The Best Gerber Knife? Thoughts on the Strongarm

Gerber Legendary Gear is, well, some of the most legendary gear in the knife and tool industry. To put it lightly, that company has had more influence on the development of knives and tools than possibly any other manufacturer in American history. While that argument, like any, is up for debate, Gerber has the longevity to bolster it, and for many years has supplied the United States Armed Forces with what might be called legendary gear.

With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at the Gerber Strongarm, which, like the Gerber LMF II and the Gerber Gator, is one of the most sought after and highly regarded Gerber knives of all time – but is it the best Gerber knife?

First impressions of this fixed blade knife are pretty universally positive. Looking at the knife alone, it is available with a black or brown synthetic grip (it’s something like a rubberized handle, GFN with a rubber overmold), with a full tang that is exposed at the pommel for breaking glass. The blade is a 4.8 inches of coated 420HC (high carbon) steel with a straightedge (it can be had with partial serrations) and a drop point blade. There is no formal guard for the knife; in place of a guard there is a swell that has some scalloping and still allows for a pinch style grip. Visually, the knife is nearly ideal.

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In the hand the knife fits comfortably with no hotspots; the factory edge leaves a little (or a lot) to be desired, and will require some care and attention to get it to truly razor sharp status. It is well balanced, comfortable and ergonomic with no hot spots. With a lot of torquing and twisting hot spots will develop around the heel of the hand, but this will happen with most knives.

It’s right in the middle ground between a chopper and a slicer. The blade is small enough to be used for skinning and carving (admittedly, with something slightly less than might be called dexterity) while remaining large enough to be used for batoning. It’s also thick at the spine and can take some abuse.

It’s not really a chopper, although the swell near the pommel enables you to give it that rear-situated grip for chopping. You won’t be getting through any proper logs without some difficulty, but it will do the work of a small hatchet; or again, use it as a baton.

The spine of the knife is basically square, and with a little modification, the coating can be removed so that the spine will throw sparks from a ferro rod or can be used as a scraper. Truly, the coating on this steel is not really necessary as 420HC is really resistant to corrosion; it looks cool, and it prevents glare which is necessary in some tactical applications.

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Overall, it’s a practical, useful knife, really a jack of all trades and a master of none. There are better camp knives, better hunting knives, and better utility knives. We’re sure there are opinions out there that there are better tactical knives as well, but for what it’s worth, and that its price point, the Gerber Strongarm will deliver some solid value. It’s not the absolute best in the world, but it’s far, far away from the worst.

But the question here is not if it is the best of all time. The question at hand is whether or not the Strongarm is the best Gerber knife. Well, for that, you’ll need to see for yourself. If you’re looking to see what kind of camp knife, survival knife, or everyday carry knife the Strongarm makes, pick one up at WhiteMountainKnives.com. There, you can pick up a Strongarm to see for yourself, but you’ll also be able to take your pick of other favorites from Gerber. Whether you need a frame lock folding knife with a stainless steel blade, thumb studs and a pocket clip for EDC or some other fixed stick for the woods, White Mountain Knives has you covered.

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