Gerber US-ASSIST Knife Review

Gerber US-ASSIST

Gerber Gear started out as a young knife company called Gerber Legendary Blades. Joseph R Gerber, the founder behind this company, has said that it was “the birth of an enterprise that grew into a big business”. In 1939, this company actually started out as a small batch of handmade cutlery sets that he gave away as holiday gifts. However, those small handmade sets quickly transformed into thousands of retail accounts around the country.

By 1960, Gerber was one of the most trusted and appreciated names in the knife community. Over the 70 + years that Gerber has been around, it has still continued to grow. The company was founded with the principles to make high quality materials with innovative designs that will stand up to a lifetime of use. To this day, they still produce knives based on those principles.

At this point in time, Gerber is no longer just a knife company. They also sell multi tools, axes, handsaws, machetes, headlamps, flashlights, digging implements, and survival kits. Gerber helped to transform the knife world, and their knives and tools will transform your life. Recently, they just released a new knife called the US-ASSIST. This knife comes in three different variations of the same design, but no matter which one you choose to purchase, it will change your life.

 

The Blade:

For this knife, there are two different steel types that it comes in. The first steel type is S30V steel. This steel was produced by Crucible steel company which is an American based company. This steel was designed specifically for knives, so it encompasses everything that people desire out of their knife blade. S30V steel is often used on high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. This steel has so many advantages, some of which are that it has excellent edge retention and can resist rust and corrosion exceptionally. Crucible has added vanadium carbides into the steel which helps to bring extreme hardness without sacrificing on toughness. This is monumental, because in most steels when you have such a hard quality, it becomes extremely brittle. The S30V steel is not like that at all. This steel has been considered to be one of the best steels used on knife blades. S30V steel has been known to have the perfect balance of edge retention, hardness and toughness. One of the only drawbacks to this steel is that it is a little bit tricky to sharpen.

The blade with S30V steel has a stonewash finish. This finish is created when the steel is tumbled around with an abrasive material. Normally, this material is small pebbles. This creates a textured, rugged look. A stonewash finish helps to hide fingerprints and scratches. A stonewash finish is a low maintenance finish because it maintains its original look overtime.

This version of the knife has a plain edge.

Gerber US-ASSIST
Gerber US-ASSIST

The second steel option is 420HC stainless steel. This is a pretty mid-range steel. It is very similar to 420 steel except that it has increased levels of carbon, hence the HC in the name (higher carbon). This extra carbon makes the steel harder. The edge retention is adequate and it is resistant to corrosion. Surprisingly enough, it is one of the most corrosion resistant steels out there, even though it is so inexpensive. Even though this is a budget option, it is still a very good steel. The better the heat treatment on the steel, the better quality the steel will be. The heat treatment brings out better edge retention and makes it more resistant to corrosion.

The two knife versions that use the 420HC steel have a satin finish. This finish is one of the most common finishes on knife blades. This finish is created sanding the blade in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine sandpaper. The satin finish is used to show off the lines in the steel. It also works to reduce the reflections and glares.

This version of the knife comes in two different edge options. You can purchase the one with the fine edge or there is a combo edge. The combo edge is a partially serrated blade.

 

The shape of the blade is a drop point. This is one of the most versatile blade shapes for a variety of reasons. The shape is created by having the back of the blade slowly curve to meet the sharpened edge. This creates a lowered point which provides the user with better control over cuts and slices. The lowered tip is also a broader tip, so it has more strength behind the point. This creates a more durable blade that can perform more tasks than an average blade. Another reason that it is so versatile is because there is a large belly with plenty of cutting room. This allows you to slice with ease and makes it a great option for an everyday blade.

 

The Handle:

The handle on the US-ASSIST is made out of glass filled nylon, or GFN. This is the same material as Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon, or FRN. The material is a nylon based plastic that has been reinforced with Glass Fiber and then injection molded for use in knife handle. This is one of the toughest, yet also one of the cheapest materials to use on large scale production knives. Because it is so tough, yet still flexible, it can take a serious beating and still maintain its high quality. The higher the glass content in the material, the more rigid and less flexible the material is. This is also a versatile material to create because it is injection molded, the manufacturer can basically create any texture on the handle that it wants. The texture that Gerber is a deep cut out towards the butt of the handle that slowly becomes more shallow. In this groove, there is a checkered pattern. Because the finger groove is shallow and elongated, you have more control over your cuts. The handle fits perfectly in your palm and is comfortable to use even for long periods of time.

On the S30V version of this knife, the GFN is a dark gray color. On the other two versions of this knife, the GRN is black.

