The hex-shaped fastener has been an idea that originated in the late 1860s but wasn’t patented and really developed with corresponding tools and such until 1910 with the Allen Key. After its debut, the hex key underwent very little – if any – change, only getting a major innovation with the ball end hex from Bondhus in 1964 and the Magic Ring from Wiha at a later time. It wasn’t until 1996 that the hex key received perhaps its greatest innovation yet, again from Bondhus, and that is the Gorilla Grip. The Gorilla Grip is kind of a “no frills” tool that mimics the compact and fold out features of the Swiss Army Knife, but with hex keys. Essentially it’s a little handle that various hex keys fold into. Since it appeared, it hasn’t changed much and it’s been a steady seller with no signs of going anywhere. And for good reason too, it’s handy and said to be pretty much nigh invulnerable.
The Gorilla Grip was a hit when it was first released, “in its first nine months the Gorilla Grip generated more than twice the sales that the previous new Bondhus product was able to generated in its first 12 months” and this probably was due to word of mouth as once someone tries it and uses it, they often buy one. "People who use the GorillaGrip like it", John Bondhus said, "and they continue to like it. If we can get it into their hands, they'll buy it." For good reason too. While there are similar tools out there now, they lack the smooth and durable handle as the Gorilla Grip and the metal components aren’t quite up to the same level of quality. The Bondhus tool has a definite more solid and smoother feel than the imitators and that’s probably because the steel Bondhus uses feels more dense than other tool brands. A Bondhus tool is always a good investment as their tools are so well made, they have a pretty much unconditional lifetime warranty that replaces a broken tool pretty much no questions asked.
It may be a strong tool with a nice feel, but what are you going to use it for? Yeah, it would be better than whatever junk Ikea gives you to put your furniture together, but what else? The good news is that due to the many options for the Gorilla Grip, you can find a use for pretty much all of them. Perhaps the best use for a Gorilla Grip hex tool is going to be for biking. While it is somewhat heavy for its size, it is very compact and one or two Gorilla Grips can be stored in a compact space on your bike or in a small bag. It’s bound to come in handy should you need to tighten anything while you’re on the road. Personally, I had an instance where my handle bars had become loose while riding and I had to stop at the hardware store for some hex wrenches. If I’d had a Gorilla Grip with me an immediate repair could have been made and I would have had a tool that was easy to keep with as opposed to awkwardly transporting hex keys around while on my bike. In short, the fold up feature of the Gorilla Grip is perfect for on the go bicycle repairs.
It turns out that some Gorilla Grips can be good tools for other hobbies as well. If you’re into archery, depending on your specific bow, the Bondhus 12550 and 12591 have been found to be good to make adjustments on your bow. In some compound bows a hex key is needed to change the draw weight and having a compact tool to make that adjustment is handy. Throw a Gorilla Grip in your archery bag before heading to the range and you can make any adjustments needed on site. The Bondhus 12591 is also a good tool if you play around with the Ultrasaber Lightsabers. The hex tool seems to be primarily used to loosen and tighten screws that keep the blade in place. Again having the compact Gorilla Grip with you on any cosplay outing or convention will allow you to configure your lightsaber for various photo ops rather quickly.
The Gorilla Grip is a really cool innovation to hex keys and tools and its versatility has led to many changes and variations adapting different tools for different occasions. Having such a wide variety of tools in such a compact and portable form makes any Gorilla Grip a low cost/high return investment. Backed up by Bondhus’ high quality workmanship and lifetime warranty, your Gorilla Grip is likely to last a long time.