Gerber Quality

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by zfJames, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. foxdoublegunner


    Aug 20, 2010
    In the mid 90's I had several of the Gerber multitools where the pliers jaws could be flicked out of the handle and into action. The last one of these was what I carried into Iraq with me in 2003. They all worked fine-nothing fancy but dependable and on par with the first generation of Leatherman tools. That last one was lost while redeploying back to the States. My bride replaced it with the newer version that had fat, spring loaded pliers jaws and rubber inlays in the handle. Didn't feel like the same quality and the rubber inserts didn't last long before falling off. I didn't really warm up to that version and eventually replaced them in the rotation with a used Leatherman Wave which I bought off of e-bay. I often carry the Leatherman Wave but never reach for the Gerber. Everything about the Leatherman feels like better quality while the old Gerber multiool just feels cheap and waiting for an opportunity to break in my hands. The only thing that the Gerber may have over the Leatherman is the locking mechanism. This cheapening of the Gerber brand seemed to just continue with the intro of the Bear Grylls line in Wally World. I personally wouldn't put Gerber in the same category as the US made Buck knives nor Leatherman even though they target the same customer. I own and have carried a Buck 112 for a number of years-a quality knife made with decent steel that you are not afraid of using. Nothing fancy, nothing too expensive, just dependable.

    zfJames and DocJD like this.
  2. Wunderbar


    May 2, 2003
    Gerber and quality do not fit in the same sentence. I've been collecting Gerber since the 1980's. Good knives back then. Fiskers blew it. First off...when they started importing, their warranty was for only 1 yr. Well that didn't last because of the shoddy quality. Lately customer service has been an issue. Like Microtech....they keep no record of knife components, (clips, screws, sheaths, etc.) Several recalls haven't helped their image. All their knives are overpriced compared to similar models. Really just making "whatever" for the masses. I would say that Guidesman, Schrade, Camillus, and Kershaw have better offerings for less money. The U.S. Models with premium steel are low quality. Better off getting Piranha and Protech as far as their autos go. Especially when they have $120 autos with 420 steel. Baer Grylls actually had a Gator folder break on him in Man vs. Wild. In the Walking Dead they showed Rick Grimes using one and it closed on his hand. He then replaced it with a Southern Grind model. You can't go wrong with their U.S. Lower end fix blades if they are on sale. Stay away from the LMF. You pay twice the price of a Prodigy just because it comes with a larger butt plate. Gerber knives are generally dull crap, overpriced, and heavy compared to other competitors. Blah, Blah....I could continue for hours.
    zfJames likes this.
  3. Finan47


    Apr 18, 2017
    If I had to choose a Becker or a Gerber I think I would lean towards Gerber. Not based on materials, but based on design. I prefer 1095 over 420hc Gerber uses, but Gerber's designs are more functional in my opinion. I think that is one area Gerber doesn't get enough credit - is in the design department. They do have creative yet functional knife/sheath designs. It is a shame they don't place more emphasis on using high quality materials (and QC) in at least a subset of their products. I would consider them if they did.

    The first knife I ever bought for myself was a 499 Air Force survival knife. As a kid the 499 and a Swiss army knife were my only blades. The 499 is long gone, and I haven't used any of the newer OKC blades, but I think I'll put a few on my wishlist. Heck I may buy a 499 for nostalgia's sake - I never found it to be really functional as a kid, I just thought it looked cool. (The OKC rats do look like a good line of knives.)

    That said I would prefer my ESEE PR4, or Spyderco Bushcraft, over any Gerber I have based on materials and design.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
  4. Jack_Burton


    Feb 23, 2017
    Don't let the knife snobs on these forums deter you. For the 50 dollar price range, the Gerber Strongarm looks to be a damn good knife that will take a ton of hard use. (see 'the gauntlet' youtube video testing series on the Strongarm)

    Personally, I have found it hard to find bad reviews on the Strongarm. From most of what I can find, Gerber has made a good quality fixed blade here.

    Is there low quality Gerber product out there? Sure there is, but the patient & discerning buyer knows where most of this comes from anyways.

    I have a couple newer USA made Gerbers and I have no complaints. Just stay away from the cheaper, foreign-made stuff and you should be fine.
  5. Frotier76


    Dec 14, 2013
    I'm going to reply on this post on Gerber and forgive my nostalgia creeping in but I think you'll get my point on Gerber.

