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Review of the Gerber Grappler 4204

Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Review of the Gerber Grappler
« on: July 20, 2013, 02:27:54 AM »
Gerber Grappler Review




Locking pliers are a feature seldom explored by the multitool manufacturers, and not a tool I frequently need – but when you do need them, nothing else will suffice. Gerber entered the fray with the Grappler which features one hand deployable locking pliers (one fixed jaw and one movable one) with anvil style wire cutters. On the outside of the tool are four additional one hand opening tools, which means this was the world’s first full sized multitool where everything can be opened one handed, despite conflicting claims from elsewhere.

The tools are all liner locking and are:



Combo edged blade
Pry tool with nail puller and dual scale ruler
File with flat driver tip
Bottle opener and wire stripper with large Phillips driver tip

This is a large tool and weighs in at 10.5oz/300g, but this is not really what I would consider to be a heavy duty tool. To see why, let’s look at the pliers first. When deployed the pliers pivot is forward of the handle pivot, and (depending how the adjusting screw is set) when closing the pliers the handles close at a faster rate than the pliers jaws. To those in the know, this screams compound leverage – a phrase which can get multitool enthusiasts quite excited!



The forces applied on the handles are mechanically amplified (slightly) on the plier head .... but there is a slight complication.



If we look at how the locking mechanism connects to the back of the plier head, we see a small link pin through a trunnion on the back of the movable pliers jaw. This is closer to the pivot than the gripping action, which means that whilst there is a slight amplification of force from the handles to the plier head, there is an even greater amplification from the gripping forces to the link pin. After spotting this I have been careful not to stupidly over exert this tool for fear of causing problems in this area. I will say I haven’t encountered such problems myself, but it may be a potentially limiting factor that users should be aware of.



Also, the file (which is not particularly aggressive and lacks any edge grooving) is not hardened to the level most of us expect from files, as this would make it brittle and susceptible to failure as a flat blade screwdriver. The file would be adequate for cleaning battery terminals, or deburring some wood, plastic or non-ferrous materials, but don’t expect to touch up an axe with it if it gets a ding in it. This particular tool does not have a thumb stud like the other three, as this would obviously get in the way when filing. Instead it has a rebated area the same size as the thumbstuds, but I have found it opens just fine with one hand all the same.



Further potential for over exertion can be seen with mounting the pry tool on a pivot. Personally I grip the base of the pry tool itself (as with Gerber’s Shard or Artifact) rather than the Grappler’s handles. Holding the pliers handles could apply extra leverage, but it could also put exert much force on the pivot. Apply common sense.

However – despite my concerns on durability, I have been carrying this tool for two weeks now and it has done everything I have needed it to without fault. I haven’t done anything ridiculous with it, just whatever needed doing at the time, but I haven’t taken any of the features past their yield point. I initially felt rather disappointed with this tool when I opened the box, partially due to my perception of the durability, and partly as the tools do not fully stow on my particular model. I begrudgingly decided to carry it for a while anyway – and it’s rather grown on me.



I’ve driver flat head and Phillips screws into my garden fence without a pilot hole, cut garden wire, pried open tins and large brass staples, pulled stubborn shards of metal out of boot soles, and yes – even had the odd beer or six. Everything I have so far commanded of it has been completed flawlessly, though I would still urge users to apply discretion of how much force to apply with this item.

If you want something over engineered that you can subject to horrendous abuse, this might not be the tool for you. If on the other hand you need locking pliers and welcome the addition of nine extra features – by all means take the Grappler for a test drive – you might like it too!



PROS:
Long reach Drivers
Fully one hand opening (Note releasing the locked pliers can require two hands)
Comfortable in use

CONS:
Lighter duty (possibly) than size and weight suggest
File texture is rather underwhelming
Adjustment screw can be a little fiddly
« Last Edit: July 20, 2013, 02:30:53 AM by 50ft-trad »



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Review of the Gerber Grappler
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 10:44:04 AM »
Just a little follow up to this ....

