Leatherman OHT ReviewDecember 5, 2014
- Multiple spring-action tools
- Handle scales depict which tool is in a particular location
- Replaceable Wire Cutters
- Strap Cutter
- Super Durable Black Oxide Coating on tools
- Made In USA
- Tool to body clearance is short, makes working in tight places difficult
- No scissors
- Learning curve to plier deployment
- Pliers can destroy the inside of your pocket
The Leatherman OHT may have been designed for our military folks in mind, but your average outdoorsperson and handyperson will appreciate the one-handed operation of all of the tools; not just the plier/wire cutter combo. By designing the handle scales to show the user the location of specific tools is genius in my book, and I think Leatherman deserves some sort of award for making an already easy to use tool, easier. My one recommendation would be to use the included sheath and throw this beast on your belt—either that or learn how to sew up the holes in the pockets of your chinos!
Construction & Materials
I was initially concerned with the handle scales on the OHT, as they are thinner than what I would expect from a tool built to military standards, but the stainless steel frame backs up against any part that would easily bend. Additionally, and partially due to the mechanics of the spring-action pliers, the frame is beefier than what you would usually find on a multitool. This feature adds to the weight, but prolongs the OHT’s lifecycle.
The Leatherman OHT features the same style of lock common on most of today’s Leatherman multitools; the Liner Lock. This style of lock has proven time and time again to be both durable and reliable for this application, and although Leatherman gives you a generous cutout to activate the lock button to close the tool, some people may find it difficult to use with bulkier gloves. Unlike some of the competitors’ multi-tools in this class, the Leatherman OHT features a lock for all of its components.
420HC is a fine steel to use for most general applications, but for a tool as demanding as the Leatherman OHT, S30V or 154CM would have been a better choice – as both will hold up better than 420HC. Choosing the 154CM for the wire cutters was the right choice, but they will fatigue over time – so having them be replaceable is a plus.
You’re working in tight quarters with the Leatherman OHT, as the frame is packed with the tools and the plier mechanism as well – so keeping this puppy clean is a little bit of a chore. And you’re going to want to make sure the pliers are free of dust and debris for proper operation. My recommendation in keeping the OHT clean and operational, seeing that the frame is stainless steel and the tools are coated, is to hit this beast with a hose and let it air dry or use canned air to dry it.
After three months of heavy, every-day use and the regular run of review testing, the only signs of wear on the OHT are some scrapes on the pliers and some of the coating is rubbing off of the handles scales where they are embossed. I find this to be completely acceptable for a tool that was designed to be used during times of war.
Pliers And Wire Cutter
Outside of the standard testing, I’ve used the pliers on this OHT to break free a few stubborn bolts on an old Bridgeport milling machine and replaced the shower controls and showerhead in my master bathroom. If they were going to fail – they most certainly would have on the Bridgeport. The wire cutters show a little wear and tear from a fight I got into with a ?” screw I was trying to remove from a piece of wood, which I ended up just snipping in half with them. But they still don’t need to be replaced.
Leatherman has perfected the art of making quality components in their multitools, and the OHT is just another fine example of this fact. When using the right tools for the right functions, you’ll find that this tool exceeds the expectations of reliability.
Design/Ease Of Use
Because of the mechanics used on the spring-action pliers of the Leatherman OHT, there is a break-in period. You may be able to flick the pliers open in on shot, out of the box – but chances are it will take a week of fiddling before they find their way down their rails smoothly. Otherwise, all of the other on-board tools work without effort the first time around.
The decent-quality 420HC steel keeps an edge when the blade is not abused—meaning you don’t go digging in the dirt with the blades. Under regular use, I found that only the serrated blade needed some slight re-sharpening. Both the saw and plain-edge blade remained razor sharp after heavy use.