The Gerber Freeman Folder drew considerable attention when first produced. Now that the Freeman Folder Gut Hook knife has been around a while, it may be an even better deal. In fact, at today’s more reasonable prices, it could be more tempting than it was when it won an International Knife Award in 2004.
The Freeman Folder with 3.63-inch gut hook blade offers extra precision and convenience when dressing out game, guiding the gullet of the hook through the abdominal wall without piercing organs and contaminating the meat. The high carbon stainless steel does require regular maintenance, and that gut hook will need some special care. If it’s not razor sharp, it’s more of a problem than a benefit. Making a matching honing slip a permanent part of your kit is a good idea.
In other respects, the Freeman is still a good medium skinner, but built from materials that aren’t quite top-of-the-line today. The blade quality is average, and the pear wood handle slabs are pretty but not as durable as either synthetics or exotic hardwoods. The long lanyard slot at the base of the handle drew compliments in 2004 but adds little practical value. The slot also weakens the handle base if, like me, you tend to use a knife for bashing even when it isn’t recommended.
The 4.48-inch (folded) knife rides in a ballistic nylon sheath instead of hanging on by a pocket clip, which is a much better approach to knife retention if you spend much time in the woods. Since the spine of the knife is open, the Freeman cleans up well — so if butchering gets messy, you’ll have a chance to put things right. Otherwise, one-handed opening quickly becomes a two-handed job.
The Gerber Freeman Gut Hook has plenty of good features and a few forgivable quirks.
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