This will be a dual review. I thought it might be helpful to show a side by side comparison since these two knives have a similar purpose. The Gerber RiverMate is Model # 22-01028 and the Kershaw Responder is Model # 1078. Both cost around $30 and are imported. The country of origin is not shown anywhere on the knives or the packaging.
I spent the last week or so carrying and using these knives for general chores. Nothing drastic, just everyday use. They both share some features that I really appreciate.
Their sheaths are well designed. The knives can be inserted in either direction so they can be worn on either side. Both sheaths have excellent retention. Additionally, both knives have very comfortable grips with jimping in the right spot. I like the exposed pommels. Neither knife was dull out of the box and their finishes have been very durable so far. Both of them are excellent at their intended purpose of slicing thru webbing in a hurry. I also think they are both fairly priced.
The Gerber RiverMate Specs:
- Blade Type: Fully serrated, Full hidden tang, exposed pommel. Blunt tip.
- Blade Thickness: .120″
- Blade Steel: 3Cr13
- Blade Length: 3.25″
- Overall Length: 7.75″
- Handle: Nylon with Soft-Grip. Lanyard hole
- Sheath: Hard molded plastic with integral belt clip.
The Kershaw Responder Specs:
- Blade Type: Partially serrated, Webbing Cutter, Full Hidden tang, exposed pommel, Drop Point, blunted tip
- Blade Thickness: .125″
- Blade Steel: Advertised as AUS8 but this knife arrived with “8Cr13MOV” stamped on the blade.
- Blade Length:3.75″
- Overall Length: 8.75″
- Handle: Santoprene
- Sheath: Kydex (ALICE/MOLLE compatible)
Gerber RiverMate Pros:
- I like the overall size of the Gerber RiverMate. It’s perfect for everyday carry.
- The sheath has metal pins molded into it that lock the knife securely into the sheath.
- The blunt tip (Pry-Driver) is stout. I used that feature quite a bit around the shop.
Gerber’s RiverMate Cons:
- Gerber designed this knife for kayaking and rafting. The sheath’s belt clip looks to be specifically designed for 1.25″ webbing. It doesn’t want to grab completely onto a wider belt. This can be a problem with a new knife. The knife retention is so good that you can pull the sheath right off the belt. This problem seems to be resolving itself…..the sheath is starting to release the knife easier after a few days use.
- This blade only has the single, fully serrated edge. It would be nice to have a portion of straight sharpened edge somewhere on this blade. There are 2 “false edges” on this blade that could be modified into a cutting edge.
Kershaw Responder Pros:
- The sheath has an unusual belt clip. It has a removeable thumbscrew that allows you to attach the sheath to ALICE/MOLLE webbing. It also has plenty of eyelets and slots for other carry options.
- The grip is extremely comfortable, one of the best I’ve owned.
Kershaw Responder Cons:
- The tip looks to have been blunted for safety purposes. It is definitely not thick enough in that area to pry.
- It would be really cool to have the option to buy a version without the web cutter ground into the spine.
- The pitch of the serrations is very fine. I haven’t had the need to sharpen them yet and I’m curious if they can be honed with a flat stone. If anyone reading this has ever sharpened them, please let me know how you did it.
If I had to choose one knife from these two, I would go with the Kershaw. I feel that the Kershaw is better suited to general use and having the MOLLE compatibility is a great feature that most other manufacturers ignore.
Both of these knives are available at Amazon: