Submitted by Eric Daniel
For the longest time I've been wanting to try out a "tanto" style knife but I never got around to it. Given the chisel-like point, I figured that they would be good for prying as well as brute force penetrating things like sheet metal, wood and masonry. The Cold Steel entry rekindled that interest, but I didn't want a knife that big; I already had a big tool, what I was looking for was something small, yet strong, that I could use for probing and digging.
Providence smiled on me in the form of the Gerber Yari II. The Yari II, with a blade length of 4.25", is small enough to get into confined spaces easily, yet has enough mass behind it that it "punches" well. Made from CPM S30V stainless steel, the Yari II is tough as hell. I'm not a metallurgist but the literature on S30V says it's tougher, more corrosion resistant, and more wear resistant than either 440C or 154HC steel, yet easier to work with than S60V/S90V steel; in practical terms I have experienced no issue whatsoever with using the knife in both freshwater and saltwater environments (the knife performed well hacking up salmon heads for crab pots on a concrete bench) and cleaned up nicely, with no hint of corrosion. To test the point and flexibility of the knife I used it to extract nails from a section of my back yard fence (it'd been blown down in a storm and I was wanting to carve up the planks for use as kindling.) The knife held up well under the process with no obvious chipping or cracking of the edge, and the point was more than equal to the task of prying out the nails (yes yes a hammer would have been a more appropriate tool, but I was experimenting.)
In addition to being impressed with the quality of the knife's construction, I was also quite impressed with the quality and construction of the sheath as well as the "attachment" options that come with the knife. In addition to the now standard MOLLE attachment straps, the sheath also comes with a belt loop, as well as a screw-in clip for attaching the knife to a molded plastic drop leg pistol holster such as the Safariland Model 6004. While the knife is held securely in the sheath by a pair of "grippers" molded into the sheath (which is how I currently have it configured) an optional thumb release strap is included with the knife for additional retention piece of mind.
All in all, the only real complaints I have about the knife are the tang and the grip, and those certainly weren't dealbreakers. The grip, constructed of machined aluminum, is grooved for increased grip in most conditions, and I found that it was easy to hold onto wet or dry, with gloves on or off, and being metal it is non-porous and so won't absorb any contaminants, but it does get slick when greasy (remember the fish heads??) While I don't anticipate getting attacked by a prime rib in my foreseeable military future, the metal grip was at a decided disadvantage when oily (in this situation the knife seemed to grip best while wearing gloves and the ridges molded into the exposed dorsal and ventral surfaces of the tang were a big help in gripping the knife.) On the issue of the tang, I only wish it had been squared off rather than pointed. While the pointed tang allows for a lanyard, a squared off tang would have improved (in my opinion) the knife's utility as a bashing instrument (the tang hole could have just as easily been drilled through the metal grip a bit further forward.