Roughly a year ago, TPF Online wrote an installment on a Gerber/Bear Grylls collaboration called the Ultimate Survival Knife. The knife itself caught the interest of one of the author’s more adventurous friends and he acquired it. What many reader may not realize is that in some cases, product images and information is created long before a review is written. After over a year of abuse in the back country of Ontario, Mr. Jody Hammel submitted this review of the knife.
GERBER/BEAR GRYLLS ULTIMATE SURVIVAL KNIFE
I had seen and acquired the Ultimate Survival Knife back in early September 2013, having had to wait for TPF to finish photos and gathering information on it, before handing it over to me. I have since been using this knife as my main camp knife when in the back woods of Algonquin Park which I frequent several times a year. In general the blade feels solid in construction. The blade itself is 3/8” thick at its base where it meets the handle. After 3″, it begins to taper to the tip point and has an overall blade length of just less than 5”. The rubberized handle has a nice grip that does not slip in your hand when it is wet. The index finger grove is nice for added stability. The pommel appears to be made to the same metal as the blade and is perfect for driving in tent stakes or cracking open stubborn walnuts. I have bashed a few things with this and it doesn’t show any wear and tear. I have yet to try the whistle on the lanyard.
The Ferrocerium fire starter rod that is built into the sheath came in handy one night as my lighter was hung 40 feet up a tree with the rest of the cooking gear. We had no issues using the rod and the back of the knife’s blade to get the fire started. While I was concerned that the striker rod may come lose and get lost, it never
I did use the blade for some bush whacking to clear trail to where our food and cooking gear was hung. The front of the blade was fine but the serrated section did not fare too well. This is no great loss to me as I was not a fan of the serrated part any way.
My only complaint is not with the knife itself but with the sheath. I find that it sits too high on my belt and the squared off corners would either dig into my side or scrape against it. It would be nice if the entire knife and sheath hung a little lower to avoid this issue or if the sheath’s corners were rounded. The rest of the sheath is good and the knife sits snug and won’t easily fall out even with the Velcro clasp undone. The fire rod does hang upside down but again is a snug fit and I have never had it fall out by accident. On the back there is a knife sharpening flat that I have had no use for as the knife has kept its edge. The serration edge would require a specialized sharpener to re-edge the tips of the serrations, but not too worried about it.
Over all it is a good all around knife. I used it to whittle tent stakes out of branches with and then drive them into the ground. The blade is beefy enough than I can use it to split larger branches by hitting it with another log and have no fear of breaking the blade. I also like the orange colouring but that’s just personal.
I never needed the whistle or the SOS instructions attached to the knife and sheath, so cannot really comment on those features.
• Feels good in the hand (I have long fingers).
• Blade keeps an edge.
• Solid construction.
• Colouring helps locate if dropped.
• Fits snug in the case.
• Sheath rides to high on the belt causing discomfort.
Many Thanks to Mr. Hammel for his time and efforts in getting back to TPF-Online and writing this review after many months of usage and abuse while adventuring in the regions of Algonquin Park.
Edward Michael Grylls.
Many of our readers may not recognize that name, but if TPF were to mention “Bear” Grylls, you may recall that he is the United Kingdom’s version of Les Stroud, and a worldwide adventurer! In truth, if you are a long time reader of TPF, you would have known about this person from previously reviewed products. In this installment of TPF, yet another Gerber/Grylls collaboration was done on what is titled the “Ultimate Knife”. As always however, we here at TPF will give you the facts and details and leave the decisions to you, the readers.
The Ultimate Knife is supposedly the only knife you would need in a survival/adventuring excursion. The knife and sheath come with a myriad of features and requirements that would provide many basic necessities for outdoor use. Gerber Legendary Blades has a whole realm of Grylls’ survival equipment available, but of course there is never enough space to describe everything.
Contained within the 254mm (10.0″) overall length of the knife is a 122mm (4.8″) drop point blade. This half serrated, hollow ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17Mov Stainless Steel which allows for good edge retention and extreme ease of cutting rope when required. The blade’s serrations start from the choil of the blade and run approximately 47.5mm (1.875″) in length and with a spine thickness of 4.8mm (0.19″) this knife is fairly robust and meaty by massing 318 grams (11.2 oz).
The handle is manufactured from an orange coloured polymer and is embedded with TacHide™ rubber to ensure a secure and comfortable grip on the knife when in use. Add to that a hammer/pommel measuring 32.4mm x 21.5mm (1.28″ x 0.85″) to the hilt of the knife and it becomes easier to see why Gerber and Bear claim this is the ultimate outdoor knife.
