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Gerber Zilch Pocket Knife Review

Gerber Zilch Pocket Knife Review

The Gerber Zilch is an excellent addition to a knife collection. The knife is versatile and durable for EDC.

Getting a quality folding knife is not that simple for knife enthusiasts. There are many factors you need to take into consideration before buying a knife. One of the main things to look out for is durability, functionality, weight, design, and affordability. 

The Gerber Zilch pocket knife ticks all these points in more ways than one.

Firstly, the Zilch is an affordable folding knife. You can get the Gerber Zilch for $20– an excellent price considering the pocket knife's quality and standard.

In addition, the Gerber Zilch - Drab Red has a simplistic yet sleek design that you will love. However, do not let its simplicity fool you. The versatile knife has added functionality you would not get on an average folding knife.

Gerber Zilch Description

One benefit of having the Gerber Zilch is the carrying convenience. Like most folding knives, the Zilch weighs as much as a feather.

The design is one of the most noticeable aspects of the Zilch - Drab Red. The knife has a thin blade and handle, making the knife easy and comfortable to hold. The contrast between the blade and the red GFN handle is also outstanding.

Likewise, the Zilch's blade is very sturdy. The blade is made of a 7Cr D2 stainless steel with excellent durability. In addition, the stonewashed finish on the blade gives it a unique look you do not see in most pocket knives.

The Zilch's handle is made from durable, lightweight glass-filled nylon (GFN). The red handle on the Zilch - Drab Red also has unique texturing on the side that improves your grip on the knife. Let us look at some of the Gerber Zilch - Drab Red specs and features.

Also Available at: GerbergearReiBladehq

Gerber Zilch Specification

Type: Folding knife

Blade Material: 7Cr17MoV

Blade Length: 3.12 Inches

Cutting Edge: 3.00 Inches

Blade Width: 0.75 Inches

Blade Thickness: 0.90 Inches

Blade Style: Drop point

Blade Grind: Flat

Blade Finish: Stonewash

Handle Material: Glass-filled nylon

Handle Length: 4.12 Inches

Handle Width: 0.73 Inches

Handle Thickness: 0.45 Inches

Overall Length: 7.25 Inches

Folded Length: 4.27 Inches

Handle Color: Red

Weight: 2.2 oz.

Gerber Zilch Features


Blade Length

The Gerber Zilch has a pretty short blade of about 3.12 inches. Short blades do not look intimidating, but they have a few advantages over long blades.

Firstly, though you have a shorter stroke, the Zilch gives you better control when cutting or slicing. By improving your control of the blade, you are guaranteed precision every time you use the knife.

Furthermore, you also move faster when using the Gerber Zilch. Unlike larger knives, short blades are easily maneuverable while delivering a solid blow.

Blade Material

The blade is made from 7Cr17MoV stainless steel. This type of stainless steel is made in China and is classified as D2 class steel.

The 7Cr17MoV steel is made from carbon, chromium, molybdenum, and vanadium to iron. The resulting steel is lightweight and cheap to manufacture, adding to the knife's affordability.

In addition, the steel purity level is also high, improving the blade's quality. This also adds to the Gerber Zilch's unique properties over other pocket knives.

Blade Durability

The Zilch's blade is durable. A benefit of using the D2 steel is its resistance to wear and tear.

The carbon and chromium elements in the stainless steel offer considerable sturdiness to the blade. In addition, the elements also improve your blade's resistance to rust and chemical corrosion, which threaten the knife's lifespan.

Secondly, a thin layer of iron oxide coating forms during blade manufacture. The coating provides a protective coating that prevents thermal conduction. High temperatures can easily damage the integrity of your blade.

Lastly, the high purity level of Zilch's stainless steel improves your blade's durability. Impurities are also responsible for reducing the molecular bonds in the steel, reducing the blade's strength.

Also Available at: GerbergearRei, Bladehq

Blade Edge

The Gerber Zilch guarantees to deliver clean cuts and carves.

The blade's edge is about 3-inches long, giving you enough slicing or cutting contact. The edge is sharp, so ensure you do not slice off your fingers when handling the knife.

