FR - Gerber Instant Knife - Alex Legg
Here is my FR for the Gerber Instant. The text is below and the HTML is at:
I carry the Instant daily around town as well as in the backcountry. Below are a few of the backpacking trips I have carried the blade on.
I took an overnight trip to the Santa Rita mountains in Coronado National Forest. The elevation ranged from 4,500 ft to 7080 ft (1,370 m to 2,158 m) and the temperature ranged from 15 F to 45 F (-9 C to 7 C).
I went on another overnight trip to the Wilderness of Rocks in Coronado National Forest. The elevation ranged from 7,280 ft to 9,080 ft (2,219 ft to 2,768 m) and the temperature ranged from 25 F to 50 F (-4 C to 10 C).
I carried the knife on a 22 m (35 km) segment of the Arizona Trail starting in Patagonia Arizona. The trip was 2 days and 1 night. The elevation ranged from around 4,100 ft to around 6,400 ft (1,250 m to 1,951 m) and the temperature ranged from 20 F to 55 F (-7 C to 13 C).
Performance in the Field:
The Gerber Instant Knife has performed decently. I can't say that I am totally satisfied, or that I am totally unsatisfied. My initial concerns about the belt clip wearing out did not turn out exactly as I had anticipated, however it still had some pretty serious problems. I was concerned that the clip would stretch out and no longer hold the knife onto my pants but that did not happen. What did occur is that after dropping the knife once from about waist height, the entire clip broke off. Then I had to carry the knife in my pocket loosely. The bolts that held the clip in place snapped during the fall. I was surprised by this because many of my knives get dropped, sometimes often while being used consistently.
The blade has held its strength and sharpness. I have no complaints about this. I have used the knife to open boxes, to cut into packages, to cut meat and cheese, and various other things. It has been in my pocket on many backpacking trips and has served me well cutting food and carving sticks to pass the time. I have managed to put a few small scratches on the blade but nothing too deep. Mostly the scratches have just worn off the black coating, but never gone into the metal. The serrated edge has proven very effective at sawing through rope for projects around the house and at campsites.
The G-10 composite handle is still very strong. I really like the grip that it gives while working with the blade. It has held up to a decent amount of abuse and proven an adequate beer bottle opener. There are a few small scratches from the bottle caps, but to my surprise, nothing very deep at all.
The biggest issues I have had involved the assisted opening mechanism. Initially the knife opened a bit too easily. I can count the amount of times the blade has opened inside my pocket on two hands. This is not something that makes me very happy, especially when I realize it has just opened while my two year old is on my lap. Luckily no one has been injured, and my clothes have not been damaged. The second problem proved to be a game ender. I pushed the blade open and out of nowhere the thumb plunge suddenly went flying. To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I spend about ten minutes trying to find the plunge in the dirt. When I did find it I figured that it could easily be put back into place, but in fact it could not. The plunge does not stay in place and falls out easily now. Without it in place, the blade does not stay open and is useless for anything past drawing in the sand. Wow what a bummer. It is too bad that the entire function of the knife depends on the small little thumb plunge. I was really liking the knife before this happened. I always carry a similar knife and I have been doing so for years and this is the first knife that became utterly useless without any cause. I have to say I am disappointed in Gerber and disappointed in the Instant at this point.
I emailed Gerber in regards to their warranty information. I received a response the following day that contained a paragraph about normal wear and tear and such. I felt that the mood of their letter sounded as if they did not want to replace the knife, but they did provide me with an address to ship the Instant to be examined. The company did not offer to pay for shipping costs or to reimburse me.
I received a phone call from a representative about two weeks after sending in my knife. This came after several emails were only answered with the stock message altering me that they had indeed received a message from me. I was happy to hear that Gerber would replace the knife. They told me that the Instant was back ordered and offered me a credit of equal value or to wait for my knife to come back in stock. I chose to wait for the Instant so that I could continue the testing process. My new knife came about one week later.
The Replacement Knife:
I got the knife out of the packaging and flicked the blade open. I noticed that this knife was much harder to open than the first knife. I also noticed that the thumb plunge did not protrude from the handle near as much as it did on the first knife, it also seemed a lot more stiff and difficult to use. Next I looked at the edge on the blade and saw what looked to me like a noticeably larger area of stainless steel showing past the black color. In my experience, this can be a sign of a blade that has been sharpened after the original sharpening. I also noticed that on the belt clip side of the blade, the number 1212 was imprinted near the thumb stud. The original knife had no number there at all. My first thought was that the knife may be a refurbished product and not a new one. I have no way of telling for sure, but the action of the opening mechanism is considerably more stiff and I really have to push hard with my thumb to get the assisted opening mechanism to engage and close. This along with the blade being numbered and looking as if it has been recently sharpened leads me to my belief that the knife may be a refurbished product.
Overall I still like the knife. It is not as smooth feeling as the original but still seems like a good blade for the cost. I have my doubts about the longevity of the Instant due to my experiences with the first one I got, and due to the sluggishness of the assisted opening mechanism on the replacement blade. I suspect I received a refurbished blade as a replacement, but I can't tell for sure.
Things I Like:
1. Sharp blade
2. Sleek looking knife
3. Composite handle is tough and grips well
1. Blade opens in my pocket
2. Belt clip couldn't hold up to a single drop from about waist high
3. Replacement knife opens sluggishly
4. Replacement thumb plunge requires a lot of force to engage
- Thank you Alex. Just so you know I did see this and I'm planning to do your edits Friday. I have the day off so I should be able to get to everyone's.
--- In email@example.com, "alex" wrote:
> Here is my FR for the Gerber Instant. The text is below and the HTML is at:
> Field Report: