Gerber Harsey Air Ranger Knife Review

Gerber says, “Like the men and women who carry our gear, Gerber is Unstoppable. Decades of innovation and dedication have put us here. Renowned as a master of knives and tools, Gerber’s problem-solving, life-saving products are designed with the unique needs of specific activities in mind. Today that includes much more than a blade.

Founded in 1939 and based in Portland, Oregon, USA, Gerber is an American brand whose products have global reach and relevance. Carried extensively by hunters, soldiers and tradesmen, Gerber’s heritage runs deep. And we are now looking toward the future, where tomorrow’s problems will be solved by the next generation of innovations.

All Gerber products are designed and engineered in Portland, OR where many are produced. We also tap our global supply chain to create a wide range of activity specific gear for wide variety of consumers. And no matter what, every product that bears the Gerber name is backed by our famous lifetime warranty.

Quality, reliability, innovation. For over 70 years this is what our customers have expected from us. And whether our products are used to save time, save the day, or save a life, Gerber always delivers.”

When Joseph R. Gerber described his young knife company, Gerber Legendary Blades, as the, “birth of an enterprise that grew into big business,” it was true, but it was an understatement for sure. What had started out in 1939 as a small batch of handmade cutlery sets given as holiday gifts had turned into thousands of retail accounts around the country. By 1960, Gerber had quickly become one of the most trusted, appreciated and collected names in knives.

Over 70 years since its founding and Gerber continues to grow. Still grounded in the same principles that first guided Joseph R. Gerber’s “enterprise,” Gerber is a company dedicated to making knives and tools that combine high quality materials and innovative designs that will stand up to a lifetime of use. The sleek, stainless steel sheath knives of the ’50s and ’60s (the Magnum Hunter) have given birth to today’s lightweight, open-frame clip folders (the Remix). Gerber is, however, no longer just a knife company. Multi-tools, axes, handsaws, machetes, headlamps, flashlights, survival kits, digging implements – these are the newest directions that Gerber explores with the same standards of quality and design that inform their revered knife making.
Today we will be discussing the Gerber Harsey Air Ranger knife.

 

The Designer:

             The man behind this knife is Bill Harsey, who is an American knife maker and designer who works with several knife companies, including Gerber Legendary Blades, Lone Wolf Knives, Spartan Blades, Ruger/CRKT, Fantoni, and Chris Reeve Knives. Harsey is a custom knife maker, designing and crafting one-of-a-kind folding and fixed blade knives, often to order. In Battle Blades, author Greg Walker identifies Harsey as producing superb edges and blade finishes on his knives, as well as making knives specifically for Al Mar and Colonel Rex Applegate. Even so, he is best known for his collaboration projects.

 

Gerber Harsey Air Ranger Knife
Gerber Harsey Air Ranger Knife

The Blade:

The blade on this knife has been finished with a black coating. The coating is going to work to prolong the life of the blade because it does increase the wear resistance as well as the corrosion resistance of this knife. This is because it creates a barrier between the blade steel and the environment and everything has to go through the coating before it can reach the steel. When the black oxide coat is applied evenly, it helps you have smoother cuts because it cuts down on any drag or friction that the steel may have had in the first place. However, the black oxide coating is not the highest quality coating and will scratch off after either heavy use or over time. Once the coating has scratched off, you no longer have any of the life-prolonging benefits. But you also are going to have much more drag because the scratches will create texture on the blade.

The blade has been carved into a clip point blade shape. The clip point blade shape is one of the two most popular blade shapes on the market. This is because it is versatile and it is going to excel at piercing. The blade shape is made up of a spine that runs straight from the handle to about halfway up the knife. At this point, it is going to turn and continue to the point in a straight angle, which does create a dropped point. This section makes the knife look as if it has had a portion of the blade clipped off of it and is referred to as the clip, which is where this blade shape got its name. Because it does have a lowered point, you are going to be able to perform fine tip work with this knife. And because the tip is controllable and both sharper and thinner at the spine, this blade shape is going to excel at stabbing. This is because these characteristics help create less drag which leads to faster insertion as well as faster withdrawal. Not only is the Air Ranger going to excel at piercing, it is very versatile because of the large belly. The larger the belly, the easier it is to slice. Clip points are prone to having their tips snap because they are thinner. To prevent this, try to avoid stabbing your blade into a harder target.

 

The Handle:

The handle is made out of black G10. Gerber says, “Establishing the Air Ranger as distinct from similar folders is its innovative handle. The ultra-tactile G-10 offers you steady purchase while deploying the blade. Its one-hand opening releases with a thumb using the dual thumb studs positioned near the hilt, and the liner lock keeps the blade open safely during use. Make dexterous use of this sturdy knife in all conditions.”

