NME Knife and Tool BWB-01T

I got a frantic email from Jeff the other week while he was away on the mainland for a conference.  Apparently, he had been browsing the 1911 forums and came across this neat titanium bushing wrench and thought it was cool.  I took one look and jumped in with the group order.  Titanium?  Great!  Any little ti trinket is captivating, coming from a MTB background.  Bottle opener?  Sold!  Titanium and bottle opener?  Can’t go wrong there!  M1911 bushing wrench?  Bonus!  The irony of a bottle opener and pistol-specific tool may be lost on non-firearm owners (and you can put it on your keyring?!)… hey, you don’t have to use them at the same time!  A ¼” hex hole for insert bits?  You already had me at “bottle opener” – how can you make this any better!

By the time Jeff got back from the conference, the tools had arrived.  Machined from 6Al/4V titanium sheet stock, the tool is 5mm (5/32”) thick.  The overall size is about 6cm (2 5/8”) long by 4cm (1 3/8”) wide at the largest point.  The surfaces have a tumbled, “stone washed” finish that is currently very popular, but the machining marks are still visible through the finish, which is nice.

The tool is roughly a teardrop shape.  Starting from the large end, there is a loop-style bottle cap lifter.  The lifting tongue is machined convex on the upper surface.  The tool is just about long enough to provide adequate leverage to open a bottle without your knuckles turning white (it’s actually has about the same moment arm length as my Paragon Machine Works “Beer is Good” hook opener).  (Please note that the beer bottle depicted is not the krappy Heineken Lager that is sold on the USDM but is instead the Heineken Pilsener (brown bottle) sold in Germany)

Beside the bottle opener opening is a M1911 bushing wrench.  If you have no idea what this is, it is a tool to help rotate the barrel bushing on a M1911-type semi-auto pistol.  The bushing acts to center the barrel in the slide and also retains the recoil spring plug.  Removal of the recoil spring is part of the disassembly process.  The bushing wrench is oriented with the plug depressor on the pointed end of the tool.  There is no “wing” to retain the plug when the bushing is rotated out of the way, but the natural cupping of the tool in your palm during use will automatically catch the plug.  You know the drill.  I didn’t have a chance to test the bushing wrench function as of the time I am writing this review.

Centered in the plug depressor is a ¼” hex cutout that accepts standard insert bits.  The tool is long enough to get an adequate amount of torque for most uses, but if you’re tackling something big like removing the barrel pinch bolts from your non-barrel-nut AR, you’re not going to accomplish it with this tool.  Grip screws or small fasteners on your pocket knife are fine though, which was the apparent intent of including the hex.  There is of course no detent, so bits will slide all the way through or fall out without much effort.  You can get a couple of little O-rings (butyl or silicone) at your local hardware store and put a pair on the bit to keep it in place if dropping bits becomes an issue for you.

At the terminal point, the tool ahs been beveled to a flat screwdriver point that will remove standard slotted M1911 grip panel screws, or help lift the tab of a beer or soft drink can if you have weak, ineffectual fingertips.

All in all, it’s a well-made, well-thought-out tool.  If desired, the tool can easily be attached to your key ring.  Obviously, putting it through the hex will prevent the use of both the hex and the bushing wrench without first removing the tool from the keyring.  The bottle opener orifice is large enough that if you put the keyring there, it does not interfere with bottle opening, nor does it interfere with the other functions of the tool.  This is one of the most elegant titanium mini-tools that I have handled.  I’m glad I got one!

Made in The USA (although I suspect the little muslin bag it comes in is “printed in The USA”, but the bag itself is not)

About $35 USD plus shipping

Highly recommended

Four out of four gear monkeys

Update:

Tried the bushing wrench on a new Kimber TLE RL II.  The ears on the bushing on new Kimbers are apparently wider than the M1911 standard, because the tool wouldn’t fit onto the bushing easily.  If the ears were placed into the bushing  cutout in the tool and a fairly significant force was applied, the top loop of the cutout would pop over the top edge of the bushing.  Apparently this is not the case on older Kimbers, as the tool has been tested on an older Kimber 1911-type pistol, and it does in fact slide on easily.

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