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Knife Review: Gerber Vital Fixed Blade Knife

Knife Review: Gerber Vital Fixed Blade Knife

Posted by SD on Jul 22nd 2020

The Gerber Vital Fixed Blade Knife

Joseph R. Gerber, the founder of this knife company, once described his young knife company as the, “birth of an enterprise that grew into big business.” This was a true statement, but it was also an understatement. 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.

The company 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.”

Today we will be discussing one of BladeOps’ new arrivals, the Gerber Vital fixed blade knife. This knife is in stock right now at BladeOps, so hurry over to get yours today.

The Blade:

The blades on the Vital are made out of 420J2 stainless steel. This is a popular option for mass-manufactured knives. The steel has a medium level of carbon, which means that it is going to have good corrosion resistance if you are in a salt-free atmosphere or most regular environments. This is not going to stand up to ocean water by any means 

Gerber Vital Knife

though, or other extreme environments. Compared to the similar 440 grades of steel, this is a more durable option.

This steel is often used because of how sharp that it can get. It is often used in knives, daggers, and even surgical instruments, because all of those things need to stay at peak sharpness. The steel is easy to work with, which means that is going to be easy to sharpen.

Really, all in all, the steel is a quality one. It is going to get the job done, it is not going to let you down, in fact, it will even beat out certain other steels. That being said, you do get what you pay for. This steel is not going to compare to the premium steels on the market at all.

  • High corrosion resistance in a normal environment.
  • Won’t stand up to extreme environments, especially salt water.
  • Easy to work with and sharpen.
  • This steel can get crazy sharp.
  • Won’t compare to the premium steels that are on the market.

The blades that this knife comes with have been finished with a satin finish. This is the most common blade finish that you are going to find in the cutlery industry. It gives a very traditional look that looks classy without stealing the show of the rest of the knife.

The finish is created when the manufacturer repeatedly sands the blade in one direction with an increasing level of a fine abrasive. This is used to showcase the fine lines of the steel while also showing off the bevels of the blade. Not only that, but it will also reduce some of the glares and reflections that you may come across. Lastly, it does increase the corrosion resistance of the blade slightly.

  • Gives the blade a traditional look.
  • Shows off the fine liens and bevels of the blade steel.
  • Will cut down on some glares and reflections.
  • The finish will increase the corrosion resistance of the blade slightly.
  • Can increase the cost of the knife, because it does take time and labor to create a nice satin finish.

The blades that the Vital comes with have been carved into a clip point style blade. This blade shape is versatile and great for hunting. The spine runs straight from the handle to about ¾ of the way up the knife. At this point, it angles sharply down to create a lowered point that you can easily control. This section looks as if it has been clipped off, and is referred to as the clip, which is where the blade shape got its name.

The belly on this blade is also fairly large, which will make slicing and skinning a breeze. As a key, the bigger the belly, the easier it is going to be to slice. This has a large belly, so you aren’t going to be slowed down by an inconvenient knife when you are field dressing.

  • Large belly is great for slicing.
  • Lowered point gives you more control.
  • Fine point is prone to breaking.

The Handle:

The handle on the Vital Series is made out of black and orange rubber handles.

There are a few advantages to having rubber handles on this knife. The first is that it is able to withstand almost any environment. Rubber can get wet, can survive in salt water, and can handle the extreme heat or cold. It is also going to give you the grip that you need. To help with added control and grip, there is a deep finger groove, and three rows of jimping. Two of the rows are on the spine—one at each end. The other is on the belly of the handle near the butt. With this jimping, you won’t have to worry about what environment you are in or what you may encounter or get on your knife—you will still have a solid grip. Near the butt off the handle, there is a large lanyard hole that is big enough to really fit almost any lanyard. This is a major advantage, because when you are in the field, you will definitely want to have a lanyard on your knife. They can come in handy in a variety of different circumstances.

  • Solid grip on the rubber handles.
  • Large lanyard hole on the butt of the handle.
  • Three sections of jimping for best grip and texture.