G10 is known for being hard, tough, strong, but still lightweight. This material is created when the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth, soaks them in resin, then compresses them. Lastly, the material is baked under pressure. Unfortunately, because all of the fibers are arranged in a single direction, it creates a material that is very strong in that direction but not super strong in any other direction. This is why the material does suffer from being brittle. G10 helps the Air Ranger go from a good tactical knife to a great tactical knife because G10 is durable, lightweight, and non-porous, which means that it won’t absorb any fluids it happens to come in contact with. This creates a low-maintenance knife handle.

The handle is simply shaped with ergonomics that will give you a solid, yet comfortable hold. There are some areas of jimping to give more texture. This knife does have a lanyard hole.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is a tip down clip. This is the safer way to carry a knife, so it is not too big of a drawback that you cannot carry the knife tip-up as well. The pocket clip is wide, which helps to make it very sturdy. It is black, which matches the blade and the handle and creates an all-black knife. The clip is kept in place by three small black screws which match the rest of the hardware on the knife. The clip is wide at the top but quickly tapers, where it remains the same width for 2/3rds of the clip. In the middle, Gerber has stamped their name in silver, which pops.

 

The Mechanism:

This is a folding knife that has been equipped with both a thumb stud as well as a liner locking mechanism. The thumb stud is probably the most common one handed opening feature for folding knives in today’s world. The stud sits on the butt of the blade near where the handle begins. When the knife is closed, the stud extends out of the spine of the handle, where your thumb can get a solid grip on it and swing the knife opened. This is a dual thumb stud, which means that it extends out of both sides of the blade. This creates an ambidextrous knife opening mechanism, which is always preferred. The thumb stud is easy to get the hang of and you can open the knife with only one hand, which is perfect for when you need both hands on the job. However, there are some complaints when it comes to a thumb stud. For starters, some people don’t like how the stud extends out of the blade. This is because when the knife is opened, it does not get out of the way, like a flipper does. It still sits on top of the blade, extending outward. Some people feel as if the thumb stud gets in the way when they are trying to use the knife. The other major drawback to a thumb stud is that it does put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are trying to open the knife. This means that it is not the safest opening mechanism that you will be able to find on the market.

The liner locking mechanism is one of the most common locking mechanism that you are going to find on a folding knife. The main characteristic of the liner lock is a spring bar that is on the same side as the sharpened edge of the blade. This spring bar lines the inside of the handle. When you close the knife, the spring bar is actually held under tension, but when the knife is fully opened, the tension will slip the bar inward, putting it in contact with the butt of the blade. This keeps it securely in place and will prevent the knife from closing on you when you are in the middle of using it. If you want to close your knife, you use your thumb to push down the spring bar so that it is no longer touching the butt of the blade. Then, you can push the blade back into the handle. Liner locks are popular because they create a knife that has two true handle sides, helping make it even more ambidextrous. You can also close the knife with just one hand. However, liner locks are not the most durable or the sturdiest knife locking mechanisms, so if you are wanting to perform some heavy duty tasks, you might not want to use the Harsey Air Ranger.

 

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3.30 inches long with a handle that measures in at 4.20 inches long. When this knife is opened, it measures in at an overall length of 7.3 ounces. The Air Ranger weighs in at 2.6 ounces.

 

Conclusion:

The Gerber classic Air Ranger, designed by Bill Harsey, comes roaring back with an ultra-tactical G10 handle that delivers a superior grip on this iconic knife. With an elegant fine edge clip point blade, the black oxide coat gives you a low profile and highly corrosion resistant tool. Easy to open with dual thumb studs. Sturdy tip down pocket clip for easy carry.

When Gerber describes this knife, they say, “Gerber’s classic Air Ranger, designed by acclaimed knife maker Bill Harsey, gets an assist with a new G-10 handle to deliver the superior grip expected of this iconic knife. Possessing an elegant fine edge drop point blade, the folder packs a serious punch. The Air Ranger Black G-10 folding knife is a great, logical daily carry for addressing trouble efficiently. Deploy the Air Ranger G-10 to open tape on the latest Internet delivery, cut cardboard to help with a child’s school project, or cut the tow rope when boating. Resilient black oxide coating on the blade and all hardware gives you a low-profile, highly corrosion-resistant knife when you need it. The well-attached pocket clip reliably keeps it tethered to a pocket or belt loop. The lanyard hole provides optional tie-down and additional security for the sturdy knife.”

You can pick up this knife today at BladeOps.