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Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Legendary Blades Instant Knife > Test Report by Bob Sanders

Gerber - Instant Knife

Test Series by Bob Sanders

Initial Report: September 25, 2012
Field Report: January 6, 2013
Long Term Report: February 28, 2013

Name: Bob Sanders BobBackpacking Background: I went on my first backpacking trip as a Boy Scout at the age of 16. Over the years I have hiked the Wonderland Trail in Washington and section hiked parts of the Florida Trail, Appalachian Trail, Colorado Trail and 740 mi (1191 km) of the Pacific Crest Trail. I continue to backpack and hike year round in the Colorado mountains. I have evolved from a heavyweight backpacker to a lightweight backpacker and sometimes reach ultralight weights. My three day fall/winter solo adventures (using a tent) have me hovering around a 17 lb (7.7 kg) base weight.
Age: 54
Gender: Male
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 210 lb (95 kg)
Email: sherpabob(at)mac(dot)com
Location: Longmont, Colorado USA


September 25, 2012

Manufacturer: GerberGerber Instant Knife
Manufactured: 2012


The Gerber Instant uses a Assisted Opening 2.0 mechanism that allows the blade to be opened with one hand. It has a textured G-10 composite handle giving it a great grip. On the back is a thin clip that allows the knife to be carried in a front pocket for all day use.

The specs differed from the packaging to the website. I decided to list the website specs as I felt they would be the most current and easiest to change.
  • Blade Length: 3.18 in (8 cm)
  • Measured Blade Length 3.25 in (8.25 cm)
  • Closed Length: 4.57 in (11.6 cm)
  • Measured Closed Length: 4.57 in (11.6 cm)
  • Overall Length: 7.75 in (19.68 cm)
  • Measured Overall Length: 7.8 in (19.81 cm)
  • Weight: 4.01 oz (113 g)
  • Measured Weight 4.02 oz (114 g)
  • Steel Type: 7Cr17Mo
  • G-10 Handle
  • MSRP: $49 US


I have to say right off the bat that I really like this knife. I'm not a big knife person but when it arrived I took it out of the package and it felt great in my hand. I opened it for the first time and it really sprung open. It opened very fast and with some authority. For the next hour I sat on the couch and played with the knife. I would open and close it several times, sit it down and find myself picking it back up and opening and closing it some more. It just really felt comfortable in my hand. There is a good amount of resistance to the release when I push my thumb against the thumb stud. It was stiff at first until I got used to it. After opening the blade 3-4 times I got a feel for how to hold the handle in the palm of my hand to get the best pressure against the thumb stud.

The grip has an excellent texture and there is no feeling that the knife will slip. The grooves, or cut outs in the handle also seem to enhance the grip. The knife is well balanced and I always felt like I had control of the knife.

I especially like the all black finish. We will see how long the black finish on the blade will last.

The blade can be opened with either hand but the pocket clip is not reversible.

Gerber Instant

The knife appears to be well made and it feels very sturdy. The blade locks in the open position firmly with no play. The only flaw in workmanship is what appears to be a blob or smear of glue right next to one of the screw heads along the top edge (See Photo Below). I can't be 100% sure it is glue other than it is shiny compared to the matte black handle.

Modified Drop
          Point BladeGlue

On top of the blade and the top front of the handle are some grooved thumb notches. These allow my thumb to sit on top of the knife and get a great grip. It also keeps my thumb from sliding forward. This really increases the overall grip on the knife. The locked blade is released in the open position by pushing the silver "Thumb Plunge Lock" on the side of the handle. The blade releases smoothly and drops a little more than half way (See Photo Below). Closing the knife has some options. The knife can be closed with my other hand, I can reach up with my fingers and pull it closed or simply press the back side of the blade against my pant leg to close it. I find myself closing it with my thigh most often. The blade is quite sharp so I will need to be careful when closing.

Blade releasedPocket Clip

The knife has a great pocket clip. The knife is not too big so it fits in my pocket quite comfortably. I stuck it in my pocket and went to run errands. Even sitting and driving I never noticed the knife. I didn't even remember I had the knife with me until I went to bed and took my pants off.


Like I said at the beginning, I really like this knife. I may find myself having it with me all the time. The half straight, half serrated blade will find lots of use. A serrated blade just does a much better job of cutting things like rope, cord, and freeze-dried food packages.

  • All black finish, very stealthy
  • Light weight, I would not carry a knife bigger or heavier than this
  • Compact size, fits my hand perfectly
  • Lightning fast opening, it really is instant


  • It is not a negative, just a concern - how will the black finish on the blade hold up? Especially after a good sharpening. I will need to be very careful to keep from scratching it all up.

  • _____________________________________________________________________________________________


    January 6, 2013

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

Since receiving the Gerber Instant Knife I have basically carried it everyday in my right front pocket. Many days the only time I touch it is when I go to bed and I remove it from my pocket. Though it has come in handy on those days when I do need a knife to open boxes or trim something. I have even used it at home in the kitchen when it was just easier to pull it out of my pocket and use it rather than reach for a kitchen knife. A quick rinse under the faucet and a swipe with the dish towel and back in my pocket it goes.

