Folders have, for a long time, served a lot of duty out in the bush, and Gerber has been right in the mix producing various models to keep the outdoorsman company. Today, we look at the Gerber Obsidian and the E-Z Out DPSF and see what they have to offer the knife user.
In 1939 Joseph Gerber had an idea. An idea born out of some 25 sets of kitchen knives Joseph had made as Christmas gifts for special clients of his ad agency. They were so popular that he decided to go into the knife business. That idea, that good idea, has lasted 70 years and counting. There have been lots of great knives that were manufactured at Gerber over the years, like the famous MK II Combat Knife in ’66, which became a very sought after knife during the Vietnam War. In 1968 Gerber introduced the popular Armorhide handles. Micarta handles were used on the L.S.T. knives in 1981. This was one of the first factory knives to use Micarta scales without any metal liners. It made for a very light and strong knife and was ahead of its time. Nineteen hundred and ninety one saw the introduction of the Gator Folder; the industry’s first knife to feature integral injection-molded nylon and Kraton rubber scales. In 2002 Gerber brought to market a deadly military knife designed by Chief James “Patches” Watson: the Silver Trident. The collaborations continued in 2003 when they teamed up with Ernest Emerson to make the fully auto Gerber Emerson Alliance. Gerber Legendary Blades has kept at the forefront of the knife industry by being innovative and giving good value to their customers.
That value continues with the 2 knives reviewed here, the Gerber Obsidian™ serrated and the E-Z Out™ DPSF. Both of these knives are meant to be EDC fodder but with a slightly different appeal. First, the Obsidian. What you get here is a little over 7 inches OAL knife with a proven 440 Stainless blade. This particular tester has the half serrated blade but it comes in a non-serrated version as well which Gerber calls the “Fine Edge” model. I seem to get lots of the serrated or half serrated blades, I guess since nobody else likes them. Fine with me, I use them every day and I love them. The 3.13 inches blade is of the drop point variety and came very sharp. I did touch it up on the old strop bat but it didn’t need much to get it to where I like my blades. The 440 blade also features thumb studs on either side which, along with the removable pocket clip, makes it a bit more user friendly for lefties who like pocket carry.
The main feature of this knife is the secure locking mechanism that it has. There is a button that, when pressed, moves out of the way for the blade to swing back into the handle. Just behind the button lock is a secondary slide lock. If the slide lock is engaged the button can’t be pushed. This slide also works when the blade is closed to keep it from accidentally opening when you don’t want it to. It’s a very secure system! I tried to push the button with the slide engaged and it wouldn’t budge.Another nice little feature is the two screwdrivers in the end of the handle. It’s wasted space on lots of knives so why not give this one a little more versatility? One flips open and has a flat blade and a bottle opener; the other flips open to reveal a file and a Philips head. They are of the simple, non-locking variety so be careful. You’re not going to rebuild a Ferrari with them but I did turn a couple screws on the Land Rover’s carb with it and it worked fine. I also like the fact that the lanyard hole isn’t just a hole in each half of the handle but has a piece of tubing in there to give it a little more strength. Gerber lists this knife for about $50 but I found it for $25 online so street value is well within the range of most folks.
The other knife in this little duo test is the E-Z Out™ DPSF. That stands for Drop Point Sheep’s Foot. The end of it sort of reminds me a little of knife designer Jason Breeden’s Spyderco Captain. That knife has a bit of a recurve to it, but the Gerber does not. This Gerber is a slim, trim, slicing, dicing machine! Weighting a scant 2.8 oz., it has no fat to trim. That’s almost half the weight of the Obsidian and that’s not a heavy knife. Being listed on the Military Gerber web page says something about what they want this knife used for and how well they feel it will hold up. When your web page brethren are the likes of the Applegate-Fairbairn® Combat Folder, you better have your stuff together. It comes with either a silver blade or black but both come only in half serrated from what I could find. The E-Z Out™ DPSF is a no frills, S30V, MADE IN THE USA knife!
I carried both of these knives at PWYP (Practice What You Preach) but this one was more to my liking. Overall length is 8 inches with the S30V part coming in at 3.5 inches. This knife came razor sharp right out of the box, cleaning the hair off my forearm with no effort. It’s one-handed opening too. No thumb studs here though, too heavy for this sleek knife. Instead there’s an elongated oval cut out in the blade that works great for quick, easy opening. The blade also has some nice jimping on the spine right where your thumb will slide up and stop and more on the spine closer to the tip for traction when doing finer work. There is a lanyard hole on this model as well. Both knives have tip down carry when clipped in your pocket and that lanyard hole is oriented down so no lanyard will help when pulling the knife out. Right South of the lanyard hole are the Comfort-Grip inserts. These really help give good traction and manipulation when cutting. They didn’t look too durable to me at first but have held up just fine. And here’s the best part; Gerber lists this knife for just under $70 but I found a street price of $35. Thirty-five smackers for a made in the USA S30V knife! Nice!
Overall, these two Gerber knives will give stalwart service wherever they’re carried. Well designed and not a burden to carry, you’ll be happy to let your hand drop and feel it in your pocket. I know I always feel secure when I know I have my knife on me. The DPSF was more to my liking personally but the Obsidian will fill a niche for many out there. It is a more robust build and feels a little sturdier than the DPSF but they each have their purpose. As always, and don’t forget, a gentleman always has a pocket knife.