We all have our own tools that we carry around in our toolkits when we need to get down and dirty with our hands. Screwdrivers, wire cutters, wire strippers, crimping tools, knives, duct tape, and even velcro are common sights. You can see what Tony Matke has in his bag and contrast it with the contents of Jeff Fry’s bag. However, a co-worker of mine recently purchased a tool that I think might trump all of them:
Say hello to the Gerber Cable Dawg. This little jewel represents the high-end for cable crimpers/strippers/destroyers. It was designed by Gerber to be used by U.S. military personnel in Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) for cabling projects. It is constructed from high-grade steel while the handles are made from glass-filled nylon. This means that while the length of the tool is 7.5 inches, the weight is a svelt 14 ounces. As you might expect, it is a hardy little device with a veritable toolbox attached to it.
The Cable Dawg includes anything you might find yourself needing to work with cabling. There is a wire cutter and Category 5 (CAT 5) cable stripper in the spring-loaded nose. An RJ-45 crimper rests behind the pivot point along with a stripping block that can handle a lot of different gauges of wire. The handles also contain a great number of additions. One hand includes a set of driver bits for slotted and Phillips screws as well as a punch-down bit for terminating wires. There is also a lanyard attachment if you don’t want to carry the tool in the included tactical pouch.
The other handle is the greatest part of the tool, in my opinion. It contains the driver attachment for the above driver bits as well as a knife blade with a partially serrated edge and “jacket cutter” which is the little hook on the end that is capable of slicing a CAT 5 wire jacket or skinning the intern that may dare try to do their job incorrectly. While driver handles and knife blades are fairly standard fare on a multitool, the genius in the Cable Dawg is that the knife/driver handle detaches from the tool itself to feel more like a screwdriver or pocket knife in your hand. No longer do you have to fumble around with an overly-large multitool when all you need to do is drive a screw or slice a tomato. Pop off the handle and go to town!
The Cable Dawg is available from Gerber’s Military Tool website here. You can also scout around and find it on a variety of different military gear websites. That might be a good idea, since this thing appears to be out of stock frequently. That’s all the more impressive when you consider the retail price for the Cable Dawg clocks in at $300. It does come with a lifetime warranty for the price, but if you can come close to wearing this puppy out you are a more vicious cabler than I can imagine.
I’m a Gerber fan. I own three of their multitools and equally as many folding knives. They are very high quality and have never let me down. When my friend told me that he ordered a cable tool from Gerber, I couldn’t wait to see what they had done with it. The Cable Dawg is a little on the pricy side for most IT personnel, but if you find yourself in need of a rugged tool that will take loads of punishment and keep crimping and stripping no matter what, this is worth the price, especially if you are in the military. Besides, it’s better than a $600 hammer, right?
I’d like to say thanks to Scott Baird for loaning me his Cable Dawg for the purposes of writing this review and for a little testing. I promise to return it to you…soon.