Force Multiplier: “In military science, force multiplication or a force multiplier refers to a factor or a combination of factors that gives personnel or weapons (or other hardware) the ability to accomplish greater things than without it. The expected size increase required to have the same effectiveness without that advantage is the multiplication factor. For example, if a certain technology like GPS enables a force to accomplish the same results of a force five times as large but without GPS, then the multiplier is five. Such estimates are used to justify an investment cost for force multipliers.” – wikipedia
When it comes to survival, force multiplication is the name of the game. You want to have a maximum potential capability to size/weight ratio. While multi-purpose equipment (like a Leatherman) increases the options available to you, specialized equipment can give you a massive advantage over the enemy in a specific domain. Of course, the concept of force multiplication doesn’t have to be limited to equipment, you can also consider: strategy, training, geography, intelligence, and deception.
For this post, I’d like to discuss one force multiplier in particular I believe to be essential to any survivalist, A Leatherman Multi-tool. Although there are many multi-tools on the market, Leatherman (in my experience) stands out from the rest due to the quality and robustness of their products. Leatherman is definitely the undisputed champ of the multi-tools.
So why is a Multi-tool essential for Urban Survival? Because even their most basic models have a tool for just about any problem you may encounter and if it doesn’t, you can make what you need with the tools available. With Urban Survival, activities like turning screws, prying devices open, doing simple repairs will be common and well suited to the various functionalities of a quality multi-tool.
Now we can’t talk about multi-tools without talking about its knife (arguably it’s most important feature). Although smaller and weaker than a dedicated “survival knife”, it should be adequate for urban survival and self defense (batoning firewood for instance won’t be occurring in a city post SHTF). When purchasing a Leatherman, we recommend one with both a dedicated non-serrated blade and a dedicated serrated blade which are common in all the newer models. Some models have combo blades (serrated near the heel of the knife) which is an option if your budget is tight. Another thing to look out for is the shape of the blade for sharpening purposes. A basic drop point is easiest to sharpen whereas something “tacticool” like a tanto require two directions of stroking to sharpen.
Aside from the knife, be sure your Leatherman comes with the following most basic tools: wood saw, can opener, scissors, file, screwdriver, pry tool, and the obvious pliers/wire cutters. Between these tools and the material/objects found in an urban environment you should be able to fashion a wide variety of items and jimmy-rig just about anything you’d need. Your capability with a good multi-tool is only limited by your imagination/skill. A mechanically minded and trained individual with a solid multi-tool is unstoppable. Now if you’re not mechanically minded, don’t fret… for necessity is the mother of all invention (this is not an excuse for not developing your skills).
In terms of force-multiplication, a Leatherman Multi-tool increases your capability a 100-fold and for something that only weighs 8 ounces tops, you’d be stupid not to own at least one! I personally carry a Leatherman Squirt on my key-chain and a Leatherman Free P4 on my belt when working. It’s proven to be invaluable on many occasions.