I am very much a sucker for a tool, particularly when it comes to Gerber. I own a range of Gerber products, from multitools, to fixed blades, and even an axe! So when a flyer arrived at my door a few weeks ago asking me to “Upgrade my pocket”, it was a foregone conclusion that I would be getting a new knife.
The Gerber Armbar in my opinion is very much a Gerber take on the standard swiss army knife; a simple set of basic tools, in a small, lightweight package. The Armbar comes in 2 versions; the Drive and the Cork. The Drive is focused around more DIY style tasks, whereas the Cork offers tools that wouldn’t be out of place in a Vigneron’s pocket. The Drive features a prybar, bottle opener, ‘hammer’, screwdriver, awl, scissors and a plain locking blade. The Cork features the same prybar, bottle opener, ‘hammer’, scissors, and plain locking blade as the Drive, but features a corkscrew, foil cutter, lever arm, and can opener.
I opted to buy the Drive, since it seemed to suit more what I had in mind, and I’m not a big drinker of wine! I paid the extra couple of quid, and had the blade laser engraved with my name and service number as a little treat to myself. The Drive arrived and I’ve had plenty of time to get to grips with it. I will consider the tools on the Drive individually in this review, to give you an idea of how they function.
Prybar: Excellent! This small tool is probably the most useful little tool I have ever had on a knife ever. Thus far I’ve used it for many little jobs, but most notably I used to pry the lining away from the roof of my car to install some wiring, and also to help plastic lining open in our camper van, to help nestle the new carpet underneath.
Bottle Opener: Works like any bottle opener…the tool is part of the prybar, clips out easily, and locks into position well.
Hammer: Works ok on small nails and softer wood, I can’t see it working well outside of that, but it’s a decent addition.
2 Sided Bit Driver: This is the main tool of the Drive, it’s a fold out screwdriver that can take any standard screwdriver bit from a set, so in theory it works like any multi-piece screwdriver. This one comes with a standard size reversible Phillips Head and straight head bit. This is magnetic and fits well within the tool when folded away, I’ve had no issue with it falling out. However, I really wish they had made this tool the locking one instead of the knife, it works ok, but all too often I find it folding in on my fingers – which is a bit annoying. It works fine once you understand this issue, however if they had put a lock on this tool it would have been so much better.
Awl: Sharp and pokey – that’s about it.
Scissors: Folds out smooth and easy, however they aren’t brilliant as scissors. Often when using them to cut anything thicker the handle pops off from the spring, meaning you have to reset them to continue to use them. This is a real pain, and personally I find the Victorinox scissors much better as spring loaded scissors. I have experienced the same issue on my Gerber Suspension. They do work as spring loaded scissors, however you need to be patient when cutting anything thicker.
Plain Edge Blade: A high quality, sharp, locking blade. The lock is straight forward and easy to release, the blade is an ideal length.
Despite a couple of smaller issues I do very much like the Gerber Armbar. It’s a great everyday tool, and albeit that the scissors and screwdriver aren’t perfect, the package as a whole is very well presented, and thought out. If you are considering purchasing a small knife for every day use or camping use, definitely consider the Armbar.