Gerber River Shorty Blunt Knife

When I opened the box from Gerber and pulled out the smaller box with "Model No. 05640 River Shorty Double Edge Serrated Blunt Point" on it. Not sure what I'd find inside, I opened it up and dumped out the contents to find myself holding a synthetic sheath with what I've come to think of as the Gerber River Shorty Blunt inside. My first thought was how perfect it would be for white water rafting - which is the purpose it was primarily designed for. My second thought was how perfectly suited that made it for Search & Rescue work on or near the water.

Looking at the basic info, the Gerber River Shorty Blunt is a single piece of medium-carbon stainless steel measuring 6.75" overall. Of that 6.75", 3" is blade with the other 3.75" (obviously) being handle. The handle is a flat-sided figure-eight shape coated / wrapped in glass-filled nylon. Along the front and back edges of the grip are ridges to help provide a more secure hold and along the front edge are two raised ridges positioned so that you can index your grip.

Although the blade is described as "double edge", in reality it's not (at least not my sample). The primary edge is comprised of about two inches of serrations followed at the forward end by about 3/4" of plain edge. The blunt tip is 1/4" wide and is not sharpened. The spine is a false edge in front of about one inch of ridges so that you have someplace to put your thumb if you need to press into a cut.

The sheath is molded plastic with a belt clip (or boot clip) built in and is easily suited for being strapped onto an equipment vest or other location if need be. The retention system is comprised of two plastic hooks on either side of the mouth of the sheath that grab the matching ridges on the front and back side of the knife's grip as you push it into the sheath. The first three ridges get grabbed in stages with each providing a more secure hold. While this system works I can't help but think that it will wear with time, steadily becoming less secure. I think it might be a good idea for Gerber to consider putting a metal leaf spring lever hook into the face of the sheath that would hook and hold the first hole at the hilt of the knife. Given the size of this package the knife could still be drawn one-handed but if the spring ever wore out it could be replaced. Just a thought...

Given the size of the knife overall, there's not a lot of grip. It's sufficient but with gloves on it feels even less. Thin neoprene gloves aren't an issue (or weren't in my testing) but thicker scuba-diving type neoprene gloves presented a bit of a challenge in securing a firm grip. With thin neoprene or leather gloves, or with no gloves at all, thanks to the ridges molded into the back and front of the grip, holding onto the knife is pretty easy. Given that the knife is specifically designed for working on or near the water, I felt it would be best to test it while wet. So all of my cutting tests were done after dunking the knife, my hand and all, into a bucket of water before using the knife.

Out of my usual collection of stuff in the shed I pulled string, twine, fishing line and that ugly yellow plastic / nylon rope that is so often found around boats. I had no trouble cutting through any of it, but noted that thicker materials - since the blade is relatively short - took several pulls to get through. There's really not enough on this edge to saw back and forth if need be. That's not a negative comment: given the overall convenience of the knife, largely due to its compact size, the cutting performance is exactly what I would expect.

The Gerber Gear website lists an MSRP of $33.99, but a quick Google search netted me several listed under $18 plus shipping - so shop around. For that price you can get several for your boat, vehicle, vest, etc.