Gerber SLG 3.25 - First Impressions

Apr 8, 1999
It's been a long time since I've purchased a Gerber. About 25 years ago they were the only knives I would carry...that was when Pete Gerber still owned the company. My favorite was the Classic...a great knife and very rugged. It was built with a 440C blade, brass handles and cocobolo scales. I still have a couple saved in a collection and I will never part with them. Since Fiskars took the company over I have found myself less than interested in the knives they produce...they are not bad for the price but certainly not aspiring to compete with Benchmade or Spyderco...until now. The Gerber SLG 3.25 has just reached the street and I picked one up at Bayou Laforche Knifeworks for around $45. This is the G-10 version…a carbon fiber version, the SL 3.25, has not yet been released.

My initial impression was that the knife is very lightweight and slender. Closed the knife is 4.25” and the blade is 3.25” (hence the 3.25 in the name) with and edge length slightly over 3”. With a little calculation the overall is 7.5”. To give you an idea of the slenderness of the knife, the middle swell of the scale measures .75” wide. The edge out of the box would shave (obverse side up) but when I turned the knife over (reverse side up) and tried the other arm found that it would not shave at all. I checked and found a slight wire edge on the knife which I took off and it became razor sharp (both sides). The texture of the scales when compared to other G-10 handles I’ve seen is somewhat finer and less grippy. There is only one liner on the knife…the liner lock. After several “whacks” on the back of the blade, I passed it on the liner-lock test. The knife is designed to be used for right-handed opening and closing although the thumb stud is dual-sided. There is a blackened clip for tip-down deep pocket carry. The blade is marked “Gerber International” “ATS-34” and on the reverse side it is marked “First Production Run” “Taiwan”. The finish of the blade is polished with the quality for manufactured knives.

The knife is constructed of G-10 and ATS-34. I don’t know the exact composition of the liner but suspect that it is a stainless steel along with the spacers, bolts, pivot and lanyard hole. My major complaint with most manufactured knives is that the steel is usually not heat treated to it’s maximum potential (mainly due to batch processing). In spite of this the ATS-34 is the right direction for Gerber but this is not the first time they have used it. The size and materials of this knife seemed close to the G-10 Klotzli Walker knife and so I put them side-by-side to compare. The one problem that has always bothered me about the Walker knife is: the thickness of the G-10 scales were the same thickness of the carbon fiber model and this is way too thin for the G-10 model and it is evident by the bulge on the liner side. I must point out the scales on both knives are asymmetric, that is to say, they are thinner on the side with the liner lock to make the overall thickness of each side of the knife equal. The SLG knife does not suffer the fate of the Walker knife. The thinnest scale on the SLG is as thick as the thickest scale on the Walker, so I could not detect any deflection on the liner side of the SLG.

I like the design of the knife because of it’s light weight and sturdy construction. The knife is of an open construction with a pivot and three spacers along the spine. In addition there is a lanyard hole that acts as a spacer. The knife scales are held together with a torx head screw on each side of the knife. The pivot is also adjustable using a torx tool. The deep pocket clip is held on using two of the spacer screws on the reverse side. The blade is a deep drop point. The handle is comfortable but I find the handle-to-blade angle to be too acute. The blade bends down in a more tactical orientation rather than straight. This makes the knife difficult to use as a paring knife and decreases it’s overall utility. I did find a slight flaw with my particular knife. When I was sharpening the knife, I saw a small nick in the blade. On closer inspection, I discovered that the blade was hitting one of the spacers.

This knife is produced in Taiwan, following the success of both CRKT, Gigand, and others. The knife shows no flaws and is up to the same standard of other knives I’ve seen from other companies. In spite of some grind marks left near the tip of the blade, overall the knife is very well done.

The knife is definitely worth the money. The materials, design, and production puts it on par with some other manufactured knives at considerably higher prices. I would not put it quite in the class of, say, Spyderco or Benchmade until it can be determined if the ATS-34 in the blade was properly heat treated (an upcoming test) and the knife is put through some paces to determine if the construction is as rugged as it appears.

I like the knife and plan on making it my regular least for a while.

Jeff Jenness

[This message has been edited by jeffj (edited 07-03-2000).]
The liner and locking bar are made of titanium (at least Tac Knives I think says so). What I like is the amount of friction between the bar and the back of the blade tang requires a little bit more force to disengage the lock.

I also found that if you close the blade very gently, the edge does not touch the spacer in question. However, if I press down on the knife, then contact is made. I've found that this is the problem in more than a couple of "slab" design knives with the spacers.

Overall very nice and very sharp. And it's my daily carry, too.

[This message has been edited by fmann (edited 07-03-2000).]

I believe you are correct. I tested the liner and the other parts with a strong magnet and the liner did not respond. So I revise the materials to:

Stainless steel: pocket clip, pivot spacers, lanyard hole, screws
Titanium: liner

Makes me all the more pleased with this knife.

Jeff Jenness