There are actually even more features of the knife which are included for additional survival requirements. On the back edge of the knife spine, is a 19mm (0.75″) section which is machined down as a striker for the fire-starter, to be mentioned later in this review. As well are three through holes measuring 4.9mm (0.195″) in diameter, two of which are at the front edge of the guard and one in the pommel. These three holes are present for if and when the user wishes to mount the knife on a shaft for a spear. An emergency whistle is integrated into a lanyard cord which is threaded through the pommel’s hole, but it is the sheath and all it’s features which add to the collective exuberance of features in the whole package.
The sheath and secured knife mass a total of 418 grams (14.7 oz) and measure 278mm (10.9″) overall in length when worn. The knife retaining portion of the sheath is manufactured from a injection molded polymer which houses the fire-starter. This fire-starter is a Ferrocerium rod which is embedded into a small plastic handle that snaps into a specific area on the polymer sheath. By striking.scraping the fire-starter against the “striker” located on the knife’s spine, the user can generate high temperature sparks and ultimately fire which is always a great benefit to those who adventure outdoors. The remainder of the sheath is manufactured from ballistic black nylon and contains additional items of interest. The nylon sheath has two (2) Velcro straps on it. The first one is to secure the knife’s handle more fully when fully sheathed, and the second strap holds the plastic knife sheath portion against the nylon sheath backing. The first question to pop into your mind may be why bother? Mounted to the backside of the plastic sheath is a diamond grit sharpening insert of sufficient size to resharpen the knife’s plain edge.
With survival in mind, the mildew resistant sheath has two more features to help the adventuring outdoorsman. The first is a sewn in pocket which depicts various land to air rescue instructions and signals. This pocket also contains a tightly folded, water resistant, basic survival guide which contains Bear Grylls’ survival essentials. The sheath can be worn two orientations, the tradition hanging belt loop orientation, plus the sheath has two additional loops which allow for a horizontal wearing. For the second method, it is likely that the handle Velcro strap would not be used for additional securing of the blade.
The “Ultimate Knife” as reviewed, was released in late 2010 by Gerber Legendary Blades under product number #31-000751, and is still available to this day at an MSRP of $62.00USD. It can be found all across Canada both online and at real storefront locations such as Wholesale Sports, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. So depending on your requirements, how would you class this “Ultimate Knife”? Tactical? Practical? Or fantastical?
Additional Notes: there are newer options for the Ultimate Knife such as a pure fine edged blade instead of the partially serrated one, as well as a Pro version which uses a higher quality and denser steel for it’s plain edge.
For many readers, the name Bear Grylls may sound somewhat familiar. If you watched a fair amount of outdoors featured television programs, you may have come across the show Man versus Wild. Man versus Wild ran from mid-2006 until late-2011 and starred Edward Michael “Bear” Grylls who demonstrated various survival techniques and theoretical situations and various methods of resolving those problems. Gerber Legendary Knives has collaborated with Bear Grylls in launching a survival series of products which are purportedly for aiding outdoorsmen during their foray’s into the wilderness. In today’s installment of TPF, The Ultimate Kit of the Gerber/Bear Grylls survival series is reviewed.
The first thing you will note is the bag the kit comes in itself. manufactured from a lightweight black nylon material which has additional heavy reinforcement threads, a.k.a. Ripstop weaving, to help resist tearing and ripping, and prevent the expansion of small tears which may occur. The zipper closure is classed as being waterproof, but there is a very small gap in the teeth obvious when the zipper is fully closed, which visually seems to void this claim. The author did not however actually test the waterproof claim so it MAY be true.
The two most identifiable and visible items that are seen is the lanyard whistle attached to the zipper and the Land-to-Air rescue instructions which are located on the backside of the bag. With All the various components still packed inside, the bag measures roughly 170mm x 120mm x 40mm (6.7″ x 5.5″ x 1.6″) and masses roughly 280 grams (9.0 oz). From the Gerber factory, all the components are contained inside a waterproof zip-loc transparent bag, which is manufactured from extra thick materials. The author was quite impressed with the sheer volume of items contained, but TPF will allow the readers to judge the individual components as being worthwhile for inclusion in the Ultimate Kit.
TPF will go through the list of items contained in the Ultimate Kit for the Survivor Series line.
- Waterproof Ziplock Bag – The container that all inner tools come packaged inside.
