The best features, components and usability you could expect from a fixed blade knife!

Hey guys! Its Caleb with Ultimate Survival Gear and today I’m going to be reviewing Gerber’s latest 2015 tactical/survival knife – the Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade. If you’re a fan of Gerber’s LMF2 and Prodigy, you’ll be really wanting to add this tough-as-hell knife to your collection! Ok, let’s jump straight in and see why.

 

The company

Primary Logo orange rgb

This knife is made by Gerber Legendary Blades which has an established reputation in the knife manufacturing industry and has been making survival knives for the US military since 1968. The StrongArm is based around the fundamentals of military survival training and is MIRS compliant meaning that it is approved for use by military personnel. I’m sure that in time, we’ll see the US military testing this new combat/survival knife with the troops.

The knife

strongarm7

The StrongArm came in a pretty standard plastic blister-type package and was quite difficult to remove from the packaging… nothing major really. The first thing I noticed about this knife was that it has a very similar design and resemblance to two of Gerber’s top iconic knives, the Prodigy and the LMF2. So it is basically a next generation LMF2/Prodigy in a sense. The second thing I noticed about this knife was that its made in Portland, Oregon in the USA, not in China so this is a big plus. One of the great features of the StrongArm is that it is full tang and of course we know that full-tang is regarded by experts as the absolute best way to design a survival knife. In terms of colour, you can get this knife either in Black or Coyote Brown. The good news is that it is available either as a partially serrated blade or fine edge – for those of you who prefer the latter option. I have read many reviews of the LMF2 and Prodigy and noticed that many people complained about the fact that they were not available as a fine edge version. Having said that, we really recommend that you get the serrated version. Why? The reason for serrations is that they can cut through rope, seatbelts etc faster than a fine edge would… not to mention that they are still sharp long after the fine edge may have become dull. If sharpening serrations is an issue, we recommend that you check out the Smith’s Pocket Pal Sharpener which is an inexpensive yet reliable solution for easily sharpening both fine edges and serrations. The length of the blade is 4.8″ (12.2 cm) and its overall length from tip to pommel is 9.8 in (24.8 cm) so its just shy of 10” (25.4 cm) which is the overall length of its cousin, the Gerber LMF2. Weighing in at just 10.9 oz (309 g) this knife feels very solid yet is surprisingly light-weight.

The blade

strongarm3

Since a knife is really only as good as it blade, lets take a good look this blade. Out of the package, I noticed that the blade came razor sharp which was also another plus and is easy to sharpen. The blade is made of hardened 420 HC (high carbon) stainless steel and is approximately 58 on the Rockwell scale (which basically means this blade has a medium hardness) – so this blade is pretty tough. The blade also has a black ceramic coating for corrosion resistance and a low visual profile (which is great for combat troops in the field). The tip of the blade is drop-point style and has a convex curve from the blade spine to the blade point. Obviously the blade is not made of the best steel available, but 420 HC steel when hardened makes for an extremely durable and tough steel and is more than capable of standing up to the rigours of everyday usage. If Gerber were to use a higher-end steel such as 154 CM, obviously the pricing would go up significantly.

The handle

strongarm4

I was instantly impressed by the symmetrical design of the StrongArm’s handle. Now, as you can see this knife has a diamond textured handle which is specifically designed to be grippy even when wet. The handle is made of glass-filled nylon with a rubber overmold – so its definitely not made of cheap plastic. Its also got a nice palm grip so it feels extremely comfortable in your hand. Those indentations towards the blade are the clips which hold it securely in the sheath. At the end of the handle you’ve got a pointed striking pommel which is ideal for smashing glass should you ever need to egress through a window or something. I have yet to test this … but I hope I never have to use it. Honestly, the pommel is smaller than the LMF2 but remember that this knife was designed primarily as a combat/tactical knife and a survival knife second… so, you might want to check out the LMF2 if this knife is not for you. There’s also a small hole in the middle of the pommel which is large enough to accommodate standard 550 paracord which you might want to tie something like the Bear Grylls Whistle or a lanyard to. There appears to be no other holes for the knife to be lashed to a spear – which is a bit of a disappointment. Having said that, you can still make a spear without using holes. You just have to tie the paracord extra tighter.

The sheath

strongarm2

Now let’s talk about the sheath. Often something that is overlooked these days with survival knives is an adequate sheath to house the knife in. Most survival knives, as great as they may be, come with terrible quality sheaths that fall apart. Gerber got it right with the StrongArm. The modular, low profile sheath that comes with the knife is made of 2 snap-together components – 1) hardened, injection moulded plastic and 2) military-grade, mildew-resistant, ballistic nylon. The reason for two separate, detachable components was the fact that often when used in the field, combat personnel often ran out of space on their MOLLE vest and preferred to carry the knife on their belt horizontally, so in order to do this, they had to cut away the nylon component. This was especially true for most standard military issued combat knives as the nylon component was not detachable. So Gerber saw the need and came up with a very innovative solution! So now all you have to do is simply undo the straps which hold the two components together and you can save the nylon part for later use. One awesome feature of this knife is that it fits in the sheath in either direction which is excellent for those who are left-handed. Its got an excellent locking mechanism and the knife does not move/wobble around in the sheath at all, so its certainly not going to fall out. This is perfect for a tactical or hand-to-hand combat situation where an opponent may reach for your knife but thanks to the special locking mechanism, it is pretty difficult for an attacker to remove the blade without prior knowledge of the sheath’s operation. For additional security, the knife is also secured in the sheath with a secure nylon retention strap on the handle. You’ve got multiple carry options at your disposal with this sheath. You can carry it drop-leg style (straps are not included unfortunately so you may have to get your own if you wish to do so), horizontally or vertically on a 1.75″ tactical belt (as in my case) and its also MOLLE compatible (when the supplied snap-in adaptor is utilised) so it can be carried in any direction on a MOLLE compatible vest or backpack (see below image). Overall, this sheath seemed to be very well built and should hold up well in the harshest of conditions.

BOB

Now, this knife does not come with a fire starter rod (like the Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife does) but what you can do to increase the versatility and usefulness of this knife is to duct tape a mini FireSteel fire starter rod to the sheath. Another thing I noticed was that this knife did not come with an in-built sharpener for easy field sharpening/touching up as in the case of its cousin, the LMF2 – again this was a bit of a disappointment. We recommend getting a separate sharpener such as the Smith’s Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener or the Bear Grylls Field Sharpener for easy field sharpening.

You can get the Gerber StrongArm for an online price of around $86. Its now available in the US through Gerber, Amazon.com and various authorised dealers. You can find your nearest authorised dealer on their website gerbergear.com

The StrongArm is currently only available in Australia through Gerber but we will possibly be looking at making it available through our website in the future. Oh and one other thing, Gerber stands behind their products with a solid Life Time Warranty so if in the event that any Gerber product fails on you for whatever reason, you can get it repaired or replaced.

So… who’s this knife for?

strongarm6

If you’re looking for a great knife for urban survival, combat, military operations, tactical response or self defence – this is your go-to knife! Why? It’s designed to be durable It also makes a great backup knife for any Bug Out Bag , 72 hr pack or INCH bag. We think its a really great price for a great knife and it should serve you well for many years to come – so make sure you check it out!

Our rating

We rate this knife at a rare 5 out of 5 stars for its well though out and innovative design, durability, and overall craftsmanship.

Ok, so we’ve just taken a look at the Gerber StrongArm Fixed Blade Tactical Knife. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and hit subscribe on YouTube. Thanks for stopping by!