REVIEW: Leatherman Free P4 Multi Tool UPDATED

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by BushcrafterAU, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    When the Leatherman Free Series was announced to say I was intrigued would be an understatement. Having used Leatherman Tools for many years, the idea of “magnetic architecture” was fascinating. When it finally hit the stores here in Australia, I was among the first to pick one up. Today I’ll be giving you a detailed look at it and tell you what I like, and don’t like about it.

    First of all, here are some specs:

    Material: 420HC and 154CM s/steel
    Tools:

    01- Needlenose Pliers
    02- Regular Pliars
    03- Premium 154CM replaceable wire
    cutters
    04- 154CM replaceable hardwire cutters
    05- 420HC Plain-edge Knife blade
    06- 420HC Serrated Knife blade
    07- Spring Action Scissors
    08- Saw
    09- Bottle Opener
    10- Package Opener
    11- Pry tool
    12- Can Opener
    13- Awl
    14- Wire Stripper
    15- Ruler 25mm
    16- Wood/Metal file
    17- Electrical Crimper
    18- Phillips Screwdriver
    19- Medium Screwdriver
    20- Small Screwdriver
    21- Extra-small Screwdriver






    PART ONE: Unboxing.

    The Free P-Series is presented in an attractive cardboard box. This here is the front.
    5758972F-30B6-4EE2-B5FC-1A39E49AFF42.jpeg

    On the reverse side you have some information and pictures of the Leatherman.
    C793EADA-6D9E-4B47-9B0D-BFB88341B22B.jpeg

    These here are the two sides of the box.
    6D4B6C97-AFFE-420D-BBA2-FA6D9707D19C.jpeg
    AC7A58E7-A315-4850-B738-ECC936440E39.jpeg

    When you slide the inner box out of the cover, you are met by a card that when you take out and reverse has a quick guide users manual on it.
    EAFDC37E-2563-4B01-8B94-3A2D2051CB58.jpeg 2E6DAC41-EDCE-41BF-89E8-3147771C6800.jpeg

    Underneath it you will find the Leatherman itself sitting next to its nylon belt sheath.
    The sheath appears to be of good quality, and feels better made than the Small Molle Sheath the OHT is supplied with.

    0731111C-721C-4B24-89BE-6CF3F0BA0881.jpeg
    34795AA7-3F4C-49C6-9A36-601640372F25.jpeg
     
  2. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    PART TWO: The tool itself.

    8568A9A8-CB91-477D-8A5D-0D332E404E44.jpeg
    The actual tool is very well thought out and solidly built. Ergonomically wise, I feel it is far more comfortable in the hand than the Wave due to there being no tools on the inside of the handles. The scales also feel nicer in the hand. The magnetic architecture is also a great step forward. I can open every tool on it with my right or left hand, and the only tool that needs two hands to close is the pliers.
    Probably, for me, the greatest improvement is the locking system. It is somewhat similar to a back lock, but allows more room for wear and is operated through the sides of the scales. When the tool you are going to deploy is closed, it looks like this:
    354D0BD8-F974-4B40-B182-55F327B26ECA.jpeg

    As you begin to open it, it will look like this:
    B76C6CEB-5966-4135-A774-B4757FA31623.jpeg

    You can see that cutout on the part of the blade that is pushing on the bar. It is this that locks the blade into place, like this. This new locking system has no blade play in any direction, and should last longer than all the framelocks I’ve had that have developed a bit of play.
    6AD3EA71-14B6-483A-86C8-0F61A0D9DAED.jpeg

    The blade itself is of great quality, and comes shaving sharp out of the box. I really like the fact that “Leatherman USA” is displayed proudly on the tang.
    1B9BB477-3258-4A14-98BC-0A58CFBA28CD.jpeg

    With the all the tools on it completely open, you can see that they have squished the maximum amount of tools into the smallest package. 341B8AB3-6C6C-4547-9724-D9C2F52F9436.jpeg

    Here are my thoughts on some of the individual tools:

    Plain edge blade:
    Great design, sharp. I just wish it were of a better steel such as S30V or 154CM, although I’ve never had too much of an issue with 420HC.

    Serrated edge blade:
    I really like the tanto point. The serrations are somewhat similar to a Spyderedge and I have no doubts that they will perform well in the long run.

    Scissors:
    Durable, with a great spring. Far better than those on the Wave and Charge, and the spring looks more durable than the one on the Wingman.

    Can Opener:
    You’ll struggle to ever open a can with this. The one on the old Camillus Demo Knife works far better.

    Screwdrivers:
    Work really well. I only wish it had a bit driver.