- Miniature Light – A key chain mountable LED light
- Hand Saw – A metallic cable saw with pull rings on both ends
- Emergency Whistle – Larger than the lanyard whistle, more range and louder
- Signaling Mirror – A small mirror for reflecting signals and instructions on use
- Survival Blanket – A space blanket made of mylar and used for reduced heat loss
- Fire Starter – With a steel striker connected to a ferrocerium rod on a short lanyard
- Waterproof Matches – Quantity of eight (8), with an abrasive ignition strip
- Cotton Ball – Tinder for starting fires
- Snare Wire – Approximately 305mm (12″) of brass wire
- Emergency Cord – Roughly 2.4M (8′) of white braided nylon cord
- Waxed Thread – A small spool of heavy thread, unknown length
- Fishing Kit – A small quantity of fishing line with four sets of hooks, split sinkers, and swivel clevises
- Sewing Kit – Black, white, red, and gray threads, needle, and a black and white button
- Pocket Guide – Priorities of Survival, basic information book on survival
- Multi-tool – Gerber Clutch
- Needle nose pliers, wire cutter, small knife blade, nail-file, trio of small screwdrivers, bottle opener, tweezers, lanyard ring
For this review, none of the items were removed from their packaging and approximations were made about lengths, but it is impressive to see just how much one is able fit into the small bag. There are some very nice and well thought out items in this package such as the cotton ball tinder and the brass snare wire, but at the same token, why is there so little of them? You could easily hold two to three times the quantity of snare wire, cotton balls, fishing line, etc.. without worrying about internal space constraints or cost extras. Readers should be aware that this kit is not intended to be a long-term survival kit, which would be much larger and include greater quantities of items as well as items such as a water purification system, first aid kits, etc… The Ultimate Kit is literally for a small EDC style carry for those who are not stereotypical “Survivalists” and in this it succeeds remarkably well.
The Bear Grylls Survivor Series Ultimate Kit is offered by Gerber Gear at an MSRP of $52 USD, and can be found at numerous stores across Canada such as Cabela’s in Winnipeg, Manitoba. As always, it is up to the reader to have their own say on if the Ultimate kit as reviewed is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
With advances in technology and more advanced manufacturing techniques, ergonomic sculpting, exotic shapes, and highly technical mechanisms have seemed to become a mainstay of many of today’s manufacturers and Gerber is no exception to this as evidenced by the creation of the Flik multi-tool previously reviewed here at TPF-Online. Gerber has been around for quite a number of years and has made countless designs of knives, multi-tools, and other products which are used by a great many people around the world. However they realized that as technology advances, there is still a very basic principle which needed to be heeded.
What is the basic definition of a knife? A tool used for cutting. That was the entire concept behind the knife being reviewed today. The Basic, a fixed blade knife by Gerber was designed and began production several years ago. As stated, it was a throwback in design with the primary factors being size, generic functionality and durability.
The Basic is just that, a very basic everyday utility knife. Featuring a 76.2mm (3.0″) drop point blade design, the blade is very typical for many knives and follows a sabre ground profile for strength. The cutting edge is partially serrated for true multi-purpose design utility. With the spine/full tang measuring 3.8mm (0.150″) in thickness, the robustness of the design is very apparent. While the overall knife length of 168mm (6.6″) makes the handle small, the huge large finger groove/choil behind the blade edge allows for a very secure grip. Due to this large choil it almost appears that the small grip panels were added as an afterthought to the full tang of the Basic. TPF has noticed however that the blade length has been listed at various sites, including Gerber’s, as nearly 86.5mm (3.40″) in length which would be measuring from blade tip to the leading edge of the grip panels. The grip panels themselves are not spectacular, primarily being made of nylon, and each side is secured into the full tang by three small Torx head screws. However a large portion of these nylon panels mount Gerber’s TacHide™ grip material which is very soft and provides a very secure grip on the knife. The full length tang incorporates a trio of scalloped indents on the spine as thumb ridges, in addition to the large lanyard loop incorporated in the full tang and accentuated by the grip panels.
TPF was unable to determine the mechanical properties of the steel used to manufacture the Basic, but a source says that the blade is most likely constructed with 420HC stainless steel, which is nearly a default for Gerber products unless otherwise indicated. The entire blade and tang are nitride coated for additional corrosion resistance and results in a generally matte dark grey finish. Overall knife mass is roughly 105 gr (3.7oz) which is considerable when combined with the very small size of the knife itself. It seems to be a success when measured against the basic design principles used for it’s creation. However, TPF will note that the handle profile, while designed for extreme comfort and great control, is somewhat diminutive for those individuals whom have larger hands as the knife becomes a three finger profile.
The sheath of the Basic is the complete opposite of the knife in terms of simple design criteria. Created from two molded halves mated together, the completely polymer sheath is a marvel of modern design. A plastic tension catch is part of the molded sheath and securely retains the Basic knife with a force that would potentially overcome the reversible metallic belt clip. The clip is positioned for right handed carry and is made of a stainless spring steel. Retained by two small screws similar to that of the belt clip, a small metallic plaque is on the opposite side of the sheath proudly displaying the Gerber name. TPF did not try to reverse the clip as the durability of the sheath is most likely the weakest point of this entire package. Combined the Basic knife and sheath measure only slightly longer than the knife itself at 173mm (6.8″) and the small package, while fairly heavy is indeed a worthy addition to nearly person’s knife inventory.
The Basic knife as offered by Gerber Gear, is a fixed, partially serrated blade which has an MSRP of 43.00USD, and is available at many outdoor supply stores as well as online retailers such as www.canadiansafetysource.ca. As usual however, it is up to you the reader to decide if the Gerber Basic is Practical, Tactical, or Fantastical.
