Before I get to the meat of this, I'll say that I have a Wave, a Supertool 300, and a couple of old PSTs from back in the day that I actually paid money for. I have 16 or so Fuse, Kick, Sidekick, and Wingmans that I have mostly gotten for free. Why so many budget MTs and why free? Well, for many years now, I've purchased my workwear and PPE from a place called Gempler's that will give stuff away with orders that meet a certain price point. SAKs, MTs, knives, flashlights, socks, rain coats, gloves... what they give away varies, but there are usually options and I almost always go for the MT or the SAK. Over time, stuff piles up. Now, I've carried the same free Wingman for years. I have often made the claim on this forum that the Wingman or Sidekick is all the MT you really need and for the price (everyone can pick them up cheap during the holidays) they are unbeatable. Here it is with the rest of my normal carry. My kids and wife have their own Sidekicks. All the trucks have some sort of LM in the glove box. Kitchen junk drawer and my dest drawer have budget LMs. The school project/craft box has one and so to does the tote with all the paracord project supplies. When the Sidekicks went on sale at a big orange box store this past CHRISTmas for $18, I picked up ten more that I didn't need (including one Wingman that I also got for $18) with the intent of gifting them at some point. Some have been sold to forum members who don't live near a HD. Fast forward to today, and I get a bug up my but about putting a plan edge on a Wingman to, in my mind, make it perfect. I figure since I have some new ones, why not use them? Open up a Sidekick and a Wingman and... I CAN NOT BELIEVE HOW BAD THE FIT AND FINISH IS ON BOTH OF THEM. I was truly shocked. The plier heads are ridiculously loose. I can, with zero pressure, move one half of the plier head 50% of the way past the other. They are that loose. On the one I use everyday, the plier head has hardly any lateral movement in the pliers after years of use. Pick an old one up by the one handle while it is open, shake it, and your hear nothing. Do the same thing with either of the new ones I opened today and there is considerable noise. I dare say that with a little practice that I could play the 1812 Overture with a new one. It's that bad. Why the huge difference in quality? Curious, I gathered up a few of the other Sidekicks and Wingmans already in service (and not from a big box store) and they are all fine or very close to perfect. That apparent decline in quality is not good. Here is a shot of the LMs that came from the orange home improvement center with some users (lower left) and the two I opened today (far right). This begs the following questions. Has Leatherman given up caring about QC on these budget offerings? You see this a lot in the budget flashlight world; awesome product out of the gate followed by haphazard efforts because it is easier and cheaper to rest on their laurels/reputation. It could also be that the retailer is able to get cheap Leathermans once a year because they are a special batch that are just slapped together willy nilly without the labor intensive- and expensive- QC. It is well documented that this practice goes on with the power tools they sell; a screw gun from them is very different on the inside than the same screw gun purchased from a tool store. You see this too at WallyWorld when the sell WallyWorld versions of knives that have been cheapened up. Anyway, what are we to make with this data? It will be interesting if my next order from Gempler's scores me a tight Wingman or Sidekick. That would be very telling. Of course, if I get one as bad as the ones I've gotten from big orange, that will even be worse, since it will confirm, in my mind at least, that LM has lost it's way. For sure, I can't recommend buying these with the vigor I used to. Which is too bad because they used to represent the very best VALUE in multitools.