PUBLISHED: 11:44 21 August 2012
Like many large knife makers, Gerber is proud to serve the militaries of the world with tough, reliable products. Clearly these sales are good for business but they also add credibility to the manufacturer's claims about their products.
They’re a good source of feedback for the designers, as soldiers will use knives harder than anybody else, and any weakness will soon show itself. Such knives will be used for everyday work like cutting rope and opening boxes but have a more serious purpose which is as a last resort tool of self--defence, which explains the Warrant’s choice of a tanto (also called chisel point) blade profile.
This is believed to have been created by Japanese Samurai warriors to be hugely strong when used as a stabbing weapon. The idea was to keep the blade as thick as possible along its length, because a thin tip could well break off in a fight and this explains why it has proven so popular away from combat use. The tanto blade has proven to be very strong and well suited to people who tend to break knives. The Warrant is a no-frills tool, utilising high-carbon stainless steel, which holds an edge better than common stainless and is also considerably more flexible, meaning that it will bend quite a long way before it snaps.
Now, we all know that you should never use a knife as a crowbar, but people do (you know who you are!) so this is the steel alloy for them. It’s also a relatively easy steel to re sharpen. The shape of the cutting edge does add a few challenges when it comes to sharpening because you need a flat stone to do the chisel area and main cutting edge, plus a slim, round stone to sharpen the serrations. The serrated section close to the grip works well for cutting the toughest materials and is especially good on rope and fibrous materials. The blade is finished with a titanium nitrate PVD coating, which, for military purposes reduces reflections, but for the rest of us, adds corrosion resistance.
As can be clearly seen, the design is a full tang, meaning that the blade material runs the full length and width of the handle for maximum strength. The handles themselves are unusually made from black oxidised aluminium, again tough as hell, if a little cold for midwinter use. They’re machined for some extra grip but it’s the overall shape that gives you control. There’s a well-defined finger guard and a matching section at the rear, locking your hand in. On the spine under your thumb are some deep serrations that the Americans like to refer to as ‘jimping’, for added control when cutting really tough jobs. For finer work, there’s a cut-out that your middle finger can use ahead of the guard and further grooves in the spine of the blade. Moving your hand forward like this gives better control for detailed work. Gerber deserves credit for ensuring that the finger groove is correctly blunted, not something that every knife maker can claim. The unusual edge profile offers a choice of angles to suit the task at hand. The fine tip is saved from some work by using the sharp angled section further back. The unusual design even makes a good chisel for wood work or a scaper when needed.
The sheath has a military build and look, being finished in desert digital camo. It’s made from heavy-duty nylon with a rigid plastic guard inside that protects you and the blade. It offers multiple ways to wear it including a leg strap.
There’s no question that this is an unusual knife for sporting shooters, but if you need a strong, reliable cutting tool at a reasonable price, this could well be your knife.