Released just ahead of Gerber’s incoming Downwind fixed blade family is the company’s newest folder, the Zilch. As its name would imply, the focus with this design was to reduce everything, including footprint and price, as much as possible, without compromising the Zilch’s performance as an affordable EDC folder.
Putting questions of legality aside, it’s hard to imagine anyone taking issue with the Zilch’s blade shape or length. The drop point is as simple as pie, and the 3-inch cutting edge lets that simplicity shine in just about any daily cutting chore, whether it’s some undemanding snipping, slicing up food, or a day working in the warehouse. Gerber doesn’t have a single “go to” steel per se, but their choice for the Zilch is one we’ve definitely seen on many recent releases: 7Cr17MoV, a 440A analogue that offers decidedly last-generation performance. However, it does contribute to the Zilch’s affordability, a key selling point: this one retails for under $25.
Earlier this year, Gerber introduced the Affinity, a knife that had an adjustable thumb stud. They’ve carried forward that “open how you want” ethos on the Zilch, which gives users the choice between an ambidextrous thumb stud or a nail groove for two-handed deployment. Lock up is done through a steel liner lock, which looks and works just how you’d imagine it to.
While Gerber may vacillate in terms of offering the materials that knife enthusiasts want to see, it’s hard to deny that they’ve developed a recognizable, distinct, visual language for their products. That style comes through loud and clear on the Zilch’s thermoplastic handle, which comes in either red, black, or tan; the cross-hatched texturing adds a little grip, and serves as a visual counterpoint to the zig zag, dragon’s teeth back spacer. The profile itself is nice and thin (just like the blade), which lets the Zilch come in with a low weight of 2.2 oz., although the stamped steel clip is non-reversible.
Before the Downwind and Zilch, the last time we looked at Gerber was in September, when they released the aforementioned Affinity alongside the Lockdown multitool. The Zilch is arriving with dealers now.
Knife in Featured Image: Gerber Zilch