The Ultimate Fighting Multi-Tool?

I have put off this article for quite some time. About three months actually. The reason for that is, I did not want people to think I was joking about this...Iím not joking. Inevitably, I know some people will roll their eyes back in their head and either think Iím out of my mind or I am desperately grasping at straws for something to write about on this Website. I assure you that Iím not out of my mind and I have plenty of things to write about and I think the time has come to write about this subject. Even though I am sure some people will criticize it.

I know this has been a joke in "The Knife Community" for some time and there is at least one Webpage dedicated to it as a spoof, not of my site, but a spoof of using a Multi-Tool as a weapon. (Which I found hilarious, by the way...I do have a sense of humor.)

The Reason, The Need...

Anyone that has watched the Calibre Press Law Enforcement Training Video, "Surviving Edged Weapons" has watched The Tueller Drill in action. This established a distance of twenty-one (21í) feet being covered by a knife-wielding attacker against a person (Officer in the case of the video) in 1.5 seconds. This has become the standard as a Reactionary Gap when dealing with assailants armed with contact weapons like knives and clubs.

The reason I mention this is, in the Law Enforcement Training Video produced by ASP (Armament Systems and Procedures, Inc.) there is one section that clearly shows a flaw in the philosophy ASP puts forth in their stated Force Continuum.

They show a Police Officer with an extended ASP Baton and an "Attacker." The "Attacker" then draws a knife and the Officer dumps the Baton and immediately draws the handgun. The problem with this portrayal of escalation to Deadly Force is, the "Attacker" was only a few feet from the Officer. When the Officer dumped the Telescoping Baton, he dumped a viable weapon in the hope that he would even be able to draw another, more lethal instrument, that instrument being the handgun.

That violates the Principle set forth in the Tueller also violates common sense. When the Officer dumped the Baton and then immediately transitioned to the handgun, we know because of the close proximity of the "Attacker" (It looked like less than 8 feet on the video, if I remember correctly) that this is a Tactical Mistake of epic, and sometimes fatal, proportion.

Had the Officer taken the Baton and transferred it to the off hand and then drawn the handgun, then dropped the Baton, that might have been a bit better. The Officer would still have something to react with instead of the hope of getting the handgun out and not being jumped on and stabbed to death by a determined attacker.

Had there been a transition of the Baton from one hand to another, in the moment the Officer deliberately pushed the handle of the Baton from the right to left hand, he could still respond with the right hand, as it went into the left hand he could have responded with both hands wrapped around the grip, and as it entered and was totally grasped by the left hand, he could have responded with the left hand to a charge by the Attacker. Please understand we are not talking about tossing the Baton between the hands like goofy Switchblade moves in 1950s movies, we are talking about a deliberate, firm and secure transfer, a pass of the Baton from one hand to the other. In the same manner you would transfer a loaded handgun from the right to left hand (or reverse) if you were injured on one side and continued to fight. One hand presses the weapon into the other hand prepared to receive it.

This would require that the Officer be somewhat skilled with the Baton in order to be effective and ambidextrous with the Baton as well. That should be the focus to make Officers safer instead of concentrating on the firearm over and over again. Skill...real, demonstrable skill with a Baton and anything else they carry.

So, what does this have to do with using a Multi-Tool in Self-defense [fighting]? Very simple...

Necessity is The Mother of Invention

Something is necessary, so we are going to invent something. We are not really going to invent anything at all, Iím just using this as an example. Much of what you need to know is in the Koppo Stick Article on this Website. Or what I have taught people for some time and whimsically refer to as, "Plier-Ryu" or "Plier-Jutsu." Yes, the School or the Art of The Pliers. Are you laughing yet? There is a method to my madness, rest easy. [Other people have called it this as well, I did NOT invent the funny term.]

