Gerber Magnum LST Jr. Folding Hunting Knife
By Chuck Hawks
Most Guns and Shooting Online readers are familiar with Gerber Legendary Blades, but for those who aren't, Gerber was founded by Joseph R. Gerber in 1939 in Portland, Oregon USA. To this day, all Gerber products are designed and engineered in Portland. Gerber Legendary Blades started as two dozen handmade cutlery sets given as holiday gifts to friends and associates. Over the last 75 years, Gerber has grown into a world famous company.
Unfortunately, they are no longer family owned. Gerber was acquired by the international Fiskars Corporation (a good outfit) based in Helsinki, Finland in 1987 and now markets a variety of high quality outdoor products, including flashlights, headlamps, digging implements, survival tools, hand saws, multi-tools, axes, machetes and many types of folding and fixed blade knives. Some Gerber knives are still made in Oregon (about 60 models), while others are sourced overseas.
The Magnum LST Jr. is a plain, hard working knife designed to be used. The Gerber catalog described the Magnum LST Jr. knife this way:
"If you're a fan of the classic folding hunter, you might as well step up to the caliber of the Magnum L.S.T. Jr. It's an unpretentious, get-er-done sort of field knife that lays low when you're stalking or still hunting, then stands tall when you're dressing out your buck or bull. Superior edge retention is mandatory with big game hunting. The Magnum L.S.T. Jr. delivers it in a 2-3/4" blade made of 420 high carbon stainless steel. It's still fairly easy to sharpen, as needed. Choose a fine edge in black or Mossy Oak. Pronounced finger grips in the fiberglass-reinforced thermoplastic handle work with crisp checkering to provide a high degree of tactile dexterity and long-term comfort."
Unfortunately, the Magnum LST Jr. has recently been discontinued. It was discontinued around 2012, last selling for less than $25. I am sorry to see this made in USA model go, as it has long been my favorite Gerber folding knife. The larger Magnum LST is still in the catalog, as is a smaller model similar to the LST Jr. However, in my estimation, the LST Jr. is the perfect size for daily pocket carry. It is short and light enough to be unobtrusive and big enough for serious cutting, including field dressing a deer. It is very similar in size and blade shape/length to the famous and highly sought after Gerber Paul 2P knife at about 1/8th the price.
The Magnum LST Jr. uses a conventional back lock mechanism. There are no nail nicks, but the handle's large finger grooves leave plenty of space to grab the blade. In fact, it can be opened one-handed, using the thumb and middle finger of the cutting hand.
The knife's design is clever and exceptionally simple, requiring few parts. There is no steel liner inside the handle. The very durable synthetic handle is essentially a solid billet with slots to receive the blade and lock mechanism. There are only two stainless steel pins, a larger one for the blade pivot and a smaller pin that serves as the fastener and pivot point for the back lock mechanism. The knife's synthetic and stainless steel construction naturally resists rusting and corrosion very well. You can call the Magnum LST Jr. a minimalist folder and get no argument from me. Having used one on a daily basis for about 15 years, I can attest to its quality and longevity. There is zero blade play in mine after years of use.
The blade shape is excellent for an all purpose pocket knife or a small folding hunting knife. It has a medium edge curve to a drop point, a strong and useful shape for general cutting chores. The actual sharpened cutting edge measures about 2-1/4".
The glass-filled nylon handle is about 0.488" thick at its widest point. Two large finger notches and a checkered texture molded into the sides of the handle provide a firm grip, even when the knife is wet or bloody. The shape of the handle forms a small single hilt to keep fingers off the cutting edge of the blade.
Gerber knives are legendary for holding an edge. Interestingly, 420HC (high carbon) stainless steel is the standard blade material used in both Gerber and Buck knives.
The Magnum LST Jr's blade shape is relatively easy to touch-up on a hard Arkansas stone, providing you don't let it get really dull. Always use a little honing oil on the stone when sharpening any knife. If you haven't yet learned to sharpen your own knives by hand, Gerber provides a sharpening service and if you return your Gerber knife they will restore the factory edge. The charge is $3 for sharpening and $3 for return shipping ($6 total).
As I write these words, Gerber Magnum LST Jr. knives are still available in the marketplace, a situation that is bound to change after everyone discovers that the model has been discontinued. Get yours while you still can.
Copyright 2014, 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.