The multi-tool is the most versatile and useful piece of equipment that can be carried, whether you’re in a urban area or out in the country you should never leave the house without one. The multiplier is the updated and more complex version of this tool and it’s usually equipped with a set of wire cutters and needle nose pliers.
Sometimes dangerous, and potentially deadly, environments surround us. Whether you are overseas behind enemy lines, lost in the wilderness or a survivor in natural disaster a fixed blade knife is the tool that will always get you home safe and sound. A survival knife can provide the right help for water, shelter, fire, food and protection. It is the most versatile piece of equipment that we can carry. Gerber produces one of the milestones in the mil-spec survival blades: the Gerber LMF II Infantry. The Infantry is the definition of the survival knife, with an overall length of 269 mm, a blade length of 123 mm and a well-balanced weight of 330g this beefy knife can be utilized for tasks of different nature. The Gerber team is well known for providing the user with well-engineered products, and they seem to have reached a very good standard with the LMF II Infantry. They have chosen a 420 high carbon steel for this blade, which makes it very good against corrosion and hard use; in fact the Infantry can be even used as a prying bar in an emergency situation. To meet the compliancy of the aircrews’ standard issue, Gerber had to design the LMF II with two main features:
- It had to be tough (so that it could be used, by the crew, as an escape tool from the aircraft after a crash).
- It had to electrically insulate the user from any live wire he could find while escaping through the fuselage or the cockpit.
To accomplish these two requirements Gerber developed a very interesting design that meets both strength and protection using a combination of 420hc steel and hard composite materials in the body of the handle. The Blade: The use of the 420 High Carbon steel makes this knife incredibly resistant against rust, especially with application of the black non-reflective coating. Even though the Tanto design looks much cooler on a tactical knife, thankfully, the LMF II has a drop point design, which makes it a much stronger knife for any bushcraft or survival use. Due to its design and the 5 mm blade thickness, this knife is a great tool for chopping, prying and digging. The spine of the blade has a 90 degrees angle with no chamfer applied, which allows to light a fire with a Magnesium bar or flint fire starter. The blade has a drop point plain edge with 47 mm of serration closer to the handle. Even though some people believe that a knife has to have a plain edge, we know that a survival/bushcraft knife MUST have a serrated edge. The serration of the blade makes it much easier to cut through harder material, cords, fresh vegetation and it retains much better a sharp edge. Serrations are mandatory on a 420 HC steel survival blade to help maintain sharpness in the field, since this material could lose edge after some use. Sharpening this knife in the field is very easy. The sheath of the knife houses a V-shaped sharpener for the drop-point part of the blade that allows the user to carry an always-sharp blade, no matter what. If you really need to sharpen the serrated edge on the field, Gerber makes a great tool that makes it very easy: the Bear Grylls Field Sharpener. The blade also features two lashing holes to use the knife as a spear; this feature becomes very interesting when you have to find some food in the wilderness. We have used this method in the past to catch fish in a small river and it really can change the situation from a disaster to a memorable moment. One of the basic rules of providing food in the wild is that you do not have to use more energy than the one you’re going to gain from what your catch will give. To accomplish this goal the spear is the perfect tool since it doesn’t always require much running. The spear is very easy to make with very little cordage and it can also be used as a self-defense tool from wild animals. The Handle: Because of the large production scale of these knives, Gerber was able to use an injection molded handle with a diamond texture on its surface. This handle has a rubbery feel and really sticks to the user hand even when the surface of the handle is wet. The large pommel at the end of the grip allows a much more secure and firm grip. It also functions as a striking tool and a hammering surface. When working on bushcraft tasks, quite frequently, we have to grip the knife from the very end of the handle and strike on the back of the blade with a large piece of wood in order to chop down through a log; with this design, it is much easier and faster to do so. The Sheath: We believe that one of the most important parts of a knife is its sheath. For us, good retention, slickness, protection (both of the user and the blade) and different attachment options are key features in a good quality sheath. The sheath is made of ballistic nylon with a fire retardant coating. The retention of the knife is due to a friction lock mechanism that secures the knife in place even if attached tip-up on a plate carrier or a chest rig. The Infantry can be carried both right-handed and left-handed since the knife can be stored in the sheath either ways. The LMF II comes with many different mounting options. The knife can be carried on the belt, on a MOLLE system and, because of the leg straps, also thigh and calf carry. We gave this knife a very hard time, we have used it for a while now and we are very happy with the results. The overall package seems very durable and stiff and even the sheath after many drops seems to retain the knife without any wobbling. At first, we were quite worried for the black coating of the blade but even after hitting some rocks it did not seem to peel off at all. This, for sure, is not an EDC knife: it’s beefy and not light. But when you will need it, you will be glad of its weight especially when chopping wood or cutting down a tree. One of the features that we like the most about this product is its 25 YEARS WARRANTY and the fact that it is MADE in the USA (Portland, Oregon). If you are looking for an excellent-quality versatile survival knife for an affordable price, the Gerber LMF II Infantry is the perfect choice. For more intel please visit Gerber’s website.
