Gerber Armbar Drive Multi Tool Review

Last Updated December 30, 2023

In this comprehensive review, we delve into the Gerber Armbar Drive Multi-Tool, a versatile and compact tool designed for everyday use and outdoor activities. We explore its key features, compare it with popular multi-tools like the Gerber Center Drive and Leatherman series, and address common questions to help you understand how the Armbar Drive stands out in terms of functionality, durability, and value.

This article aims to provide outdoor enthusiasts and everyday users with an in-depth analysis of the Armbar Drive’s capabilities, helping you make an informed decision about this essential piece of equipment.

Gerber Armbar Drive

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Armbar Drive Overview

As an avid outdoorsman and adventure enthusiast, I’ve always been on the lookout for gear that can handle the rigors of hiking, camping, and RVing. That’s why I was particularly excited to get my hands on the Gerber Armbar Drive Multi-Tool. This tool is more than just a gadget; it’s a versatile companion for any outdoor or everyday challenge.

Design and Build: First off, the Gerber Armbar Drive impresses with its compact and sleek design. It’s significantly more streamlined than your typical multi-tool, making it perfect for slipping into a pocket without the bulkiness. The handle is made of anodized aluminum, giving it a sturdy yet lightweight feel, ideal for long treks and minimizing carry weight.

Tool Selection: The Armbar Drive comes with seven essential tools, thoughtfully selected for the most common outdoor and everyday needs. This includes a fine edge blade, a 2.5-inch extension bit driver with a reversible bit, a pry bar, a bottle opener, an awl, a striking plate that doubles as a hammer, and spring-loaded scissors. Each tool is crafted from high-quality stainless steel, promising durability and longevity.

User-Friendly Design: As a user, I appreciate the thought that’s gone into the ergonomics of the Armbar Drive. It’s comfortable to hold and use, and each tool is easily accessible. This design consideration is vital, especially when you’re dealing with tasks that require precision and control.

Overall, the Gerber Armbar Drive is a multi-tool that doesn’t just perform its duties – it excels in them. It’s an essential piece of kit for anyone who, like me, loves the outdoors and values the convenience of a well-made, all-in-one tool. Its combination of functionality, durability, and sleek design makes it a top choice for outdoor enthusiasts and everyday users alike.

Armbar Drive Closed

Key Features and Performance

In the world of multi-tools, where versatility and functionality are paramount, the Gerber Armbar Drive stands out as a noteworthy contender. This section delves into the key features and performance aspects of the Gerber Armbar Drive Multi-Tool, providing an in-depth analysis of each tool and its practical applications.

From the rugged outdoors to everyday tasks, we’ll explore how each feature of this multi-tool fares in real-world scenarios. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a weekend camper, or simply someone who appreciates the utility of a good multi-tool, this section aims to give you a comprehensive understanding of what the Gerber Armbar Drive has to offer.

Blade: The Armbar Drive features a 2.5-inch fine edge blade made of stainless steel. Its design makes it suitable for a range of tasks, from slicing to chopping, and is particularly handy for food prep during camping. However, its lack of a piercing tip means it’s not the best for tasks like field dressing game or opening clamshell packaging.

Bit Driver: A standout feature is the 2.5-inch extension bit driver with a reversible, two-sided bit for Phillips and flat-head screws. While the bit driver is magnetized and compatible with standard-sized bits, a notable drawback is the absence of a locking mechanism. This means applying too much pressure while turning a screw can cause the driver to fold back unexpectedly.

Scissors: The scissors on the Armbar Drive are an upgrade compared to those on many other multi-tools. They’re well-designed for cutting paper, thread, or fishing line and have a comfortable spring mechanism.

Awl: The awl, or reamer, is a versatile tool that’s useful for marking wood before cuts or creating dimples for nails or screws. It’s particularly handy for clearing hardened-over tubes of caulk or wood glue.

Pry Bar, Bottle Opener, and Hammer: At the tool’s base is a small hammer, pry bar, and bottle opener. The hammer isn’t meant for heavy-duty tasks but works well for driving tent stakes or closing paint cans. The pry bar is a hidden gem, great for tasks like opening paint cans or prying up staples.

Pros and Cons

The Gerber Armbar Drive Multi-Tool has sparked a lot of interest in the outdoor and DIY communities for its unique blend of functionality and compact design. After thoroughly reviewing and testing it myself, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of its pros and cons to help potential buyers make an informed decision.


