One Tough Combat / Survival Knife – Gerber LHR Review
The Gerber LHR is NOT for the faint at heart. So if you want a small, cute knife, stop reading now. But if you want a big, tough, hefty knife that means business, read on!
The Gerber LHR is designed for use in urban warfare and really anywhere you might need a reliable knife in close quarters. The LHR is the successor to Gerber’s popular Mark II. The knife was designed Matt Larsen, Chris Reeve and Bill Harsey and was named using the first letter of each of it’s designer’s… last names.
These men studied hundreds of hand-to-hand combat scenarios and developed a hybrid tactical knife and sheath system that is designed to give you an advantage when your life depends on it… and ensure that your blade is not used against you!
The Gerber LHR is made in the good old US of A in Gerber’s Portland, Oregon plant. The knife was made of 440HC and is now made of 440C stainless steel and features full tang construction… Full tang knives are known as the strongest because the blade and handle are all one solid piece.
My first impression of this knife out of the box, was that this blade means business. That is, once I read the directions and figured out how to get the knife out of the sheath… haa, haa. I’ll explain a little more about this later.
Just looking this knife… you can tell that it is well designed and made with a high degree of craftsmanship and care. I was impressed with how substantial, solid and comfortable the knife felt in my hand, and honestly, I was overcome with the beauty of this knife and sheath package.
This is a hefty knife with a solid grip. The blade is a massive 6.87 inches with a total length of 12.5 inches… especially compared to a knife like the Gerber Bear Grylls knife that has a 4.8 inch blade and a total length of 10 inches.
The Gerber LHR has a solid handle with durable TacHide grip. Those with large and small hands will find this knife very comfortable to use with or without gloves. It is well balanced with the center of gravity just above the hand guard.
Since the knife is full tang construction the durable rubber, textured grips are pinned to the handle. The pin studs are secured well below the surface of the grip.
This handle is well designed and very ergonomic, and with the contoured finger cut outs, hand guard toward the blade, and grip flair at the butt-end, this knife is not likely to slip out of your hand regardless of the weather conditions or the intensity of the moment.
As I mentioned, there is a solid steel hand guard toward the blade that will protect your hand during a fight. The bottom end of the hand guard has a bit of a hook that could come in handy in close quarters as well as a nicely pointed punch at the butt end. The butt-end pommel will come in handy if you have to break things like glass or bone when dressing big game.
There is a hole in the butt end of the handle for a lanyard.
The Gerber LHR knife features a serious, 440C, stainless steel, drop point blade that is pushing 7 inches. Drop point blades are strong across the entire length of the blade and are designed for edge retention. Both top and bottom edges of the LRH slope and converge at the point to increase the knife’s ability to pierce.
The blade is coated with a black matte finish that prevents reflection when you don’t want to be seen. Toward the handle there is 1 inch of serration to increase the blades usefulness as a utility knife.
One of the hallmarks of the this knife is it’s innovative, quick release sheath system with safety lock.
This is serious sheath system that is designed so that ONLY the wearer can extract the knife from the sheath in close quarters.
This sheath and knife combo is crafted with such precision that there is no give or play to the knife while in the sheath. In fact the knife if virtually part of the sheath, it is locked in so well.
There is an elastic strap with a quality snap that holds the handle against the back of the sheath, however it is not needed to keep the knife in the sheath.
Because of the LHR sheath and knife design, the knife only goes into the sheath one way and is designed for right hand carry only.
Honestly, I think it may be impossible to remove the Gerber LHR knife from the sheath with your left hand, or for anyone else to remove it unless they came up from behind you and knew how the safety lock worked, which is unlikely.
The friction thumb locking mechanism is toward the back of the sheath. The knife is easily and quickly removed from the sheath by first unsnapping the handle strap, grasping the handle with your right hand while pushing down on the thumb lock.
However, I have found the sheath a bit stubborn when it comes to putting the knife away.
Donning the knife is easy enough with the sheath strapped to your leg when your adrenaline is NOT pumping, but you’ll have to decide whether it takes a bit too much fine motor skill to remove the knife when the action is hot and heavy.
That being said, if you are a seasoned soldier and keep your head in combat, this knife will give you the added comfort of knowing that there is no way your enemy is going to be able to take your knife off of you in a fight.
And one thing is for sure, you’re NOT likely to lose this knife in the field. It’s NOT coming out of the sheath unless you want it to come out.
The Gerber LHR comes with a versatile carry system including one of the nicest leg straps that I have ever worn. It’s thick and adjustable. It will fit well around small, medium and larger thighs and has 6 rows of raised rubber bumps that run the length of the strap to prevent slippage. There is a thick elastic band at one end that holds the strap snug around the thigh.
The sheath offers nearly unlimited carrying options and is designed for securing to your belt, pack or vest, however the fact that there is only ONE way to remove the knife from the sheath, and that it must be removed with the right hand, will likely limit you to a few favorite options like a belt and chest carry.
Owners rate this knife well over 4 out of 5 stars online. Folks love the design, the blade size, the craftsmanship and the versatility and beauty of this knife. Most of the complains center around the knife safety release. Many find if cumbersome… however… it’s important to remember that the specific design of this sheath is to prevent your enemy from grabbing your knife – period.
Once I figured out how the thumb locked worked, extracting the knife from the sheath was a breeze. However, I find getting back in the sheath a challenge at times.
If you absolutely can’t stand the thumb lock mechanism, it CAN be removed, but I don’t recommend this.
That being said, the side benefit of this very secure safety release is that whether you are a tactical professional, avid hunter or occasional backpacker, you’ll never have to worry about this knife being dislodged from your sheath and lost on the trail regardless of how you carry it.
And some tactical professionals complain about the Gerber LHR knife being made of 440HC stainless because it may not hold an edge forever. But we must remember that there are always tradeoffs with steel formulations.
440HC is formulated to easily sharpen to a razors edge, have a high degree of resistance to rust due the the high chrome content and the steel is tough being designed to NOT snap under heavy use if you should ever need to use it as a utility or survival knife. Where many steels that may hold an edge better are a real bear to sharpen and have a tendency to snap when used in extreme utility or survival situations.
One thing I love is the fact that this knife is Made in the USA. I don’t know about you, but I’m not carrying anything into battle that’s made in China. There’s just something totally wrong with that.
Let’s talk about the cost.
The Gerber LHR lists for a pretty reasonable $154, but better yet, it can be had online for just shy of 100 bucks.
Okay, so who is this knife for?
The Gerber LHR knife is NOT for the faint at heart and those who want an wimpy utility or survival knife. This is a big, hefty knife that means business. This knife is also not for those who are dominantly left handed. This knife is designed for right-hand carry only.
Also, if you want a knife that can be unsheathed without any fine motor skills, look elsewhere. Some find the quick release thumb lock to be cumbersome.
All this aside the Gerber LHR is for the tactical or combat professional who wants an advantage in a hand-to-hand combat situation without the worry that his weapon will be used against him.
The LHR is also a great choice for hunting, camping, backpacking, impressing the guys… or for anyone who wants to have the biggest, coolest looking knife on the block, while having the peace of mind that you own a serious blade that will serve you well if your life ever depends on it.
Okay, so we’ve just taken a look at the Gerber LHR combat / tactical / survival knife.
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I hope to see you one the other side…
And remember… Be Prepared… Because You Never Know…