This handle also sports a lanyard hole. Having your knife tied to you with a lanyard is good for so many reasons. For starters, it keeps your knife safely tied to you and you can easily avoid losing your knife. If you are working in a slippery environment, you can fold the lanyard across the palm portion of your handle to provide a more textured grip. If you are going to be working in a dark environment, you can tie a brightly colored lanyard onto your handle for increased ability to see the handle, especially in case you drop it. One of the last great reasons to tie a lanyard onto your knife is that it can be easily strapped to your belt or backpack for easy storage. You can even add a small touch of your own personal style to your knife based off of what lanyard you choose.

 

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip that comes with this knife is a black wire pocket clip. This pocket clip is scratch resistant and removable. Not only that, but it is also tip reversible, so you are able to carry your knife tip up or tip down.

 

The Mechanism:

This knife is an assisted opening blade that has dual ramped thumb studs. This is an ambidextrous friendly opening knife and you can even do it with one hand. An assisted opening knife works a little bit differently than a fully automatic knife. While an automatic knife deploys the blade on its own with the push of a button or a trigger, a spring assisted knife needs an external force to engage the spring. Inside of the handle, there is a spring or tension bar that is connected to the blade and the handle. When the knife is closed, the spring is engaged and kept in its “active” state because of some resistance. However, when you open the blade with your thumb, the tension bar gets pushed past the resistance. Then, the spring is able to continue to open the knife on its own. Essentially, the resistance just needs to be manually overcome before the knife can open automatically. But, because of the slight differences between an automatic knife and a spring assisted knife, the spring assisted knives are not subject to the strict laws that the automatic knives are. This is a huge bonus. This knife also features a plunge lock with a cross bolt safety. This helps to lock the blade in either the opened or closed positon. The last great feature on this knife is that it sports the B.O.S.S. Tech stainless steel ball bearings technology. This ball bearing system helps to reduce friction and provide stable performance to help this knife last through the ages.

 

The Specs:

This knife was made in the United States of America. The blade on this knife is 3 inches long, with an overall length of 7.2 inches long. The weight of this knife is 3.9 ounces.

 

The Pros of the US-ASSITED Knife:

  • You can choose between two high quality steels.
  • The S30V is a premium steel that has been built specifically for knives.
  • This choice of steel provides you with the perfect balance between toughness, hardness, and edge retention. All while remaining resistant to rust and corrosion.
  • The 420HC steel is a hard steel that has great toughness.
  • This is a cheaper steel, however, it is one of the most stain resistant steels on the market.
  • This is a great budge option for a steel.
  • The stonewash finish helps to keep maintenance down because it hides fingerprints and scratches while maintaining its look.
  • The satin finish helps to cut down on reflections and glares.
  • The drop point blade shape has a lowered tip to provide you with better control and more strength.
  • The drop point blade shape features a large belly that makes this a great option for an everyday carry knife.
  • You can get this knife in a plain edge, a fine edge, or a combo edge.
  • The glass filled nylon handle is hard, yet still flexible, so it can take a rough beating.
  • The handle material is one of the cheapest materials on the market for knife handles.
  • The handle provides you with excellent grip.
  • The handle either comes in dark gray or black.
  • The handle has a lanyard hole drilled into the butt of it.
  • The pocket clip is scratch resistant, removable, and tip reversible.
  • The spring assisted mechanism opens the knife quickly and efficiently without having the strict laws of an automatic knife surrounding it.
  • Features dual ramped thumb studs.
  • Features a cross bolt safety.
  • Features a plunge lock.
  • Features a B.O.S.S. Tech—balls of stainless steel.

 

The Cons of the US-ASSITED Knife:

  • The S30V steel is tricky to sharpen.
  • The 420HC steel only has adequate edge retention.
  • The drop point blade shape does not give you great stabbing or piercing capabilities.
  • The pocket clip cannot be switched to carry on the left or right side.

 

Conclusion:

This knife was designed and built in Portland, Oregon. The assisted opening knife offers Gerber’s smoothest, most consistent deployment to date. This knife has been intuitively designed and then painstakingly tested, this knife is truly going to be the next generation of the everyday pocket knife.

Gerber has been a reliable company since the time that Joseph Gerber created small sets of handmade culinary kits for holiday gifts. They have built an excellent reputation in the knife community and you know that you can trust a knife that they have built.

This newest knife is a winner. They started out with giving you two options of excellent, durable steel that Gerber then carved into the most versatile shape for a pocket knife: the drop point shape. They matched the excellent blade with a fantastic GFN handle to give you one of the most durable, but affordable knives.

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