Pros: Handle Material, Handle Feel, Lock Type, Overall Quality, Ease of Opening, Weight, Lock Ease of Use, Blade Sharpness
Cons: Sheath, None
GERBER APPLEGATE COMBAT FOLDER
The legendary Applegate Fairbairn is one of the most popular fixed blade fighters on the market currently. That knife evolved from the Fairbairn Sykes fixed blade, which had been extremely popular since World War II. That particular design had a few flaws in it, namely the round thin handle and tapered blade that was prone to breakage. Eager to improve the Fairbairn Sykes, Colonel Rex Applegate and W.E. Fairbairn joined forces. The fruits of their labors was the fixed blade Applegate. True in form to its fixed blade sibling, the Gerber Applegate duplicates the key features that made the fixed blade popular, in a more portable folding version. Colonel Applegate was assisted by custom knifemakers Bill Harsey and Butch Vallotton in perfecting the folder. In a market already saturated with a barrage of one hander liner locks, the Applegate is a standout due to a number of unique features. One thing that strikes you when the knife is held in the hand is the weight. The Zytel handles conceal a double stainless steel liner construction. This lends a very solid feel and strength of the handle, unlike many of the lightweight Zytel folders. Speaking of the handles, there are a series of grooves cut into the surface. Those grooves, working in harmony with the slight texture of the handle, provide the user with a comfortable non-slip grip. The main feature of the handle that immediately catches your eye are the two recesses near the pivot area. Upon grasping the knife, your thumb and index finger naturally fall into these recesses. A major concern for all liner locks is accidental unlocking due to inadvertent pressure on the exposed liner. The Applegate's release is contoured to fit alongside one of these aforementioned recesses. Gerber totally eliminates any unwanted unlocking this way. When open, the lockup is very secure. This folder feels like a fixed blade! The blade shape is a classic spear point, in a partially serrated format. There is an unsharpened false edge on the blade, which can be easily sharpened if the user desires. thanks to the combination of blade size and handle weight, the Applegate makes for an effective light duty chopping tool. As usual, the recognizable signatures of Colonel Applegate and W.E. Fairbairn adorn the blade. The Applegate's blade is deployed via two thumb studs, allowing for effortless ambidextrous operation. Due to the size of the closed knife, the preferable way to tote it would be in a sheath. The Cordura sheath that accompanies the Applegate features a one handed snap release, permitting simple and effortless withdraw. Although the sheath can be worn in either a horizontal or vertical position, threading your belt through the tight loops, especially for the horizontal position, can be a bit of a chore. The narrower your belt is, the easier it is. Gerber says that they are aware of this problem and will correct it for future production runs. In closing, Gerber's Applegate has spent two years in development, and the results prove that the long wait was well worth it. This knife has established Gerber as a heavyweight contender in the military/combat folding knife market. The Applegate follows the recent trend of custom designed liner locks, and had already been well received by the toughest knife critics of all -- the consumer.