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
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.
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.”
Today we will be discussing the Gerber Empower automatic knife.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM S30V stainless steel. This stainless steel is a premium steel that is designed and manufactured by Crucible Industries, which is based in the United States of America. This steel is known for having high edge retention as well as being able to resist rust with ease. This steel was actually specifically designed for premium pocket knives as well as kitchen cutlery, which means that you are going to get all of the best qualities for a knife that you could ask for. To design it for these purposes, Crucible added in vanadium carbides to the steel alloy, which is what brings out the extreme hardness without letting it get too brittle. In fact, this steel is known for having one of the best balances between hardness, edge retention, and toughness. This is a complicated balance to achieve because the harder the steel, the less tough that it is. Crucible really hit it right on the head with this one. Really S30V steel only has one drawback—bookcase of its harness, it is tricky to work with or sharpen. You won’t need a master sharpener to do it by any means, but a beginner sharpener probably isn’t the best option for getting the best edge.
This Gerber blade has been finished with a Stonewashed finish. This finish is rugged and gives a well-worn look to the blade. The biggest advantage to a stonewashed blade is actually how well it preserves the original look of the blade over time. To create this finish, the blade steel is tumbled with small abrasive material, which are most commonly ceramic pebbles. When the blade is done being tumbled, it is removed and smoothed out, then polished. The look is textured and works to hide scratches and smudges exceptionally well.
The blade on this knife has been carved into a spear point blade shape. The spear point blade shape is considered a hybrid shape because it combines many of the best attributes from different blade shapes. However, it is most similar to the dagger style blade because it is great for piercing. The spear point is created symmetrically, because both edges of the knife rise and fall equally to create a point that is exactly in the middle of the knife. Although it is very similar to the dagger style blade, it does have its differences. For example, the dagger style blade has a sharper point, but because it is finer, it is also weaker. The spear point has a less fine point, but because of that, it is stronger and won’t be as prone to breaking when used on harder targets. The spear point blade shape also has a lowered tip, which is going to help you have better control over the knife as well as being able to perform fine tip work. Spear points also differ from the dagger style blade because it does have a small belly that can be used for some cutting or slicing. If you were to compare the belly with that on a drop point or even that on a clip point, it would look incredibly small. But, it will get the job done. Like I said, this blade shape is often considered a hybrid blade shape. This is because it gives both piercing and slicing capabilities, it has the sharpness of a dagger style blade, but more of the strength that you would find on a drop point blade. This blade shape is really going to get the job done, almost no matter what the job actually is.
The handle on this knife is made out of 6061-T6 aluminum that has been anodized black. It also has a two-toned black and white textured inlay for a little added grip.
Aluminum is a great material for a knife handle because it is a low-density metal. This means that while you will feel like you have the heft that you need to take on most tasks (and you do) you will not feel weighed down by the knife. This is ideal for the Empower knife because it is a larger knife, but won’t feel as if it is a larger knife. The most common aluminum alloy is the 6061-T6 alloy, which just means that the type of aluminum is 6061 and it has been T6 tempered. This aluminum alloy does have one of the highest yield and tensile strengths of all aluminum alloys. While aluminum does have an older brother, Titanium, which is known to be the superior metal, aluminum is lighter and easer to work with. This means that when the manufacturer is making a complex automatic knife such as this one, using aluminum instead of titanium is going to keep the cost of the knife down considerably.
The handle has been anodized, which is an electrolytic process that increases the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of the aluminum. Anodizing is not only going to add the sleek black color, but will also increase the resistance to corrosions and wear. Because it is anodized, the knife handle does have a longer life expectancy.
The handle really does have a simple shape. The neck of the handle does go inward and then the spine bulges out to fit comfortably in your hand. The butt is a rounded square with nothing too fancy, but it does have a lanyard hole carved into it. The belly of the handle has a slight finger guard and a deep, but elongated finger groove. This Gerber knife is going to fit comfortably in your hand, even if you need to use it for long periods of time. Since aluminum is not known for its high texture, Gerber has added an inlay that will give you plenty of texture for a solid grip when you are using this knife. The inlay is made out of Gerber’s Armored Grip, which is “electroformed handle scales that provide a quick, confident grip and a striking aesthetic designed to empower those who carry it.” Overall, the blade and the handle create a rugged, yet elegant look.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip on this knife can only be attached on the traditional side of the handle. This means that the knife is not going to be fully ambidextrous. However, the pocket clip is reversible for either tip up or tip down carry. This helps the Empower knife be more comfortable for a wider variety of people. The clip is not a deep carry clip, which is also a drawback as it will not be as concealed or as secure inside of your pocket.
This is an automatic knife that has been equipped with a safety slide as well as a plunge lock. Because this is an automatic knife, you should be aware that automatic knives do fall under a set of strict laws in the United States of America. This style of knife is not legal in every city or state. You need to know your local knife laws before purchasing this knife because BladeOps is not the responsible party. Automatic knives are often known as switchblades. This is a type of knife that has a folding blade that is contained in the handle. The knife is opened automatically when a button on the handle is pushed. A fun fact is that switchblade knives have actually dated back to the mid-18th century. The first examples that are known right now were constructed in Europe. However, they have had a tumultuous history which is why they do have such a strict set of laws surrounding them.
The plunge lock is also known as a button lock, which is often found on automatic knives. The plunge lock is going to use a spring-loaded plunger to hold the knife open. When you press the button, it will line up a notch in the plunger and allow the blade to pivot open. Some of the pros to the plunge lock is that it is very strong and durable, it is also going to be easy to use, it is fast and effective, and it does not put your fingers in the blade’s path, which makes it a safer option. Some of the overall cons to the plunge lock is that it is a difficult and expensive mechanism to manufacture which is going to increase the overall cost of the knife and it is not an ambidextrous mechanism.
The blade on this knife measures in at 3.25 inches long with a handle that measures in at 5.16 inches long. When the knife is opened, the overall length of it measures in at 8.41 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.6 ounces. As a key, anything under 5 ounces is going to make for a pretty good everyday carry knife, which means this just makes it. This knife was made in the United States of America, so you can feel patriotic when you use it.
The Empower side-open automatic series joins the ranks with Gerber’s other American-made autos–showcasing a fresh new look that blends a tactical feel and user-friendly styling. Based upon the Gerber Propel, the Empower will be offered in 4 different variations while still offering an integrated slide safety as well as an over-sized firing button. Along with the new name premiers the new Armor Grip™ handle scales, in 2 unique patterns with some even being photo-chemically etched, which provide an ideal balance of control and grip security. This model sports a black anodized aircraft-grade aluminum handle complete with a two-toned black and white textured inlay, a spear point style blade in a stonewash finish and the reversible pocket clip is designed for the traditional side of the handle only but is eligible for a tip up or tip down carry. You can pick up the Gerber Empower today at BladeOps.