Puns and horrible one liner butchery aside, the latest product is another from a well known Brand name and a regular manufacturer to be featured by TPF.
Many thanks to Gerber Legendary Blades and Tools for all their support of TPF Online and in turn the CSSA. In today’s review, TPF takes a look at a proven and still produced multi-tool that was first introduced in 2007. Gerber’s Flik was a variation of the Freehand multi-tool released the year prior and used many of the same features and construction techniques, albeit in a slightly smaller package. At a closed length of 112.0mm (4.41″), the Flik is still quite substantial for most individual’s hands. The nearly all metal construction and usage nearly every iota of available space in the tool itself, translates directly into its 250 gram (8.8oz) frame. The basic handles are identical to each other in basic shape and are constructed from stainless steel, sheet metal whose pattern is laser cut and then formed into a tight, well engineered, package. TPF notes that the while the forming is identical, the handles themselves have visual differences in labelling, which is stamped onto the handle blanks prior to forming.
Like nearly every single multi-tool manufactured, the jaws of the Flik are a common combination style of design which include a coarsely toothed oval shaped grasping area preceded by a needle nose on the tip and a side cutter behind it. Previously reviewed by TPF was a similar Gerber Tool, the Compact Sport 400, whose design bears a very similar if superficial design theory. However, the CS400 had one drawback which is alleviated by the Flik’s design. That difference is easily noticed between the Flik and it’s simpler predecessors. The jaws have some addition mechanical locking mechanisms attached to the jaw release buttons. These additional items act as a handle lock; preventing the handles from inadvertently opening when the jaws are retracted. When extended to its full 147.5mm (5.81″) length the Flik’s jaws locking mechanism, ratchets the handles slightly apart, preventing any pinching of the hand when squeezed together.
Unlike many multi-tools, the Flik has one very important feature that is underscored by the innovative one handed opening system used by Gerber… All of its additional tools are accessible without opening the handles. Not just some of them but all of them. On the outer edges are the larger tools and blades, and the inner tool arms are extended through use of the lock bar sliders, which partially lift them out of their respective storage positions and allow the user to access them via nail nicks. An interesting construction detail noted by the TPF staff, is that the external tool arm lock mechanisms and the corresponding internal tool arms are mounted with a separate formed sheet metal chassis. This chassis is retained by the tool arm pivot bolt assemblies, but is very well engineered and precise in its forming. While the total number of tools is not extravagant as in many nested tool designs, the tool arms in the Flik are separated by thin washers to prevent clumping when extending tools.
TPF-Online will list the tools in order from the larger external ones, to the internal parts to give readers a listing of what is available on the Flik multi-tool, beginning with all the tools on one handle and then listing all tools located on the opposite handle.
Blade #1: Mounted on the outside of the handle is a sheep foot shaped blade, featuring a saber ground edge; measuring 69.9mm (2.75″) in length from the handle. Due to the elongated hole present in the blade’s spine, the knife can be opened one handed with patience and practice. It is as evidenced by the amount of material on the edge side which is not sharpened (also known as the Ricasso) to help when opening one-handed.
Sawblade: On the opposite outside edge of this handle is a 76.2mm (3.00″) saw blade which uses triangular profile, opposed teeth with approximately 17 teeth per inch. The tip of the sawblade is angled upwards (without teeth) for a distance of 6.3mm (0.25″) to prevent binding while sawing. The angled tip lifts over the surface being cut and reduces accidental driving of the leading edge into the material being cut. As with the previous blade, an opening on the sawblade is provided for one handed opening. Please note that the saw teeth run the entire length of the blade.
Screwdriver #1: A very small and flattened Philips #1 driver. Located centrally in one of the Flik’s handles, this internal tool arm must be initially lifted using the sliding lock mechanism it is mounted upon (as are all internally mounted tool arms).
Can Opener: A can opener, self explanatory for nearly everyone.
Blade #2: On the opposite handle, the first outer mounted tool is a fully serrated blade which measures the same as the previously mentioned straight blade. However, the tip is blunted and the blade is more rectangular in profile. As with the standard blade, an opening hole is present to allow for one handed opening, as well as the Ricasso.
Scissors: The trademarked Fiskar brand of scissors is incorporated into the outer handles of the Flik and as all Fiskar style scissors, operates flawlessly with a positive opening and closing due to the mounting design of the spring arm. While able to extend the scissors with a single hand, it takes some skill to fully manipulate the scissors into the proper cutting configuration.
Screwdriver #3: A 5.0mm (0.2″) flat tip screwdriver which has a bottle opener included. Also mounted internally.
Lanyard Loop: The Flik includes a retractable lanyard loop, which is interesting as it is the only part that requires an external tool to extend from the tool itself.
