A little bit of background history is in order. The Pulse holds a special place in my heart. My copy was bought new by my father, and was technically his first real good quality multi-tool. He wore it on special occasion. I eventually inherited it, and also his love of multi-tools.
This particular example has date stamps of 0800, meaning it was produced in August of 2000, which fits, as he got this in October of 2000 if memory serves me right.
The Pulse is a wonderful Leatherman. It builds upon Leatherman ingenuity by updating and improving their products. The PST, Flair, and PSTII that it is based upon, suffered from one major fault…the folding tools did not lock in the open position. Sure, they did snap open with authority, which most cheap knockoffs could never replicate. However, a moveable flat piece of sheet metal does not a lock produce. I find it rather interesting, that Leatherman went all complicated with their first locking mechanism (that I am aware of). It centers around a neat lever design, and gives the Pulse and its big brother the Super Tool 200, its distinctive look.
From left to right: Leatherman PST II, Flair, Pulse, Crunch, Skeletool, Wave, Surge, and Core.
You can see from the above photograph that the Pulse is more along the lines of the PSTII and the Flair. Likewise, it has that distinctive classical Leatherman look to it that some of the newer multi-tools from the same company sadly don’t have. With that said, Leatherman is constantly improving their products, and the newer designs, although a little less elegant, do offer innovations. Lucky for us, there is probably a Leatherman model for everyone.
From left to right: Leatherman PSTII, Flair, Pulse, Crunch, Wave, Surge, Core.
You can see from the above photograph that the Pulse is a little wider than the two older tools, that being the PSTII and the Flair. Something had to give for the addition of a locking mechanism. The older designs simply didn’t have the room for one. The size however is just perfect in my opinion. Enough heft and light portability. I do believe the Pulse is in that sweet spot for something that would be good for any job, and is easy to EDC (Every Day Carry).
From left to right: Leatherman Pulse, PSTII, and Flair. Note the familial resemblance.
From left to right: Leatherman PSTII, Flair, and Pulse. Note the locking mechanism levers on the Pulse that make this and the Super Tool 200 so unique.
In one handle, we have:
- Large flathead screwdriver, medium flathead screwdriver, scissors, and a clip point blade.
In the other handle, we have:
- Metal/wood/diamond File, small flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver, and a combo can/bottle opener, and a neat hidden metal loop that swings upwards through a spacing in the handle instead of the more modern swing around design..Conclusion
The Pulse is now a discontinued model. I believe its production run ran from 2000 to 2004. It is one of the more popular and harder to get models. Very popular because it offers locking tools in a very small and highly convenient package. Not to mention, the tool set is excellent as it borrowing and builds upon its forebear the venerable PSTII, which in my opinion, had a very good tool load out.
The Pulse is a very likeable, well made, quality piece. The only detraction, and ironically, it is part of the high praise for this feature, the locking levers are a bit odd and difficult to use. You have to roll a thumb or finger onto the roller lever mechanisms. It is a curious system, but I do never get tired of seeing it in operation. With that said, it can be difficult to disengage a locked tool. Often, the lever mechanism is stiff, or a bit slippery. Not only that, but you have to do a long throw to fully unlock a tool. With practice, this becomes second nature, but there is a learning curve to the tool that isn’t present in most other designs.
- Fantastic build quality fit and finish. Silky smooth folding tool action.
- Light and portable with a great tool load out.
- Tools lock, which when it first came out, was a big feature.
- Neat locking mechanism that is a joy to watch in use….certainly unique.
- Locking mechanism a bit fiddly and hard to use.
- Getting harder to get due to its rarity and popularity.