Setting up camp in the snow

Trips include 2 quick overnight backpack trips to my favorite stomping grounds in and around Brainerd Lake area in the foothills west of Ward, Colorado. Elevation is 10,000 ft (3,050 m) and the temperatures were cold with highs in the low 30's F (0 C) and at night it got down to 18 F (-8 C). Mostly used for opening freeze dried meals and other kitchen duties. It did come in handy to shave some kindling for a very small fire I made to help take the chill off before going to bed. There was snow on the ground and I did use a fire ring.

I also went on a car camping trip with family for 3 days 2 nights at Jackson State Park here in Colorado. The weather was pretty nice with highs in the 50's F (10's C) and lows in the 30's F (0 C). The knife saw a lot of use that trip. Everything from meal preparation to shortening and attaching new guyline for the tent and sharpening points on sticks for smores and hotdogs.

I have also been on 4 day hikes during this testing period. All hikes were in the foothills near Boulder, CO. Elevations ran between 5,000 to 8,000 ft (1,500 to 2400 m) and the temperatures were in the 40's F (4 C). I brought the knife with me every hike and mostly used it for lunch slicing cheese and sausage. I also used it to slice and core an apple but the knife is so sharp that I was slow and cautious so I wouldn't cut myself. I can remember thinking to myself this knife is extremely sharp and kind of large for these simple tasks. I did spend a few minutes thinking about what other tasks I could use it for. A defensive weapon did come to mind. It is large enough and impressive looking in your hand to intimidate any would be attacker. I'm sure a bear would care less.


This knife is much larger than any knife I have ever carried on a dayhike or overnighter. I usually get by with just a tiny single blade Swiss Army pocket knife with a tiny pair of scissors. I have to admit I did miss the scissors for cutting things like moleskin for blisters. I did use the knife to cut squares but rounded corners were not possible.

The knife has remained very sharp. I have not sharpened it yet and we will see if it even needs it by the end of this test.

One of the things I was concerned about was the lack of a lock to keep the knife from springing open unexpectedly or while clipped inside my pocket. Neither of these things have happened and I have not noticed the knife loosening up any. I have also noticed that opening the knife with one hand is the better option vs using both hands. The knife springs open rather abruptly because of the assist mechanism and if I'm not holding the knife securely with both hands the blade can spring open into the palm of my other hand. The only time it did that I got jabbed in the palm by the point. It didn't cut me but I realized afterwards that one handed was the way to go. As time goes by the knife just feels more comfortable in my hand. Flipping the knife open instantly with the push of my thumb makes me feel like a teenager with a switch blade while I mumble to myself "You want a piece of me".

The knife appears to look brand new. Nothing seems to be worn or rubbed anywhere. It probably needs a good washing as I did notice some food particles and dust balls down inside the handle.


The Gerber Instant Knife has become a daily companion in my front pocket and a nice addition to my hiking/backpacking gear. I will keep using it daily and finding additional knife duties while on the trail.

  • Lighting fast one-handed opening - instant bravado!
  • Combo blade
  • Comfortable, non-bulky in my front pocket

  • Really none so far


February 28, 2013

Field Locations and Test Conditions:

I have continued to carry the Gerber Instant knife everyday in my right front pocket. For the unforeseeable future I believe it has found a permanent home there.

I have completed 4 more day hikes and one quick overnighter to round out this test.
The day hikes were in the foothills near Boulder, CO. Elevations ran between 5,000 to 8,000 ft (1,500 to 2400 m) and the temperatures were in the 40's F (4 C). I brought the knife with me every hike and mostly used it to prepare lunch.

I also took it with me on a 2 day 1 night backpacking trip to Lefthand Reservoir in Colorado. The weather was pretty nice, sunny with the high around 35 F (2 C) and low was 10 F (-12 C). The knife was mostly used for lunch and dinner prep. Pretty boring trip for knife usage though it did an outstanding job at every task.

Most of the usage came from just having it with me on a daily basis. I used it for opening packages, trimming things, cleaning my nails, prying open lids and just simple use of a sharp edge. I honestly found more uses on a daily basis than I did while hiking or backpacking.


My final observations are based on the fact that I really like this knife. I have never before carried a knife with me everyday
and now I do. It fits my hand well and I have used it for a multitude of tasks. It made me think about what I did before I had a knife with me on a daily basis. I guess I just made do or found a different tool for the task. I have not sharpened the knife yet and it still seems to have an edge on it. I'm sure it will need a good sharpening eventually.

The one feature of the knife that I have decided I could really do without is the instant open feature. It is really cool and a fun feature but is really not needed and if it was missing I don't think it would bother me. For me I think a locking feature would have more usage.


The Gerber Instant Knife has become a daily companion in my front pocket and a nice addition to my hiking/backpacking gear. I will continue to carry it with me on the trail and even though I would not normally carry a knife this heavy, since it rides in my front pocket the weight just becomes a non issue. The black finish on the blade is only now showing very slight abrasions from normal use.

  • Combo blade
  • Comfortable in my hand
  • No locking feature to keep the blade from springing open

This concludes the test and I would like to thank and Gerber for the opportunity to test this knife.

Read more reviews of Gerber gear
Read more gear reviews by Bob Sanders

Reviews > Knives > Folding > Gerber Legendary Blades Instant Knife > Test Report by Bob Sanders

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