POCs and Other Losers

Out of the 15 tools in the TSA confiscations lot that I purchased, we have these six finishing up the back of the pack. Two are total POC -pieces of crap, two were just plain disappointing and two are merely subpar.

The two full-size multi-tools on the left after the photo are actually nearly identical tools. One simply has a plastic jacket added over the metal handles. On both of them the steel is poor quality and the plier jaws have a dangerous amount of flex. I can see them torquing and coming apart in your hand. Two pieces of crap.

The black unit at the top is the classic one for that well-intentioned grandma to buy her grandson as a birthday gift. Not only do you get a bunch of pocket tools but it also has a compass and a flashlight! How Kewl! The problem is the compass doesn’t point in any particular direction, let alone point north, and the flashlight only provides a pinpoint of red light that’s invisible more than an inch from the lens… even in full dark. More really cheap chromed Chinese steel, flex in the jaws of the plier, and a knife blade that’s only an inch and a half long despite the 4 inch length of the case. Sorry, grandma, you got ripped off.

The one pictured with all the blades folded out above is the only one of all the tools that I’m completely ambivalent about. I want really badly to like it. The knife blade is hollow ground, the tools are all accessible without opening up the pliers and unfolding the whole unit, but they cut out half of the back of the tool pockets, so that even when open, the edges of the handles still cut into your fingers when you use the pliers. When you look at each of the tool blades individually you realize that on every one of them they just failed to “get it right”… rounded edges, too thin, oddly shaped. So, loser!… but we won’t capitalize it.  Even priced under $10 this would be a disappointment.

The last two pictured fall into the realm of “mini” multi-tools and both of these have short jaw pliers, rather than needle-nosed. The pliers themselves are nice and robust, and certainly will help you loosen or tighten bolts and nuts, but the folded steel of the handle is cheap, thin stuff and of course that means it digs into your fingers and palms when you squeeze the pliers. Of the two, the unit on the left is marginally better. The knife blade is branded “Carolina”, but the unit is obviously made in China. It’s difficult to see in the photo, but the ends of the handles on that one have strange little dog-eared tabs that are just screaming to be ground off and filed down to a smooth curve. It is salvageable. On the other “mini” the blades and tools are decidedly less refined, and loose enough to flop around and slip open on their own.

For each of these six at the back of the pack, I would’ve been disappointed to have spent money on any of them. “Amortized” against the total number of tools in the lot, they are about what I expected. They’re definitely not tools that I would ever use myself. However, I will put them in my bag of things to take along and leave in trade in Geocaches.




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