"A bad day at the range is better than a good day at work." We've all heard this saying in some form or another, but how true is it? For me, a day at the range is more than just practice. It's fun and therapeutic. I'm usually in need of some stress release when I plan a full-on range day with my buddies. While a bad day of trigger pulling is still fun with friends, problems can happen. Not being able to move past difficulties can bring that fun to a grinding halt. It is frustrating. Guns are built to last, but they take a lot of punishment and are made by people. Eventually, something will fail, and the ability to make a repair or replace a part will fix that frustration, allowing you to move on. I've had many days on the range come to a screeching halt because I didn't have a basic tool with me that was sitting on my workbench at home. These tools can truly save the day. For years I've carried a multi-tool with me that I chose based on what minimal tools I might need. This multi-tool has been a lifesaver many times over, not only on the range but also at work and in the whitetail woods. I've come to rely heavily on it and do my best to keep it close at hand at all times. Several manufacturers have seen this need and have started producing multi-tools that were gun specific. Here we are going to look at the good, better, and best of what the market has to offer.
Real Avid has several tools ranging from small key chain choke wrenches to an armorer's master kit. Multi-tools are some of their better sellers. The Gun Tool Max is my choice from their list. It comes with 37 precision made tools that are packaged with shooters and hunters in mind. It comes with the standards like a 3.25" drop point knife and needle nose pliers. The pliers also contain carbide cutters and extended jaws. It comes with a 3-position lockable magnetic bit driver with 12 bits and a ballistic nylon MOLLE-compatible sheath that stores the bits. The more gun specific tools include a 3/32" pick and punch set that are threaded with an 8-32 threaded post interchangeable with rods and brushes for cleaning. These are paired with a usable tap hammer to use for tighter pins. The tool also comes with a multi-sized choke wrench that will work with any shotgun in any gauge, that is tipped with a thin flat blade perfect for scope adjustments. Lastly, a carbon scraper that is shaped for both flat and rounded parts make scraping fouling from moving parts a breeze. All for a retail price of $59.99 this a great, budget-friendly multi-tool that can help you out in a tight spot at the range.
Leatherman is the name brand that I trusted many years ago when I chose my multi-tool, and it has never let me down. For years Leatherman was the tool that contractors and construction workers trusted and for one main reason. They are tough. I wish this tool were available when I bought mine. The Leatherman MUT EOD is a go-to for gun guys. It has many gun specific tools for your needs. This tool comes with your standard needle nose pliers that contain a military performance spec cap crimper, stranded wire cutters, and electrical crimpers. It also has a replaceable C4 pin punch, bronze carbon scraper, bolt override tool, and a large bit driver with 6 bits included. Also included is an extension from the tool hammer and 8-32 threaded adapter for cleaning rods and brushes. While the number of tools is less than in the Real Avid tool, these tools are the basic needs and are built like a tank. One beautiful thing about Leatherman is that they come with a 25-year warranty. When a company that makes tools stands behind their products with a warranty this good, you can have faith, it will be dependable whenever you need it. With a retail of $159.95, you are buying a tool that can work every time.
Multitasker Series 3X is a multi-tool for gun guys, made by gun guys. This company is relatively new and only makes two products, but they make them well. Their multi-tool is CNC'd from solid billet steel; the handle has G10 tactical scales for a solid grip, Aluminum bronze washers and rust resistant Ti CarboNitride (TiCN) treatment for a tool that stays in good maintenance for years. Tools included are a ¼" magnetic bit driver (that doubles as a front sight tool) along with 8 common size bits, a carbon scraper, a 2 lug castle nut wrench with flat head screwdriver, a partially serrated 3" blade and a 3/32" pin punch that removes to expose a 8-32 threaded male end compatible with Otis Cleaning products. A couple of other unique features is a 3/8" hex driver for LaRue mounts and ½" hex driver for scope rings. For a true well-built gun specific multi-tool, look no further. Quickly gaining popularity with professional shooters, this tool has proven to be well built and dependable for those bad days on the range. Retailing at $179.99 you'll get what you pay for with this tool.
A few weeks ago, at work, some co-workers of mine had trouble installing a scope base to a 10/22. They didn't have a flat head bit small enough to fit into the screws in the receiver. Out comes my trusty Leatherman, and the problem was solved. This isn't remotely the first time the day was saved from my multi-tool. Don't let an issue like carbon fouling, a stuck pin, loose screw or something else turn your day at the range into a bad day. Because a bad day at the range can be worse than a good day at work.