Are you kidding me? This Gerber Zilch is only $21? I think I’ll buy several. This would be a great knife at twice the price. The Zilch measures 4.1 inches closed and weighs a mere 2.2 ounces. Combined with its narrow profile, it’s excellent to carry in a pocket.

The blade is made of 7Cr stainless steel with a stonewashed finish and is 3.1 inches long and a narrow 3/4-inch at its widest measurement. It’s a plain edge with a drop-point configuration and a pointy tip. It opens one-handed with either hand via the dual thumb studs. There are also long grooves on each side of the blade that can serve as nail nicks. The blade locks up solidly with its simple liner lock.

The Zilch has a glass-filled nylon handle that’s going to be very durable unless you drop it in a campfire and you melt it. That handle has some texturing to it too, but not so much as to be abrasive. The handle on mine is a drab red, which I really like.

And it looks especially nice with the black thumb studs, liner, and spacers. The knife is also available with a coyote handle or a black handle. At the top of each handle scale is an interesting set of “teeth” that mesh together to form a zig-zag pattern when the two scales are assembled.

There is an oblong lanyard hole and a steel pocket clip with a finish that matches the blade. The pocket clip is set up for right-side, tip-up carry only, but, hey, what do you want for $21? Most important, the knife locks tightly with no wobble, the blade is very sharp, and it cuts very well.

There will be those who turn up their noses at the Zilch because it isn’t made of one of the super steels with a titanium handle. But it’ll accomplish the same things as a knife that will cost $100 more. And I’ll bet you can think of other things to do with that $100.


Gerber Zilch

Overall Length: 7.2 inches

Closed Length: 4.1 inches

Blade Length: 3.1 inches

Thickness of Blade: 0.102 inch

Blade Material: 7Cr stainless

Handle Material: Glass-filled nylon

Locking Mechanism: Liner lock

Weight: 2.2 ounces

Origin: Imported

Other: Pocket clip for right-side, tip-up carry only

MSRP: $21



Editor’s Note:

A version of this article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2022 print issue of Knives Illustrated.