Compact and Portable: The Gerber Armbar Drive boasts a compact design that doesn’t take up much more room than a typical EDC (Everyday Carry) knife, making it highly portable and convenient to carry in a pocket.

Essential Tool Selection: It includes seven of the most commonly used tools, striking a balance between functionality and minimalism. This selection is well-thought-out for both everyday tasks and outdoor adventures.

Innovative Design: The tool features a creative design, especially in the hammer/pry bar/bottle opener component, showcasing Gerber’s attention to detail and innovation in multi-tool design.

Affordability: With a retail price around $35 to $45, it is relatively affordable compared to other multi-tools in the market, offering good value for its features and quality.

Quality Blade: The blade, made from 5CR15MoV stainless steel, is noted for its solid grip and precise control in tasks like cutting and carving. It behaves more like a dedicated folding knife and is corrosion-resistant.

Effective Scissors: The scissors have a reliable and consistent cutting ability, albeit slightly slower in speed, making them more useful than many multi-tool scissors.


Bit Driver Lacks Lock: The bit driver, a marquee feature, unfortunately, does not have a locking mechanism. This can be a significant drawback, as applying too much pressure while turning a screw can cause the driver to fold back onto the user’s knuckles.

No Belt Clip: The absence of a belt clip can be inconvenient, as it might get lost in the pocket among other items like keys.

Blade Steel Quality: While the blade is easy to sharpen, it doesn’t hold its edge as long as some other steels, which might be a consideration for those who need a very durable blade.

Locking Mechanism: The blade locking mechanism can be tricky, especially for people with larger hands or in challenging conditions like cold or wet weather.

Hammer Limitations: The hammer function, while innovative, is limited in its application and not suitable for heavy-duty tasks.

Overall, the Gerber Armbar Drive stands out for its unique approach to multi-tool design, emphasizing compactness and essential functionality. It’s an excellent option for those who need a portable and affordable tool for everyday use and basic outdoor tasks. The main area for improvement would be the addition of a locking mechanism for the bit driver, which would greatly enhance its functionality and safety. Despite its few drawbacks, the Armbar Drive is a commendable tool, especially for its price point, and is worth considering for both EDC enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

Personal Perspective

As an avid outdoor enthusiast and a frequent user of multi-tools in my hiking, camping, and RVing adventures, I have a particular affinity for gadgets that are both practical and easy to carry. The Gerber Armbar Drive, with its unique blend of features, immediately caught my attention for these reasons. Here’s my personal take on this multi-tool, based on my extensive experience in outdoor activities and gadget use.

Utility in the Great Outdoors: The Gerber Armbar Drive has been a trusty companion on several of my outdoor excursions. The compact design is a significant advantage – it’s lightweight and unobtrusive, easily fitting into the side pocket of my hiking pants or the small compartments in my camping gear. This portability is crucial when you’re trying to minimize weight and maximize utility on the trail.

Blade Performance: The 2.5-inch blade, while not the most robust in terms of holding an edge, has been sufficient for most of my needs. It’s great for quick cutting tasks like slicing through rope or opening packages. I appreciate its corrosion resistance, especially in damp environments that are common in outdoor settings.

Bit Driver: A Double-Edged Sword: The bit driver is a feature I was initially excited about, given the frequent need for a screwdriver in RV maintenance and outdoor gear repairs. However, the lack of a locking mechanism has been a bit of a letdown. I’ve had a few instances where it folded unexpectedly, which was frustrating. That said, the magnetic hold and compatibility with standard-sized bits are pluses, making it versatile for various tasks.

Scissors and Awl: Surprisingly Useful: The scissors, while not the strongest, have been handy for cutting fishing lines and making minor repairs to gear. The awl has been a pleasant surprise – it’s great for marking wood for campfire preparations and even punching an extra hole in a belt. Its practicality in everyday tasks has made it one of my go-to tools in the Armbar Drive.

Pry Bar and Bottle Opener: The pry bar and bottle opener combo is a feature I didn’t know I needed until I had it. It’s been useful for prying open containers and is a welcome addition at the end of a long hiking day when opening a cold beverage.

Personal Preference and Ergonomics: Ergonomically, the Armbar Drive fits well in my hand, and the tools are easy to access. The design feels well-thought-out, catering to both ease of use and functionality.

Gerber Armbar Drive Multi Tool

Overall, the Gerber Armbar Drive is a solid choice for someone who values compactness and practicality in a multi-tool. While it’s not without its shortcomings, particularly the bit driver’s locking mechanism, its advantages in size, weight, and essential tool selection make it a worthy addition to my outdoor gear. It aligns well with my lifestyle as an outdoor enthusiast, providing a balance of functionality and convenience that’s hard to find in bulkier multi-tools.

