A Gun Guy’s Knife Review: Gerber 06 Auto

The big silver button swings the blade open, and it must be depressed in order to close the knife. The locking tab is underneath it.

It’s funny how guns and knives just go together. I’m willing to bet that if you own a gun, chances are that you own at least one knife. I think I own 10 — I lost count somewhere along the way. I don’t know if the converse is true where many knife owners are also guns owners, but that’s a topic a knife guy can write about.

So I’ve been using the Gerber 06 Auto knife since February of this year, and it has been with me through many shooting practice sessions, competitions across the country, a number of hunts, and even fishing excursions. It’s in my bag almost anytime I’m doing outdoor stuff.

What I like about the 06 Auto is the quick one-hand opening feature (via a metal button), along with its compact length of 4.8″. The blade is 3.8″ which is a good length for what I want to accomplish. The handle feels good in my hand, and the G-10 grip helps ensure the blade is less likely to slip in my hand. There’s a locking switch in case you want to lock the blade open or close for extra safety.


The big silver button swings the blade open, and it must be depressed in order to close the knife. The locking tab is underneath it.

For the knife un-initiated, the tanto blade is somewhat controversial, with one camp thinking it’s just for looks, and another camp who notes the tanto blade is thick all the way to the tip, which means it is less likely to break. I guess I don’t see why I need to pick one or the other!

On the range, a knife is an indispensible item. Your natural reaction is that a knife is designed to cut things. Ammo boxes, packaging, rope, and other stuff just begging to be cut. Well, it can do more than just cut. It’s actually useful as:

A screwdriver, a choke tool, and an extractor tool for stuck, expended cartridges and shells.

Clearly, make absolute certain that your shotgun is completely unloaded before doing this.

Removing a choke with the Gerber. Make absolute certain that your shotgun is completely unloaded before doing this. This means double checking the chamber with your eyes and finger to confirm it is empty.


Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.



  • Steve (TFB Editor)

    Once you go automatic it is hard to go back (or maybe I am just lazy)

    • Jim

      I just go with assisted opening knives. It’s really hard to go back from those as well.

    • Eugene

      Personally I prefer non auto/assisted knives, never had any problems opening any of my folders one handed and i’m not opening them any slower then an automatic knife

    • Klavirni

      I am biased, as I cannot legally carry an automatic knife. But my experience with them and their spring assisted counterparts is that they tend to break down more easily and more often. I also despise the safety switches, as they rather defeat the purpose of such a quickly opening knife.

      If quickness in opening is your goal, a knife such as a waved Endura would be far quicker, and less finicky than an automatic knife. It would also have the positive attribute of being legal in far more locales. Also, there are some places where the opening of an automatic would be.. inadvisable. In such cases the knife could be opened with the thumb hole in a slower, less alarming manner.

      If these are things you do not have to worry about, well, lucky you.

      • Steve (TFB Editor)

        If you use an auto knife a lot, the spring will eventually break, it is worthwhile keeping spares.

        • claymore

          I have been using my Al Mar auto-SERE for about ten years and so far no loss of tension or breakage of springs.

          For switchblade and or auto opening heaven get somebody that lives in Austria to send you some photos. Every auto you would ever want over the counter with no restrictions that is how I got mine a friend lives there and got me one cheap. If I remember right it was $100.00 ten years ago.

    • MrTorben

      I have to agree with that…or I am just lazy as well. I went the lower cost route and got a BenchMade H&K Epidemic OTF, plain edge non-coated, when it was on sale. While hardly top of the line OTF, it has served me well over over two years. I don’t see myself going back to anything else, as long as I have a CWP to carry it with me.

  • Rick Glass

    Sucks that a lot of auto-knives get crowded into the category of switchblades, but I found a decent alternative in my Columbia River knife. Then I got a Cold Steel Ti-Lite as backup if I lose it, but I’ve been good with that.

  • Nik Stiles

    I found one of these in a parking lot outside my unit about 10 months ago. I love it dearly and carry it daily.

    • ThomasD

      Who doesn’t love a free knife? 😉

  • RocketScientist

    It makes me cringe to see someone using a knife like in that picture, knowing what irreparable damage you’re doing to the edge.And to recommend using it for prying, bending, etc… ouch! In a survival situation, you do what you gotta do, and I’d use a knife as an axe, screwdriver, can opener, crowbar, whatever. But short of that, why spend good money on a quality knife only to abuse it and ruin it?