Now TPF-Online has commented on the sheath used on the Compact Sport 400, and the Flik’s is identical in construction intent and features. Able to securely hold the Flik, with jaws either retracted or locked into full extension; the velcro flap and vertical belt loop allow for easy and comfortable wearing. As a multi-tool, the Flik has many of the commonly used features required by many for EDC, and the ease of use of the pliers and easily deployed blades and larger cutting tools are a bonus. The only drawback is the smaller size of the secondary tools, which may limit effectiveness and/or functionality of those respective tools.
Overall, TPF finds the Gerber Flik a solid and well designed multi-tool with enough features and a simplified usage that should be appealing to a wide audience. The Flik model reviewed (#22-41054) has an MSRP of $65.00 USD and can be found at various locations and online stores across Canada such as Outdoor Pursuits Canada, located in Black Diamond, Alberta. The Flik can also be obtained with a black oxide finish as well.
As per the norm at TPF, it is ultimately up to you, the reader, to decide if the Flik multi-tool from Gerber is Tactical, Practical or Fantastical.
It seems like TPF has a plethora of blades and multi-tools available for creating reviews about, which is surprisingly correct. Gerber Legendary Blades has been a true supporter of TPF’s endeavours and on behalf of the CSSA, they deserve many accolades for their efforts. As stated in the previous posts, the author of TPF is not a “knife guy” but in the last few months of reviewing so many knives and researching about them, that knowledge level is increasing slowly but surely.
While not wholly familiar with all knife aspects, TPF is familiar with tools, and in this case multi-tools. Gerber Gear’s 400 Compact Sport multi-tool is featured in this review. Now the Compact Sport is a slightly smaller, more compact version of the 600 series Basic multi-tool by Gerber. Despite this it still falls into a full-sized category. One of the interesting features of this multi-tool design is the method of which to open the tool with only a single hand. Unlike most multi-tools which have the jaws pivot on studs in the handle ends, the Compact Sport utilizes an interesting design which upon exertion of some centrifugal force, causes the jaws to slide out and lock into position.
The 400 Compact Sport as reviewed here is the black oxide coated edition, with a brushed stainless steel being the alternate for visual appearance. With an overall extended length of 144.0mm (5.67″), and a collapsed length of 112.0mm (4.41″) the 400CS, is on the smaller side of “full size” multi-tools compared to others which claim the same title. The stainless steel jaws are machined from a forging and are symmetrical in manufacturing (Each jaw is the identical when machined). The handles themselves are identical and are constructed from a single piece of stamped sheet which is then folded and formed into shape and attached at the pivot point with a large rivet. The jaws themselves are also riveted together and are installed in the guide cutouts on the outer side of the handles. Retained by an elongated spring steel clip a captive, spring-loaded buttons on each handle secure the jaws into extended position. TPF will state that there is some side to side play when the jaws are extended, and that is most likely due to the nature of the dual pivots (jaws and handles) and the requirement to float and create a natural tendency to align the pivots for opening and closing of the jaws.
The CS400 has multiple tool arms common for many multi-tools which are contained inside the handles and as usual , however one of the features is that each arm is lockable in the fully extended position via a sliding plate lockup mechanism. Spring loaded to auto lock an extended tool arm, releasing the lock is accomplished by sliding the plastic tab and disengaging the locking plate. One of the other features rarely seen in many multi-tools is the inclusion of spacers/washers between tool arms which prevent clumping when retrieving tools. Clumping occurs when you are pulling on a single tool arm and multiple arms follow in a “clump”. The spacers/washers is usually omitted in multi-tools which are trying to put as many tool arms into the handles as it is an added cost and space requirement compared to adding another arm or two for additional “features”.
The CS400 is however a value version of the larger tools available from Gerber Gear, and it is apparent that this is a no-frills tool made for abuse. The forged jaws themselves feature a combination pliers layout with a needle nose profile and an incorporated wire cutter. On the inner side (handles), the jaws have a small crimping area to complete the features specific to the jaws of the CS400.
TPF will now go over the seven (7) tool arms which are contained in the CS400’s handles. Note that ALL the tool arms are opened via a nail nick which in some cases the author found to be difficult to successfully use. Now this may be due to the CS400 reviewed being brand new and hardly worked in, or perhaps the retaining nut/bolt assembly was tightened to ensure that the tool arms could only be opened by dedicated effort.
- Partially serrated blade – A Wharncliffe profile which looks crude but has a very aggressive serrations which occupies approximately 2/3 of the blade length
- Philips screwdriver
- Bottle opener – Also has a medium-size flat screwdriver tip incorporated into it
- Can opener
- Small flat screwdriver
- Large flat screwdriver
- “Fiskar” scissors
Now as the handle design has all the rounded edges on the outer portions, the CS400 is very comfortable to use and does not dig in or hurt the hand while applying pressure through the jaws. However, like many of this design style of multi-tool, the tool requires opening before one can access any of the tool arms. While not ideal, TPF recognizes that the primary purpose of a multi-tool is not to act as a screwdriver or a pair of scissors, but as a plier tool first and foremost. Here at TPF we want out readers to be informed as well, and the CS400 is on the smaller end of the full size multi-tools and the length of the tool arm screwdrivers is limited, but appears to be fully functional. The only drawback in TPF’s opinion is that black oxide finish shows any and all scrapes and nicks far more than a standard version would.
