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Nothing beats the reassurance of owning a quality survival or pocket knife. Despite being a simple tool, it can prove useful for just about any situation that presents itself during emergencies or survival circumstances. The beauty of pocket knives is that you can use them for more than just the usual daily tasks. If you are in the market for a good pocket or survival knife, Gerber has got you covered.
At a Glance: Our Choices for The 7 Best Gerber Knives
Click on one of the links to go directly to our overview, opinion, and features of each knife.
About Gerber Knives
Gerber Legendary Blades is a manufacturer of knives as well as multitools. The company is based in Oregon, specifically Portland Metropolitan Area. The company was established in 1939 by Joseph Gerber, an expert who had been making knives and selling them to Abercrombie & Fitch. It relocated to what is now known as Togard in 1966 and was later purchased by Fiskars in 1987. With Chad Vincent as CEO, the company generated more than $100 million in sales and had more than 300 employees by July 2001.
Gerber knives were designed by various people including William Harsey Jr., Fred Carter, Bob Loveless, Blackie Collins and more. Some of the former employees like Pete Kershaw and Al Mar have also been known to break out from the company and start their own knife companies. Bear Grylls has also used Gerber knives on his reality TV survival shows.
Gerber designs and manufactures knives for a variety of applications. The company is also credited for manufacturing survival tools like flashlights and compasses. Each knife produced by Gerber is based on one of seven models i.e. Gerber Guardian, Gerber Blackie Collins, Gerber Mark II and more.
While the company designs knives for various purposes, their main focus is survival. The knives are subjected to rigorous durability tests before packaging. Gerber knives have been used in several areas including the military, hunting, tactical, survival, industrial and outdoor just to name a few. Each of the knives are tested according to the target market. For instance, military knives are tested according to hand to hand situations while survival knives are tested for extreme toughness and durability to survive harsh environments.
In addition to producing knives of the highest quality, Gerber Legendary Knives also offers a full lifetime warranty on their products. The only downside is that this warranty is only valid as long as you live in North America. The warranty for those living outside North America is twenty-five years. The length of these warranties further proves that the company has great confidence in the quality of their products. Another advantage of Gerber knives is that they are designed with replaceable parts.
More than seventy years since it was established, Gerber continues to grow and provide its consumers with quality products. They are still grounded in the same principles that first guided Joseph Gerber’s enterprise back in the day. They also do a good job of combining innovation with quality designs in their products.
The Top 7 Gerber Knives
Gerber LMF II
The Gerber LMF II is one of the most popular military spec blades that has been made available to the general public in the recent past. In actuality, this survival knife is available as three models i.e. the LMF II ASEK, LMF II Infantry as well as LMF II Survival. Truth be told, all these versions are exactly the same with the only difference being sheath colors and knife handle. The accessories that ship with each model also differ.
The LMF II Survival comes with a green handle and sheath as well as a matching safety knife, sheath and strap cutter. The LMF II ASEK features a brown sheath and handle as well as strap cutter and sheath. The LMF II Infantry is available in brown, black or green handle but the only accessory it comes with is a matching sheath.
The Gerber LMF II knife has an incredibly wide blade that is 4.84 inches long and 3/16 of an inch thick. Its overall length from the butt to the tip is 10.59 inches. At 11.67 ounces, it is a little hefty for everyday casual use.
Also featured is a drop-point blade. This is a type of blade with a convex curve that extends from the blade point to the blade spine. Blades of this type are known for their superior strength across the length of the knife, including the point.
It is constructed using 420HC stainless steel, which is known for its resistance to rust. It is also quite tough, making this knife a great tool for prying, digging, slicing, chopping and more. The stainless steel is wear resistant and does a good, though not excellent job of retaining the edge even with heavy use. Another notable feature is the black oxide coating on the blade that provides additional resistance to corrosion. The blade goes from a fine edge to a serrated edge towards the handle.
The handle is made using glass filled nylon and features a TPV overmold grip. It is wider and flatter than most, thus increasing the grip surface in contact with the palm. The knife is electrically insulated, MOLLE compatible and comes with a sheath that’s made from ballistic nylon with a fire retardant coating.
