Tonight I bought a Leatherman Sidekick at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Mesa, AZ. I decided to write up a Leatherman Sidekick Review while I was sitting here playing with it and my first impressions were still fresh. I’ll try to be as comprehensive as I can with this review, and I apologise ahead of time if the photos I include are overexposed as I was in a bit of a hurry to get this posted to the blog.
If there is a particular photo, tool, or angle you want to see feel free to let me know and I’ll add it to the review.
First off, I just wanted to mention that the packaging shows a Carabiner Tool being included with the Leatherman Sidekick package (#15 in the pictures). This was not included with mine for some reason, and I’ve sent an email to Leatherman in order to try and get this straightened out, as I am a bit disappointed about this not being present since it is part of what pushed me towards the Sidekick over some of the other offerings available. Not a huge deal, but still a bit of a letdown.
A really minor nitpick probably nobody else will notice or care about is the finish work on this particular Leatherman is a bit rough. As a hobbyist knifemaker, I spend a lot of time on metal finishing, polishing, etc. and it’s a time consuming process that very few appreciate. In the photos, you can see the marks from the shaping / grinding process, especially on the pliers, knife, and sawblade. Given how few people probably take the time to notice, I can’t really fault Leatherman for not spending a lot of time prettying things up, as it will function as advertised either way. Again, it’s a very minor thing that I’m not overly concerned about, I just thought it was worth a mention.
Leatherman Sidekick Review – The Pliers
The pliers on the Sidekick (Pictured above) won’t win any beauty contests, but they do work well. They use a spring action to expand, so they are quite easy to operate with one hand. The inner surfaces are machined pretty well, and the grooves fit together nicely. I’m not so sure about the wire cutters, as they meet point-to-point in an X shape, and the points appear to have a couple of high and low spots, but time will tell how that will effect their functionality.
Leatherman Sidekick Knife Review
The knife on the Leatherman Sidekick is a pretty basic design that can be accessed even with the tool closed, which is a nice touch. and the packaging indicates that it is comprised of 420HC Stainless, a pretty common steel for quality commercial knives. Basic 420 Stainless has more carbon than 410, but less than 440. As such it is softer than 440, but has a higher toughness. 420HC Stainless is a higher carbon variant of 420 Stainless which helps harden it even further. Buck Knives famously uses 420HC almost exclusively, and my Buck 110 has held up to almost 50 years of abuse through who knows how many owners (I inherited it at a gun show), so it is a high quality, durable, and cost effective choice as a knife blade material. As you can see in the first photo, the blade on the Leatherman Sidekick is locked in place when extended by a built-in locking mechanism.
Leatherman Sidekick Saw Review
The saw on the Sidekick is deployed in the same way the knife is, and can be accessed even when the multitool is closed. As with the knife, the saw locks in place when extended with a built in locking mechanism shown in the pictures with a stamped padlock icon on it. The teeth are a double-row wood saw style, and feel very sharp. As of yet, I have not had a chance to test it properly on anything, but I’ll give it a whirl on some scraps tomorrow and see how it performs.
Leatherman Sidekick – Inside Tools
The tools on the inside of the Sidekick are of decent design, as with all multitools they won’t replace their standalone counterparts in the toolbox, but they work damn well in a pinch!
Large Slotted Screwdriver – It’s a rather large flat bladed screwdriver, a bit larger than I’m used to, but should you need to tighten something up or do some light prying in a pinch, this will do nicely.
Phillips Screwdriver – Yes, an actual 3 dimensional Phillips screwdriver lives in here and it works pretty well for tightening up license plate screws and whatever else you can find.
Keyring Attachment – Not going to use this personally, but it just wouldn’t be a Leatherman without one!
Can Opener / Bottle Opener – These will undoubtedly come in handy more times than I can count, and they’re a welcome addition to pretty much anything.
Small Flathead Screwdriver / 1.5in Ruler – not a bad combination, the screwdriver is an obvious plus. I’m not sure what I’ll use the ruler for just yet, but I’m thinking it will come in handy somewhere.
Serrated 420HC Knife – This is the one tool I will probably never use, as I’m not a fan of serrated blades, but I know there are others out there that swear by them. My own opinion aside, it is nice and sharp!
Carabiner Tool – ??? As I said earlier, this was conspicuously absent from my package. Hopefully either Leatherman or Sportsman’s Warehouse will get this sorted out for me at a later date.
Accessories and Carry Methods
The Leatherman Sidekick I purchased came with a removable belt clip, and a decent Nylon carrying case with a belt attachment. I’ll probably end up using the pocket clip more than anything, but the case is a nice alternative option should I find that the pocket clip isn’t working for me. The one caveat here (for me) is the case being made in China, but there are so many things made overseas these days it’s not much of a surprise.