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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber L.S.T. Magnum > Owner Review by Thomas Vickers
Gerber L.S.T. Magnum Knife
I grew up in the piney woods of southeast Texas. Camping was a quick trip into the mosquito-infested woods behind the house. My style has evolved and over the last 4 or 5 years, I have begun to take a lighter weight approach to hiking gear (I still use sleeping bags and tents, just lighter versions). While I have flirted with lightweight hiking, I feel that I am more of a mid-weight hiker now. My philosophy is one of comfort, while carrying the lightest load possible.
Manufacturer: Gerber Knives
Overall Length: 8.09 in (20 cm)
Length Closed: 4.59 in (12 cm)
Length of Blade: 3.46 in (9 cm)
Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g)
Blade Material: 420HC Stainless Steel
Handle Material: Glass-filled nylon
Blade Style: Drop point
Sheath Material: Ballistic nylon
Blade Type: Fine
(all measurements approximate)
Overall Length: 8 in (20 cm)
Length Closed: 4.50 in (11 cm)
Length of Blade: 3.40 in (9 cm)
Weight: 4.8 oz (136 g)
Description from the manufacturer:
The basic design concept flows from Gerber's earlier success with the original L.S.T. pocketknives. With a lock-back blade securing system. Emphatic finger grip placements. Fine checkering in the handle for a can't-miss grip. And a stainless steel blade that holds its edge and brings home the bacon."
The Gerber L.S.T. Magnum is a folding blade knife. The blade folds into the handle and is released by pressing on the back of the knife's handle. When locked open, the same spot on the back of the handle is pressed to unlock the blade so that I can fold it into its storage position. The handle feels like hard plastic and contains a checkerboard pattern along its sides. There are two formed finger grips/notches on the underside of the handle and and a small finger guard just behind the blade that is part of this grip area. I wish I could be a little more descriptive, but this is a basic folding blade knife.
Using the knife:
Locations: California (Sierras), Colorado, Arkansas, Texas
Altitude: Sea level to 13,000 feet (3,900 m)
Temperatures: 26 F to 100 F (-3 C to 38 C)
Extended hiking trips (3-5 days)
I want to start of by saying that I don't own just one of the Gerber L.S.T. Magnum folding knives, I own four of them. My first one was purchased sometime in 2001 and since then I keep adding additional ones to my collection when I find them on sale. I have this strange nagging fear that I will lose them all and then not have any more to use.
Opening it up:
When I first started using the Gerber L.S.T. Magnum folding knife hiking, I liked it because it was big and easy to handle, even when I was wearing gloves or glove liners. As I kept on using the knife and abusing I really grew to love it because it survived a lot of rough treatment. Despite almost constant use and abuse, this knife has stayed in pretty good shape over the years.
I can open the knife easily with one hand by pulling the blade out a bit with my fingers, then whipping the blade out by flipping my wrist. Not the easiest one handed move to make, but it lets me do the job when I only have one had available. Once I get the blade out and locked open, it has never slipped shut or come 'unlocked' at any point. When I get it open, it stays that way.
There is no way that I can find to take the Gerber L.S.T. Magnum folding knife apart for cleaning or maintenance. Of course, over the last few years, I have never had need to want to take it apart. I have often used a cotton swab to clean dirt and grit out of some of the hard to get at spaces on the handle and hinge areas, but this is pretty easy and the knife has never needed it for any other reason than I don't like a dirty knife.
I also sharpen my knife about every six months or so. The blade can and will hold a good edge for longer than that, but I prefer to know without a doubt that I am going to have the sharpest blade possible for when I am in the field.
I have cut everything from wood to cheese with this knife and I have done nothing worse than scratch the blade. Not chips or nicks at all can be found on the blade or the handle. The handle material is pretty tough and has survived drops onto rocks without chipping or cracking. The Gerber website describes the material as "Glass-filled nylon," but it feels and acts like really tough plastic.
The hinge and lock mechanism still works smoothly and without any hiccups as well. I can't count how many thousands of times I have opened this knife, but for as much use as I have put it through, the flawlessly smooth action of the hinge mechanism is surprising, even to me.
This knife is durable and easy to handle. When I first purchased it for hiking I was worried that it was too much knife. It is big when unfolded, but the still fairly light weight despite its size. Over the past few years I have realized that I can use a smaller knife and when I hike with a large group, I tend to use a smaller knife. When I am out solo hiking (probably about 97% of the time) I feel much better having this knife with me. It is a full function tool that has seen all kinds of uses from cutting fishing line and cheese, to digging a hole in hard soil for various hiking reasons. It also functions as a kind of security blanket for me while hiking alone. I always know where the knife is just in case I have to fight off bad people or wild animals.
Best of all, despite its size, the Gerber L.S.T. Magnum folding knife is light weight. The one thing that I would prefer is a loop or hole in the handle where I could hang it from a lanyard. I would even settle for a pocket clip of some sort, but at this point the Gerber L.S.T. Magnum folding knife does not have either option available.
I will continue to use this knife on the trail till I run out of spares. Hopefully Gerber will never stop making them and I will never run out, but that is a bridge I will cross later. Right now I do not hit the trail without this knife. It goes in my pack for every trip and I know that whatever I need a knife for, the Gerber L.S.T. Magnum folding knife is going to be the 'go to' tool for me.