Gerber Crucial F.A.S.T.
« on: March 09, 2011, 12:23:43 PM »
Pics to come soon....
Gerber Crucial F.A.S.T.
Silly acronym aside (I can’t remember what it stands for anyway) the F.A.S.T. is an update to the Crucial model that came out a few years ago. The original Crucial was a decent enough tool, but had some drawbacks that are addressed in the current model.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the original was the extremely short screwdrivers, which made them virtually useless if the screws were recessed at all. The F.A.S.T. solves this problem by getting rid of the carabiner found on the original and using that space to give the flathead and full Phillips drivers their own sides of the tool, rather than forcing them to share only one slot. The result is a couple of screwdrivers that have slightly more than average reach. And, since both screwdrivers lock open with a liner lock, they are actually nice to use.
I said above that the F.A.S.T. has a full Phillips, meaning that unlike its predecessor and many other Gerber models, it’s got a full, four tined, three dimensional Phillips driver instead of the more common flattened driver. This alone is a huge improvement over the original, and when coupled with the extra reach, it moves the Crucial design from the lower end of the screwdriver pack to one of the front runners. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the Phillips driver also doubles as a bottle opener!
Improvements don’t end there though- the F.A.S.T. gets its name from the assisted blade opening mechanism that fires the blade out when the user opens it enough for the torsion bar to take over. It’s a decent system, but doesn’t have that huge snap that other assisted opening knives and tools have- although it’s only competition with assisted opening blades in a multitool is the SOG PowerAssist.
For safety the blade also locks closed, and for the sake of simplicity it uses the same lock switch to release the blade when it’s open. For example, flick the switch forward so you see the red dot, then flick the blade open and the lock automatically locks into place. Release the blade by sliding the switch forward again and the blade can be folded. Other than the assisted opening mechanism, it’s the same partly serrated sheeps foot blade found on the original. The blade is functional enough, but nothing overly special.
Also, the F.A.S.T. shares the same plier head with the original Crucial- there was nothing wrong with it, so why mess with it? It’s a standard type set of needlenose pliers found on so many multitools that have a pretty good reach for getting into awkward spots. They also have a set of anvil style cutters with a small hard wire notch at the base of them. It’s smaller than many other hard wire notches, but since this is a light tool you wouldn’t want to be doing anything too heavy with them anyway.
Naturally there are a few drawbacks to this tool. As mentioned above the spring system isn’t as strong as others, and on the sample I have the pliers seem a bit gritty. But, since mine is a pre-production version that may not be an issue that users will have to worry about. Another concern I have is one I have with many Gerber products- the liner locks don’t seem very robust. I have never had one fail on me, so it may be a moot point, but the ultra this locking bar seems a bit flimsy.
Overall the Crucial F.A.S.T. isn’t going to set the world on its ear but it’s a good tool in its own right. It’s well suited to light to moderate duty, and rides along in a pocket nicely with its pocket clip even in the most conservative work clothes.
• Full Phillips driver
• Screwdrivers have great reach
• Assisted opening blade
• Bottle opener reduces reach of Phillips
• Spring system is functional but not as powerful as many
• Liner locks on screwdrivers are thin