The Mechanism:

One of the unique mechanism that this fixed blade sports is the Exchange-A-Blade option. This is where the blade requires no extra tool if you need to replace the blade on the fly. This is also one of the safest Exchange-A-Blade options that is one the market. Gerber says, “A smart mash-up of a replaceable utility blade with a high-visual orange rubber handle with a grip that won’t quit, this knife travels to the field and on the hunt with ease.” This allows you to take on whatever you need to without stopping to sharpen your blade.

Gerber also says, “The innovative marriage of Gerber’s hunting savvy to our exchangeable razor blade history has given birth to the Vital Fixed Blade Knife. With a punishingly sharp blade that mimics a surgical knife, the ingenious tool cuts through the cape of your game like a hot blade through butter. The inclusion of its several replacement blades means you won’t get caught in the middle of skinning or field dressing with a dull tool. This is a knife that works fast and smart, and when the blade is burned out it can be replaced easily on the fly. It requires no extra tools for its blade replacement, so it doesn’t slow the action of field dressing, while offering super-safe operation as an exchangeable blade knife.”

Other than this, it is just your typical fixed blade. It is tough and durable, the blade is large enough to really take on what you need it to, and it is relatively easy to maintain.

  • Comes with six blades.
  • Exchange-A-Blade allows you to switch the blade in the field.
  • One of the safest Exchange-A-Blade on the market.
  • This mechanism allows you to not be slowed down by a dull blade—perfect for field dressing.
  • Tough and durable.
  • Large enough to take on what you need it to.
  • Relatively easy to maintain, although the Exchange-A-Blade does add in an extra element to keep clean when compared to a regular fixed blade.

The Sheath:

The sheath that the Vital comes with is made out of nylon. This is a commonly used material for knife sheaths. Nylon sheaths are both tough and strong. They are also resistant to rot and mildew because they are not very vulnerable to water. Nylon is also not easily scuffed or torn, which means that they are going to be durable and reliable. This sheath does allow for a belt carry option, which is especially nice with the Vital, because there are six different blades that it comes with.

Nylon does have its disadvantages. The biggest one is that nylon sheaths do not last as long as many of the other sheath materials. Plus, nylon does get stretched out over time, which means that the Vital is not going to fit as securely in the sheath over time. The sheath will still function as a quality sheath, but it will not be as secure or safe as it once was. The only positive side about that is that nylon sheaths are inexpensive. If yours does get stretched out, replacing it will not be a big issue.

  • Nylon sheath is durable, tough, and strong.
  • Won’t get scuffed or torn.
  • Can survive in some of the more extreme environments.
  • Not super vulnerable to water.
  • Nylon sheaths won’t last as long as other materials.
  • Nylon does get stretched out, which will create an ill-fitting sheath for the Vital.
  • Nylon sheaths are inexpensive.
  • Nylon sheath does allow for a belt carry option.

The Specs:

The blade on this measures in at 2.8 inches long with a lade thickness of 0.15 inches. The handle measures in at 4.4 inches long, which makes the overall length for this knife a solid 7.2 inches long. The knife itself weighs in at a mere 1.6 ounces, which is extremely lightweight for this size. The nylon sheath that it comes with weighs in at 0.8 ounces.


The Vital Series by Gerber helps takes your hunting game to the next level without all the unnecessary hoopla. Designed solely with safety and effectiveness in mind, each model boasts a comfortable rubberized grip and the thumb traction jimping, stout choil and finger guard all make this fixed blade that much more practical. Built with the Split Sec™ Tech release mechanism, it is regarded as one of the safest exchangeable blade systems on the market. While extra blades are available for purchase, each item comes standard with 6 blades in total. This model features black and orange rubber handles, multiple blades in a satin finish and the black and orange nylon sheath allows for a belt carry option.

This knife is in stock right now at BladeOps, so hurry over to pick yours up today.