Review: Leatherman OHT multi-tool (One Handed Tool)


Flashlight Enthusiast
May 5, 2010
Hove, UK
Author's Statement for Transparency and Disclosure
The test sample/s featured in this article have been provided for technical testing and review by the manufacturer. Test samples are retained by the reviewer following publication of the completed review for the purposes of long term testing and product comparisons.

All output figures and test results published in this review are the sole work of the reviewer, and are carried out independently and without bias. Test results are reported as found, with no embellishments or alteration. Though best endeavours are made to maintain the accuracy of test equipment, the accuracy of these results is not guaranteed and is subject to the test equipment functioning correctly.

Leatherman’s PST multi-tool was a revolution and I got hold of one just as soon as I could. My original PST is shown here next to one of Leatherman’s most recent models (new for 2015) the OHT or One Handed Tool. The OHT uses OTF deployed pliers (Out The Front) instead of needing the handles to be turned around, and each and every tool has a thumb hole to allow for one handed opening.


Taking a more detailed look:

With its total of 16 tools, there is a lot of detail to look at, so please bear with me as we take a look all over this multi-tool.

The OHT comes in Leatherman’s distinctive packaging.


In the box you have the OHT itself, a holster, and user guide which covers the Military models. There are a number of combinations of tool colour, and holster colour so you have several options. (note the deep black lustre of the new black version of the tool)


Fitted into its holster, the OHT will fit in either way up.


Taking a moment to look round the holster, on the back there is a PALS compatible attachment system which can also be arranged as a belt loop.


The end of the fixing strap is closed by a press stud.


A large Velcro panel makes the closure very secure.


As supplied, the black version of this tool has an oily coating and has a generally even black surface finish.


A first look at those OTF plier jaws.


Nestled into the base of the jaws are removable wire cutter inserts. The small notches in these closest to the jaws’ pivot is for ‘hard’ wire and the rest of the cutter is for ‘normal’ wire cutting.


As the plier jaws slide out of the front of the OHT, there are two locking buttons which stand proud of the handles when the jaws are locked in place. Pressing these allows you to slide the jaws back into the handles.


There is a slight difference in the two jaw tips which you can see when looking closely at them.


Of course it is not wise to deploy multiple tools at once due to the dangers of cutting yourself, but to show what each side of the tool has, I’ve done just this. On this side you have the plain blade, saw blade, can/bottle opener and large flat screwdriver.


Turning it over, the other side of the OHT has a serrated blade, strap cutter / oxygen wrench / medium flat screwdriver, small flat screwdriver and a Phillips screwdriver.


All tools lock open using the same lock bar style.


On one side, there is a threaded hole which will fit some cleaning rods/brushes.


A really nice feature is that the scales have representations of the tools under that scale. Here you can see the wood saw blade represented on the scale.


Adding to its One Handed Capabilities, the OHT has spring loaded jaws. This is the spring which can be seen inside the handles.


With the jaws in the closed position, the locking buttons are not protruding much. There is a jaw lock which you can use to stop the jaws accidentally deploying. Here it is unlocked and the lock lever is in line with the handle.


In the locked position the lever goes across the handle.


A closer look at each tool

Starting with the main knife blade, you have a very capable hollow ground blade with piercing point.


The large flat screwdriver blade does not have an opening hole cut into the tool as there is enough room to simply push on the side of the tool to open it.


The same is true of the can/bottle opener and other small tools.


The wood saw blade.


A detailed look at the teeth on the wood saw.


A clever combination in this tool where the oxygen wrench doubles as the opening hole for the strap cutter tool. The tip of the strap cutter is also a medium flat screwdriver.


The Phillips screwdriver is a reasonable length to reach recessed screws. It is cut out of a flat bar.


Making a Phillips screwdriver effectively flat is a great bit of design. This is how it is cut.


The small flat screwdriver.


You get two knife blades in the OHT, this is the second one, a serrated blade. Having both Plain and Serrated gives you the best of both worlds.


A closer look at the serrations.


Catching the light are the washers used for the blades.


Though unconfirmed, the colour of the washers makes it look like phosphor bronze has been used for the knife and saw blades, with stainless washers for the other tools.



This is a new section I am adding to mention any minor niggles I came across during testing, in case the information helps anyone else.

Notice anything different looking in this view of the OHT? Well it has lost its shine and looks a little worn. Actually it is still basically brand new, but I did notice something you will want to be aware of in relation to the black finish.

After wiping off the oil, the OHT still looked ‘new’ but I started to notice that after using it my hands were getting black. That kind of black you get ingrained when cleaning a gun. Of course this also transfers onto surfaces and clothing.

So here, the OHT has been given a thorough wet clean using several cleaning wipes until they stayed clean. Thanks to the intricate design of the tool, this took a little while to get everywhere clean.

Once cleaned, the OHT has a matt finish which I much prefer, and a slightly ‘used’ look.

