I tried this amazing Gerber knife on a bunch of different hunting trips and I’m proud to bring you my in-depth Gerber StrongArm review!
I’m not going to get into the practicalities of having a knife out on a hunt, suffice to say that the utility of reliable blade is undeniable. Every adventurer deserves to have a ferocious and sharp knife at their side. It doesn’t hurt that having a deadly blade at the ready looks pretty darn awesome too!
What Makes A Good Knife?
Table of Contents
When it comes to picking a blade, there are a few features that a hunter should always look for:
- A razor-sharp, high-quality blade
- The ability to easily sharpen the blade when needed
- A reliable and ergonomic handle
- A versatile sheath
- An overall durable design
The gang at Gerber completely understand this and have delivered on every single item. This knife is gooooood!
The Gerber StrongArm – At A Glance
The Gerber StrongArm is a fixed-blade knife, meaning it is solid and does not collapse into the handle. It is design with brute force and raw power in mind, and every feature is designed to deliver on that vision. It’s a knife that can take you through the rough and can tolerate roughness upon itself too.
With just a few days of handling this knife, or rather, handling the wilderness with this knife, and I immediately became a fan of the Gerber StrongArm!
It is sturdy, sharp, and can be used for multiple things that cover all sorts of outdoor adventures. Here are the specifications at a glance:
Gerber StrongArm Features
• Drop-point, full tang 420HC steel blade
• Fixed blade design
• 4.875″ blade length
• Glass-filled nylon handle with ultra-comfortably and grippy rubber over-mold
• 5-inch handle length for a total length of 9.875″
• Innovative sheath that allows multiple ways to carry the sheathed blade
• Made in the USA – Portland, Oregon to be exact
After spending a solid amount of time with Gerber StrongArm, I can mark it for all the fantastic qualities that it has.
These details will also help you decide whether this knife is suitable for your outdoor activities. I appreciate that every hand has a different preference, but for me this knife has ticked all the boxes and proved to be an efficient tool when out in the wilds.
The multi-purpose Gerber knife has many qualities that we’ll discuss in more details below, but I think you’ll find it’s the perfect knife for hunting, hiking, camping, or any other outdoor activity.
As far as knife blades go, this thing is a beast! You shouldn’t judge a knife just by its blade alone, but obviously its a big factor and this one’s a winner.
The blade is made from 420HC steel – I’ll stop right there because some of you may not be familiar with 420HC steel. The “420” is the designation given to a steel alloy that contains 12% chromium, making it a stainless steel. The “HC” stands for “higher carbon”. This type of steel has several properties worth noting.
Firstly, it is highly corrosion resistant. This makes it fantastic for survival tasks and outdoor use. It can be exposed to rain, water, blood and bone and will not rust. 420HC steel is also very easy to sharpen. Although this steel type does not known for holding it’s edge, it is known for being able to be sharpened to a deadly point very easily. Even when it does dull, you will have no trouble honing it back to a razor-edge.
One other feature is that it 420HC steel is not excessively expensive. Although there are premium and super steels knives (eg. 440C, 154CM, etc.), after repeated outdoor use many will not stand up to the 420HC steel of the Gerber StrongArm, and almost all come with a higher price. Gerber’s choice to use 420C, although cheaper, is actually very deliberate here as they wanted a knife that’s corrosion resistance allows it to go anywhere and do anything, albeit with a little effort resharpening once in while.
You also have a choice of a clean edge or a serrated section in the lower half of the blade, which can help with sawing and cutting through tougher materials. The serated section is more difficult to sharpen though, so keep that in mind.
With regular sharpening, the 420HC steel blade can cut, chop, slice, debone, and pierce. The best part is that you will find it very easy to sharpen the blade with a sharpening stone. A bit of honing and voila! The knife becomes as good as new.
Also Check: Buck 119 Review
It is not common that you buy affordable equipment and it turns out to have the finesse of the high-end brands. Although the StrongArm isn’t priced at entry-level, Gerber is still an inexpensive brand, providing affordable products. The high quality finish will therefore come as a pleasant surprise to many!
The blade is finished in a trademarked ceramic coating called Cerakote. This provides even more corrosion resistance and also strengthens the spine of the blade. The edge itself is not coated, enabling the 420HC steel easy edge sharpening to be retained.
The ceramic coating also provides a smooth and consistent texture, making slicing and cutting through meat, flesh and other materials easy. Another smart feature of Gerber’s strongarm is that the black ceramic blade coating reduces glare, which is a significant tactical advantage.
Collectively, the blade and the finish are top notch. This means that the Gerber StrongArm really shines when it comes to value. For the price, this knife really performs!
Sturdy and Reliable
One of the best things about fixed-blade knives is that they are ‘no drama, just work.’ If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the ability to quickly unsheathe and use the blade for whatever task it demands. The Gerber StrongArm knife delivers immediately as you don’t need to open it, work and then flex it again to hide the blade. The solid construction provides a reliable cut, every time.
Gerber StrongArm is built for the severe conditions of military service. The grip is incredibly comfortable, fitting neatly into your hand. The “diamond texture” in the rubber over-molding provides a surprising amount of grip, giving you a feeling of control regardless of whether you are doing fine work like skinning an animal or rough work like hacking through bone.
I was worried that the rubber texturing would come loose after extended use, but I didn’t see any signs of wear even after repeated use, including field dressing a small deer I nailed with compound bow.
The full tang blade design also provides added robustness and strength. Lastly, the pommel of the knife is clear of the over-mold, revealing the ultra tough glass-filled nylon handle. This exposed pommel allows it to be used to apply blunt force trauma to break open tough objects or smash through barriers. I didn’t get much opportunity to use this feature on my hunts, but it’s a nice addition.
