“You need to go buy two things tonight, a Gerber and a notebook,” These were some of the first words I heard from my machine gun section leader. It was my first day in my new platoon and my third day total in the Fleet Marine Force. My friend Mac and I humped our way to the Seven Day store on Camp Lejeune and did just that. They had a wall of Gerbers, Leathermans, and SOGs. We both settled on the Gerber Suspension. Our section leader specifically said Gerber, and the Suspension was affordable. PFC’s aren’t rolling in the dough.
I carried and used my Gerber Suspension for about five years, and over two deployments spanning 18 months overseas. It rode in my pocket, on my flak, and had been submerged in oceans on the coasts of Spain, Romania, Djibouti, and even took a dip or two into the Helmand River. I might be in an excellent place to review the Gerber Suspension.
The Gerber Suspension packs 12 total tools.
- Needle nose spring-loaded pliers
- Plain edge knife
- Serrated edge knife
- Crosspoint screwdriver
- Small flat drivers
- Medium flat drivers
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Lanyard hole
The Gerber Suspension – Inside and Out
It comes with a pouch for carrying via a belt, which, as expected, I promptly lost. The Gerber Suspension is also quite compact. It weighs only 10.2 ounces and is easily carried. The handles have a unique lattice pattern that makes it easy to clean out with a can of oil and a rag. It also cuts weight and adds texture to the frame for a battery grip. The grip itself is made from steel, so the latticework won’t cause the handles to collapse or break.
The tools themselves are made from stainless steel, and from lots of uses and abuse, I can guarantee they won’t rust. In fact, from all my time and love dedicated to the Suspension, I can’t remember a single time where I cleaned the rust off.
While I may have bought the Suspension blindly, I did come to appreciate the locking design. The tools use a traditional locking design that ensures they won’t collapse in use. The locking mechanism requires you to grip the and pull down on a tab on both sides of the Suspension’s grip. Once they are pulled down, you can fold whichever tool is exposed.
The Gerber Suspension is a short little fella, and as you’d imagine, the tools are also short. This includes the serrated blade and saw, and those are the only two I’ve ever wished were longer. Cutting through anything thick takes a lot of swipes and a lot of time to do so.
The saw is more affected than the serrated blade. The serrated blade makes short work of most thick ropes, but the saw is a slow cutter. I remember being a boot who didn’t rate a pickaxe while digging a fighting hole trying to cut through roots with my E-tool and the saw, and it takes forever.
The rest of the tools are basic and far from difficult to use. Like most multitools, the Suspension’s knife blade is functional, but puny and not make for anything beyond basic tasks. You’ll likely still need a dedicated knife on top of the Suspension. The knife has a sheep’s head design that makes it a little safer to use without stabbing yourself.
The other tools are quite basic, and the drivers, in particular, turned out to be extremely handy in everyday use. When you need a screwdriver and don’t have one, life is hard. The drivers included with the Suspension are tough and durable, they work well with the ergonomics of the tool, and it’s nice and easy to spin.
The scissors are ultra-small and will clip an MRE open right quick. They are also surprisingly robust. They can cut through fabric and even boot laces without a lot of effort. There is no replacement for Trauma shears, but in a pinch, they’ll work.
The Star of the Show
The real star of the show is the spring-loaded pliers. Having them be spring-loaded allows you to work with a single hand, which turns out to be invaluable when your hand is holding whatever you are holding.
The pliers double as wire cutters and trim through thin metal nicely. They absolutely cleave through thick zip ties. When using zip tie cuffs, using a knife is a bit risky, and wire cutters are a safe removal option.
The teeth in the plier’s grip with real prejudice and make removing stuck feed tray cover pins from an M240 a quick and easy task. (Sorry Small Arms Repair Techs.)
The Gerber Suspension Today
When I left the Marine Corps, I gave out a ton of gear and stuff to my junior Marines. I didn’t think I needed a Vickers M240 sling, or the half dozen cleaning kits, ruptured cartridge extractors, and McMap green belts I had. One tool I gave away was my Gerber Suspension.
It turns out you always need a multitool. I bought another one, and it’s still a tool I frequently go back to for everything from basic EDC tasks to working around the house. The Gerber Suspension punches well above its weight and its price tag. I happily endorse the Suspension and if you’ve just hit your unit or will shortly watch this space as we plan to be releasing a top 5 must-haves for military members one at a time.
You can buy the Gerber Suspension at your local Exchange, or on the Exchange website here.