Jeffery Martin, a Security Officer, has been collecting knives since he was 13 years old.
A few years back, my former supervisor bought the team a little token of appreciation. It was a tiny little multi-tool, small enough to go on a keychain. It is noticeably heavier than my Victorinox Classic SD, but not a whole lot bigger. It was the Bear Grylls Compact Multi-tool, made by Gerber, the world-renowned knife/multi-tool company.
It was compact, it was sleek, it was functional; and yes, it was sexy. In the words of Fire Marshall Bill ,“Let me show you something!”
When I say that this tool is “compact”, it is an understatement. The overall open length is only 4.3 inches. When closed, it is a tiny 2.5 inches; not much longer than a Victorinox Classic.
Both the handle and the tools are made from stainless steel, and it is built to last.
For those of you that like to stay alive (hopefully all of you); this tool also includes the Gerber Bear Grylls “Priorities of Survival” pocket guide.
The only downside of this tool is that it weighs three ounces. As a Security Officer, I carry many, many keys, and that three ounces does make a difference. This is why I eventually traded in this knife for my 0.8 oz Victorinox Classic SD.
The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-tool features a total of 10 tools; 8 of which are accessible without having to open the pliers.
Needle Nose Pliers/Wire Cutter
The needle nose pliers on the Compact Multi-tool are tiny, but they work well. If you have read my first article you know that I used to always carry a Victorinox Swiss Champ with me. The spring-assisted pliers on this little tool are not much bigger than the pliers on the Swiss Champ, but their functionability (Is that a word?)makes the Champ’s pliers look “cute” at best. The pliers also include a wire cutter function that works well on small wires, paperclips, etc.
That’s right; BLADES.
This little tool has two slip-joint blades; one fine-edged and one serrated. Both blades are approximately 1.9 inches long, about a centimeter wide, and are actually sturdy enough to act as a main blade; if you don’t mind carrying a main blade that opens using a nail-nick.
Phillips Screwdriver, Flat-tipped Screwdriver/Bottle Opener, and Small Flat-Tipped Screwdriver
I usually have a Victorinox SAK on me, so I have never had to use the bottle opener on this tool; however I have used the flat-tipped screwdrivers several times, and allowed my children to use them. They are not made for heavy duty jobs, but they will handle most day to day tasks.
The Phillip’s-head screwdriver is not a true Phillip’s-head. It is more like a small triangle. Although it doesn’t look like it would be that great; I can assure you that it does, in fact, work on Phillip’s screws.
The Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-tool has a small pair of tweezers that fold into the handle; just like the rest of the tools. There are pros and cons to this.
The pro: You do not have to worry about having to lose/replace them.
The con: The weight of the multi-tool, being on the back end of the tweezers, makes them a little awkward to use.
They are very functional, and can take more force than the tweezers that come on your standard Swiss Army Knives.
Yeah; another multi-tool that includes the lanyard ring in its list of tools. Don’t ask why, because I do not know.
In closing, the Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Multi-tool is an excellent little tool; however I personally found it to be a little too heavy for my keychain.
If you do not have a lot of keys, or just don’t mind the weight; this may be the EDC keychain knife for you.
Although I do not carry it on my keychain, I do sometimes carry it in my pocket when I want to have some extra tools on me but do not want to have a knife bulge in my pocket. Order one of your own here if you like.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: Where is the release mechanism?
Answer: There is no release mechanism. You just unfold it and select the tool you want to use. Keep in mind that this is a very small multitool.
Dennis Steil on June 29, 2020:
Mine broke..spring retainer in the handle that locks the pliers folded inside and tool doesnt close nor is the pliers working..
Tina Pendleton from USA on August 22, 2017: