Hand Diggers

Hand diggers are small, handheld digging tools for metal detecting. You can use these for creating a plug, but they are mainly for removing smaller quantities of material beneath the main plug. These are for the “micro” or detail level of digging, during which you must be careful not to hit or ding your target.

Predator M-85 Hand Digger – Military

At 2018’s Gettysburg Militaria Show, I was presented with this new digging tool from Predator Tools to review. Developed in late 2017, the M-85 Hand Digger is impressive-looking. Let’s take a closer look:

Hand digger: PredatorTools M-85 Military


  • Length: 11-3/4″ overall
  • Width: 1-7/8″ wide
  • Blade: 7-1/4″ long
  • Weight: Approx. 14 oz.

Okay, I’m going to admit up front that this digger has some serious mystique going for it. Patterned on the the original that made designer George Lesche famous, the M-85 CT looks wicked and all business. With its stealth black matte finish—meeting military requirements not to create reflections under cover of darkness—classic sleek lines, and touch-friendly handle, the Stealth 85 just oozes competence.

Hand digger: PredatorTools M-85 Military

Designed for digging with surgical precision, this digger is a heavy-duty, sharpened trowel with one edge sawtoothed for root cutting. Fashioned from 4130 Chrome-Molly virgin steel, the single-piece digger is aircraft quality heat-treated and temper for superior strength. Its 4-1/2″ handle features a large handguard, to protect your hand from sliding down onto the blade during use.

Manufactured to stringent military specifications, each Stealth 85 is serial numbered and marked with the year of manufacture and PredatorTools’ distinctive American Eagle stamp. You’ll find this tool’s new, improved Cordura Coyote Tan-colored sheath features a loop to be carried on your belt. One touch of this tough, purpose-built sheath, with its tape-finished edges and webbing handle secure strap with hook-and-loop closure, and you’ll feel confident that this reliable performer will stay close to you for years to come.

HAnd digger: PredatorTools M-85 Military side view

I first used it to extract some semi-precious gemstones from the desert floor in Quartzsite, Arizona. If you’ve ever been there, you know that’s like digging in concrete, but the Stealth 85 did an admirable job of getting those stones out of the baked-hard matrix and into my pouch. I used it again to move some very large stones out of my campsite and over to the fire circle, and I was impressed with how I felt absolutely no flex in that black blade. It was up to the task, and more!

Finally, I used it to dig the desert sand at a park in Carefree, Arizona, while I was teaching a couple little boys to metal detect. It made quick work of that tough crust and moved enough material for me to impress them with a fast recovery. I could see in their eyes how they admired my cool digging tool.

It does just look…well, sexy. There, I said it. If GI Joe had been real, he’d be carrying one of these babies with the requisite attitude. Who said effective tools have to be ugly? You’ll love whipping this one out to dig your next target, while your friends look on admiringly.

Hand digger: PredatorTools M-85 Military back view

The Stealth 85 is in use worldwide by those who must rely on durable performance, including metal detectorists, relic hunters, archaeologists, gardeners, nursery technicians, landscapers, underground rescue responders and, of course, the U.S. military. All PredatorTools carry a 5-year warranty.

Full disclosure: PredatorTools provided this digger to me at no charge, for the express purposes of testing it and creating an honest review.