Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gerber Strap Cutter

     Item: Gerber Strap Cutter
          Included: malice clip & sheath          
     Price Range: $14.00
     Make: Domestic
     Blade steel: 420HC Stainless steel black
     Dimensions: 4.25" Long x 1.5" Wide x <0.25" Thick, 3.0 oz (sheathless)
     Weight: 2.25 oz
     Features: Glass Breaker, lanyard whole, jimping, ergonomic design
     (finger loop, curved grip), molle compatible, injection molded plastic sheath
     Time in testing: 2 months
     Design intention/Application: Primary- Rescue Hook; Secondary- gut hook

     While this may be the first rescue hook that I've purchased, it could easily be the last. What makes this so? Well, at $14 dollars, you get a rescue hook that is super sharp, lightweight, and in medium size frame. The design of the frame give this cutter an advantage over any other strap cutter; it allows for a secure grip even with gloves (shooting style gloves of course). Under stress, this level of grip would be superior. Whether or not you need all that surface is debatable, but I'd certainly rather have it, especially since it is not that big. 

     At this price, its closest competitors would be the Benchmade model 5 ($15-25) & 7 ($20-30) rescue hooks. While I've only used the model 5, I feel it is too small and while the model 7 is larger (it is similar to the Gerber, that is in terms of size and weight) it still doesn't have a glass breaker . 

      Its attachment system is funky in a way, as it uses what looks like a belt clip for molle attachment and what looks like a belt clip for a molle attachment. Make sure to look at the photo link, because you will find that both the seatbelt and molle systems aren't very snug. Personally, I wouldn't mind the molle system bad when secured upside down. This seatbelt malice clip is so-so as well. While it holds the cutter up on the belt, it is easily slid up and down the belt especially during belt retraction. As you can see in the pictures, it is a hard plastic sheath which holds the cutter in by friction. One might argue that the Benchmade nylon sheaths would be nicer (their seatbelt one certainly seems better). Along with the large grasping whole, this friction/whole combination allows for an easy and more importantly fast deployment. The only downside to this is the akwardness of their attachment systems. It is certainly tradeoff which you'll have decide (speed vs. flat lying). 

    In regards to competition, in my opinion (for what its worth) this rescue hook is slightly superior. At such a low price point it includes a two attachment systems, a sharp blade, a very functional frame, a glass breaker, and is made in the USA. However it does seem that the model 7 has a better seat belt system and more importantly possible better edge retention. Looking at their website, you can see their tests and how they believe it is superior. We will probably never know the truth in this as we don't have lab equipment to test this. 
     So at this moment in time, the Gerber strap cutter is my choice in rescue tools and receives a 9.5 (-.5 for the attachment systems) out of 10. 

    Gerber's Specs
    Gear Buyer's Guide Overview 
    Nutnfancy's Rescue 5 Review 
    Benchmade 7 Specs

1 comment:

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