I would have titled this "Trolling for Hate" but EVERYONE loves hating Gerber, so I won't bother.
Some of you might have noticed that I took down the Aeon Sign Up page, seeing as sign ups closed a while ago. In its place I put this page. I have always wanted to do this, as I am fascinated by lists and rankings. Amazon creates and keeps track of a mind boggling number of statistics. My favorites are the Top 100 lists. In order to better ground discussion regarding production knives and, more importantly, to give you a better idea of what others are buying, I thought I would include them. They function as a sort of New York Times Best Seller List for Gear, but are updated hourly.
But there is a caveat. A lot of the stuff on the Top 100 list in any category is absolute junk. Yesterday, the first legit piece of gear I found on the flashlight list was a Surefire Fury around the mid-60s. On the folding knife list there were quite a few SOG pieces, including an Aegis in the Top 10, but there were no Spydercos and the first Benchmade was around the mid 60s as well (it was the Contego, if you must know). So much of the stuff on the list is PURE and COMPLETE crap. There are the generic "300 Lumen Strong Bright" lights (though this one will take a long time to get here because it "ships form HK") and the "Twin Batarang" knives (in pink?) and a ton of soulless other items as well.
A close analysis, or even a passing glance, tells you why Gerber is still in business--there are a lot of "unknowledgeable" (this is my euphemism for "dumb" as I try to not call people dumb) folks out there buying Gerber stuff by the dump truck load. There is little doubt that Gerber is wildly successful. Right now, a full ten of the top twenty is Gerber junk. How is this possible? How is it that there are LOTS people out there that: a) can read; b) have access to the Internet; c) want to purchase a knife; and d) end up buying a Gerber? As if the horrible designs, ridiculous marketing, and overpricing aren't enough, three separate knives from Gerber have been recalled (see here and here and here) in the past five years, two this year. The first, the Instant, is the feature of their new marketing campaign and was recalled because the lock failed. It is a "voluntary" recall on Gerber's part because, well, having your product chop people's fingers off while they are using it is bad publicity. The other two are government recalls, one from 2008 on the EAB II, which is #1 on the Top 100 right now, and the other is on one of the dumbass Zombie Kit machetes. Yet, this is what people are buying. Clearly all of us that like and care about quality stuff have a lot of work to do. Friends don't let friends: 1) drink and drive or; 2) buy Gerber knives.
When I poke fun at Gerber and suggest they stop making stuff and refocus on quality, they laugh. They have no reason to. They are selling truckloads of knives even when they are failing in catastrophic ways. It is as if their business model is: lots of awesome commercials with gritty fellas and Bear Grylls + hack designs that fail + substandard materials + denigrating a once good name + prices twice what they should be = lots and lots of sales. Gerber says to me and other people that criticize them:
"Take that internet and gear folks. Take that snooty gear reviewers. We make shit, sell lots of it, and make tons of money. Criticize all you want, but we will merely wipe away our tears with $100 bills."
At least the one good Gerber design, the Shard, is the #1 multitool as of this writing. And to think they didn't want to make it, let it go out of production, and then brought it back.
Enjoy the Top 100. They are most often hilarious and sometimes a sober reminder of the fact that most gear companies aren't like Spyderco, 47s, Benchmade, and Surefire. Some gear companies are not in fact gear companies at all, but junk mass manufacturers that are trying capitalize on an increased interest in being prepared. It makes you grateful for the companies that do give a shit. The Top 100 also tells me we have a lot of work to do.