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1. Zippo Axesaw

MAKE: Zippo

MODEL: Axesaw

WEIGHT: 2.6 pounds

MSRP: $80

This versatile tool combines a hatchet, bow saw and mallet into one rugged piece of kit. The 20-inch haft is capped with a stainless steel, full-tang axe head with a 4.5-inch face and backed by a durable polymer mallet for pounding in tent stakes and other tasks. The axe head locks securely into a safety sheath that doubles as the saw handle. Soft rubber overlays provide grip and make it very comfortable. A 15-inch steel saw blade stores in the haft when not in use and mounts securely in place when in “saw” mode.

Each component performs as well or better than other individual tools on the market, but being an all-in-one tool makes it the perfect woods tool. The only con we found is that the optimal hatchet grip location falls right at the saw blade locking lever, which can be uncomfortable but is easily remedied with a Hogue handgun grip sleeve or 550 cord wrap.


2. Leupold Carbine Optic

MAKE: Leupold

MODEL: Leupold Carbine Optic (LCO)


RETICLE: 1 MOA dot; ½-MOA click adjustments

SPECS: 3.6L x 2.25W x 2.41H inches; 9 ounces

MSRP: $910

The LCO red-dot sight is made of 6061-T6 aluminum and is built to take a beating. The reticle has 16 brightness settings and an auto-off feature after 15 minutes of inactivity; it turns on to the last setting when it senses vibration. It has front and back DiamondCoat lenses, enclosing the internals in a nitrogen-sealed chamber that’s 100 percent fog- and waterproof to 66 feet. Drop-testing the LCO was child’s play: We submerged it in a pan of water and froze it for two days at -10 degrees (F). Inside a block of ice, the light came on when it was picked up. We bashed it on concrete to break up the ice and then dropped the unit in 130-degree water. None of this phased it.


3. CRKT multitool


MODEL: Daktyl

BLADE LENGTH: 3.05 inches

OVERALL LENGTH: 6.8 inches (opened); 4.4 inches (closed)

THICKNESS: 0.145 inch

WEIGHT: 2.4 ounces

BLADE: 420J2 stainless steel

MSRP: $60

This is a unique minimalist design that swivels outward 180 degrees from the side to open and close. It opens and closes by pressing down on the lever and swinging it open in either direction, locking it in place via a notch in the skeletonized frame. It’s very comfortable to hold, and the skeletonized “Hitchcock” blade has a finger hole at the base, which adds precise control, keeps the hand in place and aids in retention. The hole also has a carabiner for attaching to small loops and for use as a bottle opener.


4. Warne Multitool

MAKE: Warne

MODEL: RT-1 Range Tool

SPECS: 5 ounces; 4 (L) x 1.88 (W) x 0.75 (H) inches

MSRP: $20

The RT-1 boasts 12 chromevanadium steel bits that cover most of the basic firearms maintenance tasks encountered while in the field or at the range, including scope adjustments. The aluminum handle is durable yet lightweight. It includes three Torx drivers, six Allen heads, a pin remover, and Phillips and flat-blade screwdrivers. It easily fits in a pocket. It’s well made and does a lot, given its small size and cost.


5. Shooter’s Choice lube

MAKE: Shooter’s Choice

MODEL: Universal Gun Care Pack

MSRP: $25

We’ve been using Shooter’s Choice as one of our go-to cleaners for years. FP-10 is a CLP (“cleans, lubricates and protects”) that works well—it’s a good cleaner and an excellent lubricant and protectant. Plus, it smells pleasant. The MC7 Bore Cleaner/Conditioner has a powerful smell, so we don’t use it unless needed; but for heavy-duty cleaning chores, it’s about as good as it gets. The Rust Prevent displaces moisture, leaving a protective film. We use it for longer-term storage.


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the April 2018 print issue of Gun World Magazine.