In 1967, when production of the Gerber Mark II started, I doubt that anyone involved would have predicted its phenomenal success. Since that time the Mark II has gone through many changes, in design, materials, manufacturing methods as well as marketing. Now, in 2011, 44 years later, it is still one of the most popular and collectable fixed blade knives available. This is unusual for a commercially manufactured knife.
One of my reasons for undertaking this documentation was to dispel some of the myths that surround this knife. Some misinformation is due to its association and use in the Vietnam War. Some is just the result of a story being passed verbally through many people. A story, passed by word of mouth through 10 successive people will usually be unrecognizable when repeated back to the first person.
The Gerber Mark II has a mystique as a "killing knife". And indeed it is more suited to killing than being used as an every-day tool. The solder that tried to pry the lid from a wooden crate or use it as a throwing knife, learned this lesson the hard way when the blade snapped. The knife is designed to cut in a slice or a thrust. The blade will break with relatively light side loading. Do not pry! - Do not throw!
The Mark II is a very collectable knife. One of the primary reasons is that most of the knives have serial numbers and can be dated. Another reason is the many design changes the knife has undergone. There is an astounding number of combinations of blade type, sheath type, year, handle type, handle color, etc.
However, there are some combinations that are most likely wrong. It may be that two knives of different periods were out of their sheaths and were swapped when they were re-sheathed. Or it may be that the original sheath was lost and the first available replacement was used. Not to mention unscrupulous dealers who doctor knives or tell fabulous stories about a knife's provenance.
Hopefully the information and pictures contained on this site will help you to become a more knowledgeable collector.