    • DW

      And on top of that, it’s a folder…

    • Michael

      And you always misplace/loose it

    • Hunter57dor

      because if you can’t do that with your knife, its a waste of good money.

      my benchmade 915 triage will do all that and ask for more. sure, 140 dollars is alot of cash to put down, but it was well worth it.

      • RocketScientist

        I dont care what kinda knife it is, unless the blade is made of mono-crystalline diamond, using the cutting edge for tasks other than cutting can very easily put a deep nick in the edge (the metal on a sharp edge is only thousands of an inch thick or less). For example in the picture where he’s using it as a choke wrench, even a few pounds of pressure in the axis of the blade/barrel will nick the edge. To get rid of this nick, you’d need to spend hours and hours sharpening it (or likely grind it back), putting years/decades worth of wear on it, and possibly messing with the temper (if grinding). Like I said, i understand doing what you have to do if the situation demands, but using a knife as a choke wrench or screwdriver when you could just as easily use an actual choke wrench or screwdriver seems gratuitous. This doesn’t even mention prying, which can very easily crack/snap a blade tip (many popular blademaking alloys are relatively brittle in order to make them hard enough to keep a durable edge).

        • Fromthesidelines3

          or, buy a new one… When my cars break down due to wear and tear I buy a new one; same goes for my knives, screwdrivers, and every other tool.

          • RocketScientist

            So do you also use your car in ways it was was never designed/intended to be used, even knowing it will add years of wear and tear to it? For example, do you hitch up a horse trailer to your honda civic instead of using an actual tow-rated truck? Do you pull up that old hedge your wife has been bugging you about by driving through it at 60 mph instead of digging it up with a shovel? Do you park your car in the shade and crank up the AC to use it to store milk and other perishable foods, instead of using a refrigerator? No, I’m guessing you use the car for the things it was designed to do, within the limits of its capabilities. Just because you CAN use a tool for something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD use a tool for something.

          • Nicks87

            The internet is full of tools.

          • consultingdoc

            Terrific reply.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I sometimes feel a pang of guilt when using a knife for something like that, but ultimately it is a tool that should be used. That applies equally to my $50 pocket knifes and $400 custom.

      I do sharpen my blades using multiple grades of arkansas stone. After practice it does not take long to restore an edge to razor sharpness (or at least pass the classic “shave hair off my arm” test).

    • Fromthesidelines3

      If you’re treating your knife like a delicate flower maybe you weren’t able to truly afford it in the first place. Knives aren’t luxury items meant to sit pretty on a shelf or pristine in your pocket; they are meant for using.

      • RocketScientist

        One of dad’s favorite sayings was “The right tool for the right job”. Depending on the knife, they are meant to slice, cut, scrape, saw and poke through wood, metal, paper, plastic, leather, or other soft/pliable materials. I use my knives heavily, I do not baby them like a “delicate flower”, but I also respect them and try to get the most out of them by not needlessly abusing them when there are other tools better suited to a particular task. Hammers, wrenches, screwdrivers and metal shears aren’t “luxury items meant to sit pretty on a shelf” either. But unless I had no other choice, I’d never use a claw hammer as a screwdriver, or a wrench as a hammer, or a screwdriver to drill a hole, or metal shears to carve wood. Maybe you would. I guess it’s just a difference of opinion/philosophy.

    • JT

      IMO a knife should be sharp, not strong, and not worth enough to hesitate throwing it away, giving it up at a nightclub, etc. There are other things that can be used as prytools or punches.

  • claymore

    Be careful in some states that MAY be classified in the same category as a switchblade.

    • ThomasD

      Nothing ‘might’ about it. It is an automatic that opens via a button on the handle, that is a textbook definition of one.

      That Gerber will not sell you one without ‘credentials’ is all the verification needed.

      • Steve (TFB Editor)

        Gerber sell a version with assisted opening which is legal in most places.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      It is 100% classified as a switchblade.

