Gerber Steadfast Sheath Knife
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Gerber Steadfast knife. Photo by Chuck Hawks.
Gerber was founded by Joseph R. Gerber in 1939 in Portland, Oregon USA, where all Gerber products are still designed and engineered. Gerber Legendary Blades started as handmade cutlery sets given as holiday gifts and over the last 75 years has grown into a large and world famous company marketing flashlights, headlamps, digging implements, survival tools, hand saws, multi-tools, axes, machetes and, of course, folding and fixed blade knives of all types. Today, Gerber is part of the international Fiskars Corporation based in Helsinki, Finland.
All Gerber knives sold in North America are backed by Gerber's Lifetime Warranty: "Gerber product is warranted to be free of defects in material and workmanship for as long as the original consumer owns the product. At Gerber Legendary Blades' option, defective product will be repaired, replaced, or substituted with a product of equal value."
The Steadfast is a classic Gerber fixed blade knife. Although listed under the "Tactical" knife category in the Gerber (www.gerbergear.com) catalog, it is also a practical hunting and survival knife. The 6" long, fine edge blade has a full length tang. The blade, hilt and butt cap are stainless steel, while the handle has finger grooves and a textured SoftGrip overmold covering a hard substrate. The silver stainless steel has a matte finish and the rubbery handle is matte black, making for an attractive contrast.
Some Gerber knives are still made in the USA (about 60 models), while others are sourced overseas. The Steadfast is one of the latter group, but we could find no marking indicating country of origin. In fact, the only marking on the knife is "Gerber" at the base of the blade. Not even a model number is provided on the knife itself.
The included black nylon sheath has a hard plastic insert to protect the nylon from the blade. A large 3.75" belt loop is provided. It seems like an adequate sheath, but neither the material nor the stitching is as heavy as we would like to see. Heavy weight, genuine Cordura fabric and heavy duty double stitching would be worthwhile improvements and justify the additional cost a few years down the road.
Steadfast knife and sheath. Photo courtesy of Gerber Legendary Blades.
Like other Gerber knives we have owned and used, the Steadfast holds an edge well and its straight taper blade (not hollow ground) can be touched-up on a hard Arkansas stone, as long as you don't let it get really dull. (If you do, you're in for some serious work.) Always use a little honing oil on the stone when sharpening any knife. Finish, if you like, with a couple light swipes across a sharpening steel to align the molecules at the edge of the blade.
If you haven't learned to sharpen your own knives, Gerber provides a sharpening service and if you return your Gerber knife to them they will restore the factory edge. The charge is $3 for sharpening and $3 for return shipping ($6 total). The drawback for most of us is not the price, but the inconvenience of shipping the knife.
The blade shape is good for an all purpose knife. It has a gentle curve to a sharp drop point and should be very good for field dressing big game animals. At 6" it is longer than necessary for most North American game, but not to the point of being ridiculous. The blade steel is 0.22" thick, which provides the heft necessary for serious cutting chores. The planes ground into the upper edge of the blade reduce weight without significantly reducing strength, indicative of sophisticated design.
The hilt, handle and butt cap are firmly secured to the full length tang by a small torx head nut slightly recessed in the end of the butt cap. Should any play ever develop in the handle, the nut can be tightened. We found the handle comfortably shaped and two deep finger notches, plus the SoftGrip covering, provide a secure, non-slip grip.
We prefer a single hilt (finger guard) without the upper protrusion on a hunting knife. On a tactical knife, we suppose the double hilt configuration of the Steadfast hilt is de rigor. At least the top finger guard, which is smaller than the lower, is modest in size.
At 13.8 ounces with its sheath, the Gerber Steadfast is a noticeable weight hanging from a belt. It is, however, a confidence inspiring companion in the woods. It's a lot of knife for its modest MSRP of $53 and Gerber customer service has a good reputation.
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