Good quality is often hard to find. Good quality, at a good price, is often even harder to find. Fortunately, for guys and gals like me, always on the lookout for quality gear, there are options out there. Added bonus? When you can find solid, rugged, and affordable American gear. Gerber is one of those brands, I think. And with their new Gerber Sedulo Every Day Carry knife, the options just got a lot better.
Good gear doesn’t have to be American, of course. There is a lot of amazing gear out there from all over the world. But having options from all around the world isn’t always better. Too much stuff out there, especially from certain places, is just not good, and not worth the money — or the savings.
For many people, Gerber is a familiar brand. Gerber was founded in 1939, and is based in Portland, Oregon. They offer many products popular with hunters and the military, and have a solid enough reputation to accompany that legacy. However, Gerber has had some struggles over the years, both in the quality and reception of some of its products. Especially, with die-hard knife people.
Bear Grylls is a certified stud, and way cooler than most of us will ever be. But his line of Gerber products, packaged and sold at Wal-Mart, was a marketing misstep. It cheapened the brand and product line, and even worse, the public perception.
Given the nature of the typical Gerber customer, their products are a perfect fit for our typical SOFREP reader. With that in mind, when Gerber sent me their new Gerber Sedulo EDC knife to review, it piqued my curiosity.
Speaking for myself, I personally own a few Gerber products. The multitool that I carried on my kit during my deployment to Afghanistan happened to be a Gerber. Years later, I still use it regularly today. Occasionally, I sharpen the blade a little bit, and it’s good to go. I do not have quite as negative of a view of Gerber after the Bear Grylls line of products, for example, so I am able to approach the brand a bit more objectively.
In an effort to reclaim some status in the world, Gerber has launched a new product line. It’s also a good marketing play, as well. It’s called “Gerber Reserve,” and the products are only available on their website. Among other things, I imagine this is in direct response to past products being sold at Wal-Mart, for example. Direct availability controls the brand much better, and creates a level of exclusivity.
These knives are made only in small batches/quantities. That speaks to their intent of “drawing a line in the sand” as they up their game a bit. It’s kind of an “Ok, then. Hold my beer,” type of response. And I dig it.
It’s never easy re-branding or re-imaging yourself, especially as a big company. Even more, it’s not easy once a good chunk of public perception is working against you. In this case, I applaud the effort. It is the right call.
For all the potential doubters out there… hear me out.
Gerber Sedulo – An Introduction
The Gerber Sedulo is part of their initial offering in the Reserve product line. For those of you semi-enthusiast-level knife guys, you might think this knife looks vaguely familiar… “Where have I seen that before,” type of a thing. For those of you who are knife connoisseurs, the sommeliers of all things pointy made of steel, you will probably know exactly why it looks familiar.
With the Sedulo, Gerber is going squarely after Benchmade, and specifically, the Griptilian. Benchmade is one of the benchmarks in the knife world. It is both a respectable, and ambitious target for Gerber to have. In working to reshape their brand a bit, it’s a good place for Gerber to be.
The Gerber Sedulo is available on the Gerber website for $100. Right away, this stands out as a good price point and a solid offering for the market of EDC knives. It’s not too cheap, and not too expensive. By way of comparison, it’s easy to find good EDC knives anywhere from $50 to $100 (or more), more expensive than the Sedulo. But anything less expensive, and one might legitimately start to question the quality.
In marketing, one of the most essential things is to know your target market. Gerber clearly has come to know who they want to be, and who their target audience is, with the Gerber Sedulo. That target is not necessarily people who have lots of knives, and who are also looking to add one more knife to the collection. The target is people who want a good EDC knife option, and who likely don’t want or need multiple knives. This target buyer also wants to be mindful of their budget and find as much quality as possible. In fact, it might the only EDC knife this person has or carries.
Breaking the Gerber Sedulo Down
The Gerber Sedulo is available in four color options and variations. Two with a stonewash finish, and two with an oxide finish, on the blades. The oxide finished blades cost $5 more. I tend to like oxide finishes for both a black, “subdued” look, and the added protection. However, I also like the stonewash finish on this blade. The look of the stonewash will help hide the scratches that come from natural wear from use and over time. I like that it gives it a “rustic” or worn feel, right out of the box.