    Awl:
    I think it wasn’t a good idea to put a small flat screwdriver on the top of an awl, as it makes it near useless. The cutting edge is nice and sharp though.

    Saw:
    Works really well, quite similar to the one on the wave.

    File:
    A bit short, but really sharp and well made.


    I’ll now move on to the main tool; the Pliers.
    4E7B9117-50E6-448D-9FF5-4A334CABE85C.jpeg
    They are very solid. The replaceable wire cutters are a great addition, especially as they are made out of 154CM as compared to the 420HC in other models. The crimper is located under the pivot between the handles and works well.
    83009F5B-C4BE-4CFC-B2F1-D86A8B830B65.jpeg

    One thing that is slightly annoying is the fact that the pliers don’t quite go all the way together. It’s close, but not quite perfect.
    14742D3C-C5D9-4438-AF6F-FD31133E0788.jpeg

    The main reason using the pliers is so much more comfortable is because there are no inside tools, allowing for a more rounded edge.
    BB3F0D74-6EE7-4967-8265-66438616DC8E.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  3. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Another thing I really like is the deep carry pocket clip. This is what it looks like when clipped in a front jeans pocket.
    75DBB1D4-DC29-4BA1-B909-20F493BC3561.jpeg



    THE VERDICT:

    Overall this is a fantastic multi tool. But I’d it worth the extra money over the Wave? I think so, but the fact it doesn’t have a bit driver may put some people off. I’d really like to see a TTi version with titanium scales, S30V blade, and a bit driver.


    PROS:
    Magnetic Architecture, New lock design, great ergonomics, solid pliers.

    CONS:
    No bit driver, bad can opener.

    4 OUT OF 5 STARS
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  4. manitoulinbound

    manitoulinbound Apple Fritter Lover Supporter

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    Looking at these also. Tagged.
     
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  5. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    I'm still recovering from the harsh reality that my Charge TTI has it all ... except an awl.
     
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  6. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Updated with parts 2 and 3
     
  7. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    Oh good grief, they skimped on the awl on this magnificent beast too? :17:
     
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  8. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    Excellent review and write up. Looks like another winner for Leatherman.
    Could you please post a picture of the awl?
     
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  9. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Sure! I will do shortly.
     
  10. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Here it is...
    image.jpg
    As you can see currently it is almost useless as an actual awl, but it would be a simple, easy job to sharpen the tip.
     
  11. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    Wait, so it's not compatible with the extended driver and 21 piece bit set?
     
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  12. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    No it annoyingly doesn’t currently. I wonder if someone with the right tools and know how could perhaps make an attachment that hooks onto the large flat screwdriver that turns it into a bit driver extender with a bit driver? If someone could figure out how to do that I’d definitely buy it!

    EDIT:
    There are some benefits of it being not compatible though. The steel in the bits is very soft, and I’ve had lots of flat Leatherman bits deform in the past. The steel on normal screwdrivers on a Leatherman is quite hard. Not hard enough to be brittle, but hard enough.
    I’ve also had his fall out while using them, and let’s be honest it’s very easy to loose those tiny bits and they’re expensive to replace!
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
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  13. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Bushmaster

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    The extended driver and bit set issue doesn't bother me, and the awl looks like a 5 minute job to make it right.
    This model just leapfrogged the charge tti on my list!
     
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  14. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    When I was buying the Free, I was trying to decide between it and the Charge TTi. The main deciding factor for me was the new lock. All the framelocks I’ve had on Leatherman tools in the past have eventually developed play (with the exception of the OHT). This new design I think has fixed the problem as it has heaps of wear in room.

    Now they need to make a Free P4 TTi!
     
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  15. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    It just came out.
     
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  16. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    I jest.
     
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  17. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Haha! You had me for a few minutes... :18::D
     
  18. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    It's funny because that's what always happens.
     
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  19. Foilist

    Foilist Guide

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    Nice. I 'd be curious to try this and see if it bumps my Spirit X out of my edc.

    My big gripe with Leatherman tools has always been unfolding the pliers to get at the other implements.
     
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  20. Foilist

    Foilist Guide

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    I'd be grinding that to a point within minutes of opening the box.

    I'd also prefer a long file in place of the serrated blade, but not necessarily a deal breaker.
     
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  21. Foilist

    Foilist Guide

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    I can't stop thinking about this tool. That price tag, though....


    I wish Leatherman would sell just the tool chassis and separate implements, and let you build up your own tool.
     
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  22. Cascadian

    Cascadian Guide

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    What, and let you be happy?

    They can never let that happen. Ever product has to have a diabolical irritant to keep you buying the next, which will have a different irritant.

    Result: you own 10 Leatherman, and instead of thinking about girls, you think about your next Leatherman.
     
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