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Knife Review: ​The Gerber Contrast Manual Knife

Knife Review: ​The Gerber Contrast Manual Knife

Posted by SD on Oct 22nd 2019

The Gerber Contrast Manual Knife

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.

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.”

The Blade:

The blade on this is made out of a stainless steel. When it comes to knife blades, there is a huge list of different metals that can be used. However, all these metals (except for the rare exception) will fall into either a stainless steel or a high carbon classification.

Stainless steels usually have at least 12% chromium, which is going to do a few things for the steel. The first is a positive: it makes it more resistant to rust and corrosion than a high carbon steel would be. However, it also is going to make it softer than a high carbon steel, which means that while it will be easier to sharpen, it is also going to lose its edge quicker than a high carbon steel.

Gerber Contrast

Stainless steels are also usually tougher than a high carbon steel. This is good, but it does not mean that it is going to be harder. These two characteristics are commonly confused. Toughness and hardness are separate categories. In terms of durability, stainless steel blades do not rust, chip, or stain easily.

The next thing that is a benefit of a stainless steel is that they do not require any coating to keep its good looks and qualities. This is because of how rust resistant it is. Coatings are good, but they aren’t the best finish that you can come across. Since a stainless steel doesn’t need one, you’re going to find sleeker coatings that do not increase the overall cost of the knife as much.

Lastly, a stainless-steel blade has a great appearance for a very long time. This is due to all of the characteristics involved. This means that there is going to be less maintenance and it is going to look better in the long run than a high carbon steel would.

The blade has been finished with a black coating. This is going to prolong the life of the blade, because it creates a barrier in between the steel and the environment. In turn, this increases the wear and corrosion resistance of the blade. Not only that, but the coating is matte, which means that it is going to cut down on many of the glares and reflections that would happen. This is a bonus when it comes to a tactical or self-defense knife because no reflections will give away your position in the field. When a coating is applied evenly, it is also going to make your cuts smoother as well.

However, all coatings do eventually scratch off. This means that not only will your blade be more susceptible to corrosion, but it will also create texture, which will make it harder to cut with.

The blade has been carved into a traditional drop point blade shape. This shape is created by the spine extending straight out of the handle until about ¾ of the way up the blade. At this point, it angles downward to create a lowered tip. The benefit of having a lowered tip is that it is going to give you more control over your cuts than you would typically have. This does mean that you will be able to perform fine detail work with the Gerber Contrast.

The other characteristic of the tip is that it is a fairly broad tip. This is where the majority of the strength comes from on this knife, because there is so much extra metal near the tip. This will allow the blade to withstand repeated piercing or contact in ways that finer blade shapes would not be able to do.

That being said, the drop point does have one major disadvantage and it is due to the broad tip. It just so happens to be so broad that you will not have as much capability of piercing as you would with a clip point or other fine tip.

The last benefit of the drop point blade shape that many people recognize is the larger belly. This large belly gives increased surface area, which allows you to have increased ability to slice.

All in all, the drop point blade shape is one of the more traditional and classic ones that you can come by. It has a wide variety of advantages that make it an excellent option for a lot of different styles of knives, with very few drawbacks.

The Handle:

The handle on this is made out of stainless steel that has been overlayed with G10. The stainless-steel portion of the handle is going to add some serious heft and strength to this Gerber knife. Stainless steel is a great option for a knife handle, when it is not the entire knife handle, or when the knife is smaller. This is because stainless steel does add some serious weight to the knife. However, with the Contrast, the stainless steel is going to be a little bit thinner, with the G10 overlay creating a thicker handle. This is going to help keep the weight down, while still giving you a relatively standard handle.

Stainless steel is also rather corrosion and wear resistant, which will help to make this knife a lower maintenance knife.

The overlay is made out of G10. G10 is known for being hard, tough, strong, but still lightweight. This material is created when the manufacturer takes layers of fiberglass cloth, soaks them in resin, then compresses them. Lastly, the material is baked under pressure. Unfortunately, because all of the fibers are arranged in a single direction, it creates a material that is very strong in that direction but not super strong in any other direction. This is why the material does suffer from being brittle. G10 helps the Contrast go from a good knife to a great knife because G10 is durable, lightweight, and non-porous, which means that it won’t absorb any fluids it happens to come in contact with. This creates a low-maintenance knife handle.

The back-handle scale is all stainless steel, while the front has both the G10 and the stainless steel. But you can mostly only see the G10 overlay. There is a large lanyard slot in the spien of the knife that will fit nearly any lanyard. Plus, you could easily fit a carabiner through it, if you wanted to hook this knife onto something. There are two rows of jimping to help with control. On the belly, there is a large finger groove which will help with the ergonomics to make this a more comfortable knife to hold and use.

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip is stainless steel, which matches the back-handle scale as well as all the bulk of the hardware on the Contrast. “Gerber” is stamped going down the length of the pocket clip in gold, which contrasts nicely with the silver. The clip is kept in place by three screws.

The Mechanism:

This is a manual knife that has been equipped with a thumb stud as well as a frame lock design that was built to handle a lifetime of use and abuse.

Because this is a manual knife, it is going to be legal in more states and cities than an automatic knife. However, you do still need to know your local knife laws before purchasing this knife and especially before carrying the knife. While the manual knife is going to be legal in more areas, it is also not going to be as smooth or as quick to bring into play.

The thumb stud is a very common opening mechanism, especially for manual folding knives. It is a small stud that sits near where the blade begins and the handle ends. This stud allows you to push against it with your thumb, which is going to swing your knife open before locking it into place. There are some obvious advantages to a knife having a thumb stud. The first is that it is super easy to get the hang of as well as being easy to use. Also, the thumb stud allows you to open the knife with only one hand, which is ideal for complicated tasks that require two hands or your full attention. There are a couple disadvantages. The first is that some people don’t like how the stud extends off the blade, because they feel like it gets in the way when they are trying to use the knife. The second is that the thumb stud does put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are opening it. There have been many cases of people accidentally cutting themselves when they were opening a knife with a thumb stud. It shouldn’t be a huge problem, just be careful as you first get the hang of this knife.

The Specs:

The blade measures in at 3 inches long with a handle length, or closed length, coming in at 4.3 inches long. This means that when the blade has been deployed, the knife measures in at an overall length of 7.1 inches long. This is a standard size for a pocketknife, even if it is slightly on the smaller side. It weighs in at 3.7 ounces, which is an ideal weight because it is not going to be too heavy, but it is still going to give you the heft that you need to feel confident while using it.


The Gerber Contrast Knife is a high performance every day carry folder. This knife features a full fine edge blade and a stainless-steel handle with a machined G10 overlay that give it a show stopping stylish look. This light, thin frame lock knife opens easily with the thumb stud. Get the Gerber Contrast, the ideal pocketknife, today, by clicking here