Gerber has a long history dating back to 1939. The brand has evolved over the years — undergoing some ups and downs as some of the best designers and knifemakers around left the company to start their own ventures.
It’s been a rocky two decades, but Gerber seems to be on firm footing with some very well-designed models. Here is a look at Gerber’s 10 best knives currently in production.
Note: As always, these best-of lists are highly subjective. However, I do my due diligence through personal experience as well as consensus from around the internet. These lists will always skew toward the tried-and-true models, but new models will always make the jump.
Gerber LMF II Infantry
Gerber has remade itself over the past few years thanks to three very reliable (and pretty similar) fixed blades. The Gerber LMF II has an undisputed spot on this list for good reason. Gerber says the knife was originally designed to free an aircrew from a downed aircraft, and it remains an adaptable fixed blade that can be used in all types of situations.
The blade is 4.84 inches made from 420HC stainless steel. It has partial serrations and glass-filled nylon with TPV overmold handles.
This list is heavily populated with perennial favorites and the Gerber Gator is no exception. It was first introduced in the early ’90s when it was named “Most Innovative Knife of the Year” at the 1991 Blade Show. Despite being so old, the knife remains one of the best Gerber has to offer.
The 3.76-inch clip point blade is 420HC stainless steel and the textured handle is glass-filled nylon. Like the LMF II, the Gator is made in the United States.
Thanks to its popularity, there are a ton of different versions and adaptations. A premium line and fixed blade version would both make it on this list if I didn’t find them redundant.
The Paraframe is another classic that continues to prove its worth each and every year. It is a minimalist design with a 3-inch blade and skeletonized steel handle to cut down on the weight. The open design makes it easy to clean while the frame lock provides extra security.
This is a simple folder that countless people have depended on.
Gerber Manual Combat Folder
The 06 Automatic family from Gerber is awesome. The Gerber 06 Automatic was designed for military use and deployed with countless troops. Because millions of Americans are not legally allowed to own an auto, Gerber released a manual version that is just as excellent but without the auto mechanism.
It is still beefy, strong, well-made, and functional. It has a 3.625-inch S30V blade, a plunge lock, and a hard anodized aluminum handle. The manual version is on the list, but any of the autos in the family could be added.
Now we go from a military tested, heavy-duty folder to a tiny lockback folder. The LST looks like it could have been released this year but was actually brought to market by Pete Gerber himself in 1980. Pete and the legendary Blackie Collins wanted a lightweight knife like no other. The result was the revolutionary (for the time) LST with synthetic handles that give it a weight of 1.2 ounces.
Some argue that the knife changed the way we approach pocket knives, and it remains one of the best Gerber has to offer.
Colonel Rex Applegate and William E. Fairbairn were pioneers of close quarter combats and are legends among the knife community. The knife was based on the famous Applegate–Fairbairn fighting knife (which itself was an adaptation of the Fairbairn–Sykes fighting knife). The Covert bears the signature of Applegate and Fairbairn and serves as a tribute to the legends of the knife world.
If that was all the knife offered, it would be a cool story, but the design and construction itself bolsters the knife’s case. The 3.8-inch blade is 154CM steel while the handle is glass-filled nylon. There are a few different Covert models, including autos.
This is the newest knife on the list, and therefore probably the most controversial.
There is an untapped market for inexpensive knives with quality materials. Gerber was able to successfully create the Gerber Decree with an S30V blade while keeping the cost low. In fact, this is one of the least expensive S30V knives you can buy.
Complaints have been levied against the construction of the Decree with reports of screws falling out of the clip. However, nearly everyone — even those with QC issues — agrees it’s a solid knife.
I mentioned the three modern fixed blades that have helped the brand reclaim some fans. The first was the LMF II, and the second is the Gerber Prodigy. The reason is pretty simple: the Prodigy is based on the LMF II.
The two fixed blades share many similarities, but the Prodigy packs many of the same punches in a smaller package. You’ll often hear diehards singing its praises.
Gerber E-Z Out
Unlike the relatively new Prodigy, the E-Z Out series is old and honed to perfection. When it first appeared in 1995, the E-Z Out was a solid EDC that captured people’s attention. Since then, the E-Z Out series have grown in size. Although the original is no longer available, the E-Z Out Skeleton has taken its place as a solid and inexpensive EDC that’s still made in the United States.
There’s a reason why the E-Z Out remains a top seller at Gerber.
Gerber Mark II
Speaking of best sellers, the Gerber Mark II is one of the best-selling knives of all time. The knife, which was designed by retired US Army Captain Bud Holzman and based on an ancient Roman sword, was first introduced in 1966. It was heavily used during the Vietnam War and became a go-to blade, second only to the legendary KA-BAR. The knife was discontinued in 2000 before being brought back due to popular demand in 2008.
The knife has a long 6.5-inch spear point blade with double-sided serrations. The handle is cast aluminum with a guard to prevent slippage. This knife was optimized for combat, but it has its merits as a survival knife. History, popularity, and a classic design means the Mark II remains one of Gerber’s 10 best knives.