated Saw Blade: The saw blade that comes on the MP600 is about the same length as the knife, but it has some good tooth to it, and is sharp enough to make short work of sticks and twigs should the need arise. It’s pretty good for what it is.
- Pinch Wire Cutters: Built into the pliers, the pinch wire cutters work every bit as well as the pliers themselves. They make short work of wire, fishhooks and the like.
- Screwdrivers: There are four screwdrivers included on the MP600: one Phillips-head screwdriver, and three flat-head screwdrivers of various sizes. At first that might seem redundant, but I actually kind of like having options. It’s a pain trying to tighten a screw with the wrong size driver, and this tool eliminated that issue for the most part.
- File: The inclusion of a file here is a nice touch. It’s handy for sanding down a piece of splintered wood in a pinch, and does a decent job sharpening other blades and tools.
- Other Features: The remainder of the tools on the Gerber MP600 fall into the borderline-pointless category for me. There’s both a bottle opener and a can opener, a wire crimper, a lanyard ring (not sure that even qualifies as a tool), and a ruler that measures up to 3 inches or 8 cm.
Also of note is that the pliers must be deployed in order for you to access any of the tools in the MP600. That’s not a bad thing, but it does take getting used to, especially if you’re accustomed to a more traditional design. You have to first slide the pliers into the deployed position, and then separate the handles to get at the tools. Each handle has a sturdy locking mechanism. I love that all the tools lock into the open position, not just the knife blade like a lot of multitools I’ve used. Once locked in, you can easily unlock each feature with your thumb.
Final Thoughts on the Gerber MP600
I like this multitool a lot. It has one of the best sets of pliers I’ve seen on any multitool, and the one-handed deployment makes them very easy to use. None of the other features stand out in any particular way, but I’m okay with that. As a jack-of-all-trades tool, the Gerber MP600 holds up well in a variety of situations.
Plus, you can carry the MP600 on its nylon sheath, which means it doesn’t have to take precious pocket space away from your other EDC essentials. It’s also a sturdily-built multitool that can provide years of reliable service. Definitely a good buy for the price.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights, and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.