This is a great survival knife that will prove handy in many situations. It could, however, benefit from the increased strength and durability that a full tang offers.
The Gerber Swagger knife comes with a 3.2-inch blade. It is a foldable knife that measures 4.3 inches long when closed and 7.5 inches long when extended. The knife also features a partially serrated blade, but you can opt for the full fine edge version. The serrated and fine edge sections of the blade come pre-sharpened. Also featured on the blade is a textured section with five grooves drilled into the blade. And while this may seem like an aesthetics issue, the texture does help with grip.
The Gerber Swagger handle comes in two different textures on the right and left sides. The right side of the handle is constructed using polished steel and has three grooves. It also features a pocket clip attached to it with the company name imprinted on it. The left side has drilled traction grooves that provide increased texture, which proves useful for left-handed users. The aggressive texture holds up pretty well in wet conditions. Even with thumb studs, the pocket clip on this knife is not reversible and as such, left-handed users struggle to open blade.
Superior materials combined with a great design makes this one of a very good pocket knife from Gerber. The only qualm is the awkward locking mechanism that’s difficult to use.
Gerber GDC Tech Skin
The Gerber GDC Tech Skin is a modern survival and pocket knife that is designed for professionals who like slipping out of the crowded city and into the woods occasionally. It is downsized and wrapped in rubber to handle the household as well as backwoods tasks. The rubberized layer provides a good grip while ensuring that it doesn’t damage anything that may share the pocket. The knife also comes with a metal frame for durability as well as a Lockback blade locking system that prevents the blade from folding while in use.
The knife is constructed using 7Cr17, a stainless steel with a hardness of 55-57. It is, therefore, a great tool for daily carrying. The blade is coated with titanium nitride, which further improves the stainlessness of the steel. While a steel frame is the foundation of this knife, it still allows for flex. This combined with the knife’s small size makes it suitable only for light tasks. The rubber covering is a source of worry as it will eventually wear, crack and tear.
Despite being designed for ultra-light tasks, this knife is certainly a great one. A good flex, titanium nitride coating, and a good grip are some of the things an outdoor enthusiast would appreciate in a pocket knife.
Gerber Gator Premium
This is a premium version of the Gator that features a 4-inch long blade with a drop-point configuration. It is constructed using S30V steel, which provides an excellent edge retention and great rust resistance. Also featured is a full tang that helps with a firmer grip and improved durability. The textured rubber grip is quite appealing and functional. It is important to note that the blade, as well as the exposed areas of the tang, are both polished, and this is not a hindrance considering what the Gerber Gator Premium was designed for. Overall, the knife is well balanced and feels great in your hand.
Our main concern is the sheath. It is made from leather and features a plastic insert that though in theory doesn’t seem bad, it falls short in practice. Sheaths that clip on and off are way more convenient. This sheath comes with a leather belt loop that you need to put on when you put your belt on.
The knife weighs a little over eight ounces and measures 9 inches in length. The blade alone is four inches long. The handle is constructed using glass filled nylon with rubber overmold. This allows for durability while providing a good grip. The overall construction is quality and feels solid. And while the knife isn’t suited for many tasks, it is certainly a good accessory to have in your pocket when hiking or backpacking.
A great survival knife designed to handle heavy duty tasks. The good grip combined with superior materials and unique design are welcome features. We only wish that the sheath was a clip on.
Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Scout
Maybe it’s the solid feel, or contrast in size compared to other knives or how nicely it fits in the pocket and hand that gets the Gerber Bear Grylls Compact Scout a lot of attention. Whatever the reason, this knife certainly has an amazing design. It is the little brother to the Bear Grylls Scout Knife. This is a lock blade folding knife designed to slip into a pouch and pocket. This is quite convenient since it doesn’t come with a belt clip or sheath.
The knife has an overall length of 5.8 inches, with a blade that’s 2.5 inches long. We love that it weighs less than an ounce at around 27 grams. The blade is constructed from carbon stainless steel with a nice grayish anti-reflective coating that lasts through aggressive use. It comes razor sharp right out of the box. The blade has a drop-point design with the characteristic convex curve from the back towards the knife point. A little over a third of blade surface is serrated while the rest of the blade has a fine edge. Serrated blades cut rope limbs, cord and other stuff with ease. The only downside with serrated blades is that they are a pain to sharpen.
