The Gerber Artifact was a complete and total failure--emblematic of Gerber's fall from a high perch in the industry two decades ago. The swill that now wears the Gerber label is perhaps the worst gear available, with a few notable exceptions. It is not as bad as the loss leader pack of two dozen knives for $20, but it is also vastly more expensive. When you break it down by price v. performance nothing come close to approaching the terrible ratio the average piece of Gerber gear has. It is among the worst made and designed stuff on the market, but it is priced as if it were a true equal to brands like Spyderco.
It comes as no surprise then that they released the Shard originally as a give away at trade shows, not to be sold to the public, but as a swag for visiting their booth.
It was as if a Gerber executive (actually Fiskars, they own Gerber now) was saying:
"Come look at our terrible gear that is vastly overpriced and we will give you this tiny, ingenious tool for free, noting that it is what you'd really want. No we aren't selling it to you, so there. Go buy our Zombie kit and shut up."
This is a sad commentary on Gerber in two ways. First they don't know what their consumers want. And second they do not know how to monetize those desires even when the consumers tell them what they want. After shots of the Shard leaked out, the gear consuming public started to clamor for them to go on sale. For months, Gerber insisted they would never be sold, that they were a give away special, and instead people should really consider buying the Artifact, the tool the Shard was helping to promote, which is a piece of junk. Then after months of online complaining and petitions and emails, Gerber changed their minds and decided to produce the Shard for sale.
Gerber exec: "Fine, I guess we will give you what you want and make a profit, if we have to..."
Here is the Shard's product page. Here is a written review. Here is a video review. Here are the Amazon reviews. It received a 4.06 stars out of 5 with 32 reviews. And here is my Shard, living happily on my keychain (along with a LRI Micro Photon II, a coated aircraft cable mechanics keyring, and my keys):
The Shard does right what the Artifact did, including a Phillips driver, but it fixes all of what the Artifact did wrong. It is thin. It has an large lanyard hole. And none of the tools cramp each other. It is the right size as well, an overall 2 3/4 inch long and probably a 1/8 inch thick. It feels solid without being overly bulky.
Fit and Finish: 2
The Artifact's painted coating was replaced by a TiNi coating and it has held up well, given that it dwells in the metal tumbleweed that is my keychain. There are some burnishing marks where the Shard rubs up against keys most often, but other than everything is fine. All of the holes and edges were cut well and again, the bottle opener is super aggressive and this time it is accessible, making it the best I have seen on a OPMT. Even the grind on the v-notch is good.
As a minimalist tool, the Shard is a gem. It has everything I'd want on a OPMT and nothing I don't. I like the size and thickness as well. It is a perfect keychain pal. The large lanyard hole makes a huge difference on the keychain allowing you to use the tool without removing it and allowing the Shard to flow easily on your keychain.
Jimping on a keychain tool? Cool. Jimping that actually works? Yowza. The tool's shape and jimping make it very easy to hang on to even when you are applying some heavy force. The jimping is very nice.
Because of the spacious lanyard hole this tool carries like a dream. Nothing at all to complain about here. You can even use the tool when it is on your keychain. Go figure.
Mystery meat stainless steel and a TiNi coating have held up well to about a year of use. Again, like with the 420HC on the Leatherman Sidekick, it may not be high tech, but it works and that's what counts.
Yipee! All of the tools work both on and off a keychain. Superb.
Retention Method: 1
I love the big lanyard hole I really do, but I think that even with the spacious sizing, it may make the Shard hard to get on and off a standard split ring. I hate split rings and hopefully everyone reading this has moved beyond them, but you have to account for them when you are designing a keychain tool and try as they might, I don't think this design plays well with the old tried and true splitring.
Tool Selection: 2
Ah! A OPMT with a built-in Phillips driver.
How awesome is that? I love the tool selection here. It is just perfect. Everything you need and nothing you don't. I couldn't pick a better seven tools for a OPMT if I were designing it myself. Perfect. Great, great, great.
Tool Performance: 2
Shockingly everything works very well. Unlike the Artifact nothing gets in the way of anything else. They are all nice and well designed. The bottle opener is superb. The v-notch, seen below, is good.
The Phillips driver works well. Every single tool just works. I love it.
Overall Score: 19 out of 20
This is a great little tool and for under $8, this is a no-brainer. You could spend your time and money on a snooty Atwood tool or get this guy and give up the small batch custom feel in exchange for $50 or more in your pocket and a built-in Phillips driver. If you are looking for a keychain tool, stop. This is the one you should buy. If, after a while, you want something fancier Peter will still be making his works of art and you get go get one of those. I did this backwards, going from an Atwood to this, but I am perfectly happy with this guy on my keychain.