    • claymore makes an excellent point, here in California, take a look at what we have to deal with: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=21001-22000&file=21510-21590

      21510. Every person who does any of the following with a
      switchblade knife having a blade two or more inches in length is
      guilty of a misdemeanor:
      (a) Possesses the knife in the passenger’s or driver’s area of any
      motor vehicle in any public place or place open to the public.
      (b) Carries the knife upon the person.
      (c) Sells, offers for sale, exposes for sale, loans, transfers, or
      gives the knife to any other person.

      21590. The unlawful possession or carrying of any switchblade
      knife, as provided in Section 21510, is a nuisance and is subject to
      Sections 18000 and 18005.

      • AZ9mm

        Well in AZ, I know that we have some of the most relaxed knife laws. I believe that anyone can carry a “automatic” knife on them, as long as it falls within some parameters.

  • ThomasD

    Tanto blades are a tad controversial. They are superb when you need to get all stabby. Under most other circumstances they are less than ideal. with that abrupt angle in the edge being very prone to chipping.

    There isn’t much controversy about using a knife – any knife- as a screwdriver. That’s just plain ungood.

    • Klavirni

      I agree, though I wouldn’t say controversial as much as anti-utilitarian. My first
      non-cheapo knife was a SOG Trident Tanto, and it wasn’t long until I
      fucking hated that blade shape.

      One thing I observed it is good at, and that’s scraping flat surfaces. But I’m of the mind that a knife should be used to cut, and actual scrapers and prybars should be used to do their jobs.

      • ThomasD

        Yep, I learned too.

        A blade without a belly is a one trick pony

    • Blake

      I love a good knife and definitely have one when camping or hiking, but my daily carry tool is a Leatherman Wave, which is massively handy to have in plenty more situations (e.g. removing a shotgun choke). Its primary blade holds an edge reasonably well but I’ll agree that it’s not on par with a nice knife.

      Lately I’ve been looking for T”SS”A-approved multitools for air travel & came across these: http://google.com/search?q=gerber+shard&tbm=isch

      Both are tiny & light & fit on a keychain. Excellent ideas.

  • Brian Farmer

    I love my Gerber 06 Auto. Best knife I have ever bought, a little big though. They make the same knife in a manual opening so you don’t have to worry about it being automatic if its not legal in your state or you’re not fire/ems/LE

  • JaxD

    You can also use the shotgun as a jack handle or duct tape a paint roller to it, to reach those high places.

  • Asdf

    So does Gerber still not tell you what steel the blade is? Also, the deploy speed on that knife is slower than using a thumb stud.

    • ThomasD

      Which really point up the absurdity of anti ‘switchblade’ laws.

      Thumb studs, and the assorted other ‘assisted opening’ work-arounds are rendering such laws a distinction without a difference.

  • Fromthesidelines3

    Pants and shoes go with guns too but I’m not writing blog posts about them.

    The Firearm Blog should be firearms, not knives and flashlights. Lame.

    • RocketScientist

      I agree. This is called the FIREARMS blog, it should only include posts about actual firearms with a serial number. None of these BS posts about ammunition, holsters, stocks, scopes, sights, targets, safes, upper receivers, barrels, triggers, lasers, shooting ranges, or other non-firearm things!

  • JT

    In some cities, anything that can open one-handed with a sweing is a gravity knife, even if it takes the cop 5 minutes and a lot of arm swinging.

  • RawDawg

    I think a big point on the Tanto tip was missed. The kinetic energy of the thrust is placed on a much smaller, exagerated point than a traditional drop point. With a quality tanto you can easily penetrate a car door multiple times. I’m not suggesting everyone with a tanto tipped blade start stabbing cars, but it helps to give an idea of what this design of blade is intended for. It’s purely a penetrating tip. It is also argued, by some really enthusiastic knife users, that a more traditional japanese tanto design, similar to this was to prevent the sword from being bound against a bone, or piece of armor, and causing your hand to slip up the unhilted blades of the times and effectively seriouslyt wounding yourself. the theory behind this is that it deflects off of a hard surface while continuing forwardish momentum instead of just halting on the wider surface area of a different point.

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  • JP

    The switchblade law is a stupid law just like most others. I can open my assisted open Gerber 06 Fast just as fast from pocket to open probably faster than the auto version. Silly Liberals!!!