Clothing featured in this article:
Vertx Tactical Belt
Gerber is a recognized leader in military-grade tactical products. We had the chance to test for a few months one of their new Cortex flashlights.
These lights are proudly built in the US and are designed to meet the needs of the military professionals. The Gerber Cortex series is comprised of three flashlights: the Cortex, the Cortex Compact and the Cortex Rechargeable. This line of lights features the Gerber’s patented Omnivore technology, which allows them to operate on multiple powers sources. The Cortex and Cortex Compact can operate on either AA or Lithium CR123A batteries, while the Cortex Rechargeable runs on Lithium Ion 18650 battery but will also accept disposable CR123A batteries.
The Cortex Flashlight is built with adaptability in mind. It can run on either three Lithium CR123A batteries or two AA batteries. The Cortex accepts both alkaline and lithium, providing the operator with flexibility when battery choices are limited. With a maximum output of 675 Lumens (when running on three CR123 batteries), the Cree XML LED provides a level of light than can be effectively utilized to overwhelm an aggressor or identify a threat. In an outdoor environment this light can be effective for hundreds of yards.
As you can see from the images above the light has a very wide outer beam, while still having a focused hot spot in the middle. We believe that Gerber has found a good balance between wide-external and focused-central. This fine combination allows the operator to enhance its situational awareness while still being able to utilize the tool actively and selectively. The tail switch cap allows to select between three modes: high, low and strobe. The low mode provides an output of 40 Lumens and is well suited for administrative tasks.
The light is built with heavy duty in mind. The Cortex is made of aircraft grade anodized aluminium which feels solid and tough as soon as you grab it. Because of its aggressive design, the bezel can be used as a striking tool or even to brake glass, in case things go very south.
The light is also provided with a built in clip, for easier carry when a sheath is not available.
We believe that this flashlight could be very interesting especially for those who live in Europe, while other US made flashlights are very expensive this seems to have an excellent Quality/Price ratio. For the pure tactical application (CQB, even weapon mounted) we prefer to have a momentary only switch. But this product still does a very good job for a personal defense task. In all these months that we have been using this product (and we didn’t treat is very good) we have never experienced a failure of any kind. We have accidentally dropped this light for quite some distance and every thing was fine, and even underwater it worked magnificently.
We recommend this light for its adaptability, and we would definitely keep it in my car or in a Go bag. The Cortex’s adaptability and versatility make it a tool you must have. The fact that you can utilize this light for personal defense, search and rescue and general outdoor/tactical applications definitely make this flashlight one of the best we have ever owned.
So if you need to purchase a flashlight that can do the work of 3 or 4 we strongly recommend this. If you are looking for a light to keep on your person when hiking in the mountains, operating overseas, rescuing, hunting or even as and EDC tool, this is the one.
The Gerber Cortex flashlight is available at GerberGear.com
Medford Knives and Tools:
FKMD (Fox Knives Military Division):
Schrade (Taylor Brands)