The final component for the CS400 package is the carry sheath. Made of nylon with a standard velcro closure, the CS400 sheath does have some interesting features. The sheath that comes with the black oxide version has a Molle compatible mount which doubles as a standard belt loop method for affixing the pouch and tool to your belt/gear. This may be typical for all versions of the CS-400, but unknown at this time. The most interesting feature of the sheath is that the bottom edge of the sheath is reinforced and open. You can see the jaws slightly protrude through the opening when collapsed, yet this opening allows for the tool to be sheathed when the jaws are locked into extended position.
The CS400 is roughly 75% the size of it’s larger kin, the 600 Series Multi-tool (A future review perhaps?) and as such is a reasonably sized multi-tool for EDC. The Compact Sport 400 with the black oxide finish has an MSRP of $59.00USD whereas the plain version is slightly less at an MSRP of $51.00USD. This product is available at many retailers and online stores throughout Canada such as http://www.soldier-gear.ca
As always here at TPF, it is up to you the reader to decide the following:
Gerber Gear’s Compact Sport 400 – Black Oxide version; is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
Once again TPF delves into the realm of bladed tools and as before, Gerber Legendary Blades has become the focus of this review. Gerber has been around for over seven decades of creating tools for people, with an eye on edged instruments for use in nearly every application. As technology and designs continued to evolve, so did the products of Gerber, and for the last thirty years, the sword into the rock image has been the hallmark of that legendary brand and continues in a similar theme even with the latest logo change just a few weeks ago.
Now many designers at Gerber develop concepts and prototypes for a multitude of blades, tools, and equipment. When individuals come up with this blade design, it was so well received that it now bears his name in recognition. Named after longtime employee, Jeff Freeman, the Freeman Guide series of knives debuted in 2003 and are targeted specifically for hunters. Initially created as a fixed blade, the folder versions were introduced a couple of years ago. The Freeman Guide folding knife is the current generation of this knife family and we at TPF are pleased to be able to show you the details and specifics of this product from Gerber.
The Freeman Guide Folder (FGF), is a classic drop point, liner-lock folding design which has several features that may appeal to hunters and other outdoors-men who would utilize it. With the 440A stainless steel blade measuring 91.4mm (3.6″), the FGF’s edge is not exceptionally long when compared to other similar style fixed blade knives. It does however offset that with a large profile and blade thickness; back to belly distance of 30.0mm (1.2″) and being roughly 3.0mm (0.120″) wide. This profile helps the FGF tip the scales at nearly 190 grams (6.6 oz), and while hefty in mass, the large finger grooves in the handle allow for solid grip and control of the knife. The grips themselves are manufactured from Gerber’s exclusive TacHide™ material and offer a comfortable, non-slip texture.
The blade itself mounts dual thumb studs for ambidextrous opening, and the liner lock is very strong and secures the blade open very well. The actual construction of the entire knife is very solid with the use of several Torx screws to secure all aspects together, from the massive lanyard opening on one end to the solid blade stop above the pivot. TPF will note that this knife does not have a pocket clip and at the mass of this blade, it is not a surprise considering the size of this folding knife..
The FGF’s sheath is black nylon belt sheath which has a typical button snap enclosure for securing the folded knife inside the pouch. Other than a trio of raised bumps over the top of the Gerber logo, formed into the surface, there is nothing extraordinary regarding the outward appearance of the sheath. However; the sheath’s construction allows for multiple mounting orientations which is a nice option for such a large folder. The These orientations has provisions for vertical mounting on a 38.1mm (1.5″) belt or horizontal mounting on a belt up to 31.8mm (1.25″) in width, and before some ask, no, this sheath is not molle compatible.
Another version of this folder is available from Gerber, and it includes a gut hook on the blade as well, opposite of the knife belly. The gut hook version is slightly heavier but has the same features as the plain FGF reviewed on TPF. The Gerber Freeman Guide, folding knife is offered with an MSRP of $43 USD regardless of blade style, and is available at nearly all commercial Canadian Tire stores across Canada.
The Freeman Guide folding knife offered by Gerber Legendary Blades:
Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
It was a statistical given and was only a matter of time as TPF has given an overview of both AR-15 specific tools in the past. Multitasker’s Ultralight and Gerber’s eFECT are good tools in themselves and are both quality products. However, in this installation of TPF we will be comparing the similar features of both tools and focusing on the differences between them. We will be reviewing various categories and features and giving our opinions. GASP! That is correct, TPF will be rating both on various features and details. So without further ado, let TPF’s first showdown begin!