Blade Grind

Like most folding knives, the Gerber Zilch has a flat blade grind. When you talk about flat grind, the grind runs down from the blade's spine to the edge at a flat angle. On the other hand, hollow grinds have a concave scoop from the spine to the edge. The sabre grind combines both the flat and hollow grind on the blade. 

The flat grind on the blade tapers down into a thin edge. This makes it an ideal blade when slicing, as the blade quickly moves through the material without resistance. In addition, Zilch's flat grind is stronger than sabre and hollow grinds.

Blade Style

Another feature of the Zilch blade is its drop point style. Drop points are popular among most knife enthusiasts as they are great tools for cutting and chopping.

Drop point knives have a dropping spine that reaches the blade's spine. The spine often bends convexly and then falls to reach the tip.

One of the benefits of using the Gerber Zilch is the added spine and tip strength. Drop point knives have a sturdier spine and tip than spear and tanto tips. The added strength makes the blade excellent for chopping or cutting.

Blade Finish

The Zilch has a nice stonewashed finish. Stonewashing involves running falling stones and scraps that sand down the blade to get the desired look.

The stonewashed Zilch blade has a unique and tactical finish. Likewise, a stonewashed finish also enhances the blade's resistance to scratches. Unlike polished blades, you do not have to worry about wear and tear.


Handle Size

The 4.12-inch-long handle gives you enough room to move around your fingers when slicing or cutting. Likewise, the 0.73-inch-wide and 0.45-inch-thick handle is slim enough to provide better knife control.

Handle Material

Durability is an essential factor when considering getting a folding knife. However, the Zilch is a good fit for the 20-dollar price range.

The Zilch's handle is made from glass-filled nylon (GFN) material. GFN is durable and sturdy on a knife. It is resistant to harsh weather and chemical corrosion. The Zilch's handle can also tolerate light impacts.

Handle Color

The Gerber Zilch - Drab Red comes with a red handle. The red handle contrasts the knife's grey stonewashed steel blade, pocket clip, and bolts.

Handle Design

The Zilch's handle is made to give you the best comfort. Its slim handle has a concave look that folds into your finger shell when you hold the knife. The ergonometric design ensures you get the best grip, and prolonged use does not cause injury to your hand.

Handle Stability

Though the Gerber Zilch is pretty light, the handle adds a lot of stability to the knife. The knife remains perfectly balanced when chopping or slicing.

Also Available at: GerbergearRei, Bladehq


Handle Finish

The Drab Red handle is not meant to look good alone but also gives you a better grip. The red GFN handle has unique texturing that gives you better traction.

Dual Thumb Studs

One of Zilch's safety features is the dual thumb studs found on the blade near the handle. They deploy the blade by pushing it from its housing. The thumb studs are easy to use, so disengaging the blade from the handle should not be a problem.

Nail Nick

Another additional feature on the Zilch's blade is the nail nick. The nick is an excellent alternative to the thumb studs. Rather than pushing the thumb studs, you can use the nail nick to pull out the blade from the handle.

Spine Design

The Zilch's spine has an alligator teeth-crisscross design that gives the knife a different look from other folding knives. However, few people are fans of Gerber Zilch's spine design. One disadvantage of the spine's teeth is that they can easily trap dirt in between. Though cleaning the dirt off is easy, it does seem like a lot of work you will frequently do.

Frame Lock

The Gerber Zilch also comes with a strong frame lock. The lock actively holds the blade when deployed, preventing it from folding back into the handle. In addition, the frame lock also secures the blade to the handle after folding, ensuring the blade does not accidentally disengage.

Lanyard Hole

If you are uncomfortable carrying the knife in your pocket, you can tie it around your neck or backpack. With Gerber Zilch's lanyard hole, you get more carrying options. 

Pocket Clip

Lastly, you can also take advantage of the Zilch's pocket clip. The clip is made from stonewashed steel, matching the blade's finish. The pocket clip is also pretty durable and flexible. However, the pocket clip only allows one-way carry, which is blade tip-up.

In Conclusion

The Gerber Zilch - Drab Red is an ideal accessory for people looking for a quality and affordable folding knife. It is lightweight and durable for everyday carry without issues.

Also Available at: GerbergearRei, Bladehq

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Jim Colucy - January 22, 2024

7cr and d2 steels are 2 different steels I thought

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