For those considering a multi-tool for camping, hiking, or general outdoor use, the Gerber Armbar Drive is certainly worth considering. It’s a testament to Gerber’s commitment to creating gear that’s not just innovative but also attuned to the practical needs of outdoor adventurers.

Gerber Armbar Drive Comparison

In comparing the Gerber Armbar Drive with other popular multi-tools like the Gerber Center Drive, Leatherman Style PS, Leatherman Signal, Victorinox Spirit MX, and Leatherman Skeletool CX, several key differences emerge:

Gerber Center Drive: Not directly compared in the sources, but generally known for its full-size screwdriver and plier-centric design, making it a bit bulkier and more suited for heavy-duty tasks compared to the Armbar Drive. Full Gerber Center Drive review here

Leatherman Style PS: A compact, travel-friendly tool with nine tools, including pliers and wire cutters. It’s TSA flight-safe due to the absence of a knife blade. This tool is highly portable but not suited for large jobs​​. Full Leatherman Style PS review here.

Leatherman Signal: Designed for outdoor adventures, this tool has 19 tools, including a ferro rod and sharpening system. It offers a range of features but at a higher price point and with some arguably redundant tools like a half-serrated blade​​. Full Leatherman Signal review here.

Victorinox Spirit MX: A premium tool with 24 tools and a pocket clip. It boasts an excellent fit and finish with Swiss Army Steel but is less affordable and lacks swappable bits or an eyeglass drive​​.

Leatherman Skeletool CX: A lightweight option with seven tools, including a large-bit driver and an easy-access blade. It’s minimal in tool selection but offers a lightweight capability​​. Full Leatherman Skeletool CX review here.

Each of these multi-tools caters to different needs and preferences. The Gerber Armbar Drive, in particular, is a budget-friendly, compact tool ideal for everyday carry and basic tasks, while others like the Leatherman Signal and Victorinox Spirit MX offer more extensive features for specialized needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gerber Armbar Drive Multi-Tool

What tools does the Gerber Armbar Drive include?

The Gerber Armbar Drive comes with a variety of tools, including a knife, scissors, a bit driver, a pry bar, a bottle opener, and an awl. These are designed to cover a range of everyday tasks and basic outdoor needs.

Is the Gerber Armbar Drive suitable for heavy-duty tasks?

While the Armbar Drive is versatile, it’s more tailored towards everyday use and basic outdoor activities. It may not be ideal for more demanding, heavy-duty tasks where a larger tool like the Gerber Center Drive might be more appropriate.

Can the Gerber Armbar Drive be carried on flights?

Due to its knife and other sharp tools, the Armbar Drive is not TSA-compliant for carry-on luggage. It should be packed in checked baggage when traveling by air.

Is the bit driver in the Gerber Armbar Drive lockable?

One of the noted drawbacks of the Armbar Drive is that its bit driver does not have a locking mechanism, which can be a concern when applying significant torque.

How does the Gerber Armbar Drive compare to other multi-tools in terms of price?

The Gerber Armbar Drive is generally considered to be budget-friendly, especially when compared to more comprehensive tools like the Leatherman Signal or Victorinox Spirit MX.

How durable is the Gerber Armbar Drive?

The Armbar Drive is designed with durability in mind, featuring stainless steel tools and an anodized aluminum handle. However, its durability might be slightly less than more expensive, heavy-duty multi-tools.

Is the Gerber Armbar Drive easy to use?

Yes, the Armbar Drive is designed for ease of use, with tools that are easily accessible and functional for a variety of tasks. However, users with larger hands may find the unlocking mechanism a bit fiddly.

What is the weight and size of the Gerber Armbar Drive?

The Armbar Drive is known for its compact design, weighing in at around 3.1 ounces and measuring 6.5 inches in length when opened, making it a lightweight and portable option for everyday carry.


The Gerber Armbar Drive Multi-Tool emerges as a compelling choice for those seeking a compact, versatile, and budget-friendly tool for everyday use and basic outdoor activities. Its array of essential tools, including a knife, scissors, bit driver, pry bar, bottle opener, and awl, offers practical functionality in a minimalist design. While it may not be ideal for heavy-duty tasks, its portability and ease of use make it a strong contender in the multi-tool market. The Armbar Drive holds its own against other popular multi-tools, offering a balanced mix of utility and affordability, making it a suitable option for both EDC enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers.

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