This paper presents a 3.0 mm diameter endoscopic forceps design for use in minimally invasive surgical procedures, which require significant grasping and spreading forces. Models of the proposed design predict considerable improvements in the opening range (140%) and force application (87%) for both grasping and spreading when compared with currently used endoscopic forceps. Several of the tool’s design characteristics promote fail-safe malfunctions, including locking before catastrophic failure and the decreased likelihood in detached parts. Initial benchtop testing showed good agreement between prototype performance and model prediction. Frictional losses experienced during testing were found to depend on load orientation. A surgical prototype is currently being manufactured for ex vivo testing.