Recently, I was in the market for a new survival knife. I am a life-long Gerber fan and I was heart-broken a few months back when my Gerber of 12 years finally gave out. That knife took more beating and battering than I can describe. As is the case with so many knives, it was my own poor decision that finally did it in. I pried. My trusty knife's blade finally gave and it snapped off about a quarter inch from the tip.
They always say that when one door closes another opens. The loss of my knife was sad but it did give me the opportunity to shop again. After months of reading, seeing, and fondling, I finally settled on the Gerber LMF II ASEK which retails for about $120 but can be found as high as $200 and as low as $60 on the internet.
There are a few reasons for my choice. The first is simply that I trust Gerber to put out a solid product that lives up to the claims. The second is that my first assumption seemed solid after all the reviews I'd read. The third is that I wanted a good all around knife. This knife certainly fits the bill of 'all-around' or 'general purpose'.
The LMF II was designed as a pilot survival knife. ASEK (Aircrew Survival Egress Knife) is a classification but it also follows a general outline of standards. For example, the knife includes a pointed and shock-isolated butt that is made to shatter glass, plexiglas, and even polycarbonate, as these are your typical window materials. The knife was also designed to accomplish several other tasks; cutting through fuselage, batoning, easily sharpened, usable as a spear to name a few.
The sheath is top of the line. It is attached with extremely high quality webbing and the knife is held safe and secure by two snaps across the handle as well as a sort of spring clip across the hilt. There is also a built in sharpener in the sheath. Sharpening the knife in the field is simple. You place the knife in the slot and pull. Easy as that. You may not get the best results you've ever seen but it can restore the knife to a usable edge.
I have only had the knife for a month or two and have not had the chance to use it extensively. Up to now I have done some minor chopping and batoning (splitting wood), I have cleaned and butchered a few rabbits, and I have broken a beer bottle with the butt cap. It's a bit unwieldy as a field dressing knife but that's not it's design so no qualms there. It did an exceptional job chopping and batoning as well as breaking glass. The knife is quite light for a survival knife but I find it more than adequate for most tasks. I would not put the LMF II at the top of the list in any one skill but, as I stated earlier, the knife is designed for general purpose use. I would not hesitate to place it at or near the top of that category.
To date I only have one complaint about this knife. The knife is too long to just hang from a belt and yet it is not long enough to comfortably use the bottom thigh strap. This is a common complaint for me. I am 6' 8" and I have an unusually long thigh. Let's just say I'm the exception, not the rule. I doubt this would be a problem for any normal sized human being.
All in all I am thrilled with this knife. I plan to give periodic updates on its performance as we venture out together into the wilds. I hope you'll be there to join us.