Primary and Secondary


This is why I cited "The Reason and Need" above. That is why I had to discuss what I felt to be a Tactical Necessity, the need for which is a void in some instances. Now, I will fill that void. This is the PRIMARY reason why learning the attributes of a Multi-Tool as a Defensive Weapon should be examined and explored in my opinion.

Multi-Tools are handy. The one that I am going to more or less "Review" in this article is the one that I feel is best for Defensive Purposes. What makes this Multi-Tool ideal for "fighting" actually makes it less appealing to someone who is going to use it constantly. There are much better Multi-Tools on the market when it comes to "handiness" and certainly when it comes to weight. This one is heavy. It is the toughest built Multi-Tool I have ever purchased, it is built like a tank.

When I carried a Multi-Tool on a daily basis, working for an Alarm Company, I started out with a regular Leatherman Tool about 1990. When the Gerber Multi-Plier became available years later, I purchased that one. For an Alarm Service Investigator and/or Technician running Emergency Service, a Multi-Tool is a very handy thing to have. In fact, most of the repairs can be readily performed with only a Multi-Tool. [I usually carried a Leatherman Multi-Tool, a Fluke Multimeter and a Cordless Soldering Iron and that is about all I needed most of the time.]

Letís face facts, cars break down. If your car breaks down, even in the daytime, you should have a large MagLite and a Multi-Tool with you when you open the hood of your car. The MagLite, even in daylight, can help you see down into the darkness of the engine compartment if need be. If nothing else, it is a legal reason to have two weapons in your hands when you exit the vehicle and begin to investigate the problem.

Would anything look out of place, even in the daytime, if you were parked on the shoulder with the hood up, and you had with you a MagLite, a pair of work gloves and a Multi-Tool? Of course not. If we can eliminate the remote possibility of having a really picky Police Officer ("Cool" Officers will probably ask to see your Multi-Tool and ask you where he/she can get one at a good price.) pull up, everything is going to be O.K. and nothing looks out of place. So far, so good...

Sometimes the more evil and opportunistic elements of society will see a chance to score, and you are the target. You are immobile because something is wrong with your car (Always try to get to a well-lighted gas station, if your car begins running badly, etc.) and that weakness can be attractive to a criminal. Not only that, through a laymanís study of psychology or through animal instinct (Sixth Sense), predators know when to strike and they know you are distracted, you might be upset or angry with the car or a meeting you are going to miss, etc., and they will use that moment of weakness to do what they do to make a living.

The PRIMARY is why I discussed the two Law Enforcement Training Videos. You do not dump a weapon in your hand to access another when the attack is about to begin or is underway. That is something you simply should not do. Remember, we are talking about Close Quarters Combat [CQC] here, obviously, if you have a Concealed Carry Permit and you have a handgun and the predator(s) initiate the attack from a distance, you go with your distance weapon. If it is a closer encounter or if you do not have the luxury of the distance weapon, you have to fight with what you have.

What do you have? Well, you cannot have a handgun in your hand to check the car out, that will bring more attention than the car being broken down! Thatís the way society is, someone might pass by with a cell phone and they might not even make a call to help you, but theyíll probably call if they see you have a handgun or a knife in your hand. Thatís just the way it is now. Thatís the 1-800-RAT-BASTARD Society we live in now, donít call to help, but by all means, call to be an Informer even if you do not know the facts.

A Multi-Tool and a MagLite. Good combination to have in your hands if something should happen. Whatever you are doing in life that would require having one of these tools in your hand, you can already be one step ahead of the game, you do not have to draw, the weapon is already out and in your hand. That is PRIMARY. If you have a small tool [roll] pouch or box in the car, you can leave tire balancing weights in there with some heavy-duty work gloves and you can drop the weights in the fingers and you have an effective blackjack. You could drop the Multi-Tool in a glove and have a blackjack, but better to use it as an edged weapon or pocket stick if you use it at all.