The spine of the blade features a notched rasp that provides a surface to the forefinger and thumb for more control as well as leverage. In regards to the blade locking mechanism, this baby tucks safely into the solid composite handle for safe carrying. The knife opens easily thanks to the nail notch. The blade pivot hinge is incredible, but it is a little too hefty for a knife this small.
The handle is a little over one inch wide which compared to other knives is a little too thin. However, the thinness of the knife combined with its low weight makes it barely recognizable in the pocket. The handle also has a notched pattern that helps with a firm grip. Unlike other knives in the Bear Grylls line, this one doesn’t come with a rubberized over molded grip covering.
Overall, this is a great survival knife that hikers, scouts, backpackers and other outdoor enthusiasts will find useful.
Gerber Manual Combat Folder
The Gerber Manual Combat Folder is a great folding knife for tactical situations. As the name implies, it has a manual opening mechanism. In addition to being made in the United States, this knife is constructed using S30V stainless steel and features an anodized aluminum machined handle. The handle features steel backing on the inside for durability. One of the first things you notice right out of the package is the large pummel that’s made using a thick piece of carbon steel.
The Gerber Manual Combat Folder comes with a drop point blade with a convex curve that extends from the back to the knife point. In other words, the blade drops and slops to the point downward. There is also a clip point where the top of the blade is ground on both sides, thus allowing you to sharpen the top front portion of the blade. This makes penetrating into objects and cutting easier. It is also important to note that the Gerber Manual Combat Folder has a manual with a HEX tool that can be maintained easily.
Other features of this knife include a drop point S30V stainless steel blade, slide safety, large finger coil, lanyard hole, partially serrated blade, aluminum handle, striking pummel and dual thumb studs. All things considered, this knife will prove useful in survival situations.
Overall, this is a great knife to have in your possession in the event of an emergency situation. The quality of the blade, good grip, superior materials and sharp blade are a proof of that.
Gerber Paraframe II Tanto
Whether you are in the military, law enforcement or a simple civilian in need of a decent pocket knife, the Gerber Paraframe II will prove worth the money. It is part of the Gerber Tactical line and as such, you can rest assured that it was built to withstand harsh situations. That said, this knife doesn’t have any features that civilians won’t find useful as a survival tool.
Some of the specifications include 3.5-inch blade length, 4.75-inch closed length, and overall length of 8.13 inches as well as a weight of 4.3 ounces. The knife comes with a stainless steel blade, specifically 7Cr17Mov. The handle is also constructed from stainless steel, a material that is used for its resistance to wear, rust as well as corrosion and lasts through rigorous use. The partially serrated tanto blade is coated to improve resistance to corrosion. The frame lock safety function is a welcome feature that allows the blade from sliding while in use or injuring someone when not in use.
Despite having dual thumb studs, getting the left-hand thumb on the stud can prove difficult due to the presence of a pocket clip on the right side. The frame lock safety function is a lot like a liner function with the only difference being that it is part of the frame. Perhaps the best thing about the Gerber Paraframe II Tanto is the versatility it offers. The knife can be used for everything ranging from cutting ropes to digging.
All in all, this knife comes with great features that you will find useful for EDC, at a very affordable price tag, the Gerber Paraframe II offers a lot of value without breaking the bank.
Today, Gerber is a sub-division of a company known as Fiskars that is based in Finland. With such a long list of great knives, it is safe to say that we will be seeing more of Gerber for a long time to come. Their line of utility and survival knives, as well as their survival gear, is all top notch. The company certainly excels at providing the consumers with what they need. And while we may have covered some of their top knives, it’s important to note that the company has so much more to offer. With some of the knives having being in production for more than twenty years and some of the employees having stepped out to build successful knife companies, Gerber does more than just cater to its consumers. It is quite clear that employees love it and learn a great deal from the company. Other companies can certainly learn a thing or two from Gerber about empowering employees while catering to the consumer needs. What do you think about this knife production mogul? Is your favorite knife from Gerber reviewed here? If not, let us know more about it in the comment section.
Image Credit by Bill Bradford