I haven't been carrying the Grappler as much lately, having dropped back to using the Balance instead. The Grappler hasn't failed me in any way, it's just that I tend to pocket carry rather than sheath carry, and the Grappler is a little bulky and heavy if carried this way. I do intend moving this into my "boat bag" of tools though, as it will compliment the other multitools quite well. It'll be joining a Leatherman Core, Gerber DEsTroyer mod (a DET with Paul Chen Multitasker shear heads), a Vic Explorer and a 4" Iisakki Jaavenpaa puuko. The locking pliers, pry tool and extra long drivers will round off that kit quite nicely.

I do still find myself being a little overcautious maybe with this tool, not wanting to take anything past it's limits. I'm in a strange limbo of having a tool that hasn't failed me in any way, but having a niggling little doubt that says if I push it just a little too far I could write this tool off in the blink of an eye. This isn't necessarily a reflection of the tool itself, more of my perception of it.

For day to day use, I do find that having normal (non-locking pliers) is better/quicker/easier/simpler for me, but as alluded to before in the review - when you need locking pliers - you really need locking pliers. This isn't going to be a regular carry tool for me I don't think, but has become a very welcome addition to the arsenal of tools I can choose from



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
Hero Member Posts: 614 Don't send flowers, but marlin spikes!
Re: Review of the Gerber Grappler
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2013, 11:01:41 AM »
Great review, thank you! Very informative and nice pics too!  :salute:

Antonio
Guest

jing.yang.395454

Re: Review of the Gerber Grappler
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 10:15:04 AM »
good job.thanks for your beautiful review
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 6,582
Re: Review of the Gerber Grappler
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 04:47:21 PM »
great review, thanks.

CHEERS
Newbie Posts: 36
Re: Review of the Gerber Grappler
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 12:35:19 AM »
What do you think about the location of the adjustment screw of the locking pliers? 

I regularly use locking pliers and thought long about the Grappler vs. the LM Crunch.  I decided on the Crunch mainly because I didn't like the idea of having to repeatedly open and close the pliers on what I want to lock onto, which you would have to do with the Grappler.  The LM Crunch, despite its non-traditional design, works like a regular set of locking pliers when deployed. 
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 17,517 I'm not a pessimist, I'm an experienced optimist!
Re: Review of the Gerber Grappler
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 10:32:11 AM »
Cheers guys  :salute:

What do you think about the location of the adjustment screw of the locking pliers? 

I regularly use locking pliers and thought long about the Grappler vs. the LM Crunch.  I decided on the Crunch mainly because I didn't like the idea of having to repeatedly open and close the pliers on what I want to lock onto, which you would have to do with the Grappler.  The LM Crunch, despite its non-traditional design, works like a regular set of locking pliers when deployed.

I know what you mean. For me the location of the adjustment is no more annoying than having to assemble and disassemble the plier head before and after use. They both (Crunch and Grappler) have their downsides in speed of use compared to the old Schrade Vise Grips. The Crunch also has a much bigger gripping capacity than the Grappler if that makes a difference for you.

To me the Grappler is more of a multitool as the accompanying tools are actually useful, whereas with a Crunch I can't see any benefit over a SAK and pair of dedicated Mole Grips/Vise Grips because the on board tools on the Crunch are so limited - especially considering the price difference.

Crunch = Better pliers, more compact/pocketable
Grappler = Better accompanying tools and price, one hand opening



The cantankerous but occasionally useful member, formally known as 50ft-trad
No Life Club Posts: 2,990
Re: Review of the Gerber Grappler
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 08:17:23 PM »
Great pics there Al  :tu:
That Grappler look very shiny, shinier than my boxed one in fact  :facepalm:

The only thing that concerns me, is the slim plier profile  :think: 
Considering these are Grips, the head always strikes me as the weakest part of the tool.

I don't claim to know it all, but what I do know is right.

 

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