Today we get to make a review of a special item for you guys and gals. It’s a whole tool bag. It’s a Search And Rescue tool. It’s an AR cleaning tool in one single piece of steel. It’s a spoon. It’s all of the above and more. It’s the Down Range Tool (DRT) from our friends at Zero Point USA.
Zero Point USA is a small Service Disabled Veteran owned and operated company with plenty of real life experiences in the field. Their main focus is on Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) product development and production as well as also providing custom equpment and training sollutions tailored to the user. They are dedicated to creating products, that would make tasks of a down range operator easier. This is where they came up with a prototype of the DRT. It features several AR cleaning functions, basic tool functions as well as some search and rescue details. More than fifty different functions in one single piece of hardened steel which can be carried almost anywhere and by everyone. So let’s get right in there.
The DRT is a single piece of hardened steel milled into a functional multi-tool. It’s 155 mm long, 25 mm wide and 2,5 mm thick and weighs in at around 45 grams. Some numbers a still a subject of small change, as the item in our review is still in it’s prototype phase.
It sports several survival and outdoor features even though it’s main function is a weapons maintenance tool. It’s unique shape and design make cleaning the innards of your AR a breeze.
As mentioned before it can also be used by anyone even if they don’t own a firearm. The tool sports several engineering features like wire strippers, nail puller/pry bar, a hexagon wrench in metric and imperial dimensions and more.
THE DETAILS AND PRACTICAL USE
The AR cleaning features are simply amazing. They allow the user to easily and effectively clean their AR innards as well as help you field strip the whole thing. There are dedicated scrapers on the tool that enable the user to get into all the difficult nicks and crannies that need to be cleaned.
Details like the bolt tail and bolt waist scrapers are perfectly shaped so you don’t need your steel mesh sponge anymore. All parts that were tedious to clean before are now easily reached and taken care of.
All is left is the barrel. There is no brush included, but the tool features a threaded hole, that fits almost all styles of threaded cleaning rods and extensions. Just use it as your normal cleaning rod handle but with some extra leverage behind it.
On the opposite side, there are sharp notches milled into the edge, which serve as wire strippers. They are sharp enough to make easy work of any wire from 10 to 20 GA. Also some flat portions for detailed wire work.
In the middle, there is a hex nut wrench for 10 – 12mm nuts as well as ½ – ¼ inch nuts. The wrench is useful as long as you can put it on. This limits the tools abilities a bit, but with some know-how you can make it work. The whole wrench slot is still subject to change in this prototype phase.
This slot will also be used as a micro storage hole in the final product. The tools inside will be optional and could consist of a survival kit (WP matches, a flint and a striker), a tiny flashlight, 6,5 mm double sided hex bit and a fishing kit. Or just use the rubber bands to store some emergency cash. With the optional micro storage option, you also get four thick and wide EPDM bands, which hold everything in place.
The head is bent in a 30 degree angle to maximise the usage even further. On it, you have a bottle/can opener, a notch for use as a pry bar/nail remover as well as fore mentioned extractor scraper hook. Perfect for all sorts of on-the-fly solutions.
The second bend of my index finger came right across these notches. Holding it a bit lower proved to be the trick as you still maintain control and have plenty of leverage for tougher, thicker packages. Eventually, you can cover the wire stripper with the micro storage EPDM bands you get in the optional kit and fix the issue.
While inspecting the »business part« of the can opener, i noticed it’s not as sharp as some might want. But it does the work it is intended for without one more exposed edge to be mindful of. The design of this portion is not yet final an is subject to small changes though.
So once you open the can with your tool, you need something to empty it right? Well you don’t need to look for a spoon or a fork, as the bend in the tool allows you to use it as those also. Just mind the pin puller.
This tool is like many others; you can use it in any way your imagination lets you. It can take it’s place as a box opener/stretch foil cutter if the need arises. Or use the pry bar to remove stuck items with great precision.
While trying to use the tool as a nail remover, i was a bit disappointed as the tool bent fairly easily. Upon corresponding with the guys at Zero Point, they confirmed that this particular prototype in not yet hardened. So the finished version will be even stiffer. The head also sports two screwdrivers, a flat one and a #2 phillips. The position is a bit weird, but once you get the hang of it, you can do small repairs anywhere.
Since this particular item is still a prototype, Zero Point could implement an actual strap cutter somewhere. Maybe just sharpen 3/4 of the can opener and give it a small curvature and there you have it, a fully functional strap cutter. But then again, this could be a hazard, when using the tool as a spoon.
The tail features an optional glass breaker. It can break car windows with ease, as long as you hit it directly with the point. Once again, i come back to the wire stripper. When using this tool to break glass, the use of gloves is mandatory. Not just for the protection from the glass but also to prevent unnecessary cuts. Either the palm or the fingers are placed across the wire stripper and you hand can slip down just a bit if you miss the sweet spot. Enough to cut you if you’re not careful. Once again, the EPDM bands are more than welcome here.
For survival situations, you can equip your DRT with any of the micro storage kits mentioned above and also an optional 9,6 mm compass. This one probably sits in a central hole, which has protractor angles marked on it.
Just as a glass breaker, this tool can be used as a self-defence kubotan, if you know what you’re doing. But again, mind the wire stripper if no micro storage bands are attached. Not to mention it can be used with your standard fire starter with a magnesium bar. Scrapers are sharp enough to chip the magnesium and scrape the flint.
In conclusion, i would highly recommend this tool to anyone who owns an AR or any other firearm for that matter. Sure it’s mainly shaped for AR parts, but still can prove useful in any weapon maintenance activity. With the final production version possibly including a dedicated strap cutter, it will also earn it’s place in any vehicle, that is operated by a serious road user. With over 50 features, 15 of those being for AR cleaning, this tool shows tremendous potential. It’s currently an Indiegogo project raising funds for final production, so be sure to head over to their Indiegogo page and support their campaign. If you want to know more, be sure to check out their website where they offer several Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) solutions and more.