None of this affects the function of the tool, but is something you might want to bear in mind.


‘Cleaned’ OHT with jaws open.


The jaws have been cleaned as well.


This next point may or may not affect your own use of the OHT, but is a detail to be aware of. With the empty jaws closed, there is only a small contact area right at the tips of the jaws.


Looking closer you can see the space between the jaw gripping surfaces. If you are trying to grip thin sheet material, this can lead to tearing, but as soon as the material thickness gets to a few millimetres there is no issue at all. This is not like my old PST or normal pliers I own where the jaw surfaces touch over their full length. This is more like a tweezer configuration that pliers.


The handle sides that cover the closed tools are sheet metal, and as delivered from Leatherman, this was slightly bent in where the bottle/can opener sits. It means that when closing the tool, it catches slightly on the handle scale and needs to be eased into place.


Of all the tools, the least effective is the wood saw. When used on seasoned timber it barely gets going and is only reasonable on green wood. Useful for notching, but slow going to make a full cut.

As per the description of this section, this information is provided in case anyone else finds a similar 'issue' that might be fixed in the same way.

The in use

A few of the ‘In use’ comments have already been made in the troubleshooting section so won’t be repeated here.

First and foremost, a tool like this needs to be carried, or you won’t have it when you need it.

Carrying the OHT

For this carry example I’ve got the OHT’s pouch fixed to a 5.11 Tactical MOAB 6 sling bag. This is via the PALS webbing with the retaining strap fully woven and the press stud fixed. Like this it is only coming off if the webbing comes off.


The joy of PALS webbing pouches. Neat, versatile, carry options.


When you see how well attached the pouch is you also see why you want that extra-large Velcro pad to keep it firmly closed.


The OHT pouch and Leatherman Raptor folding shears next to a 75mmx75mm Subwoofer moral patch.


One Handed Opening:

The key feature of the OHT is of course the fact that every tool can be opened one-handed. Let’s see what the reality of this is.

I’m right handed and the OHT’s main blade is configured to make it the most natural position for a right-handed person to open.


The wood saw is in the opposite position and does not easily open with the thumb for a right-hander. Of course if you are left handed, or hold the tool in your left hand, then this blade is easy to open.


If you stick with your handed hand, then it becomes easier to open these wrong-handed tools using a finger reaching under the handle.


The pliers can be deployed with a flick of the wrist (as long as you have not locked them) or simply by holding the tool by the two plier lock buttons and allowing the handles to drop. (closing can be done by turning the tool the other way up)


Looking into the end of the tool with the pliers retracted you can see the jaws are slightly open. This is helpful to know as you won’t get the pliers to retract if the jaws are pressed tightly together.


A note for the UK market and similar restrictions on locking blades:

I’m including this to mention a minor modification I made to the OHT to allow for the UK’s restriction on EDCing a knife with a locking blade.

When I asked Leatherman about disabling the locks on the OHT I was simply told this would invalidate the warranty and no further comment could be made. As I wanted to be able to legally EDC this tool, I decided to go ahead.

Of course if you disable the lock on the knife blades then you must be super careful when using the blades, and ideally carry a dedicated knife to use instead.

As supplied, the locking bar engages as shown here. This locking bar is a cut out bar of metal from the main handle and has been bent such that it springs up into the locked position and is exactly like a liner lock.


A simple sprung bar can just as simply be bent out of the way. With the pliers deployed, it is possible to push the locking bar too far into the handle until it reaches its elastic limit and bends. Doing this little by little you can change the ‘at rest’ position of the lock bar such that it doesn’t lock the blade.

This is the modified lock bar sitting flat and out of the way.


From the side you can see that the detent has been left so it will touch the blade, but the locking surface is below the blade.


This simple modification suddenly make the knife non-locking and the OHT becomes UK EDC legal (as long as you do the same for the serrated blade). It has the advantage that you can always bend the locking bar back up in the future to reset the locking function.

Do at your own risk, but this is how I carry the OHT.

Review Summary

Things I likeWhat doesn't work so well for me
Every tool can be opened with one handYou might need to switch hands to open some tools
Sprung pliersBlack finish comes off on your hands
Pliers easy to deployPlier jaws not fully meshing
Strong carry pouchWood saw not very effective
Every tool locks openSlightly uneven plier jaw tips
Plain and serrated knife blades
Solid build quality

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Flashlight Enthusiast
Jul 29, 2012
I have an early Leatherman PST multi-tool 'SideClip' model that looks like the early one pictured in your review. For my needs its small size and weight has kept it a keeper for me.


Flashlight Enthusiast
May 5, 2010
Hove, UK
I have an early Leatherman PST multi-tool 'SideClip' model that looks like the early one pictured in your review. For my needs its small size and weight has kept it a keeper for me.

I still love my PST, but when using the pliers with some force, the handles do cut in badly. For me the massive plus point with the OHT is the sprung jaws of the pliers.