Multitools have been around for a long time and even before Tim Leatherman came out with original PST the multitool had a purpose; it was a pocket tool box. For years companies have made multitools a jack of all trades and cram as much as they could into a tool so someone didn't have to go back to the tool box unless they really needed too. That's the reason we love multitools, they are our constant companion that can tackle any task.
Things have changed over the past few years and there is a trend developing to meet a niche or demand in the tool market. Companies are releasing minimalist style tools that feature a basic set of tools and leaving out stuff that they feel a person would not use on a daily basis. I'm not sure if the design changes are because of culture or city/urban life but they they seem to be a hit with people concerned with needing a multitool no matter what their profession.
An often-overlooked entry into the keychain size MT market is the SOG Crosscut. I was talked into buying one from ‘Sharper Image’ or some such mall shop many years ago, and as overpriced as it was, I would have paid it again. The original Crosscut was an absolutely excellent tool. It has been replaced by the Crosscut 2.0, with only a few refinements, and a fairly major drop in build quality since production switched from the United States to China. While it’s not what it used to be, it’s still an excellent option for keychain carry.
The Power Plier is one of those tools that seemed to disappear from the collective conscious when it was discontinued. The predecessor to both the Pocket Power Plier and the PowerLock the Power Plier is well worth tracking down. And not just for collecting purposes; but as a great EDC tool that has some advantages over the PowerLock. Don't be mistaken, it does show it's age during use; the tools clump, implement finish is slightly lower quality than current production tools and none of the blades lock. But it has the sleek simplicity of an earlier time and the rugged functionality that the industry was born of.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools has been one of the top competitors in the multitool market for a long time. In my opinion they are second in status, with Leatherman of course being the top dog. They have come along way since their toolclip and they continue to produce models that are nothing short of unique. SOG is one of those companies however that does not release new models every year and is slower to innovate than most people in the industry today. I believe SOG has the philosophy; that “if it’s not broken then don’t fix it.”
For the longest time we thought SOG would never release anything new into the tool market. Then they totally surprised us with the release of the Powerlock 2.0. The new model was not much different than the original model but had some key features that showed that they were willing to do some innovating. The new Powerlock featured a gear cover, so the teeth don’t dig into the palm of our hands as much and what SOG calls “Piano Keys”. The keys are there to aid in preventing the tools from clumping when getting a tool out of the handles. Both designs that were introduced on the Powerlock 2.0 were a testing ground for a new breed of SOG tool they had in the works. Dubbed the PowerAssist it was to be the first tool in the world with dual spring assisted blades. Needless to say the public was divided in two; those who thought this was a cool idea and those who thought this was just a marketing gimmick from the folks at SOG. Only time would tell if the PowerAssist lived up to the hype and would help launch SOG into a future that is full of mystique.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) recently (circa 2007/2008) began issuing a customized version of the SOG PowerLock EOD Black Oxide to its troops. As far as I know, this is issued to ALL recruits entering Basic Military Training as P.E. (Personal Equipment), which means its yours to keep and not something you have to draw and return from your unit's Quartermaster. It can also be purchased from the SAF eMart (SAF equivalent of the PX) if you want it for about S$70, either using your own money or eMart credit. (eMart credit is a credit-only stipend for purchasing military equipment that gets worn out such as uniforms, boots, webbing, packs, etc).
What I've gathered so far is that this is an SOG PowerLock EOD Black Oxide (not the 2.0) that was procured by ST Logistics (Singapore Technologies Logistics) via Sheares Technologies Pte Ltd for the Singapore Armed Forces. Singapore Technologies is a publicly traded company that amongst other things, manufactures arms, ammunition, military vehicles, naval vessels for Singapore's military and for export. Sheares Technologies is a private company with a storefront that deals mainly with the gadgetry most of us are familiar with, such as tactical flashlights, knives, multi-tools, etc.
This is what the package comes with:
What kind of people would write collect and review multitools? Quite simple really- we are designers and do-ers, outdoors types and indoor types, mechanics, doctors, problem solvers and problem makers. As such, we have, as a world spanning community, put every type, size and version of multitool, multifunction knife, pocket knife and all related products to every test we could manage in as many places and environments as there are.