Well I’m pretty jazzed to get this review of the NEW Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO Survival Knife out to you after a few weeks of research, use and testing. So today I’ll dig in and look at this knife from just about every angle and see if this knife is garbage, good or anywhere close to great. Okay... let’s jump in!!!
Okay... Since a knife is only as good as it’s blade... let’s start here... The Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO Knife is made out of 9Cr19MoV high carbon, stainless steel which is a nice upgrade from the Original Knife that is made out of 7Cr17MoV. 9Cr19MoV falls somewhere between 440B and 440C stainless steel in chemical composition, toughness and edge-holding ability. When compared to the 7Cr17MoV steel used in the Original Ultimate Survival Knife... the PRO should be a bit tougher and hold an edge better.
Full Tang - Yay!
Now the big, huge difference between these knives is the full tang construction of the Ultimate PRO knife vs. the 3/4 tang design on the Original Ultimate Survival Knife. Full tang means that the blade steel runs the full length of the knife from tip to butt. Full tang construction is regarded by most experts as the strongest, most durable way to make a knife. So to test the strength of this Ultimate PRO’s steel, tang and pommel I woke up one morning with a crazy new knife test in my brain...
I decided to pound the knife into a hardwood log with a sledge hammer to see what happens... ______ I’ll be honest with you... I thought this knife would take maybe 30 to 40 hits before something broke... I NEVER expected that I would have to whack it 72 times, and at different angles... before I couldn’t drive it into the log any further... So, I think it’s safe to say this is a pretty tough tang and pommel upgrade.
Now... Let’s Talk More About the Blade... The Ultimate PRO has a drop point blade... which simply means that the spine side of the blade curves down until it meets the tip of the blade. Drop point blades are common for survival and general purpose utility knifes because they make for a strong tip and tough knife across the entire surface of the blade.
The Edge - The Ultimate PRO has a 100% fine edge blade... meaning no serrations. The Original Survival Knife comes in both a half serrated and fine edge version. Serrations are great for cutting things like rope... and extending the usefulness of your knife long after the fine edge is quite dull. But a serrated edge can get in the way of many bushcraft tasks and make fine slicing, cutting or skinning difficult. And damaged serrated edges can be tough to mend...
How Sharp Was My Knife? My knife came quite sharp enough out of the box to shave hair off of the back of my hand and slice a long thin piece of plastic off of a ball point pen body... similar to the performance of a razor blade. And properly stropping this blade should increase it’s sharpness even more. To discover more about knife sharpening tools, tips and techniques - see my YouTube series called, “Knife Sharpening Bootcamp.” In my testing I was surprised at how well this edge held up while performing many tasks and after some knife throwing and a bunch of drops on rocks and frozen soil.
Now as We Move Toward the Handle... On the spine side there is a notched out, coating-free striker area for use as the fire steel striker. On the edge side of the blade you’ll find a choil. A choil is a cut-away area between the edge and the hand guard of a knife. This knife’s choil has enough space for my forefinger to wrap around for better leverage and control in fine cutting and slicing. If you do this, just be very careful. But this choil’s true purpose is to allow the blade to be sharpened all the way to the end of the edge without interference of the handle or hand guard.
Whistle for Your Life! The Ultimate PRO Knife comes with a newly designed emergency whistle that seems more durable than the previous one is quite loud and comes attached to the knife with it’s integrated lanyard.
The Handle The handle is made up of the knife tang and what seem to be two rugged polymer slabs that are secured to the knife using these 4 star or torque bolts and two permanent metal insets that are inside the two lashing holes at the top of the grip.
Handle Comfort and Balance - Most of the polymer handle is covered over with what feels like the same, rubberized grippy material that’s used on just about every other knife and tool in this line. The only noticeable difference between this knife and the original version is the weight of the knife... which doesn’t feel heavy, but actually makes the knife feel a bit more substantial. The knife balances well with the center of gravity in the area of the the forefinger handle cutout.
Lashing to a Pole - Now in addition to the lanyard hole, we have two additional holes on the hand guard that go through the handle slabs and tang that are strategically placed to help you lash this knife onto a pole to make a spear. I lashed mine using paracord and was able to really lock mine on to the pole. See my video review on YouTube to see how I did it.
