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  1. #1
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    Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    Further to my thorough abuse of the Ultimate BG Gerber (here: http://www.britishblades.com/forums/...r+grylls+knife ) I wanted to follow it up with teh parang. Until this little beast came along.



    Well, I finally got one of these in my hands after it was released earlier in February. A different beast to the Ultimate Survival Knife as it is much smaller. It appealed to me right away when I saw the prototype picture as it seemed similar in size and thickness to the superb Bayley S4 Bear used to carry. I love that knife as it is so small and flat. For £17.50, I had to get this new Gerber Compact to try out. Cheap as chips or what. No doubt it will be twice that when it hits the UK later this year. Heinnies are definately getting them in, but you are possibly looking at April now before they get them in stock. Bargains can be had Stateside and you can get them for as cheap as $24.99.

    My last review of the Bear Grylls Ultimate had me starting out with a largely negative view of the knife. This time was different and my expectations had risen hugely. I was brought down to Earth with a big slap of reality.

    With the Bayley S4....



    I don't know what I was expecting, but when I got it in my hands, it felt weird and small (yeah, I'm no Sherlock). It was much smaller than I was expecting. The plastic sheath included in it felt cheap, and the belt clip with that awful orange again. Initial thoughts didn't live up to what I was expecting after the Ultimate.

    Anyway, rucksack full of scran and knives, off I went to a remote location reserved for idiots who like to fanny about with knives...



    The knife itself in sheath is an overall 200mm long...



    Like the Ultimate, the grip is rubberised over a harder plastic base. This one has a full tang. The sheath is quite a thick plastic with a loud orange belt clip that will fit a belt of 1 1/2 inches.



    The knife itself is an overall 195mm and has an 85mm cutting edge, 25mm of that are serrated. Yeah I know 90% of you are now groaning, but the Ultimate serrations didn't interfere at all with the day to day cutting tasks. So maybe this will be OK too.





    The knife does have a choil. I quite like it as it makes for quite a comfortable grip and makes the edge close in to your hand for greater control and power.







    Unlike the Ultimate, this Compact has jimping on the spine to aid your thumb in gripping...





    As for size compared to other knives...



    As you can see it is far smaller than the Ultimate in everyway...



    Thickness of the handle is also very different...





    The tang is without doubt full. It protrudes from the handle at the rear to allow for hammering and crushing. I'm not going to abuse this knife with the bush hammer technique. It is so small with a thick 5mm blade, that it will undoubtably stand up to severe abuse.



    The sheath has a clip which can be removed and reversed quite easily, for whatever carry configuration you wish to use. It's orange!...





    The lock up on the sheath is done with an integral moulded clip which locks into the choil. Lockup is very tight with no play whatsoever...



    It also has a rubberised insert set into the centre to aid gripping and easy removal of the knife. My initial impressions on the naffness of the sheath are slowly dwindling after I realised it's only a £17.50 knife and it knocks spots off the Mora sheaths of similar price and more. So what did I expect really?

    The sheath also has thumb push jimping to aid removal of the blade...



    -and a drainage hole...



    The clip can be removed for those not wanting the lovely orangey goodness. It leaves a robust channel, which no doubt can be used to make some more interesting method of neck/baldrick carry for all you folks that like to mess about with other options...



    Personally, I like it fully removed as it makes it more compact. And for all you folks that have Craghoppers trousers (pants for you US dudes), the inner pocket on the main cargo pocket is perfect for carrying it. I wore it in there all day today, and it was unobtrusive and not in anyway noticeable...



    Thus suitably tooled up, I went on some epic adventures to test it out.
    Last edited by JonathanD; 06-03-12 at 08:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    I missed comparing how compact this knife really is compared to other knives in their sheaths. So these pics should sort that out...





    Stuffed into a pocket is where a knife like this has its strengths. Most survival knives are way too bulky and are usually left at home at basecamp or off the body in a pack. In those situations it can easily be parted from you when you need it most. A compact knife carried without any hassle is usually on you. I think this knife is better considered as a survival knife over the Ultimate due to that. It is almost as easily carried as a folder. I for one would rather have a fixed blade on me if I was stranded in the middle of knowhere with delinquent rabbits and sheep surrounding me.



    It's a strange yet attractive shape. It appeals to both the outdoorsyness in me, as well as the mil-tac side. With a darker handle, I would even call it a good looking knife. Something I can't say about the Ultimate.



