Since it’s introduction to the Leatherman lineup in 1996, the Keychain sized, scissor based Micra has proved to be incredibly popular. In 2002 Leatherman introduced the Squirt range, with the Squirt S4 offering the same tool selection as the Micra with externally accessed tools and a much more refined finish.
It seems reasonable to assume that the S4 was intended to spell the end for the Micra, but it didn’t pan out that way at all. The Squirt S4 has been discontinued already whilst the Micra lives on, but will Leatherman Tool Group’s latest innovations in Keychain Tools finally mean the end of the trusty old Micra? Maybe it could happen this time …..
The Micra has been around for 14 years, making it Leatherman’s longest surviving currently produced tool, and if you’re familiar with the Micra, you’ll have no problems understanding why. It is genuinely able to be carried on a keychain, and the number of tasks it can handle defies its tiny frame.
If you EDC a Micra, you’d likely take some persuading to replace it with a newer model, but Leatherman have come up with some real candidates this time around in the Style, the Style CS and the Squirt PS4 (and ES4 with electrical pliers) that might just tempt you.
Squirt PS4: (UK RRP: £39.95).
The original Squirt was offered in 3 variations, the S4 (with scissors), the P4 (with pliers) and the E4 (with electrician’s pliers). Although the S4 carried the same tool set as the Micra, the RRP was considerably higher, and if you needed scissors and pliers, there are a multitude of full sized tools out there at a similar price point.
The new Squirt PS4 has taken away the need to choose between pliers and scissors by offering both. Some clever thinking has gone into the design of the handles, both from a functional and aesthetic point of view and the quality is as you would expect from Leatherman – excellent.
There’s no denying that the Squirt PS4 is an excellent tool, but I see three potential issues with it that may deter Micra fans from making the change:
- The finish on the handles does not seem to be too hard-wearing as compared to the Stainless steel Micra. On such a relatively expensive tool this may be a turn off for many people;
- Although the PS4 has scissors, they are not as capable as those on the Micra;
- The UK RRP of £39.95 may prohibit many from making the change.
Style: (UK RRP: £19.95).
The Style is a new departure for Leatherman, in as much as it doesn’t offer a tool based around pliers or scissors and the usual “butterfly” opening mechanism. It’s more reminiscent of a small Swiss Army Knife like the Victorinox Classic, being comprised of a single handle.
Although the Style lacks the choice of screwdrivers offered by the Micra, it does offer quite a few possibilities in a much smaller package and at a lower cost. For these reasons, I can see the Style making some advances on the Micra’s dominance, but not enough perhaps to knock it off it’s perch. At least, not on it’s own that is…
Style CS: (UK RRP: £29.95).
The Style CS takes Leatherman’s “Skeletool” design, also applied to the Freestyle and applied it to a Keychain tool. As the name suggests, the basic tool format is that of the Style, with a Caribiner and Micra sized Scissors added. It looks amazing and I find it to be far more comfortable and assured in the hand than the Micra when using the scissors.
Like the Style, the Style CS offers less of a choice of tools than found on the Micra, but in return you get a sexier looking, ergonomically improved tool, with a very useful clip to carry it. Priced midway between the Style and the Squirt PS4, comparable with the Micra, the CS is an attractive option.
Whether the Style CS can be the tool that finally causes the demise of the Micra remains to be seen, but I think that it certainly comes closer than any of its predecessors.
I’m still undecided myself on whether the Micra or Style CS should form part of my EDC, I’ll probably do what I always do and find a way of carrying both!