GERBER KNIVES SIMILAR TO THE Mark II™







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INTRODUCTION
COMMAND II
FORCE II
COMMAND II DIVE
COMMAND II FBI HRT
COMMAND II LTD ED 2011
GUARDIAN II
BOOT KNIVES

Copyright ©2008-2013 by John T. Sabol














SIMILAR KNIVES INTRODUCTION

This section describes two models of Gerber knives that are similar to and often confused with the Gerber Mark II knife. These models are the Command II and the Guardian II knives. Also shown are several rare issues of these models. Each knife can be accessed from the active buttons above.

For each knife, one or more small thumbnail pictures are shown. By clicking on a thumbnail, you can access a high-resolution picture of the knife.

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GERBER COMMAND II
The Command II knife is very similar to the Mark II. It has the same handle and the blade is the same length. However the Command II blade differs in several ways. First, the blade is not double-edged. Only the bottom edge and 3 inches at the front of the top edge are sharpened. Second, there are serrations (teeth) only on 2 of the 3 inches of the sharpened top edge. I've only noted one Command II blade without serrations.

I don't know much about these knives. They were possibly designed for locations where a double-edged knife was illegal. They are serialized in the same manner as the Mark II. They can be found with tool steel blades and 6-digit numeric serial numbers (e.g. 007203) as well as stainless steel blades with an alpha-numeric serial number (e.g. A7420S). They were issued in two versions, the first with a satin finish blade and the second with a black blade. There were no camouflage versions of this knife.

For the satin finish blade knives, the highest tool steel bladed serial number I've noted is 015197. The highest stainless steel bladed serial number I've noted is A9444S. The black blade models were only offered in stainless steel. The black bladed serial number range I've noted is between A3512S and A8019S. These serial number ranges imply that less than 22,700 of the Command II knives were produced.

The Command II was probably produced only between late 1979 and 1982. I suspect that there wasn't a big demand for these knives and so they were discontinued. There are also several rare copies of the Command II model which are shown in the following sections.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Mark II's serial number and date information does not apply to the Command II knives. The Command II knives have their own serial number ranges.

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[Force II Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] Photo: eBay 06/2005

[Force II Label Thumbnail Image] Photo: eBay 06/2005

[Force II Knife Ad Thumbnail Image] Photo: Ad in SOF July 1979

FORCE II When Gerber first designed the Command II model they initially called it the Force II. They even had labels made up for the boxes. Then for some unknown reason, Gerber decided to hold a contest to rename the knife. The contest was run in Soldier of Fortune Magazine. However, Gerber evidently shipped an unknown number of these knives to their dealers before the knife was renamed. The only difference between these early knives and the Command II is the label on the white boxes.

Back in June of 2005 a Force II knife was sold on eBay. The following is an excerpt from that sale:

"This is a rare Gerber! The story on this one is this.... In the early 1980's Gerber designed this knife for areas where a completely double-edged blade was not allowed and apparently initially called it the Force II. For reasons unknown (to me) Gerber decided to run a contest to give this model a (different) name in Soldier of Fortune Magazine (probably as a promotional way to introduce the design) and the result was the Command II as we know it today. Evidently Gerber shipped some of these knives to their dealers before the change was made as I acquired this knife from a retired Gerber dealer. He had two - I got one from him about 2 years ago and sold it here on eBay not knowing exactly what it was - this was the story that was told to me by several Gerber collectors. I recently acquired this second knife from the same dealer. If it were not for the sticker on the box - you wouldn't know it from any other Command II. This knife is in mint condition having hardly been outside its box. The S/N is 001185...assuming the numbers began with 001000 as was Gerber's custom, this was the 185th knife made ...most likely within the first week or two of production. A neat variation for you Gerber collectors."

The third picture shows the contest ad that was run in the July 1979 Issue of SOF Magazine. I don't know the length of the contest but the deadline was 1 July 1979.

NOTE: Without the original box with the Force II tag, and a knife with a very low serial number, any knife claiming to be a Force II is simply a Command II.

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[Orange Cmd II Knife Front Thumbnail Image]

[Orange Cmd II Knife 2 Thumbnail Image]

[Orange Cmd II Knife 3 Thumbnail Image]

ORANGE COMMAND II There are several issues of Orange Handled Command II knives. One group was made for the Ken Lee Dive Shop in Houston, Texas (no longer in business). There were 50 of these knives ordered and there is supposedly provenance in the form of a copy of the original sales order from Ken Lee's shop to the GERBER Company. One sold on eBay in 1/2007 for a very high price.

A second group, were made in sets of two knives, a Command I and a Command II. Supposedly the sets were made for UDT Government Divers and only 12 sets were made. (See U.S. MILITARY KNIVES, M. H. COLE, BOOK IV, Page 57). I obtained this set years ago without boxes or sheaths.

The knives of both groups have several interesting features. First, the handles don't have the typical non-reflective Armorhide finish but are painted with a higher gloss crinkle finish. However, the color is almost identical to the Orange Handled Mark II knives. Second, the blades are not fixed into the handles with the standard epoxy. Instead a bonding agent which has a metallic silver color is used. This material is possibly more salt-water resistant. (It is known that epoxy joints will loose strength when exposed to high humidity, salt water or high temperatures).

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[FBI HRT Cmd II Knife 1 Thumbnail Image]

[FBI HRT Cmd II Sheath Thumbnail Image]

[FBI HRT Patch Thumbnail Image]

FBI HRT COMMAND II The FBI HRT (Hostage Rescue Team) knives are Command II knives with blackened blades. As far as I know these knives were not special orders but standard production knives. However, the knives were then personalized with the engraved call sign number of the team member to which the knife was issued. The call sign number is engraved and filled with gold paint, on the flat side of the handles guard, on the Gerber logo side of the knife. The letters HRT are engraved on the serial number side of the knife.

