Gerber LMFII ASEK Survival Knife: Great knife for a chump change price.
I like documentation. Out of the box it came with [i]two[/i] sets of instructions, but perhaps LAPoliceGear just slipped in two sets for me. The instructions came in the form of a 8×5″ piece of paper printed in Black and White. Scan up in the morning. Gerber’s instructions claim that it is a “HIGHLY ADAPTABLE 10″ SURVIVAL KNIFE”. I agree. The instructions give detailed step by step, AMERICAN ENGLISH (sorry you limey ZS Brits) directions on how to attach to PALS webbing, the calf strap, or Belt/Thigh attachment. Check the images below for the mounting options. It also provides 4 cool images on how to smash Plexiglass, use as a hammer, convert to a spear, and use the integrated sharpener on the sheath. Scans of both sides are below
This sheath is almost worth the $70 alone. It comes in two parts: the Kydex sheath that houses the knife, and a ballistic nylon backing to attach it using the methods described in the previous section.
The sheath has two small Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) straps with snap buttons. The snap buttons on this sheath, despite being made by commie Vietnamese, seem very strong. All of the stitching on the “ballistic nylon” (which I believe is 1000 Denier) is redundantly supported by two or three rows of threads. The two MOLLE straps are, if you haven’t figured out already, used to affix the sheath to the Pouch Attachment Ladder System (PALS) webbing.
It also comes with two thick, nylon straps for attachment to the calf. They have strong buckles (I heard from someone that they were Fastex, but I can not verify). The straps are impregnated with elastic in order to better grip your pants, although you’re going to need to tighten it just perfectly if you don’t want it to move around while sheathing/unsheathing your knife.
The MOLLE attachment strap also made it easy for me to affix the sheath to the shoulder strap of my back (Camelbak BFM). There is a little bit of movement, but I attribute this to my pack. I’m going to have to sew down the strap on my backpack so it can’t move. In the meantime I held it down with a safety pin.
One of the plethora of sweet features on this sheath is the fact that it is ambidextrous; you can position the sharp edge of the blade to your left or right. Good news for you leftys. Good news if you want to mount it upside-down, as well.
Another considerate feature is the built-in sharpener. To use this, you need to remove the sheath from the 1000 Denier backing. Simply stick the (non-serrated portion) of the blade into the hole in the Kydex sheath, and draw consistently through the hole. It came razor sharp out of the box (I cut myself shaving hairs off my arm). Just the way I like it.
The nylon backing for the sheath has two straps with snap-buttons that secure the hilt of the blade, although this is just another example of redundancy in this tool.
There is a strong plastic spring clip that clips onto the Guard. It holds the blade so tight that some weeny on Youtube actually complained that he got a boo boo from the clip when he bought it at the mall. Despite this guy’s classification of this feature as a con, all you have to do to remove the blade from its sheath is grasp it by the hilt, and push with your thumb, as you pull with your index finger. Your thumb should be on the clip, and it comes right out. Make no mistake, this blade will stay in its sheath until you want it to come out. Very well designed. +1
The Business End
This 10″ Drop-point blade is made of 12C27 Stainless Steel (which I believe is a specialty of Finland); this knife is sharp. As mentioned, I was able to shave a small patch of arm hair quite easily out of the box. That is, after I wiped the cosmoline off with an isopropanol soaked cotton ball. There was a bit of oil inside the sheath too, because after I cleaned it off, sheathed, then unsheathed it, there was a bit more on the tip. We’ll see how long it holds an edge with use, although I plan on keeping this on the hiking backpack.
The first 2.75″ of the blade is unserrated. The next 1.875″ is. The serrations slice through paracord like it was melting butter. I held a piece of 8.5×11″ paper taught and pulled the unserrated portion of the blade across it. There was not a single tear. It sliced through it, again, like a hot knife through melted buttery goodness (which makes me think of lobster…mmmm)
This blade is NOT full tang. It is separated from the butt end (which I’ll get to in a minute) by a Glass-filled nylon with TPV overmolded hilt. It has tiny circles on it, and gives a good grip even when wet (or bloody). The idea behind not being a full tang is that it is electrically insulated. If you click on the LA Police Gear.com link at the top of this review, there is a story by some sniper in Iraq who cut a hot power cord with one. It arced and wielded a piece of the blade, but the soldier is still alive serving his country. The hilt is quite soft and easy to scratch. I’m betting that after a few months of use its going to be missing some chunks- but I think the strong grip characteristics far outweigh this.
Now to my favorite part of the knife: the butt end. It has a plexi-glass punch, although I’m willing to bet that it will punch through all sorts of glass. Perhaps if I find some spare plexiglass in the garage I’ll put it to the test. But for now, you can view this video, again on Youtube.
The hilt has two holes, and the plexi-punch has a hole for lashing to a spear. I tied it up to one of my hiking poles. The holes are quite a convenience; perfectly shaped for paracord and they are positioned perfectly. It is pretty front-heavy, so I’m assuming it would be good for defense. I wouldn’t want to throw this knife in a survival situation. Not a chance that I’d want to be separated from this tool if TSHTF.
I have enormous hands ( size XL gloves ) and it fits just perfectly in my hand. If I put my thumb on the ridges on the guard, the meat of my palm hits part of the plexi-punch, but it’s against one of the tapered sides– not the point. It wouldn’t be a problem during intricate cutting operations.
Blade is 3/16″ thick, or about 5mm. I’d feel safe prying with it, although I’d personally hold it by the blade during prying, since its not a full tang.
The center of gravity is at about 4″; about 1.5″ below the guard. I don’t know much about throwing knives, but I bet you could learn how to do it with this blade with some practice.
Instruction page 1:
Instruction page 2:
The drop-point blade:
The Kydex Fire-Retardant Sheath:
The glass/zombie skull obliterating plex-punch
Showing the built-in sharpener. There’s a Phillips head screw to remove and clean the angled stones inside:
The Kydex sheath has holes for lashing, and 3/4″ slats for strapping:
From pistol belt (no thigh strap)
Pistol belt with thigh strap (much more secure on the draw)
From shoulder strap:
On PALS webbing: