Gerber AirFrame review request

Dec 10, 2000
I was thinking about buying one of these knives, but first I wanted to know what other people thought of thiers, and how they preform. Thanks for your help.
hey, i don't have a review, but there was one in an issue of tactical knives, about 3 or 4 months ago.
it got a very good review.
what i wanted to post was i heard they stopped production on it because there were problems in casting the titanium handles, so they went to machining the titanium, but that costed too much, so they're ending production after the existing orders are filled.
i could be wrong, i'd like to know for sure, it's a nice knife

the crazied knife weilding Sarah McLachlan fan =)
Knife Fumbler - welcome to the forums! I would like to expound on what you had said about the Air Frames. I have an Air Frame (pre-production, with cast handles) and was curious about them machining the handles as opposed to casting. I was in touch with Bob Scudder, Gerber's Product Line Manager via email and here are excerpts from his reply:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I think you got a pretty straight story from everyone. The current production of Air Frames consist of machined 6AL4V titanium handles. Although we got very close on the casting of the titanium handles we never achieved the consistency we were looking for.</font>

Further more:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The balance of production on the Air Frames will consist of about 1700 units..... There is some potential that we will offer further limited editions of the Air Frame. Aluminum handles are under consideration at this time.</font>

How do you tell if an Air Frame has a cast handle as opposed to machined?

[*] The overall surface texture will be more even, as they are bead blasting the scales.
[*] The edges of the cut-outs in the handle scales will be chamfered on the machined ones, the cast ones will have rounded edges
[*] On the cast ones, Harsey's signature is actually cast into the handle scale. Though, the size of the signature and the casting process unfortunately resulted in a very muddy looking signature. The machined ones have his signature laser engraved onto the blade.

Here is the text from Gerber's press release for the knife:

Hope this info helps.

Proud member of AKTI, NCCKG, NCKK, and SCAK

In memory of James K. Mattis
I don't mean to be especially negative, but did they write up that press release before even trying to build one?

Sure sounds like it.

No problem though, I don't know of any press release that wasn't spin and exageration.

I received my Airframe this morning from the Knifecenter. It has the "machined" titanium slabs. It is first class in every way. It even has a cutout/detent so that the blade stops at 90 degrees when opened or closed. The workmanship is on par with the Microtek LCC. The Airframe is a good size knife (a little on the big size for me). I have a soft spot for the older Gerber knives- Mark I and II's, Paul knives both original and the newer re issues and even some of their old aluminum handled kitchen knives (my wife uses them in the kitchen). I hope Gerber will continue to produce such good quality peices from now on.

I may not be a rocket scientist, but I like knives...

[This message has been edited by Ed Gordon (edited 12-20-2000).]
Got to play around with one of these at the shop. I was impressed by the quality. I have never been a Gerber fan, but they definitly did their homework for this one. This is a large knife, maybe slightly larger than LCC, and it has the same rock solid feel to it just like the LCC. Definitly a nice knife, but the retail price of $240 kind of set me back. I am sure you will find it cheaper, and you won't be dissapointed with it.
Are their any differences between machined and cast handles that would affect the use of the knife itself; ie strength?? I am just curious whether the strength or the quality of the handle changes withs the way it is made.
Got mine the other day. Out of the box I have to say I was not impressed. The edge is nice and sharp. Damn well better be for that much money. The ball detent does not keep the blade closed as well as I would like but is good enough. The pocket clip was not tight against the handle which I would expect. It was as if the knife had been used for a few months. They need to come up with something better. There are scratches in the finnish all along the top of the handle on the clip side. With that and the loose clip I am really wondering if this has been used already. The lock engagement is just fine don't change a thing there Gerber. The feel of the handle in the hand does not do a thing for me. I do like the tension of the pivot pin screw. Generally I loosen them on most factory knives just a hair but this one is just fine. Really as a first effort for Gerber in this segment of the knife market this is not a bad knife. I do feel the price is a bit high though for what it is. If the knife had 440V or at least BG42 I think the knife would be a better value. All in all after one day with this knife at work. I have decided to go back to my Kershaw Boa. For anyone thinking of buying one or the other. Save the money. Buy the Boa. Not a bad first effort Gerber but you can do better.


Tom Carey
I just purchased an AirFrame last night. It is plain-edged and--I guess--the machined handled version. Harsey's signature and "First Production Run" appears on the right side of the blade.

Of the three available at the dealer, mine was the last plain-edged and "1st Production Run" model. The other two were partially serrated and had did not have first run markings. So it seems that there may be three versions of AirFrames: Pre-production, 1st Run, and...regular? Does anyone know the details of how they differ?

I think this knife is similar in heft to my large Sebenza but different in alot of other ways. I am amazed to learn that the handle on my knife is (probably) machined since the contour of the knife when viewed from the top is tapered at the front and rear ends and fatter (for lack of a better description) in the middle. Very unique. I find it difficult to describe here--the sides are not flat from front to back. It begs the question: How did they do it?

Another customer at the dealer who was already carrying the AirFrame, told me that he really liked the knife and that it was his primary carry piece (he backs it up with a BM Osborne). He urged me to get one and "guaranteed" that I would not regret the purchase.

I'll be carrying the AirFrame "off and on" for the next few weeks and may post a more detailed evaluation later.

Oh, and btw I also picked up a Spyderco VG-10 plain-edged Viele last night--no third person testimony was needed; the knife speaks for itself and I heard it loud and clear.

Edit: I just noticed that the label on the box says "Cast Titanium Handles": Is it really "cast" or is it false advertising? (Actually, I think the buyer may be getting a better deal with the machining in lieu of the cast production. After all, the attraction is the resulting shape of the handle and not the production method--I would think that machining to acheve this result is more expensive than casting since more labor is required?)

[This message has been edited by toothed (edited 01-15-2001).]
I have one with a second on the way. I am very encouraged that Gerber may be ready to turn the corner and enter as a serious player in the tactical field. The Airframe is one solid knife! The homework was done correctly on this one. Everything about it bespeaks quality. It has one of the smoothest opening blades I've handled in a while and has the correct tension, for me at least. Lockup is very precise with the lock coming over to be covered by the left side of the blade tang. No blade play at all in this one. The first thing to strike me was that handle. The way it is tapered at each end and swells in the middle. I don't know about anyone else but it feels great in my hand.
I don't think you can go wrong with this knife, especially since it is already discontinued!

Art Sigmon
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
Php. 4:13

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword"
Heb. 4:12
Artsig1, I guess only a few of us will experience this unique knife. I checked several online dealers for the availability and pricing on this knife and found that the AirFrame may soon be on the extinct list.

It's a good backup to a fixed blade knife when out in the woods; however, due to its relative lightness (for a large knife) it's also suitable for urban carry when size matters. Although the new Viele is my current pet, I find myself constantly pocketing the AirFrame and thinking to myself, "I could carry this daily."

Tactical Knives Magazine had an article about the knife in the Nov 2000 issue.The photos accompanying the article showed an
AirFrame with the cast handle. IMO the machined version that I have looks alot cleaner than the cast handle. This is good. However, the article mentions that the top of the pocket clip is inlaid into the cast handle. This makes me jealous.

I'm impressed with this knife and I like the idea that the AirFrame will not be produced in large numbers. Let's keep it a secret.

[This message has been edited by toothed (edited 01-17-2001).]