The Gerber StrongArm is a very well-known knife, and for good reason. It’s a solid tactical knife that looks cool, has a great grip, and is reasonably priced (around $70).
Naturally, it’s not for everyone. Let’s explore some alternatives.
In this article, we’ll look at 5 alternatives to the Gerber StrongArm. We’ll identify the pros & cons of the StrongArm, and find other options to suit each scenario.
Let’s get started!
At a glance:
4.5″ blade & 7.45oz weight
Excellent weight-to-power ratio
Lightweight micarta handle
Lifetime ESEE guarantee
Thicker, longer, heavier, tougher
4.84″ blade length & 11.67oz weight
Insulated handle protects from shocks
Good value for money at <$50
6″ blade length & 8.16oz weight
Less durable for heavy-duty survival tasks
- Criteria to find a great StrongArm alternative
- Why look for a Gerber StrongArm alternative?
- 5 Alternatives to the Gerber StrongArm
- That’s a wrap
Criteria to find a great StrongArm alternative
If you’ve specifically searched for knives like the Gerber StrongArm, then I’ll make some assumptions.
Although it’s not perfect, there are certain things you like about the StrongArm, that you’d like to see in alternatives.
- Fixed blade, not folding
- Sturdy full tang (or close to it)
- Suitable for fairly heavy outdoor tasks
- Solid grip
Although it may range, I’d also figure you’re looking for something of at least decent quality (maybe cheaper, but not the cheapest), not too small, and not too large. Basically, something fit for survival/bushcraft, and maybe combat if needed.
Why look for a Gerber StrongArm alternative?
Before recommending other options, let’s think about the drawbacks of the StrongArm we may wish to fix. I believe these are the most likely:
- Although it’s a good military / tactical knife, it’s not a perfect fit for bushcraft (particularly the handle)
- The price is mid-range, but could still be inaccessible for some
- 420HC steel is okay, but could be better
Other than that, there’s simply personal preferences & use cases. In which case, you may be looking for something shorter, longer, lighter, heavier, and so on.
5 Alternatives to the Gerber StrongArm
Here’s the recommendations. Depending on your desired use case & budget, these are 5 options to consider picking up.
1. Best alternative for bushcraft: ESEE 4-P
The ESEE 4 is a simple, robust knife. It looks great, and it’s very well-known for it’s strength. It is designed specifically for camping & survival tasks.
If you can go up slightly in budget from the StrongArm, this ESEE blade is a great choice. It’s a reputable brand that manufactures in the USA, and offers a lifetime guarantee.
This knife is small & light enough to carry around comfortably, yet has an impressive strength-to-weight ratio. They’re super tough — you won’t have an issue with getting through wood, ice, or anything else.
With a total blade length of 4.5″ (cutting length 4.1″), it’s a bit smaller than the StrongArm. It’s also a little lighter.
If this seems a tiny bit on the small side for you, check out the ESEE 5 which has a 5.25″ blade.
ESEE 4-P vs StrongArm: key differences
In relation to the StrongArm, the ESEE 4-P is:
- A little more expensive
- Slightly smaller handle & blade length
- Better for bushcraft
2. Budget alternative: Cold Steel SRK
Going in the other direction in terms of budget, the SRK knife by Cold Steel is a popular choice with a similar use case & appearance.
This Cold Steel knife is priced under $50, and offers great value for money.
It’s not quite as sturdy as the StrongArm or the ESEE 4, but for the money, it’s a good buy, and it’s very popular.
This is the longest blade length in this list at 6″, and it weighs in at 8.16oz, similar to the StrongArm but slightly heavier.
The sleek black appearance is similar to the StrongArm, but there’s no pommel, and there isn’t currently a serrated blade option.
If you’re looking to spend a little less and still get most of the performance, this is a worthwhile pick.
Cold Steel SRK vs StrongArm: key differences
In relation to the StrongArm, the SRK is:
- Has a longer blade
- Similar in weight, but slightly heavier
3. Larger/heavier alternative: Gerber LMF II
Another massively popular knife from Gerber, you can almost think of the Gerber LMF II as the big brother of the StrongArm.
The LMF II is larger, thicker, wider, and heavier.
Overall, it’s just designed for tougher tasks. In fact, it was originally designed for downed air crews, and to cut through electric lines, wires, vines, and anything you can throw at it.
The handle is designed to be electrically insulated. In practice, that means:
- You’ll be safe if you cut through a live wire
- It’s not 100% ‘full tang’ (slight gap at the end), but still very solid — you wouldn’t know it.
- It helps to ‘shock-proof’ the knife when using it as a hammer (pommel)
It uses the same steel (420HC) as the StrongArm, and the same ceramic blade finish.
LMF II vs StrongArm: key differences
In relation to the StrongArm, the LMF II:
- Has a thicker & wider blade
- Has a larger pommel
- Has lashings to attach to a pole/spear
- Is longer
- Is heavier
- Is therefore better for tough tasks like batoning wood
4. Smaller alternative: Morakniv Bushcraft Survival Knife
If something a little smaller is on your radar, consider this Mora.
This is the shortest & lightest blade in the list, at 4.3″ blade length and 5.4oz weight.
It looks cool, with a similar black coated finish for anti-corrosion, and a recognizable scandi grind which is great for bushcraft.
The smaller blade will give you more control for finer jobs, but it still withstands tougher work like batoning nicely.
As you can see, this Mora also comes with a sheath & firestarter, good for 7000 strikes. It even works when wet.
One trade-off here is that the handle won’t be quite as grippy, especially when wet, compared to the StrongArm & others like the ESEE 4.
Morakniv Bushcraft Survival vs StrongArm: key differences
In relation to the StrongArm, the Morakniv Bushcraft Survival:
- Smaller & lighter
- Slightly cheaper
- Not as grippy
- Not as tough
- Better for finer tasks
5. Most similar alternative: Gerber Prodigy
If you’re looking for something very close to the StrongArm, just a little cheaper, then the Gerber Prodigy may be for you.
Like the LMF II, the Prodigy uses the same steel (420HC) as the StrongArm, and the same ceramic blade finish.
The main difference between the Prodigy and the StrongArm really is just the grip. The diamond texture on the StrongArm is generally considered an upgrade. Specifically for bushcraft though, you mind even find the Prodigy handle slightly more comfortable.
It’s also slightly cheaper.
Prodigy vs StrongArm: key differences
Note: For more detail, see a dedicated article comparing the Gerber StrongArm vs the Gerber Prodigy
In relation to the StrongArm, the Prodigy:
- Has a similar weight, length, and appearance
- Doesn’t have the extra diamond texture grip, but the handle may be more comfortable for bushcraft tasks regardless
- Is slightly cheaper
That’s a wrap
Whatever your use case, there’s bound to be something out there in the knife world for you.
Sometimes you’ll have to make trade-offs, whether it be price, grip, steel, or anything else. Hopefully either way you’ll find a good alternative to the Gerber StrongArm that suits you! Good luck!