The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

10 Best Gerber Knives

This post was originally published in May 2018 but was update in September 2020 to include newer models.

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.

Gerber Gator

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.

Gerber Paraframe

The Paraframe is another classic that continues to prove its worth each and every year. The mini version is often touted as one of the best Paraframes. It is a minimalist design with a 2.22-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 06 Auto

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.

Still, we’re partial to the automatic version with a partially serrated tanto blade made from S30V and hard anodized aluminum handle. .

Gerber LST

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.

Gerber Covert Auto

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 S30V steel while the handle is aluminum. There are a few different Covert models, including autos.

Gerber Fastball

Gerber has been trying hard to make some great EDC knives. The US-Assist models were a good start, but they couldn’t quite live up to the hype. That knife paved the way for the Gerber Fastball, and it’s a huge improvement.

The Fastball is kind of like the Gerber version of the Kershaw Leek with a thin profile, simple flipper design, and wharncliffe-like blade. This knife has a stonewashed finish and better S30V steel blade that measures 3 inches.

The more ergonomic aluminum handle comes in flat sage green.

Gerber Prodigy

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 FlatIron

There is a trend toward EDC cleavers that we weren’t quite sure was warranted. The FlatIron makes the argument that folding cleavers can work well as EDC knives.

The 3.6-inch cleaver blade is stonewashed and opens with a thumb notch. It has a gray aluminum handle with a frame lock mechanism. When you take design and price into account, this has quickly become one of Gerber’s best offerings.

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.


Tim

Timothy Martinez Jr. is the community director for Knife Depot and the editor of The Cutting Edge. If you have any questions or ideas for The Cutting Edge, you can contact him at Tim@knife-depot.com.
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13 Comments

  1. I’d just like to comment on the fact that while all of these knives are good sellers, many people have complained about the presence of serrations on the Gerber LMF and the Prodigy line. The short lived plain edge Prodigy is out of production after being available for barely a whole year, but imagine if they brought it back for good. I am sure they would see a huge increase in sales.
    On the flip side, I own an older Gerber Scout and the serrations are amazingly capable of cutting all kinds of plastic, duct tape, cordage, etc., and so I can cut anything and despite negative remarks about the quality of steel, it has never rusted and it only takes stropping on a leather belt or some cardboard to keep it sharp.

    • Gerber, these are well designed knives, but the steel stink and the serrations are not useful. Do a sprint run of 2,000 of each and I’ll buy FOUR Gerber LMF II and FOUR Prodigy without serrations and steel such as CTS-XHP, M390, 204P, CPM-20CV, S90V, S110V.

      I’ve invested $14,000+ in 2017/2018 in knives and I’m not interested in half baked solutions. I already own these knives and the only way to get me to spend more money is by upgrading to a better steel.

      Hello, Gerber? Are you there?

      • Gerber gears their knives for the average working man, not the high end collector. Their lineup consists of manufactured knives, not hand made customs. If you’re going to spend $14k a year on blades, it puts you into the a high end collector and there are makers that will cater to high end steels and materials.

  2. I’m glad to see that in more recent years Gerber has upped their quality and have been adding more USA made knives from their Portland factory. I own the Prodigy which is on this list. It’s an excellent camp knife at a great price. I’d also recommend the USA made Gerber Edict (154CM steel) and Gator Premium series (S30V steel).

  3. I have the Gator bought it when they first came out. I have used it hard for years. Excellent and dependable knife. Gerber makes working knives not age queens.

  4. I have bought 4 LMF IIs. One for each of my two sons, 25 and 15 . They both wanted one badly after using my original.. So that leaves two for me. Why two of the same knife? My first LMF II is a workhorse. I take it on every camping trip since I bought it. I use it and abuse it and I do mean abuse it. Everything from batonning wood to making shelters to preparing meals. I love this knife from the lashing holes in the handle, the thick blade, the skull punch and the sharpener in the sheath. So again why the second one? If this one ,my favorite knife, ever does take damage. I have a new one to take its place immediately without worry of it being out of production or the price increases.

  5. Gerber Prodigy, fine edge, is a very fine survival knife. Very good for medium to light bush craft chores. SCHF9 is a good heavy to medium bush craft chores, a decent chopper.

  6. In your article you wrote “… I mentioned the three modern fixed blades that have helped the brand reclaim some fans …”

    I only see two of the three fixed blades in your list … Is the missing fix blade the “Strongarm”?

    • Tim

      September 30, 2020 at 7:50 am

      Yes, the Strongarm is the third. It was a bit too similar to the other two to include on the list, but it’s definitely one of Gerber’s best as well.

  7. I have carried the lst for years. Nice and light…stays sharp….for many people its all you will ever need. Like the fact that it is so light you cant even feel it in your pocket!

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