Predators look for people that are pre-occupied doing something, they wait for a personís attention to be diverted, then they strike. And you should be careful during these times and if you are fixing something, remember, you have tools in your hand. It might not even be a "Multi-Tool." Something that happened early in my youth keyed me into this and really started me to thinking about these things and I have been weighing this heavily in my decision to write this. My brother was working on his car one time and two dirtbags crept up on him quietly while he was concentrating on the car and they dropped the hood on his back and really worked his kidneys over good, one on each side of him. Had he been in the front of the car, the mechanism that secures the hood could have broken his spine, luckily, he was not quite in line with that mechanism. What saved my brother was his then new Wife who kicked one of the cretins in the nuts and more or less scared them off. Clearly indicative of what dirtbags they really are. Cowards. Anyway, the tool you have in your hand might be something else entirely, donít throw it down in CQC to draw something designed to be a weapon. So, this becomes a concept and a mindset instead of even relying on a Multi-Tool. And that is what I want to stress, the concept, the principle of using what is in your hand instead of immediately dumping it, remembering the rules that should not be violated, this has to be extreme Close Quarters and if not, a distance weapon can be drawn.


The SECONDARY reason for learning how to use a Multi-Tool specifically would be environments where you cannot carry anything else. One person that E-mailed me let me know I was on the right track, but he did not know I had planned on writing this, his inquiry let me know I had a good idea and that other people had considered the possibility of using a Multi-Tool as a Defensive Weapon. As I said before, I planned on writing this some time ago and I basically did not do that because I didnít feel like receiving any grief over it, you know what I mean? Some people will inevitably say, "Everything has to be a weapon to some people!" And they see that as a threat to them keeping their precious little, multi-bladed pocketknives or something.

Anyway, this Gentleman E-mailed me from another country and he was asking about using Multi-Tools for Self-defense purposes. Basically, he is prohibited by law from carrying almost any form of knife and most certainly any knife that is designed for Self-defense. So he was asking about Multi-Tools specifically and I answered him, giving him some ideas and maybe he will be a bit safer and still stay within the law of his country.

So, what about where you work? Alot of stories have been told on Internet Forums about crappy employers being morons with regard to folding opening a folding knife with one hand becomes a "threatening" movement or whatever to some cowardly and fearful SISSY in the workplace. Itís OK to have a half dozen boxcutters lying around, but donít pull a pocketknife out to open a box, THATíS THREATENING!

So, a Multi-Tool would be a much better choice in a situation like that, and you can keep the Tactical Folder(s) hidden by not utilizing the pocket clips or something and dropping them all the way down into the all depends on your individual situation and environment.

Other Considerations

So, as a fast response tool, if you have a Multi-Tool in your hand, whatever you have opened on the tool can be used, or the body of the tool if there are no blades/tools opened. If you need it really fast, youíre not going to be able to open anything, the tool is going to be used like a Pocket Stick. You are going to engage and start bashing with it. Thatís natural and thatís the way to survive. Donít try to open anything on it if youíre being attacked, obviously...

What if you have time? What if you see something coming? What if you are walking to a pay phone, the car is broken down, and you know something is going to happen? Perhaps a carload of fools has just passed you by, screaming and yelling at you, and you see the brake lights on their car come on up the road...then the headlights...theyíre coming back...what can you do?

The first thing I would tell you is, "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day." And you might not even "fight," just get the hell out of there. If itís dark and you have multiple attackers on a deserted piece of road/highway, get into the woods if any exist. If not, youíre going to have to fight if they want to fight. If there are some woods...

Get in the woods and try to keep your sense of direction and use the time it takes for them to arrive back on scene and run. Then slow down to be quiet and keep moving. Hopefully, they wonít come into the tree-line. If they have no flashlights, they probably wonít. You can gather rocks up to use as projectile weapons as well, and they can really damage someone...up to and including killing someone. Thatís just some random survival ideas.

The point is, if you have the time to prepare, you can prepare a Multi-Tool into a rather vicious, effective hand-weapon. Thatís another reason I like the SAK Multi-Tool, not only is it built well, I like the way everything is arranged. It seems that from the closed position to the open position and every position you might be caught in between, it is useful as an improvised weapon.

