Monday, February 6, 2012

Gerber Venture

I have been pretty hard on Gerber.  Except for the Shard, pretty much any time I mention the name it is to bash a brand that used to be great and now occupies the same product niche as Matador beef jerky--junk full of odds and ends.  In the case of Matador it is cow parts that its higher end brother (Jack Links) refused to use.  In the case of Gerber it is all of the cast off, borrowed, or otherwise stolen engineering ideas of other companies. 

But when the Venture was leaked I thought maybe, just maybe they had turned a corner.  After all it isn't an UGLY knife:

It has Ti handles, it has a ball bearing pivot, it is not ridiculously large (3.2 inch blade).  Then I got some more details (here is the product page).  The price is pretty high--$74 MSRP.  That puts it in the same range (or a bit more) as the Delica and the Mini Grip, two EDC greats.  It has a tanto point which I really dislike for EDC (how many EDC tasks require piercing over slicing?).  The lock is a button lock, which I have never used.  My concern is that a button lock is a very fine tolerance design, even a smidgen off here or there and the lock becomes sloppy and there is not a thing you can do to fix it.  At this point, I'd say it is not a great choice for an EDC knife, but not an act of theft on Gerber's part.

But this is Gerber and you know, somewhere you are going to get robbed of your money and/or they are going to try to sell you something based on its ability to fend off the undead.  Here is the act of theft--the blade steel is...7CR17MoV.  Ugh.  They couldn't even muster the carbon content of Kershaw, Spyderco, and CRKT's budget steel, 8CR13MoV.  What's the difference between the Venture's steel and the well known 8CR formulation?  Here is a post over at bladeforum.  Consensus is that it is worse than 8CR and somewhere around 440A-440B.  It has less carbon in it than 8CR (hence the 7) and it has a bit more corrosion resistance chemicals.  It has .20 more carbon in it than 420HC (around .60 compared to .40).  Reports are that it does not hold an edge (thanks to the lack of carbon) and that it is easy to sharpen.  All in all, not the blade steel you'd imagine in a $74 knife.

This is really a Ti button lock knife with something marginally better than pot tin in the middle.  My 420HC Buck is $19 now and it has a very similar steel.  Are the Ti handles, ball bearing pivot, and button lock worth $50 if the blade is make of junk? 

If you are thinking about getting a Venture consider some of the following cheaper and better blades:

1.  Buck Vantage Pro (both with S30V steel)
2.  Aforementioned Delica and Mini Grip
3.  Spyderco Native 4 (also with S30V)
4.  CRKT Ripple (even the Wal Mart Ripple has 8CR13MoV steel)
5.  Any thing other than another Gerber

Only Gerber could ruin a knife with features like an all Ti handle and a ball bearing pivot.  Thanks to cheaping out on the single most essential part of the knife Gerber.  Legendary...or legendarily bad?  I'd love if someone bough out Fiskars and brought Gerber back home.  This is a really sad story of a formerly great American company. 


  1. My favorite part of gerbers description of that knife is when they let us know that the clip keeps it in your pocket.

  2. One comparison that occurs to me is you could buy two CRKT Drifters AND a cold 6-pack of Bridgeport I.P.A. for the price of the Venture.

    And the Drifters have better steel (8Cr14MoV)!

  3. OR you could buy 2 Kershaw Skylines, and save about $5.

  4. long as a car has great tires, who cares about the rest?