- Buyer's Guide
Tactica M100 Carabiner Multi-tool Review: Drive By
I’m not really that much of a gadget guy. I’m a minimalist at heart, and I’ve found that I can get most things done with a small knife. So when Carryology asked me to tote around the Tactica M100, I had my reservations.
I’ve carried the M100 on three-week wilderness trips, used it to assemble the furniture for my new apartment, and reached for it to tighten countless screws along the way. And now, I’m using the M100 to crack open a few beers while I admire my work. As you can imagine, I’ve got a few things to say about it.
Who It Suits
Tinkerers and travelers—This is one of a few TSA compliant multi-tools out there. Bikers too, this could be a nice addition to your commuter kit.
Who It Doesn’t
If you have quick access to a tool box, that’s obviously a better option, but keep this in mind for everything in between.
Weight: 1.6 ounces
Material: Stainless steel core and a molded composite outer
Dimensions: 80 x 40 x 12 mm
It’s lightweight. One of the reasons I don’t carry my Leatherman OHT with me is because it’s a brick at 10 ounces. The M100 weighs only 1.6 ounces and is definitely worth its weight penalty.
The bottle opener is a nice-to-have, but I’m never without a good pocket knife so that’s more an expected standard than a necessity.
“The M100 weighs only 1.6 ounces and is definitely worth its weight penalty.”
What I liked most about the M100 was carrying a driver on me. I’m not a multi-tool fanatic, but when I remembered I had a driver on me, I did start fixing things and using it more frequently—one might go as far as to say enthusiastically. It comes with some attractive, titanium-coated Phillips and flat head bits, but will accept most run-of-the-mill bits, so you can swap out as needed. Check out the 12 Bit Toolpack that Tactica sells if you need a set of your own.
Crooked doors, torso adjustments on packs, and dirty camp stoves beware. I swapped out the included flat head bit for a hex bit during my last outing and was able to field strip our MSR WhisperLite and fine-tune the Granite Gear NTAs for our clients.
“What I liked most about the M100 was carrying a driver on me.”
Lastly, and often overlooked in a driver, the bulk of the M100 provides enough torque to deal with most small chores. The shape too, worth bringing up—the Tactica team let the tool set inform the shape of the tool. Take a closer look. The bottle opener dictates the width, the bit storage dictates the thickness and the variable wrench field takes up the space between. The other tools and features kind of settle in around that structure, but it’s all tool—no space unutilized. I think that’s the real trade mark of a good multi-tool, but are all the features practical?
“This is one of a few TSA compliant multi-tools out there. Bikers too, this could be a nice addition to your commuter kit.”
The Not So Good
I never used the package opener. In fact, it was a big no-no for me. I didn’t feel comfortable carrying the tool in my pocket with the hook and I didn’t particularly like the hook there when I was using it for other tasks.
Like a lot of multi-tools, the M100 comes with a metric and imperial ruler etched into the side. The size of the M100 really limits the utility though and the lack of numbers makes measuring anything more of a hassle than a convenience. Imperial: 0-2.5 inches. Metric: 0-7 centimeters.
Suggestions for future redesigns: Move the ruler to the outside edge of the tool—I think that’ll make it more user-friendly, and definitely add some numerical markings.
“I never used the package opener. In fact, it was a big no-no for me.”
Regarding the package opener, my initial thought was to drop the opener or to drop the hook and just keep a small ridge, but after some consideration maybe turn it into an emergency seat belt cutter? If you keep this on your key ring it’ll at least be there for you to assist other passengers in the event of an accident. I’m not sure anyone would have the wherewithal to use it on yourself in the event of an accident—but I never used the package opener because I always carry a pocket knife, but an emergency seat belt cutter is something that might serve a dual purpose for car wrecks and mail calls.
“The M100 comes with a metric and imperial ruler etched into the side. The size of the M100 really limits the utility though and the lack of numbers makes measuring anything more of a hassle than a convenience.”
I consistently reached for the M100 to use the driver, but other than that, it kind of hid in my pack for a few months. If I could figure out a way to get it to play better with my keys, I think this would be a real win. Fingers crossed future redesigns will include a dedicated key ring rather than just the open tool space. Still, at the price, utility and weight, this is a solid entry into the multi-tool market for those looking for a sleeker, modern tool.
Keep an eye out on Tactica’s social. Rumor has it an update is set to drop in July.