PHYSICAL SIZE: The Ultralight, while narrower than the eFECT, is longer by nearly 25mm (1″) and is heavier by nearly half again.
TOOL ARMS: Ultralight 4, eFECT 6. However, two of the eFECT’s arms are for attachments.
- Front sight adjustment tool. The eFECT has a switchable bit for either 4 or 5 prong AR-15 front sights, where the Ultralight only comes with a 4 prong (A2) version.
- Carbon scraper. The Ultralight has a design which is dedicated to cleaning of the bolt from the AR platform, where the eFECT has a large, very effective scraper for any long linear areas.
- Flat screwdriver. Both tools have a large flat tip screwdriver, the eFECT’s being mounted to have a decent reach for tight fits. The Ultralight’s version is meant more for surface usage (tightening of slotted nuts and screws for attachments). Both can double as an additional carbon scraper.
- Attachment arms. The eFECT has two (2) with female threads versus the single male threaded version of the Ultralight.
- eFECT ONLY: A dedicated push pin arm.
- Ultralight ONLY: First. Part of the screwdriver arm incorporates a butt stock castle nut wrench for field tightening of the aforementioned nut. Second, as briefly mentioned, the one arm is a dedicated 1/4″ hex bit driver.
LOCK MECHANISM: For each trio of arms on the Gerber, there is a spring loaded sliding lock. Simple and reusable for both sides. The Ultralight uses a combination of lock styles for each individual arm.
CONSTRUCTION: The eFECT is comprised of stainless steel sheet metal for the liners and the stamped punch and screwdriver arms. The remaining 4 arms are cast and held together between two polymer panels. The Ultralight is made from stainless steel and all major components are machined and/or wire EDM’d. The entire package is wrapped in G-10 fiberglass panels and includes a wire EDM’d pocket clip.
- eFECT: A Molle compatible sheath. The reversible front sight bit and the dental pick and bristle brush for the attachment arms.
- Ultralight: A Molle compatible sheath. The A2 sight bit, plus 10 more common bits for the 1/4″ hex driver. Only comes with the dental pick attachment, but is far more robust than that of the eFECT’s.
COST: Multitasker has an MSRP of $74.99 USD versus $79.99 USD for the Gerber eFECT.
So now we do the comparison showdown.
- Physical Size – eFECT wins. While the size and heft of the UL makes a more solid and secure feeling tool, the mass alone makes the eFECT the winner for a carried item.
- Tool Arms – Ultralight wins. The quantity of tool arms does not quite overcome the sheer robustness and versatility of the UL. The included pick on the eFECT is pitiful compared to the robust one that comes with the UL. Besides, how many OTIS connections can you use at once anyways? One. The bit driver alone puts the UL over the top in this category.
- Lock Mechanism – Tie. The UL has very solid locking devices for each of the four arms, but there are 3 different types. The eFECT has a lock for each set of three arms and they are identical. Simplicity versus strength results in a tie.
- Construction – UL from manufacturing edge. Both tools are well conceived and manufactured for light maintenance work on the AR platform, the detail to the processes used for construction goes to the UL. Both would most likely hold up to long term everyday usage, and I’m positive that people will break the UL more often due to misusing the castle nut wrench, however, the eFECT has the appearance and feel of being made as cheap as possible through the use of stampings and castings.
- Accessories – UL hands down. The inclusion of 10 additional driver bits (with many more customs ones being created) gives the thumbs up to the UL.
- Sheath – eFECT, barely… The Gerber eFect sheath is more compact and velcro closing which is good for storage and mounting comfort. The UL sheath is bulky due to the size of the tool and the accessory bits and is a snap enclosed pouch with a more rigid construction. Comfort edges out apparent robustness.
- Cost – UL. Cheaper by $5 USD is pretty self explanatory.
CONCLUSION: Now if you are looking for a smaller more comfortable tool that will still do nearly everything needed for routine maintenance on your AR-15, one would be hard pressed to go wrong with the Gerber eFECT. However! The higher quality manufacturing and the apparent versatility over the eFECT coupled with a lower MRSP make the Ultralight TPF’s chosen winner.
WINNER of the first Tactical, Practical & Fantastical Showdown – Multitasker’s Ultralight
Several weeks ago, TPF did a review of SOG’s Flash II. Today a look is given to a version available from another manufacturer; Gerber Legendary Blades. Gerber’s Answer is a spring assisted opening knife, self catagorized as being a “Clip Folder” and appears to be constructed with durability in mind. Gerber SAO’s use what is trademarked as the F.A.S.T. system. From Gerber’s website; F.A.S.T. is “a proprietary name that stands for Forward Action Spring Technology: Spring assisted blade opening mechanism designed for Gerber by custom knife maker Butch Vallotton.”
