Best AR15 Multitool: The Ins, The Outs, and the All Abouts

If you routinely shoot an AR15 or one of the many hybrid versions of this popular rifle, then you understand the technical issues that face many shooters when they begin the relationship with this rifle.  Anyone who takes an AR to the range or into the field regularly soon realizes that there are certain things you can’t do on an AR with your standard range bag tool kit.  That is where AR multitools come into their own.

The Basics About AR15 Multitools

Best AR-15 MultiTool

Manufacturers have recognized this fact and in true entrepreneurial fashion, the response is many multitool style offerings on the market.  I carry an AR specific multitool everywhere I go with my rifles.  There is one in my range bag, one in each gun case, and typically one in my bug-out bag.  Not any multitool will fill the role.  There are certain things that a good AR multitool must-have.

  • Sight adjustment tool
  • A punch
  • Hooked pick
  • Screwdrivers

These, at the very minimum, are what you will need to keep an AR running at the range or in the field.  With these, I can do a relatively good job of disassembling an AR for cleaning, clearing almost any kind of misfeed or failure to fire, and clean the AR chamber lock.

I want to look at several of the most popular AR15 multitools on the market and comment a bit on each one.  Along the way, I will share my thoughts about each tool, how they work, the pros and cons, and some insight into the AR15 platform.


Best AR-15 Multi Tool Reviews: My Top Picks

Here are my top picks at a quick glance:

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 12:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Gerber MP600 Sight Tool Review

Gerber MP600 Sight Tool Multi-Plier, Black [30-000588]

If you are only going to carry one multitool in your range bag or bugout bag, it should be the Gerber MP600 Sight Tool.  Gerber has taken the MP600 multitool and added a few new features to enhance the functionality of the MP600 when used as an AR15 tool.  The MP600 is already a great multitool and is a standard issue piece of equipment for the US Army.

Standard on the MP600 sight tool you will find:

  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters (tungsten carbide replaceable blades
  • Knife
  • Screwdrivers
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Front sight adjustment tool
  • Ruler
  • Wire crimper
  • Carbon scraper

What I Like

First off, it’s a Gerber.  The name says a lot about the quality and durability of the tool.  The look and feel of the Gerber MP600 Sight Tool gives the impression that this is a tool that will last and on which you can depend under any circumstances or conditions.  

  • A true multitool – The addition of the longer Phillips screwdriver and the addition of the sight tool and the carbon scraper made a good tool a great tool. 
  • Onehanded operation – With practice, you can make this happen.  The design of the Gerber MP600 does allow you to operate the tool with one hand, which, in some situations, could be a lifesaver.
  • Black Oxide Finish – The black oxide finish over stainless steel construction is brilliant.  You get all the benefits of stainless steel without the shine.  The oxide finish offers a more secure grip as well.
  • The accessories – If you want to round out your Gerber MP600 sight tool, you can purchase an accessory tool kit that gives you an adapter and a set of driver heads to fit almost any need.  Gerber also offers a specially designed sheath that will hold both the multitool and the accessory tools.

What I Don’t like

  • The Size– Even folded, the MP600 is on the bigger end of the spectrum for multitools.  If you want reliability and rugged durability, you pay for that In added weight.  It’s not a big trade-off, but one that may cause some people to give the MP600 a second thought.
  • Lack of a pick hook – I believe that every AR15 multitool should have the means to clean the chamber lock, and that involves getting behind the locking lugs on the chamber to scrape away the carbon deposits.  No hook is a definite lack on the Gerber MP600 Sight Tool.

My thoughts

I have a Gerber MP600 Sight Tool that came as part of a field armorers cleaning and maintenance kit that stays in my range bag.   The Gerber MP600 has been used many times on many guns.  The Gerber MP600 is a reliable and versatile multitool that fills a variety of needs.

The functionality of this tool and its quality of manufacture makes this multitool one of the best on the market in my book.  Yes, it has a few shortcomings, but so do all the others.  As I said earlier, if you are going to carry only one multitool, the Gerber MP600 Sight Tool would be my choice.

Sale
Gerber MP600 Sight Tool Multi-Plier, Black [30-000588]
  • 12 curated tools work specifically to maintain the front sight tool.
  • One-hand opening design is accessible + simple to use.

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 12:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Leatherman MUT Review

LEATHERMAN, MUT Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Firearm...

Leatherman is the name in multitools. It is the brand that usually comes to mind first when the word multitool enters the conversation.  Leatherman pioneered the multitool concept and has been on the leading edge of the research and design of multitools for years.  They haven’t overlooked that AR15 component of this market either.

