GERBER 06 AUTO REVIEW
Written and Photographed by Blade HQ Staff Writer Logan Rainey on 12/29/2020
What does it take for a knife to gain the respect, recognition and trust of military personnel and knife nuts the world over? Beat it up, use it for things a knife shouldn’t be able to do, and take it to the most trying environments in the world then watch it continue to perform with consistency and reliability. With a reputation for making it to and from the “sandbox” seemingly unscathed, the Gerber 06 Auto is one hell of a knife. In this review we take a close look at this awesome knife and what has established it as one of the most trusted knives in the industry. Let’s get into it!
First let's run through the stats...
Knife Life is all about representing your personality and passion through the knife you carry in your pocket every day. Quality and performance are key. Tasteful design and ritzy details are also important. You can be confident carrying any knife with a high Knife Life Score. Each section is scored out of 10 with a grand total of 100.
The Gerber 06 Auto was designed to be the ultimate companion to soldiers in the Middle East and the World over. Its rugged design, ergonomic grip, automatic action and durable blade have served the men and women of the military for years and that likely won’t change any time soon. This knife received a perfect score on our scale because it has been such an iconic tool during war times. It’s been credited for helping save countless lives and continues doing so to this day.
When a knife (or anything for that matter) is made as part of a U.S. Government contract it must pass specific standards for quality and construction. The Gerber 06 Auto features heavy-duty materials meant to take a beating and perform under pressure. Its handle is machined from 6061-T6 aluminum making it lighter yet durable. The 06 Auto features a premium S30V stainless steel blade which has been black oxide coated for added durability and corrosion resistance. Overall, the materials that make up the Gerber 06 Auto are top-notch and fitting for a knife of this caliber.
When you need a knife for purely functional purposes the last thing you’re likely considering is how the thing looks. Though specifically designed for tactical/combat applications, the Gerber 06 Auto isn’t the worst looking knife in the bunch nor is it the best looking knife either. It’s a knife with a big blade, a generous handle, and the right features for getting shtuff done. We can say that the one advantage this knife has in the looks department is its blackout color way. In situations where the glint off a knife blade could compromise position or make it easy to be seen, the black coating on both the handle and the blade make the blade less visible and provide more tactical advantage over knives with satin or polished blades.
Though bigger in size, the Gerber 06 Auto has excellent ergonomics. Its handle was precision milled with large grooves for added grip and security in either a bare or gloved hand. When I used and handled the Gerber 06 Auto, I found that it was most comfortable with a closed fist grip. Placing my thumb on the spine of the blade proved more difficult than I normally like due to the large guard built into the handle, but that wasn’t an issue once I found a way to hold the knife that worked for my hand. Overall the Gerber 06 Auto is a comfortable knife in-hand and never felt like it was slipping even under heavy pressure.
If you’re like me and have handled many folding automatic knives from many different brands, the Gerber 06 Auto will surprise you the first time you press the button to fire the blade. Though not as “snappy” as many other autos, the action on the 06 Auto is direct and perfect for its intended use of being an easy knife to open with one hand. Even with a light grip on the handle I never felt like the knife was going to jump out of my hand or rip my hand off. It’s a light yet firm action that gives the user the ability to open the knife while their other hand is busy. The lockup on this knife is exactly what you’d expect a combat knife to have. Its plunge lock with added safety switch keeps the blade nice and secure during use and never made me feel like it was going to fail.
One of the best things about the Gerber 06 Auto is the blade. It’s made from premium S30V stainless steel which is great for edge retention without making the knife impossible to sharpen. The 06 Auto is available with either a drop point or a tanto blade shape with each variant featuring a plain or partially serrated edge. We have absolutely no complaints about the blade on the 06 Auto. It’s sturdy, gets the job done and is easy enough to maintain on the go.
The Gerber 06 Auto is like any thing mass produced in the sense that it’s subject to little defects and things that may slip through a quality control process. Our particular 06 Auto was a little rough when we first got it. The blade had a tough time opening due to some foreign contaminants in the pivot and a string that made its way into the handle. After a quick clean and some lube, the blade deployed much more easily and met our expectations. Overall the knife is well constructed. None of the screws were stripped, it didn’t come scratched or dinged up, and it wasn’t packaged carelessly. The Gerber 06 Auto has the fit and finish needed to meet the quality standards of the US military and armed forces.
It’s hard to express how awesome this knife was when we used it. The thing cuts with laser-like precision and is made for taking on bigger tasks like prying and chopping. The knife cut through rope, wood, food, and cardboard with little to no effort. We were happy with the overall performance when it came to regular tasks and were impressed with the odd jobs this knife could take on. It isn’t the best knife for slicing as the blade is on the thicker end of the scale, but that wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
We can’t say this knife is the easiest knife we’ve ever carried. It’s heavier than the typical everyday carry knife and has a much thicker handle than we’re used to, but it was easy to get used to after rearranging the things in our pockets. The Gerber 06 Auto features a traditional, two-way reversible pocket clip that helps the knife sit higher out of the pocket for quick access. This knife is the perfect size to be clipped to a flak jacket or a utility pocket on a pair of cargo pants. It isn’t designed to be an everyday carry knife, but you could get away with it if you prefer a bigger knife.
If all black everything is your definition of sexy, this is definitely the knife for you. Though there are flashier knives out there that probably command more attention from the undiscerning eye, you can’t quite beat the bad-assery of the Gerber 06 Auto. This thing is a tank. It isn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but dang is it different and unique. If anything, this knife will catch the eye of another knife nut and may get a few questions from your sensitive co-workers. If your co-workers are in the military, that means you’re likely in the military too, and they might not really care about your knife unless of course it’s the difference between life and death in an unexpected difficult situation.
The Gerber 06 Auto could quite possibly be one of the most important knives in the industry thanks to its reputation on the battlefield. The knife is an absolute beast! We are impressed with the durability, usefulness and overall performance of the Gerber 06 Auto. It’s one of those knives that stands out not because it’s fancy, but because it does exactly what it’s built to do. Pick up the Gerber 06 Auto by clicking below.