With handles crafted from black anodized aluminium, textured inserts (read skateboard tape) for additional non-slip gripping and sporting an 84mm (3.3″) nitrided stainless steel blade , the very ergonomic Answer has a substantial mass at 153gr (4.9 oz). There are only two controls on the Answer, the first being a saftey/release slider which determines the available actions of the blade. From the closed position the slider can be switched front and back with nearly zero effort. When the red dot is exposed by shifting the slider towards the pivot point, it signifies that the knife safety is disabled (red dot meaning “armed”) and is GTG (“Good to go”) for opening. When not showing the “armed” dot, the blade is locked into position, irregardless if it is in a closed or open position. In the open position the slider forced into away from the blade pivot and must be actuated in order to release the blade for closing.
The second control is the dual thumb studs on the blade itself for ambidextrous opening which is very simple to acomplish. Use the thumb stud to manouver the blade open to a point where the F.A.S.T. mechanism takes over and locks the blade into open position. Compared to the aforementioned Flash II, the Answer’s opening speed is not as fast, but feels much more solid as it locks into open position which may be a result of not using any obvious polymer/plastics in construction of the knife. The pocket clip for the answer in NOT reversible and is located at the blade pivot, on the opposit side of the slide pivot. This means that when the Answer is clipped into your pocket, the blade pivot side sticks up (AKA Tip Down position). The EDC knife of TPF’s author sits in the same fashion, but some individuals may not desire that orientation.
The Answer itself has few variations. The model reviewed has a drop point straight edged blade design, however, a sister model of the same blade length and mass is offered with a Tanto blade shape incorporating a partially serrated edge. Two other versions of the Answer also exist. The Answer SM is a smaller version of the model reviewed here with a 71mm (2.8″) blade and massing 81gr (2.6 oz). The Answer XL is the tanto version enlarged to a 102mm (4.0″) blade and massing a hefty 218gr (7.0 oz).
The Gerber Answer 3.25 reviewed (model# 22-01971) has a MSRP of $72.99USD and is available at a great variety of knife stores across Canada. Like SOG, Gerber allows prospective customers to purchase many (if not all ) products direct from the Gerber website. The SM and XL versions list for MSRP’s of $63.99USD and $84.99USD respectively.
Gerber Legendary Blades: Answer 3.25 – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?
For those who have never once gone camping or have next to zero experience with blades of any type, Gerber is just the name of a prominent baby food manufacturer. Fortunately that Gerber isn’t the one being looked at today.
Gerber Legendary Blades has been around in one form or another for over seven decades. over these years, knives manufactured by Gerber have been used in nearly every possible application ranging from kitchen cutlery, issued military equipment, wilderness survival, to EDC companions. They have run the gambit.
However. . . Most multi-tools are not geared towards specific purposes. Despite being released into production over a year ago, the Gerber eFECT (yes that is the proper spelling and punctuation) seeks to fill the perceived gap for routine field maintenance of your AR15 rifle platform. The eFECT is a 113gr (4.0 oz) tool whose tools are blackened stainless steel and comes with a simple black, Molle compatible,Velcro closing, sheath. Sporting a compact size, 32mmx25mmx90mm (1.25″x1.0″x3.5″); the eFECT is very small when you compare it to many of today’s available multi-tools.
The eFECT is a multi-tool which contains three lockable tool arms on each side. Now these tools and attachments include the following:
- Arm 1- The carbon scraper which is very robust and simple in design. A cylinder with 1/4 of the length removed for creating the scraping edges.
- Arm 2- A long pin punch to help disassemble your upper and lower halves of your AR platform.
- Arm 3- Tool attachment (Female threaded 8-32), complete with a nylon brush which is threaded into the aforementioned screw thread.
- Arm 4- Tool attachment (Female threaded 8-32). Only this one has a removable wire pick for cleaning the hard corners.
- Arm 5- Large flat screwdriver which doubles as a scraper.
- Arm 6- A mounting stud for a magnetically attached A1 & A2 front sight adjuster.
All arms are lockable in the fully extended position via two short sliding lock mechanisms; arms 1-3 and arms 4-6 respectively. By locking an arm out, a solid working platform for that specific tool/attachment is created. The arms themselves are easily opened through the use of either a large finger nail hook or the shear physical size of the arms themselves. The eFECT was designed to fully interact with many Otis cleaning products as attachments to facilitate further care and maintenance of your AR series firearm. All of the eFECT’s arms and attachments allow for the care of a multitude of other black rifle platforms.
Recently; Otis technologies had announced that they will be offering, in conjunction with Gerber Legendary Blades, a full cleaning kit which incorporates the eFECT with several additional Otis attachments.
The Gerber eFECT weapons maintenance tool is available at Brownell’s for a retail price of $79.99 USD.
The choice is as usual up to you, the reader. Is the Gerber eFECT weapon maintenance tool Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?