    As with the Ultimate, the serrations in no way hindered cutting ability, in fact, it aided in cutting compared to my own Deval Bushy with a plain edge on the same branch. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I HATE serrations. But on these knives, they work very very well. I'd rather they were there than not. Especially on this small blade as they make the knife hit way above its weight.



    Now for something I really do dislike. All that damned orange. I know it has a valid place on a survival knife. Yeah, I do. Honestly. It aids in finding the knife if you lose it, or drop it in dense foliage. Or does it? Not exactly scientific, but I decided to chuck it a long way into dense woods with a deep leaf litter layer. Here it is...



    I threw it high and long. Full on hard throw here. Not your underarm girly stuff. Proper man throw. I immediately regretted it as it bounced off a tree about seven metres in and went at an angle I couldn't follow. As I couldn't walk in a straight line to it and had to climb over debris and around bushes. I quickly lost any idea where it had gone. Bad idea.

    No word of a lie. It took me 20 mins of search and I was about to call it a day and have a brew, when...



    I seriously doubt I would have found it without that orange. And I was damned lucky it didn't bury itself in the soft leaf litter. But anyway, I repeated the experiment again and again without as much man throwing involved. It does work, it is much easier to find. I also discovered that this little knife is an amazing thrower. Now this is cool as I love throwing a knife that is capable of repeat success...



    So now what. Well I was going to give it a miss, but I know loads of folks would be moaning about the lack of feathersticks and batonning. So here you are you pervs. It does the job. The blade size isn't big enough for large rounds, but it will cope. I thought the swedge would also hinder the ability to baton, but it didn't....







    Again the serrations in no way hinder the knifes ability to perform...





    So what do I think overall?

    Well, it is so small and compact that I can see me carrying this alot along with my own knife. It is just a fun knife. But on top of that, it can be used where you would never want to put your own knife. For the price I'd have it over the more expensive Moras. It's a knife that is so small and light you forget you have it on you. In essence, that for me is what a survival knife is about. It is the knife you have on you when the SHTF. This is what a survival knife is all about. Keep one in your first aid kit. Put another in your pocket. You won't notice it is there. Use your main knife as you always do. If you lose it, leave it at home because it is bulky or too high profile for where you are going. You'll still have this Compact on you. Just don't forget it is there if you go on a night out. Oh and buy some Craghoppers with that pocket within a pocket. It's great in that.


  3. #3
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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    another excellent review. well written without prejudice. seems this also may be a better knife than some hoped

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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    These BG knives certainly seem to punch way above their weight,and the compact looks really useful and sooo affordable.
    Sit, walk, or run, but donít wobble.

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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    That actually looks pretty nice knife, even with all that orange on it.

    An great review as always! Thanks.

  6. #6
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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    I really like your characterisation of it as a survival knife in the sense of a 'standby knife'. Now if only it was £17 over here too
    Some mornings it's barely worth chewing through the leather straps.

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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    As some of you may have deduced, I'm a bit of a knife snob, so these Gerber jobbies are not something I'd usually buy. The BG Ultimate I tested performed very well, but it will never replace my own knife when out and about. This little compact though will see it doing time in my pocket right alongside my own knife. It's a great backup, and hidden deep in my pocket, no one will ever know I carry such a thing.

  8. #8
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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    Tempting, especially for the price!

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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    Thanks for that, great review.

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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    thought it looked quite a bit like the puma pro skinner, blade thickness, jimping on the top spine and large choil. the handle shape is very similar too. i have the puma and it is a very comfortable hold, which suggests the compact is as well.


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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    You gonna get it to Southey for an X-ray?

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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Chastiser View Post
    another excellent review. well written without prejudice. seems this also may be a better knife than some hoped
    I think the main issue with all these knives is that it doesnt matter how good they are or are not. Some people will buy them regardless of quality because of what they are and some people would rather stick needles in their eyes for exactly the same reasons. All I see is a big lump of cheese. YMMV.



    PS - It's a good review though, thanks for that Jon. Does nothing for me but I'm sure it will for others.
    δxδp≥h/4π

  13. #13
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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    Very nicely presented - cheers for taking the time to share your thoughts JonathanD.

    Just wondering - it looks, from the pictures, to be hollow ground. Is that the case?
    Speak softly and carry a large bladed tool

  14. #14
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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    Great review ! This my first post here so hi guys

    I was wondering where you purchased in the states and if you had to pay expensive delivery / import duty on the knife ?

    Cheers

  15. #15
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    Re: Bear Grylls Compact Fixed Blade - Small Review

    I hope that a full plain edge version appears in the future.

 

 

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