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Everyone knows that approximately 10% of the population is left-handed, presumably the same is true for multi tool users. Unfortunately, multi tool manufacturers decided to ignore that market segment.
No multi tools are setup for one hand opening the main knife blade with your left hand. The Leatherman FREE P4 and OHT have serrated blades that can be deployed with your left thumb. The next best options are to buy an ambidextrous multi tool or learn the reach around technique to open the one-hand blades with your left index or middle finger.
Leatherman has two designs with outside accessible tools that open with your left thumb. Because of the handle setup and the number of tools Leatherman positions the main tools under your right hand thumb and the secondary tools under your left hand thumb.
Best Multi Tools for Left Handed Users
|Left Hand Accessible Tools
|Leatherman FREE P4
|Serrated knife blade, Scissors
|Serrated knife blade, Saw
|Serrated knife blade
Because of the handle setup on the Leatherman OHT, both the serrated knife blade and saw are configured to open with your left thumb. The main knife blade (straight edge non-serrated) and strap cutter open with your right thumb.
Similarly, Leatherman’s FREE P4 also has half of the one-hand tools accessible with your right thumb – the serrated blade and scissors. Again, the main blade is configured for right thumb, as is the saw.
The SOG PowerAssist mechanism makes knife deployment easy, even if juggling the safety mechanism can be tricky at times. The mechanism works great, especially if you have weak fingers from a previous injury or other challenge.
Ambidextrous Multi Tools for Lefties
Leatherman has implemented one-hand opening main blades for most of their new designs since 1998 with the Wave. Some of their other models like the FREE P2, Surge, Wave+, Charge+, Sidekick, Signal, Wingman, have scissors or saw that can be opened with your left thumb but this configuration is much less useful. Except for Leatherman, the other multi tool manufacturers have been slower to implement the improvement.
Victorinox has kept their SwissTool line of multi tools fully ambidextrous, this also means they don’t have any tools with one-hand open knife blades.
Gerber has configured their Center-Drive and Crucial models with one-hand opening knife blades for right handed user, the rest of their product line is ambidextrous.
SOG PowerAssist is their only multi tool that features one hand opening outside accessible knife blades.
Techniques for Southpaws to use One Hand Multi Tools
Growing up my younger brother was left handed and I watched him adapt to living in right-hand world. We got a lot of mileage from jokes about him using the wrong hand and how he was ‘sinister’. His normal workaround for multi tools was to open them with his right hand and then switch it over to his left hand. Of course this works, but it also means that you are paying for one hand designs and technology but not getting the benefit.
Here is how you should really be using the best multi tool designs as a left hander. Carry the tool on your left side (pocket or sheath) and pull it out with your left hand. Then to open the main knife blade you simply wrap your index or middle finger around the knife and push the blade open. If needed you can use your thumb to help after it gets started with your finger.
The knife blade will still be aligned to the left side of the handle, not optimal alignment for cutting but a minor inconvenience to get the latest and greatest multi tool features.
Even as a right handed person with admittedly less finger strength in my left hand, I was able to use this technique to make the video below. It was a bit awkward at first but after a few minutes and a couple dozen times opening the blade it just flowed naturally.
Converting a Multi Tool from Right to Left Handed
It might seem like an easy solution, just take your Leatherman Wave+ or Charge+ and swap the tool locations between the saw and the knife blade. Presto change-o and you get a left handed multi tool, right? Unfortunately, its not that simple. The mechanism to engage the liner locks on the blade means that the base is ground at an angle. Attempting to re-grind the back of the blade to get the correct angle will leave it too short to properly engage the locks and leave you with an unsafe blade. Taking apart your multi tool will also void the warranty.