The materials of the Sedulo are where some people might criticize it, or like it. And maybe even at the same time. Let’s start with the blade, first.
The blade is made out of S30V steel. Now, I’m not a metallurgist. But in case you are wondering, yes, this is really good steel. In fact, it’s one of the best types of steel one can find in a knife blade. It is a good, strong alloy, and has a good hardness level. S30V steel is a good compromise of hardness and quality, meaning it will keep a sharp edge longer, without being too soft.
The trade-off, like anything else, is that it’s a bit more difficult to sharpen, however. If you want to sharpen it more out of the box, or over time as it needs to be sharpened, you will just have to work at it a bit more. For a knife that will be used often or regularly like an EDC knife, keeping that blade sharp and retaining that sharp edge, is important.
At first glance, when I took it out of the packaging and opened up the knife, it looked like it wasn’t really THAT sharp. Just, kind of sharp. Like as in, average right-out-of-the-box factory sharpness. I think that is just from the steel and the finish itself. Because… Upon testing the sharpness in a few ways, it quickly became clear that I had underestimated that edge. It was pretty sharp. For example, just running the blade laying flat across my forearm, it shaved off hair like it was a Gillette razor blade. It easily cuts paper from top to bottom, and it did not tear the paper; it cut.
With that said, can it be a bit sharper out of the box? Yes, it can. I think it should be, even just a little. Like we always learned back in the day from Boy Scouts: a sharp knife is actually a safer knife. Let’s also not fool ourselves. Many of us carry an EDC knife, as a defensive weapon. Having a sharp knife is important, heaven forbid you ever need it. For me, the EDC knife is my secondary.
The handle on the Gerber Sedulo is where some people might take issue. If there is anything on the knife where anyone might label it is a bit cheap, it’s that. That handle is made from fiberglass-reinforced nylon, or “FRN” as it is commonly known. Breaking it down a bit more, FRN is basically a polymer mixed with glass, and then injection molded. It’s lightweight, and a strong type of plastic.
Do I have an issue with that? No, I do not. Not in any way. Again, this is a $100 knife, not an $150 or $200+ knife. I appreciate the strong, and lightweight handle, with a good, textured grip. If I had a bucket of small parts and components sitting in front of me, and a limit of a $100 price tag, I would choose better steel, and the same handle, all day long.
I am quite pleased with the ergonomics, form, shape, weight, and texture of the handle. My hands are probably about average-sized. I wear large gloves but don’t see my hands as overly large. With all that said, the handle does not feel too small. Even the clip for pocket retention sits in just the right spot in my hands. The tip fits snugly right between my middle and ring finger while gripping the knife.
Now… things to keep in mind.
The FRN handle is good, and I am fine with it. It would be nice if there was an option to have a nicer handle, like aluminum. Perhaps it could be an alternate option or an upgraded configuration. Of course, that would change the price point. It could also change the overall value, and the perceived value.
The grind on the blade was sharp enough. One area for improvement, however, would be that the grind was not even across the whole blade. Meaning, it’s not the same size of grind across the whole blade, and is deeper in certain places. It is a point of criticism in this quality of the knife.
Another option I would like to see, as an alternate configuration, is in the blade shape. The Gerber Sedulo has a typical drop point blade, with a plain edge (no serrations). I am a fan of tango-style blades, for both aesthetics and function. This same steel, in this same knife, would also be a cool option. Of course, there is no deal-breaker here, and no reason to complain. Just a preference.
The Gerber Sedulo Is Definitely Worth One Benjamin
I like the size, feeling, and balance of the Gerber Sedulo. The weight seems just right and comfortable in my pocket. And more importantly, it is not bulky or cumbersome in my pocket; it feels quite flat. I despise and detest bulky things in my pockets, and this feels like it fits just right. The deep carry pocket clip keeps it snug, and is easy to access. I have enjoyed carrying this knife around, and I will keep it in my EDC carry options.
If you are in the market for a solid option as an EDC knife, the Gerber Sedulo is a respectable, competent choice. It is a good combination of quality and value.
Has Gerber done a good job changing course a bit, and making up for the Bear Grylls Wal-Mart line? I think so. They are on the right path, and they are deserving of consideration. If they keep making more knives like the Sedulo, that answer is a solid yes. They might also give that benchmark a bit of a challenge.