Gerber AF Combat folder

Oct 27, 1998
I just picked up one of these with the double edge cheap at a local gun show. I know they have been out for a few years now but I can't seem to find many comments about them on the forums. As a LEO I think this knife fits the bill, It's big, strong, well made and not to expensive. I realize it has a 425M blade and I've been spoilt by ATS34 and 440V, but I can get an edge on it that will shave very easily, how long it stays there is another thing but it's quick to sharpen. I also have a single edge Covert and the precison on both knives is extremely good for a factory knife. The Combat also seems to have bronze alloy washers(?) instead of plastic ones which is a nice feature, adding to the overall brute strength of this knife. As a dependable, strong knife for LEO work I can't fault it. Also, the late Rex Applegate explains very logically the benefits of this type of blade/handle combo in his books.It seems to me that there are a lot of knives on the market claiming to be tactical self defense knives but most of them are no more than glorified pocket knives. Has anyone else had experience with this knife and what are your thoughts.
I have one of these. Bought it 2 years ago at a gun show. Mine is ATS-34. I guess they've since changed the blade steel. There are alot of things to love about this knife. Very smooth action. Excellent eronomics. Cool looking. I bought a BM CQC7 at the same time and without exception people to whom I showed the two knives liked the AF better. It was my daily carry knife for quite awhile.

Unfortunately all was not bliss with this knife. The sheath broke after about a year. This pissed me off. I was thinking about having Edgeworks make me a new sheath but then I started hearing about liner lock failures. I read Joe T's liner lock FAQ and performed the tests on my AF. Much to my horror, the lock failed every time with only a moderate whack on the spine. Now the knife sits in a drawer and has been replaced by a CS Vaquero Grande (soon to be replaced by a REKAT Sifu or a Camillus BFF1).

In short, I can't recommend this knife for any real tactical usage, particularly self defense. The possibility of it folding up on you is just too great.



FWIW, I just ran the full series of liner lock tests -- whack the spine, white knuckle, etc. -- on my AF Combat folder & it passed with flying colors. While I'm not doubting that yours failed, MM, it is hard for me to understand how the Walker lock could have been defeated by a moderate spine whack unless it was defective.

Is it possible that Gerber changed liner lock styles on this model? Mine is a "First Production Run" and the grooved metal piece on the end of the liner engages the full width of the tang. Aside from going back into the handle recess, there is just no room for the liner to go anywhere.

I have the new covert folder and it seems impossible to disengage the the linelock with the safety on. Has anyone out there done the cold steel weight hanging test on the Covert? I'd like to know but can't make myself ruin a great knife.

Both of mine were marked as yours is......both failed the light tap test. One would close like a tight slipjoint. One has improved with use and no longer fails the test. Lots of snapping open sometimes helps.
But there have been very many reports on rec.knives of AF failures.
Some were ok, some were defective. Luck of the draw.
The Walker lock has to be built to exact tolerances.
Gerber, apparently, were remiss in the area of quality control..Even some "Walkers" by respected custom makers have proved to be less than perfect.
I had an email from Gerber that says all future knives will be made to meet the "AT Barr test" ( includes the rap on the spine procedure). Imo, this is an admission that they were aware that they had a problem. They did offer to fix mine but I did not think they were worth the mailing from Australia to the US and return.

Brian W E
ICQ #21525343
I think, therefore I am.....I think


Thanks for enlightening me on the problems w/multiple AF failures. I guess, as you suggest, that Gerber had serious problems w/consistency of QC.

The lesson this has taught me is not to automatically trust the lock-up of any folder, regardless of how solid it looks. Until MM's post I had never tested the AF simply because it looked so secure. I got lucky with my AF but you can bet I won't leave things to chance again.

I'm suprised to hear of a Gerber AF Combat folder with ATS34 steel, as far as I know they are all made from 425M. The Covert has ATS34. The liner lock on my Combat has the best lockup of any knife I own and that includes 5 BM's and som Spyderco's. The liner itself is very thick and has a very strong spring to it. Added with the widened tip where the liner engages the tang produces a very strong lock up on my knife. Out of all my knives I have the most faith in this one. I'm looking forward to getting a Emerson Commander, I hear the lockup on them is very good too. Thanks for the replies guys.
Well...hmmm...I thought it was ATS-34. Maybe I'm mistaken.


Mike Melone

"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them." --Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796

My question on this knife is why Gerber never offered it in plain edge only. I think its a good looking piece of work but those serrations.
i am considering to buy a gerber combat does it compare to the cold steel gunsite, the cqc7 by benchmade and the afck???