- StrongArm tactical knife features a coyote brown handle and a fine edge, full tang 420HC steel blade
- Durable survival knife has ceramic blade coating and rubberized diamond texture grip
- Break through hard surfaces in emergencies with the tactical knife’s striking pommel
Portable and Easy
Although many of you may think that this is where the Gerber StrongArm falls down, being a fixed-blade knife, you’d be wrong. Although flip knives are more compact, the StrongArm comes with its own one-of-kind sheathe that easily competes on portability.
The sheathe is highly adjustable and specially designed to attached in several ways:
- Vertically on MOLLE (MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) straps of a tactical vest
- Horizontally in a low profile position on the belt
- In the traditional drop-leg position on the hip, in a quiet snap-in case that attaches to your belt
This optionality is fantastic and will suit any individual. Very few knives are easy and safe to carry. Despite the size and fixed-blade style, you will have no trouble maneuvering with this knife or traveling across long distances. knife easily. Nevertheless, always be careful as some poses and angles may still present a safety risk.
With the knife’s carrying options, you can rest assured that it remains secure and easy to draw out when needed. Overall, a good score for the portability feature.
For all the adventurers who prefer looks over features, the StrongArm knife might not be the first choice.
However, the knife’s raw and thick look may excite hunters who like hard angles and clean lines. An accurate survival weapon, the StrongArm’s black coating looks menacing up close but helps with camouflage at a distance.
The handle comes in two different colors, black and coyote brown. The selected handle color is then matched to the sheathe. The coyote brown handle and sheathe blends well with most camouflage patterns, but the black really does look striking.
The option of a clean versus serrated blade profile also provides additional individualization.
Handle and Cut Tests:
The StrongArm knife is not only strong, but the rubberized handle is comfortable to hold.
This handle is grippy and provides a strong hold, enabling you to perform the task properly. The durability is surprisingly good for what you pay for this Gerber model.
As I mentioned, the blade does not retain its edge well, but can be sharpened very easily and to a diamond point. After sharpening, the results of the cut test were impressive. I did perform a cut test after my third hunt with the Gerber StrongArm, and the results were noticeably worse, but I honed the blade again for a couple of minutes and it was straight back to its best! For low to moderate use, this knife is fantastic for the amount of money you pay.
It can carry out all sorts of work, and the best part is, you don’t feel guilty about giving it a beating. Just resharpen it and it will be good as new!
There are hundreds of knife options for all kinds of outdoor adventures. However, when it comes to value, fewer satisfy the customers in terms of features and price.
Many high-end knives will have premium steel blades, complicated folding mechanisms, high-grade handles and other features. However, for the price of the Gerber StrongArm, it is an exceptional weapon. You get the ability to perform many outdoor chores with ease at a very economical price.
If we score the knife for its value, it is an excellent purchase and might get the highest score for the amount of work it can do, compared to the cost.
The principles of military survival training inspire the Gerber StrongArm. A balance of performance and economy make this knife an accessible piece for the vast majority hunters and adventurers. The almost unparalleled corrosion resistance is exactly what you need. Big game or small game, hiking or camping, the utility of this knife is undeniable, there are just so many kinds of jobs the StrongArm knife can perform!
The ultra-sturdy construction make this knife an incredibly versatile tool. Cutting, slicing, piercing, slashing, skinning, stabbing, untying and all other manner knife jobs are possible with this fixed blade knife. The fixed-blade, drop-point design, coupled with the innovative sheath mean you can easily take this knife anywhere.
The uniquely designed sheathe also bring something special to the Gerber StrongArm. It will suit almost any user. Optionality with color choice and blade-style also add more flavor to this deliciously dangerous weapon.
What Did We Like The Most?
For me, it was the feel of the knife. The grip was fantastic. The weight and length of the blade feel powerful, but I always felt completely in control, no matter what task I was using the knife for. I also tried the knife with lightweight camo gloves and still had a similar level of comfort and control.
The blade itself, when sharpened, was incredibly effective. I opted for the serrated blade, which was useful to cut through bone on my kills. It definitely dulled the blade a little, but sharpening it never felt difficult and I could bring it back to a fine edge very quickly.
One thing worth point out was the feedback from the knife. On rough surfaces such as bone, rope and wood, you do notice the vibrations through the knife. This may have been a sign that I needed to sharpen the blade again, but I’ve used some other knives that give less of this feedback.
The only other obvious downside is regular sharpening (did I mention that already?!). I did have to sharpen it a few times, but it was so quick and easy that it’s only a minor consideration. I’m just highlighting that you won’t get a permanently good edge on this knife.
All In All, Is Gerber StrongArm Worth Buying?
There are so many options available in the market that that it can be a real challenge when you set out to buy a knife. Follow the principles I set out above and you can’t go wrong. Luckily, if you choose the Gerber StrongArm, every single box will be ticked!
Where I think this knife really shines is it’s value. It affordable and will last you a long time, so long as you sharpen it regularly and look after it properly.
I’d definitely recommend this knife, and I know it will become a regular tool on my hunts from now on!
A quick point of note, the Gerber LMF II is very similar, but I would definitely prefer the StrongArm. It is slightly smaller and a more versatile weapon, particularly for bushcraft, hunting, hiking and camping. The LMF II is closer to combat weapon than a tactical or survival knife.
If you still aren’t convinced, why not check out some other options? If not the Gerber, your perfect hunting knife will surely be on our list of best hunting knifes!