If both blades are in the open position, you basically have a double edged knife in your hand, and it is not considered a double edged dagger because it just isnít! Itís a TOOL! But since there is a blade in each handle and the edges oppose each other with the rest of the tool in the closed position, you get the same effect. Good in forward grip, reverse grip, you can thumbcap it comfortably and you have an effective knife. Plus, it is going to have two wound tracks instead of one. The blades lock, in fact, all of the tools lock on the SAK Tool.

With both handles in the opened position, and no blades out, you basically have a metal "stick" in your hand if you fold the plier jaws down, that can be a bludgeon. If it is fully opened into the pliers position, you can still strike with that. In the metal "stick" position, if you open both blades, you have a long knife with a blade on each end. Wicked.

If you have both handles extended and one blade out, you have a very long knife in your hand, that does not have a long blade. Still effective. grab it correctly and it will not fold on you. You will know how as soon as you try it.

The awl on SAKs are incredibly nasty. This is a no-brainer as well, you can have that out in the pliers-open position, or with the tool closed in pocket stick position with just the awl sticking out.

Very versatile indeed.

A Forgotten Art, Plier-Ryu-Jutsu

Of course, the name is tongue in cheek! However, this is The Ultimate Fighting Plier, OK? The NAME is the only thing Iím joking about, please understand. This is particularly vicious. The world is full of nasty people, learn to be nasty and you go home O.K., if not, you roll the dice, the prize is your life.

I am not criticizing NHB Fighters, if that is your thing, thatís cool. Just know this, some people love to watch these Pay Per View Events [PPV] and they like to emulate people and these people doing this might have "attack" on their mind. Or maybe they do have some training in this and they wish to bully someone.

Since it is well-established that Grappling is not a good thing to do in the real world, if someone takes you to the ground, donít screw around and get your brains kicked out or your throat stomped by the attackerís "associates."

Have pliers, cause pain.

Iím not an advocate of Pain Compliance Techniques, in my opinion, they are overrated in most cases. If someone concedes when you defend yourself in this manner, they were not really that determined anyway.

I have seen people take good kicks and knee shots to the groin, and even some strikes that landed had a delayed effect.

If someone is actively grappling with you, standing, seated or on the ground and you have a tool like this, you can tear them up and the only people it wonít work on are people who are completely out of their minds naturally or chemically. Everyone else, you are going to get a response out of.

Targeting and Technique

The fingers, lips, nose and ears are obvious. Any loose skin or meat is going to be effective with a pair of pliers. Grabbing the cheek, they open their mouth, stick the pliers in there. The more sensitive areas on the rest of the body will be under the arms, the underside of the upper arms contain alot of nerves, along the ribcage and down to the waist on the sides...the inside of the thighs. These are all incredibly painful places to be pinched. If you know how to pinch, twist and tear flesh and you have excellent hand strength. Well, the pliers take the guesswork out of all of that.

Grabbing someoneís testicles and other assorted "objects" with a pair of pliers is going to be a peculiar form of agony to anyone on the receiving end of such a counterattack. No vivid imagination is required. If someone wants to grapple and they are going to try to break your ankle or some other bone because they think it is "cool" or something, crush, twist and pull on one of their testes with a pair of pliers...see if that gets their attention.

Ominous Warning

Just keep in mind, if you lose or you lose control of the pliers, youíre next. That is something you SHOULD keep in mind. Turnabout is not fair play when you did not start it, but it is a reality that cannot be ignored.

The "C" Cut/Comma Cut

For those of you that really know how to use a blade, you will no doubt already know about this thrusting/cutting movement. This can be done with pliers, when it is done with a pair of pliers after contact has been made and a piece of flesh has been secured in the jaws, you can cause alot of damage. You can also not release the person and steer them where you want them to go, leading them into a throw or takedown. There is a long list of how to do this that is beyond the scope of this small article. This is basically a palm up to palm down or palm down to palm up rotation.

