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Gerber Gator Premium Knife Review – Made In The USA!

Gerber Gator Premium Knife, fixed blade with leather sheath.

Gerber Gator Premium Knife, fixed blade with leather sheath.

Not to long ago I write a review on my favorite general use camp knife, the Rangergrip 78 by Victorinox.  However, sometimes when I go out into the wilds I want something with a little more heft.  That’s where my Gerber Gator Premium knife comes into play.

I’ve been a fan of Gerber knives for years, for as long as I can remember.  Going all the way back to when my father took me squirrel hunting for the first time, I recall him putting on his Gerber belt knife.  He still has it.  It’s a combo style set, with a larger blade for serious skinning or wood work, and then a smaller blade for slighter jobs requiring a little more finesse.  Both blades fit in a worn leather sheath.

Over the years knives have come and gone from my life.  Some I kept, some I passed on to others or just threw away.  Whenever I would buy a personal knife for every day pocket carry, it would be a Gerber 90% of the time.  I’ve purchased several Gerber knives over the years, an still posses them all.

Today I am writing a Gerber Gator Premium knife review.  I’ve owned this knife for a few years now, having upgraded to it from the standard Gerber Gator.

Gerber Gator Premium Fixed Blade Knife Review – Info

  • Name:  Gerber Gator Premium (drop point blade)
  • Price:  Varies, $98 to $150
  • Cheapest Place To BuyAmazon
  • Blade Material:  S30V Stainless Steel (superior edge retention, excellent corrosion resistance)
  • Blade Length:  4″
  • Overall Length:  9″
  • Guarantees:  Limited lifetime warranty, North America Only (Check with Gerber for details)
  • My Rating:  4.5/5   (0.50 taken off for the sheath)

The handle is made out of durable ‘rubberized gator grip’, which I can attest to is easy to maintain a handhold on even when wet.  It is a full tang knife, meaning the blade metal extends all the way through the grip.  It comes with a black leather sheath, also made in the USA just like the knife.

Some of Gerber’s knives and products are made overseas.  The Gerber Gator Premium is not.  This knife has a top quality blade, and they didn’t skimp on anything about this knife.  Check out the reviews on this knife over at Amazon.

What I Like About My Gerber Gator Premium Knife

The Gerber Gator has been around for decades.  I bought one originally eleven years ago, which was a lesser version of the Gator Premium I am writing about now.  That knife have a lower grade stainless steel but is still a great knife, and I keep it as a backup for wilderness camping and hunting.

The Gerber Gator Premium has a much more stout design and feel to it than the original version I have, and a little more heft, which I like a lot.  The S30V steel is a premium grade of stainless.  It’s damn hard.  What that means is that it takes a lot of use for the blade to get dull.  It holds an edge for a long time.  I’ve never had to resharpen mine, but I do hone it on a leather strop from time to time – it’s all it needs to keep the edge nice and sharp.

A dull knife is a dangerous knife.  Have you heard that saying before?  It’s true.  Run a Gerber Gator Premium along a strop once in a while, and you’re good to go.  I carry a leather strop on my camping backpack.

Another thing I like about this knife is the grip.  I’ve used my knife in the frigid cold, on sweaty hot days, when my hands and grip were wet, and even while field dressing large game when things were a bit bloody.  Never have I had an issue with a poor grip on this knife.

From its lightly textured handle, to its polished rear pommel and front bolster, this knife fits in the hand beautifully.  It balances well and feels like a natural extension of your hand.

It is incredibly durable and has a full tang.  I use this knife for field dressing large game, batoning fire wood, using the spine on my ferro rod, and hacking wood around camp that I can’t do with a smaller knife.  The blade is not too big, and not to small.  Some people want a blade closer to 6 inches for a typical belt knife – I have never felt like I needed it, 4 inches is perfect and provides just the right length for easier blade control.

Where I Use This Knife

For more routine jobs when camping, such as cutting line, or food prep, I turn more often to a smaller utility type knife like the RangerGrip 78.

However, for field dressing, batoning, large camp projects requiring lots of whittling or cutting, I turn to my Gerber Gator Premium.  Sure, I can easily use it to cut line and slice potatoes, I’ve even used it to clean fish when I forgot my fillet knife on a backpacking/fishing trip.  This is a great knife that can do it all.

What I Don’t Like About My Gerber Gator Premium

One of the things I don’t like is also what I do like; the S30V steel.  You know my reasons for liking it up above, however, if the day ever comes when I do need to sharpen this knife, it is going to take a lot of work to do it.  The S30V steel is damn hard and durable.  Diamond stone or ceramic sharpening systems are going to have to be used to sharpen this knife, and it could take a while, possible an hour or better to resharpen properly.

Now, over the life of this knife and for how durable the edge is, sharpening is not going to be something most users need to worry about.  Just keep a leather strop handy like I do.  The motto is “sharpen once, strop for life”.

Luckily there are some great sharpening systems out on the market that would make the task of sharpening the Gerber Gator Premium less arduous.

Gerber Gator Premium Knife in its black leather sheath.

Gerber Gator Premium Knife in its black leather sheath.

There is one other thing that I don’t like, and it’s not even about the knife… it’s the sheath.  It is a good sheath; durable and easy to slip on a belt and carry.  It has a plastic lined insert to protect the blade and the leather when going in and coming out.  But it’s not a ‘great’ sheath.  I still have and use the one that came with it.  However, I have entertained thoughts of purchasing something specific – like a sheath that also has a ferro rod holder.  Necessary, no, but it would be nice.

The Gerber Gator Premium – What Else To Say?

For those that like to attach a lanyard to their knives, the Gator Premium has a hole in the pommel for doing so.  It also has some classy stamping and laser etching of the Gerber logos. Gerber has been around a long time, and has a prominent name in making fine blades.  The logos go a long way to remind you of Gerber’s heritage.

If you are looking for a premium knife constructed out of the finest steel and best manufacturing, then you will be glad you purchased the Gerber Gator Premium Knife. It truly is a quality made knife, and you’ll notice that fact right away when you grasp it in your hand.  You will smile.

It comes in a folding blade model as well, though if you are into heavy bushcraft type of camping I would highly recommend you go with the fixed blade version.  There is also a version with a gut hook that some may prefer.

Looking to buy a Gerber Gator Premium knife or read some great customer reviews.  I suggest buying from Amazon, as they usually have a better price than most places online.  All you have to do is click here.

Thanks for reading,

TD

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