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Leatherman Signal Coyote Limited Edition

Leatherman Signal Coyote Limited Edition

Leatherman Signal Coyote Limited Edition
This article comes from an older version of the portal and its display (especially images) may deviate from current standards.

Before any of you try to find the multi-tool presented on the photos I will point out that the Signal, that I had the pleasure of reviewing, comes from a limited series. Its uniqueness comes from that fact that is has been manufactured in a specific set of colours – black and coyote-brown. Standard colours available from the manufacturer are silver-black-yellow and black-yellow and will be the easiest ones to find in a shop. Since the colour does not have any impact on the multi-tool’s functionality I will not delve into this matter further.

 

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By design the Signal is an outdoor/survival multi-tool and is not just a set of tools but is also represent a sort of idea which can influence the way we pack our backpacks or assemble our EDC. But before we go into reviewing this idea let’s take a look how it is built, what tools it has to offer and how do they work in practice.

 

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Bear in mind that while I conducted the test I had no possibility to stay in the wild for an extended period of time nor was I involved in a helicopter crash which would force me to test the multi-tool in the wild lands of Kuakas. At the beginning the Signal had replaced by Wave and a few day later the knife in my pocket. I tested in it as a day to day tool during my visits at the firing range, minor repairs and short walks in the forest, checking each of its individual functions.

 

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The design

The Signal has a very attractive looks: regardless of the colour scheme, thanks to its framework design the Signal looks very modern and „light”. Its weight is 215 g, which might not be without meaning for people who want to create a light repair kit. The multi-tool has a clipped pouch which allows us to wear it in our pockets or attach it to a bag/backpack. It has been also fitted with a snap hook but because of its shape, during working with it I have not found a place to attach it and have a quick access to the tool. A faster and more comfortable option is to simply fold the multi-tool and put it back into the clipped pouch.

 

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After taking the multi-tool in ones hands the slack between individual parts becomes obvious but it just might be a way to prevent it from jamming when becoming dirty. In the closed configuration we can use the two most basic tools – the knife and the saw. To unfold the pliers we have to unlock them using a small locking mechanism.

 

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After unlocking the tool the slack between parts is even more evident – this makes it easy to unfold the multi-tool (it can be done even using just one hand), and working with the pliers is problem free contrary to many new multi-tools by Leatherman where, more often than not, two hands are required to operate them. But if someone is lazy enough and will not lock the multi-tool, putting it into the pouch or a pocket may be problematic. Despite my concerns about the tightly fit lock it worked fine even after being covered in substantial amounts of sand and dust (sometimes it was necessary to tap the multi-tool against something hard), and its unmistakable shape helps in finding and moving it. But doing the same thing using gloves or cold fingers is neither easy nor pleasant.

 

The knife

Very easy to access for a right handed person, it can be quickly unfolded with a thumb. It is blocked by a liner lock, which ensures that we can safely work with the knife. It is up to debate whether using a half serrated blade is a good design choice. If this multi-tool was designed for survival-outdoor use, such a blade makes it harder to e.g. sharpen a stick to use it for baking sausages over a bonfire or preparing tinder. Yet, a half serrated blade works batter when cutting belts and lines so it has to be assumed that its use in this design is a sort of a compromise. Never the less, I would be much more satisfied with a simple non-serrated blade. It has to be noted that the knife is very sharp and ready for use out of the box.

 

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Working with the knife is a bit hard because of the place where the whetstone is placed in the multi-tool. When we put more force into our work we can feel the whetstone moving under our fingers and once it even snapped out of its place.

 

The whetstone

As I mentioned before the place where the whetstone is situated is rather unfortunate but it would be hard to find any other for it. Not taking into account the comfort of using the knife the diamond whetstone is constantly in danger of becoming dirty or damaged, which can directly impact its usefulness. The whetstone itself is very short and it is to be used as an emergency tool and not a real whetstone which we can use to sharpen a scalpel. Its shape also allows for sharpening the serrated part of the blade.

 

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The saw

The saw is identical to the one used in the Wave series which means that it cuts very fast and well. It allows to prepare tinder easily, cut medium sized branches and even boards and plywood. I cannot say a bad word about it.

 

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The hammer

This is how the manufacturer calls the flat part on one of the handles. Despite the fact that its shape does not look very robust I was surprised how often I have been using this tool. More often than not you don’t have anything flat that you can use to strike something and the multi-tool is usually more at hand that a toolbox. The manufacturer placed it there so that it could be used to knock tent pegs into the ground but it work equally well for knocking small nails or gun trigger pins. Except for a few scratches the tool was not damaged in any way when used.

 

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The bottle opener

It works exceptionally well. In my whole life I have never opened a bottle with a more comfortable tool than this one. Coke tastes better and beer does not become flat… An seriously. It works really well and is much more comfortable than looking for a proper edge on  a knife or a multi-tool which will allow to open the bottle. It has a single drawback however – because of its design the snap hook’s spring pushed against the bottle cap during opening so if we do not hold the cap after the bottle is opened it might fly in a random direction – we try to catch it, the dog thinks we are throwing it something to fetch, goes after it, „Leave that Max!”, we get up to take the cap from the dog so it does not swallow it, while this happens we pull the tablecloth off the table spilling the soup on your father-in-law, we try to help him somehow and wipe him with a napkin, we spill the Coke on the mother-in-law because we forgot that we hold the bottle in our hand, our wife is horrified, parents-in-law leave, you get the divorce papers, you spend the rest of your life alone and all because of the fact that you wanted to open a Coke using a multi-tool. Therefore it is advisable to cover the cap with your hand.

 

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The ¼” and 3/16” spanner

The „hammer” section has two flat spanners, ¼” and 3/16”. As the 3/16” nuts and bolts are very uncommon in Poland, the ¼” spanner allows with installing standard screwdriver bits. You can also insert standard Leatherman’s bits there which allows to add more torque to turning. Unfortunately the slot does not have any latch or a magnet therefore the bits sit inside rather loosely.

 

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The pliers

The pliers work very well and despite the Signal’s framework design you have a good feel of the force you apply while squeezing the tool. As I mentioned before, the unit tested is not tightly fit and the pliers can be used with one hand quite comfortably. The wire cutters can deal with a fence wire without any problems and they also have exchangeable blades, which is another advantage.

 

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The awl

A very practical tool which can be used for drilling, picking or scraping without damaging the knife. Another tool that seems to be far less useful at first glance.

 

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The can opener

It can deal with tin cans (and caps if someone does not want to risk a divorce). It is also equipped with an insulation stripper which can seem very strange but let’s face it,  it is the same type of can opener used in other Leatherman’s multi-tools.

 

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The bit slot

An indispensable part of every multi-tool made by Letherman; equipped by standard with a bit having a flat and Phillips head. The whole set of bits (sold separately) can be a poor fit for a light survival multi-tool concept, but it does an excellent job when repairing all kinds of equipment, especially that the complete set contains heads that are often hard to come by, such as torx in various sizes which are needed to disassemble various devices imported from over the ocean.

 

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A word of warning – because of the way the Signal is designed we cannot properly use the awl, the can opener and the bits while the tool is folded. The hammer’s head is in the way and makes the use of aforementioned tools difficult or less comfortable.

 

The whistle

After opening the multi-tool and releasing the locking spring we can take out the whistle and the flint that are integrated into a single unit with a plastic casing. The whistle is loud and has a high pitch, but let us move to the thing that all of us are the most interested about.

 

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The flint

The most controversial and debatable piece of equipment the Signal has is the flint which, together with the whetstone, make this multi-tool unique and determine it purpose. At first glance it seems to be too small and uncomfortable to use, but thanks to its flat casing, in which the flint rod is placed it is quite easy to hold. According to the manufacturers suggestions I used the “blunt” edge of the saw to make the sparks, which were big and plentiful and were able to light up a well prepared tinder very fast.

 

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Yet it is easy to see that the rod deteriorated very fast and gets noticeably shorter with each stroke. If this occurs, we just grind the plastic casing together with the rod. In theory the rod can be turned over but in practice it take a lot of effort therefore I did not try to do it. And definite advantage is the fact that the rod has the plastic casing which supports it. This makes the short rod last longer as the rod does not break prematurely. When we treat the Signal’s flint as an emergency solution it has no real drawbacks. But if we plan to use it in stead of a regular one, we will have to take into consideration that it is less comfortable to use and also its cost. The price of a new flint-whistle module in Poland is currently 40 PLN.

 

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Summary

The Signal is not a cheap multi-tool – its price is around 500 to 550 PLN – and it is hard to treat is as a replacement of a regular multi-tool which offers functions that are far more useful in everyday use or as a substitute of a full-size flint or whetstone. The final assessment depends on what we are looking for and what we can afford.

 

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If you are outdoors often, you do not do precise work where scissors or precise screwdrivers would be useful, you would like to lighten you luggage and take a single small tool that has many functions with you on the trail – than the Signal is for You.

If you have a lot of money and would like to spend 500 PLN on a multi-tool which would complete your Bug Out Bag or a survival kit and will be there as a seldom used emergency tool for every task – than the Signal is for You.

If you are looking for a multi-tool for everyday use that will be suitable for most more or less precise tasks and your EDC set contains a full-size flint and a small whetstone – than the Signal is not for You.

I carry the Letherman Wave with me every day and would not replace it with anything else. But the Signal attracts me with its design, lightness, easy of carrying it and I believe I would find use for its on a trail or at a camp; similarly to the MUT, which seem to extravagant for me, turned out to be irreplaceable at the shooting range. I would feel better knowing that I have an emergency tool that I can use to light a fire, call for help, gather firewood or sharpen a stick.

 

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We would like to thank Militaria.pl, the official distributor of Leatherman in Poland, for making this review possible.

 

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