Along with all the other standard features on Leatherman multitools, the MUT includes the addition of some AR specific tools.

  • Pliers
  • Wire cutter with replaceable blades
  • Crimper tool
  • Knife blade
  • Saw blade
  • Seat belt cutting hook
  • Hammer
  • AR15 Bolt Override Tool
  • Bronze carbon scraper
  • 1-32 cleaning rod/brush adapter
  • Punch
  • Bottle opener
  • Bit driver
  • Sight tool

Take a look at the deeper dive article on the Leatherman MUT.

What I like

The Leatherman brand name is a definite plus.  The reputation of Leatherman products is not to be dismissed.  I know from experience that you can count on Leatherman tools.  Late one December night, I was cruising along a dirt track, taking the back way into a deer lease when I ran over a length of electric fence wire.  Before I knew what had happened, the wire had wrapped several dozen times around the U-Joint behind the transfer case on my pickup. 

All I had in my pack was a Leatherman.  It took nearly two hours, but me and the Leatherman cleared that mess by cutting each turn of the wire around the u joint.   I pretty much wrecked the wire cutters on that tool, but I was glad to have it, and it functioned perfectly on a very cold, very wet winter night.

  • The bronze scraper – Cleaning carbon deposits from a bolt carrier or bolt on an AR can be a challenge.  Using a hardened steel tool and scratch the bolt carrier and the bolt.  The bronze scraper is a handy tool that you will turn to many times as you maintain your AR.
  • Clean Brush Adapter – The inclusion of an adapter that will take an 8-32 cleaning brush or even an extension rod is clever and is a standout on the Leatherman MUT.  If you carry an AR15 chamber brush, the adapter makes cleaning the locking lugs a much easier task.
  • Additional Tools – The MUT comes complete with several additional bits to round out the functionality of the tool.  These include Torx bits and Phillips bits.
  • One-Handed Operation – Like the Gerber, Leatherman has one-handed operation capability.  It does take some practice, but it can be accomplished.

What I Don’t Like

  • The Price – The Leatherman MUT is probably the most expensive AR multitool on the market.
  • No Pick Hook – While the threaded cleaning rod gives you the ability to use a chamber brush, the lake of a pick hook to get into the nooks and crannies of the bolt carrier, bolt, and the locking chamber is a lack.

My Thoughts

Other than the price, I can’t find much to fault with the Leatherman MUT.  The quality, the functionality, and the ruggedness of the Leatherman MUT certainly are worth the price.  My problem is that if I pay this much for a tool, I am often loath to get it dirty and put it to the kind of use that I normally use my tools. 

On the other hand, if you may have to depend on a tool in a life-threatening situation, the price may be the least of your concerns.  In that case, The Leatherman MUT is probably a good choice for the AR multitool in your kit.

LEATHERMAN, MUT Multitool with Premium Replaceable Wire Cutters and Firearm...
  • READY FOR ANYTHING: The MUT is the first multitool that functions as both a tactical and practical...
  • FIT MORE FUNCTIONALITY: A variety of pliers, wire cutters and crimper, knife, saw, cutting hook,...

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 12:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Real Avid AR15 Tool Review

Real Avid .223 Tool

If you aren’t familiar with Real Avid, you are missing a lot when it comes to gun maintenance.  These guys offer a rich line of tools and accessories that can make your life much easier if you take care of a bunch of different firearms.  Real Avid is a US company and they understand shooting and shooters.

The Real Avid AR15 Tool is, in my opinion, the best all-around AR15 multitool on the market.  Unlike most of the others, which were redesigns of existing multitools, the Real Avid AR15 tool was designed specifically to be an AR15 multitool.  Just looking at the features of this tool makes that apparent.

  • Combination needle nose pliers
  • Carbide cutter blades
  • G10 grip plates
  • Metal file
  • High-Strength stainless steel frame
  • Bolt carrier carbon scraper
  • 8-31 threaded receiver
  • 3/32” detachable pin punch
  • 10 function bolt carrier group scrapers
  • Cotter pin puller
  • 440 serrated tanto knife
  • 8-32 threaded post
  • 3-position locking bit driver
  • 12 bits
  • Bolt override tool
  • Tap hammer
  • Includes a standard AR15 sight tool separately
  • Sheath to hold all tools and accessories, MOLLE compatible.

What I Like

I think that this is the only multitool on my list that has enough tools and features that I could totally disassemble an AR into its components parts with the exception of removing the barrel from the upper or unscrewing a buffer tube.  That kind of functionality is surprising and makes this the multitool that is probably next on my list to add to my kit.