Sheath Lock - The lashing holes also serve another important task as part of the friction lock system that holds the knife in its sheath. These holes perfectly align with 4 raised bumps (two on each side) toward the top of sheath that work together to firmly lock the knife in the sheath when it’s not in use.
The Sheath - And like the previous version of this knife, we have a handle strap with a Velcro-like closure system to keep the knife tight against the sheath when not in use. The sheath is designed for left or right-hand carry and has a hole in the bottom of the knife compartment to allow water to drain through if you go for a swim or end up out in a storm with this knife. The
Pocket Survival Guide - The Survival Guide is waterproof and out of the all the pocket guides that I have seen to date... this one is the best in my opinion because it not only talks about, but actually SHOWS you how to improvise vital, life-saving stuff like: making a shelter, building a fire, navigating without a compass, collecting water and building a solar still, catching small game with snares and traps and signaling for help.
Belt Loop - On the back of the ballistic nylon upper part of this sheath there is a nylon vertical belt loop that should work well with belts up to 2 inches wide.
Not MOLLE Compatible - Now, I did notice that there are no horizontal MOLLE compatible strap sections like Gerber had on the back of the previous version of this sheath...So if you want to attach this sheath to some MOLLE webbing... you’ll have to get creative.
The Sharpener - Next, let’s look at the carbide bladed pull-through sharpener, which is a better field sharpening solution than the diamond stone sharpener that is on the Original Ultimate Knife sheath... simply because sharpening your knife with this sharpener is easy for anyone, regardless of skill level. The cool thing about this pull sharpener, is that it’s designed to perfectly sharpen the entire fine edge of this knife because of the spacing the choil provides between the hand guard and the edge. For some tips on using the sharpener for your knife, and a full demonstration, check out my full review on YouTube by searching, “Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Knife Review”.
The Fire Starter - Last but not least, on the front of this sheath you will find a cleverly stored ferro rod, which is positioned right side up... instead of upside down (like on the Original version). This change alone should about ensure that your ferro rod doesn't accidentally fall out of the sheath and get lost in the wilderness, which COULD happen in the previous version of this sheath.
So we rate the NEW Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO Survival Knife at 4 out of 5 Stars. Gerber really stepped up to the plate and took their best selling knife, beefed it up and improved it dramatically in just about every area... by upgrading the steel, going with full tang construction, providing a better field sharpening solution, improving the storage of the pocket survival guide and fire starter rod and a bunch of other thoughtful design upgrades...
WE TOOK OFF A FULL STAR because to make all of these upgrades, the street price of the knife went from sub $40 US up to around $70 US. So the pricing has forced the Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO up into a more competitive price and performance category where it now has to contend with some heavy hitters in the survival / general purpose utility knife world like the Ka-Bar BK-2, the Cold Steel SRK the SOG Seal Team Elite and It's Older Brother the Gerber LMF II... to name a few.
And honestly, in the competitive category for survival knives... a 4 out of 5 star rating is pretty darn good. And to be fair to the Ultimate PRO Knife... it is the on the lower end of the price spectrum for knives in the $60 to $100 US price range... AND this knife really did perform well in our tests. Plus it's also important to consider that the Ultimate Pro Knife is more of a survival package deal with the integrated field sharpener, lanyard whistle, a good quality fire steel rod, and having the best pocket survival guide that we've seen to date integrated into the sheath. But if I compare this knife package to the Original Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival Knife there is NO comparison... the Ultimate PRO Kicks it's butt in every way. SO if you like your current Bear Grylls Utimate Survival Knife...
You're gonna LOVE the NEW Ultimate PRO!!!
So Who is the Gerber Bear Grylls Ultimate PRO Survival Knife for? With its steel upgrade, full tang construction and all the goodies that come with it... this knife is a great choice for those who are ready to upgrade from the Original Bear Grylls Survival Knife. It’s a great choice for camping, backpacking, hiking, bug-out bags, emergency kits, responsible scouts, for bushcraft or as very nice general utility knife around the home or shop to use every day or have handy just in case.