    When I was a kid we weren't cuddling our Schrade's and giving them kissy faces and calling our $20-$50 knives 'special'.We used them for the design and function they were intended for.You sharpened it and called it a day and all you had to concern on edge retention was the debate between tool steel and the higher cost of stainless steel.If you lost or stole your knife or snapped the tip marched down to the local hardware store and bought another.A reliable and functional cutting tool domestic or imported isn't hard to make...the design is what sells it.

    Gerber's out of China follow that philosophy on just function and some good models have came and gone...

    The Metolius Series
    The Profile
    The Myth (fixed blade model)
    The Big Rock
    The Obsidian (never liked the screwdriver though...poorly crafted)
    Torch II
    Presto 3.0 and 3.5
    Fast Draw
    Air Ranger (I'm more partial to the edge geometry on their Taiwan era)

    These are the imported models at least that I like by Gerber and all those ran in that ballpark range on price.The point is you're going to find hit and miss on both USA and China made in that price factor.But most of the USA stuff I find to be a 'miss' strangely is popular by some YouTube reviewer's recommendation who doesn't look like they've been using it or at least enough to give a legit opinion.No residue on the factory edge,grit scrape marks to the bevel from sharpening,no rub or actual scratches to the coated blades or signs of use.There's a level of dishonesty in addressing inconsistencies on USA made inexpensive knives but those very eager to point out the slightest little thing on a Gerber.

    Concerning Gerber's blade steel I'm sure I'm going to get some criticism on my viewpoint but I'm not really concerned about the Rockwell hardness by China.Traditional stainless steels domestic and foreign are soft and I usually rate their performance by grind,bevel width, and edge geometry to know how far I can take it when it comes to coarse materials since their softness causes them to dull quicker...cutting power can overcome that to an extent.It's more fair to judge any knife you encounter by the performance of the blade design firsthand then the steel quality because like I said results vary.Gerber's steel is nothing special-it sharpens easily and keeps it's edge for a while if it's not the monotonous use of just being a box-cutter.But to say Gerber's steel as a whole is crap just sounds a bit uneducated.
    zfJames likes this.
  6. hunter55


    Apr 22, 2011
    I have to say that my folder Gerber Freeman, sold by Cabelas (USA S30V), is still effective... after some years of usage...
    I have to add that my Strongarm as well my LMF II are cutting very well, after hard usage... After some years these tools are still effective...
    Just these few words: "the tools are still effective". That is enough for me.
    And I would like to add what data I found in Amazon.
    The vast majority of buyers have only good words to say about Strongarm and LMF II:

    That is all... (a lot as far as my humble opinion is concerned) about the Gerbery quality...
  7. SharpieB


    Oct 31, 2017
    I forgot about Gerber’s fixed stuff. Or bad at all generally.

    I have a couple at the cottage (forget the models), and they are good knives. One is a 12” Gerber machete that I bash the living crap out of cutting trees, batoning wood, etc. and it is a beast. The steel is pretty crappy though. I think I paid $30 for it. The finish is wearing quick, but it is still rock solid.
    zfJames likes this.
  8. redhawk44357


    Jun 1, 2002
    I own the A/F versions in all 3 sizes and have found them solid and well built.. The covert and the combat folders are my present edc.
  9. panella

    panella Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    I used to find Gerber designs very appealing. And I never had any complaints about quality in the knives I purchased from them. Until recently I carried my original Harsey Air Ranger II as my EDC for years. Super tough knife. The aluminum scales are worn, but the washers still operate smoothly and there’s no blade play after years of everyday use. Still feels solid. Super light too. Love the Roto lock also.

    I met Bill Harsey at the SHOT show a few years ago and pulled out my Air Ranger II to show him. He seemed surprised and pleased that I was still carrying a long discontinued knife.
    For me, it’s still my ideal folder design. Gerber did a great job. The AUS 8 or whatever mystery steel they used is adequate and has held up ok. If only it had something like BG-42 or S30V it would be perfect. I wish someone would reintroduce it.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
  10. sabre cat

    sabre cat Basic Member Basic Member

    Jul 4, 2014
    You last two guys note the dates of previous post?

    Oh, what the heck, Gerber has seen better days. In my opinion you can do better for the money spent.

    With that being said, I love their 600 series multi-tools. Sure the finish isn’t the best and the steel heat treatment is questionable. But, whenever I am tired, cold and wet, I find the Gerber multi tools easier to use than something like a Leatherman Wave.

    Don’t get me wrong. Leatherman makes a superior product. No question. But Gerber‘s ergonomics win me over.
    chiral.grolim likes this.

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