Going Home Safe

I realize that some people might think this particularly [and maybe unnecessarily] brutal. I donít know what to say to those people. Iím not writing something as a guide to torturing people. Iím talking about going home safe when someone has illegally attacked you. Thatís what this is about, if it is unnecessarily brutal in the opinion of some, I would say that some people in this world only understand, respond to and "respect" the ability of their deliberately targeted victim to cause them [The Attacker] a large degree of violence and pain.

I think, for example, that if your car wonít start after you have went into the 7-11 for some coffee, and you think it is that pesky loose battery cable [You know the one, the one you have been putting off replacing that is now going to cause you problems.] and you have a pair of pliers or your trusty, ever-present Multi-Tool handy and some idiot comes up and grabs you from behind so his buddy can knock your teeth out from the front after you have been immobilized...and you kick the guy in front of you in the nuts as he is winding up to knock your teeth out and then you reach up and grab one finger on the guyís hand with a pair of pliers that is behind you, immobilizing you...and you walk out of the bearhug and turn around and beat the snot out of him after breaking his finger...I donít think that is a bad response. The "Original Sin" in this scenario is not you having a Multi-Tool or breaking down, being in the wrong place at the wrong time as so many of the apologists for criminals like to talk about! The wrong that was committed was that you were molested at all when you were minding your own business.

I think we are all guilty of using that nonsensical phrase, "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time." Think about that for a moment, thatís all wrong! No, youíre basically allowed to be anywhere you want to be in Public, whenever you want to be. This is America and you have that basic right and if someone steps in and violates that, and someone really believes that phrase, that means that we have allowed the criminals and predators of the world to have their own little safe zones...where they can wreak havoc whenever they want to and the defense for their actions by default becomes..."Well, you know, that Dude should have never been HERE, he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

When people talk about avoiding bad neighborhoods and whatnot, of course I agree with them, you should not make it your favorite pastime of walking into the gritty little War Zones we have in some areas of our cities.

However, I often use this story to illustrate how life can take a turn and send you into a bad environment and you have to know how to handle yourself...

When my Son was born, he had a platelet problem and when he was about a week old or so, we had to take him to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore City. Now, for those of you that know Baltimore City, you will know that some of the areas around this world-famous hospital are criminal and crack-infested areas. Basically, it is not the greatest place in Baltimore City to be, even in broad daylight.

Now, if I follow the advice of some people, I could not go and take my Son there to some of the best Medical Minds in the World. No, I would have had an ambulance take him there, never went to visit him would he have returned home? You see the problem?

Just FYI, after I picked him up the next day [He stayed overnight for tests], I believe that was at about 2:00PM [The memory fades after 5 years] in between 3:00 and 4:00PM that same afternoon, someone was shot just a few feet outside of the entrance to the E.R. on the side of the hospital that we admitted my Son into the day before. They carried the person into the E.R. it was so close and I believe the person died. That is the kind of neighborhood it is.

So, sometimes life takes you to horrible places and you have to deal with it. This is why I donít visit Baltimore City that much because as far as Iím concerned, "Charm City" is not so charming to me...itís a dangerous place and if I have to go there, I will, but I donít look forward to doing so. There are places that I love to visit there, but I donít usually take my Wife or Son. I love going to the Kiyota Co., a Martial Arts Supply Store on North Charles St. [Iíll be the goateed Gentleman standing at the large bookshelf that you will have to squeeze by, itís tight in there!].

The point is, if life gives you a lemon, make lemonade. If life throws something at you and you cannot carry anything else, carry a Multi-Tool, if you are presented with an attacker while you are tightening something under the hood of your car...give the attacker the pliers.

Good luck and stay safe and donít practice on your training partner with pliers. That would be very rude.


Don Rearic

Back to the Main Index