  • The Price – The Real Avid AR15 Tool is priced in the same area as most of the other multitools worth having.  When you consider the price to features ratio, the cost of owning one of these multitools looks even better
  • The Tools – There isn’t too much lacking here.  The inclusion of both a female and male 8-32 attachment points is a huge plus in my book.  Adding a flexible cleaning rod and some brushes to your kit make this an even more adaptable tool.
  • Specific tools for specific jobs – Many multitools combine features for different jobs on an AR.  The Real Avid multitool goes beyond this and provides specific tools for cleaning and maintaining specific parts of the AR, especially the bolt carrier group.
  • Compact size – Despite including so many tools and so many features, the design of the Real Avid multitool keeps the overall folded size of the tool much smaller than you would expect.  With the included sheath, the entire package is easily carried without a problem.

What I don’t Like

  • The Sight Tool – Real Avid includes a standard cylinder style AR 15 sight tool as part of the package.  I have dozens of these things lying around, mainly because the first thing that happens is, I lay one down and it rolls off the bench.  I just don’t like them
  • Quality Control – Many users of the Avid Multitool report issues with quality control.  There seem to be some problems with poor tolerances and an overall lack of care in assembling the tools.

My Thoughts

For an entry-level budget tool, the Real Avid AR Tool is a great choice.  However, I suggest that you find a local dealer from which to purchase your Real Avid Tool so you can inspect the tool and make sure everything this tight and put together properly.  The comments that I read indicate that if you get a good tool, it is well worth the money.

For the occasional shooter who wants a good multitool in their range bag, the Real Avid multitool is a definite good choice.  It’s not the cheapest you can find, but for the money, it will provide you the tools and functionality that you need on the range and in the field to handle most problems and tasks.

Sale
Real Avid .223 Tool
  • 37 TOOLS FOR COMPLETE MAINTENANCE: combination needle nose pliers, carbide cutter, bolt scraper, 10...
  • DETACHABLE: 3/32” pin punch, detachable hooked pick, 8-32 threaded post and receiver, 3 position...

Last update on 2020-07-05 at 12:18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Gerber Short Stack Weapons Maintenance Multitool Review

We are back to Gerber.  The Short Stack Weapons Maintenance multitool is not what most people think of when you mention multitool.   This Gerber tool is more of an armorer’s tool kit in a packable package.  The Gerber Short Stack doesn’t look like a traditional multitool and lacks a lot of the functions and tools of a standard multitool. What it does give you are features that aren’t found on the usual multitool design in a format that offers a remarkable storage trick.

  • Buffer tube wrench
  • Firing pin scraper
  • Bolt carrier scraper
  • Front sight adjustment tool
  • Two double-ended bits
  • Six different open and closed hex wrenched
  • Packable into a Magpul pistol grip

What I Like

Right off the bat, I like the whole concept.  This is a compact and well-designed piece of kit that allows you to go beyond what the normal AR multitool can perform.  The ability to remove a buffer tube and dedicated tools for maintaining a bolt carrier group are key issues.  However, the overriding thing that makes this a real go-to tool for me is that it all packs down to a size that will store in a Magpul pistol grip. 

  • The design – The pieces are designed to lock together when stored but to be easily separated and used when needed. 
  • The Concept – The whole idea of a set of basic tools that allow you to do the basic chores of keeping an AR running smoothly in a compact and easily storable form is brilliant. 
  • The Gerber name – I am a Gerber fan and having that Gerber brand on a tool gives me a sense of comfort that I can trust that tool when I need it most.

What I don’t Like

  • You need to carry other tools – The Short Stack is not the end-all AR15 multitool.  It lacks some things that you may well need, but for an emergency maintenance tool, the Short Stack should be at home in your AR pistol grip or your range bag.

My Choice

Each of the AR multitools listed above has a place and a function.  Personally, I have several different tools that make up the firearms maintenance kit that is part of my kit.  Each of them is chosen for specific reasons. 

In the end, my go-to choice is the Gerber MP600 Sight Tool.  I have a small armorers tool kit that came with a generic Gerber multitool, and I swapped that generic Gerber multitool for the MP600 sight tool.  This kit is a primary part of my bug-out bag and my range bag.  This kit has saved many a range day for lots of other people and me when I was able to perform a field expedient repair using the tools in that kit, including the MP600 Sight Tool.

If you found this article helpful or interesting, please leave a comment below.  Your knowledge and experiences are always welcome.  Learning from each other is part of the experience and we encourage you to participate in this online community.



Dennis Howard
Written by Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals in the preparedness community. Read his full interview here. Read more of Dennis's articles.

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