Law enforcement officers have been carrying knives, I imagine, for as long as man has been aware of the cutting tool. In contemporary times the utility, defensive, offensive and rescue potential of a single tool cannot be overlooked. However, in most urban areas the knives that our LEOs are carrying are usually restricted to a folding lock-blade tucked into a pocket, on the gunbelt or hidden elsewhere. It’s a rare occasion (in my experience) to see a police officer with a fixed blade knife. Just because that’s the common reality though, doesn’t mean that there is no use for a fixed blade knife in the LE arena. The Gerber Warrant is a new entry to that arena and I think it is worth a look.
The Gerber Warrant is a new design being released by Gerber Legendary Tools in February 2011. The published material provides the following specifications:
- Blade length = 4.5?
- Overall length = 9.5?
- Weight = 5.4 ounces
- Partially serrated Tanto point tactical blade
- Digital Camo Sheath w/ snap closure
Now I’m not going to debate the good folks at Gerber. They make good knives and tools. That said, the blade length measurement of 4.5? is measured from the end of the synthetic handle slabs. If you measure the actual cutting edge from where it starts it’s just under 4? UNLESS you measure the blade edges individually: the serrated portion (about 1.5?), the straight edge (about 1.675?) and then the remainder of the straight edge after the angled turn in the Tanto style blade (about .875?). All together they total just over 4? of cutting edge.
The choil (that curve just behind the serrated portion of the blade before the hilt) is rounded and wide enough to allow for finger placement but the balance of the knife is such that it doesn’t feel comfortable to me to get a grip on it with my index finger that far forward. I imagine some true “knife fighters” or well-practiced users might grip up that far to press into cuts or to affect certain attack applications. IF you hold the knife up that far then the ridges on the spine of the blade provide a good index for you to push with your thumb. They are certainly not “saw teeth”. They are not sharp and were obviously not meant to be used to cut by the designers.
The overall length of 9.5? is accurate. The full length tang measures a full 1/8? thick to within 3/4? of the blade’s tip. The grip slabs are of an unspecified synthetic material that is slightly slippery when wet – but this is a preproduction sales sample knife and I’d expect Gerber will do something different with production models. The slabs are held on with torques screws.
The minimal hilt design is common today and set at an angle that supports a strong thumb-on-spine-behind-hilt placement. The bottom edge of the tang in the grip portion is curved to allow for that full-hand feeling while offering easy to feel index areas for the index finger and pinky. While the pommel isn’t designed for hammering, it can easily (and efficiently) be used to break windows (or craniums if the fight is that ugly). There is a lanyard hole near the pommel if you desire such an attachment.
In cutting trials the knife performed well. I had no issues cutting my usual assortment of materials from the shed: string, twine, fishing line, nylon webbing, plastic construction buckets. I also had no issue – with a strong overhand swing – punching the knife through 1/4? sheet of plywood to a depth of about 1-1.25?. Wiggling it out is always the challenge.
The sheath is digital camo nylon with a hard plastic insert. A leg tie-down strap is provided as is the necessary strap and webbing on the back of the sheath to lace it onto MOLLE mounting gear. One neat feature I found and really like is the elastic hood that can be pulled out to cover the pommel of the knife when it’s in the sheath. If you push the blade all the way down into the plastic insert and snap the security strap, at the top of the sheath is an elastic hood with a pull tab. It’s as wide as the sheath and about 1.5? deep. If you grab the pull tab and lift up and out the elastic hood completely covers the pommel. Between the sheath body and that elastic hood the knife is held quite securely and very flat. Someone at Gerber did a really good job with that little design feature that will be more appreciated than we’ll ever know.