Likewise the sheath has been personalized. Stamped on the sheath rear in the blade area are the letters HRT and under it the FBI agents name. Also stamped on the sheath rear in the upper area of the sheath behind the Gerber Stamp is the same call sign number.

Also shown is an original FBI HRT patch. However the HRT team was not authorized to wear the patches.

More information about the Hostage Rescue Team can be found in an article in Leatherneck Magazine May 1984 Pages 50-51.

NOTE: The call sign and agents name in the photos have been obscured to protect the agents privacy.

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[CMD-II LTD ED Knife 1 Thumbnail Image] Photo courtesy of eBay User: belote

[CMD-II LTD ED Knife 2 Thumbnail Image] Photo courtesy of eBay User: belote

COMMAND II LIMITED EDITION 2011

These knives are a limited edition reproduction of the original Command II knives and were made to celebrate the 30th. Anniversary (2011) of the Gerber Command II's introduction in 1981. The blade is made of S30V steel rather than the original L6 tool steel or 440C stainless steel of the originals. All knife marking is laser-etched rather than stamped. The knives are marked with the Slant 3 logo and "S30V USA" on one ricasso. On the same side, on the flat of the blade, is lettering that reads "COMMAND II" / "1981 - 2011     0001 of 1500". The opposite ricasso is marked in two lines, a production code and a serial number in the form "10AHO" / NNNN" where 10AHO is the production code (See 2008 Production Code for more information on the production code) and NNNN is the serial number of the knife.

The knives are found in a red velvet lined wood case with glass cover and brass latch. Included is a type RT9 black leather sheath and Certificate of Authenticity.

I suspect this model was introduced as the result of very successful sales of the Gerber 70th. Anniversary Knife. The black leather sheath is the same sheath as used with the 70th. Anniversary knife and the wood case with glass cover is similar. Gerber supposedly will make only 1500 of these Command II knives.

NOTE: I'm a little puzzled as to the year 2011 being called the 30th. Anniversary when the Command II was introduced in late 1979 or early 1980.

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GERBER GUARDIAN II
[Guardian II Thumbnail Image]

[Guardian IIB Thumbnail Image] Photo: Chris Blair

[Guardian IIC Thumbnail Image]

The Guardian II knife is similar to the Mark II. It has a blade that is identical to a Mark II unserrated, straight-profile, stainless steel blade. The handle is different however. Instead of the Mark II's oval cross section handles the Guardian II handles have flattened sides and the pommel is flared out and rounded and lacks a wrist thong hole.

Almost all have stainless steel blades and are serialized in the same manner as the Mark II stainless knives, with an alpha-numeric serial number (e.g. A8367S). The Guardian II comes in 3 versions.

(1) The first version has a black handle and satin finished blade with a "DESIGN BY" / "R. W. LOVELESS" electro-etch. On later knives, another electro-etch, "GUARDIAN II®" was added several inches from the blade tip.

(2) The second version has a black handle and blackened blade.

(3) The third version has a camouflage handle with blackened blade and camouflage sheath. In this version I have noted several tool steel bladed knives with the "T" suffix. They are serial numbers A1227T and A6113T

For the satin finish blade knives, the highest serial number I've noted is C3483S. The black handle, black blade models are rare and I've only noted four, A6680S, B1038S, B2140S and B7109S. For the camo handled knives, the highest serial number I've noted is D4541S. These serial number ranges imply that less than 33,500 of the Guardian II knives were produced.

Although the camouflage version was produced almost from the start, it seems that after approximately S/N C3500S the camo version was the only version produced. I don't know the years of production.

NOTE: There are also 1000 Presentation sets, with a special 4-digit numerical serial number (e.g. 0968), produced as a special tribute to R.W. Loveless who collaborated with Gerber in designing the Guardian knife. This set consists of 3 knives, a Guardian II with 6-3/4 inch blade, a Guardian I with 4-3/4 inch blade and a Guardian Back-up with 3-1/2 inch blade. All knives have the satin finish and "DESIGN BY" / "R. W. LOVELESS" etch. The knives come with 5 sheaths, sharpening steel, and several elastic harnesses and nylon belts. The knives and accessories come in a very nice maple wood case with "Gerber Guardian Set" and "R. W. Loveless Edition" imprinted on the top.

There is also a similar presentation set having the camouflage handles and with 3 camo sheaths and 2 leather sheaths. It is Model # 5897 - Camouflage Guardian Kit. I don't know how many of these camo sets were made. The Guardian Kits that I've seen have knives with the normal alpha-numeric serial number (e.g. A8367S) and the serial numbers of the knives do not match.

More details about the camouflage versions can be found at http://thegerberknives.com/guardian.html

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Mark II's serial number and date information does not apply to the Guardian II knives. The Guardian II knives have their own serial number ranges.

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GERBER BOOT KNIVES
[Mark I Thumbnail Image]

[Command I Thumbnail Image]

[Guardian I Thumbnail Image]

There are shorter length counterparts to the Mark II, Command II and the Guardian II knives.

The Mark II, Command II and the Guardian II knives are full length knives with 6-3/4 inch long blades and 5 inch long handles for an overall length of 11-3/4 inches. Their shorter length counterparts, called the Mark I, Command I and Guardian I, have blade lengths of approximately 4-1/2 to 5 inches with 4 inch long handles for an overall length of only 8-1/2 to 9 inches and are commonly referred to as boot knives.

Note that the handles of the boot knives all differ from Mark II handles. The Mark I and Command I handles are identical but the Guardian I has a different style handle with a softer rounded profile and no thong hole in the handle.

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