Gerber Shard: A broken piece of a better tool?
I bought the Gerber shard as an attempt at a gift. Unfortunately I couldn’t help but open it and try it out.
At first look, the shard appears to be a good solid piece of metal with a nice matte black coating. Unfortunately that is where the shiny toy syndrome wore off. I took the shard out to give it some real world experience and it while it did have a few good key points, this is more of a novelty key chain than a true tool.
Let’s start with the good:
The one piece solid steel body makes the pry bar very sturdy and strong.
The bottle opener is about the best part of this tool and performs as expected
The matte black coating looks good on a key chain and doesn’t stand out too much
According to Gerber, The shard is fully TSA compliant, but I have not traveled with it yet and as such cannot attest to the truthfulness of that statement
Coming in with a MSRP of 7.00 direct from Gerber (I got mine for a little over $5.00 via amazon) makes this a cheap and easy gift or stocking stuffer for anyone who doesn’t already have ten other items on their key chain.
The flat head screwdrivers are much too thick to fit into most normal flat head screws. You would have to file them down much thinner in order for them to work on standard flat head screws but seeing as these also function as the tips of the pry bar, doing so would make them much easier to break.
The Phillips head screwdriver is so thin that it will only work effectively on small Phillips head screws. The small size of the head also makes it rather sharp and if put in a pocket the wrong way can cause a painful stab.
The lanyard hole…. REALLY? The fact that Gerber puts this in as a feature of the product is just bad form.
The “titanium nitride” coating on this tool looks good, but started to wear off to within an hour or so of using it.
The wire strippers work better as a small nail puller as there is no edge to cut the sheath on a wire.
The bottom Line:
The Gerber Shard looks like it is a broken or leftover piece of a bigger and better tool. With that being said, it makes a great novelty gift and a pretty decent bottle opener.
While the pry bar may open a can of paint with ease the short stature of the tool gives it very little leverage. I have found that if you have a tactical pen or a small bolt, you can insert it into the lanyard hole and get a good deal more leverage out of it.
At its price I would recommend it as a stocking stuffer or maybe a father’s day present. It has a quality build but needed a little more effort to be put into the multi tool aspect. I am still looking for a good key chain multi-tool.
Do you have any suggestions?
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October 18, 2012 at 1:20 PM
Good word. Thanks for the succinct and honest review. Plenty of companies try to capitalize on the “Survival” product niche. Even big names like Gerber need to have a ‘fact check’ done because what looks good in the package doesn’t always translate into PRACTICAL value. That doesn’t mean it’s ‘bad’ per se, it’s just we need to be aware of what we are actually getting. And when it comes to ‘survival’ that pretty much all that matters. Hooah!
May 16, 2013 at 3:18 PM
Why are you bitching about the lanyard hole? How the hell else are you going to get it on your keychain? It is after all a keychain tool, as you noted.
September 24, 2013 at 4:12 PM
Flat-head screwdriver?? I see a lot of “unmechamically inclined” people using this term. but “Above Average Joe”?
Flat-head screws can be recessed with phillips or other drive types or SLOTTED! So there are SLOTTED, phillips, clutch, and other type screwdrivers. But NO one type of screwdriver fits all FLAT-HEAD screws.
September 27, 2013 at 1:50 AM
I’ve had a Cabelas mini-tool on my key chain for years. It has not broken yet. The saw blade is not so useful, but I carry a Swiss Army Knife and wear a Schrade Tough Tool, so I really don’t need that function. The little flashlight still works! The military uses the nomenclature “flat head” when describing screw drivers. That and “cross tip” for Phillips.
September 27, 2013 at 9:09 AM
I’ve been carrying the Gerber Shard for about 4 months now and on the few days I’ve left the house without it in my pocket I really missed it. I decided to give it a try regardless of the reviews I have read, and it’s been part of my EDC since. I think where most people go wrong with any tool or technology is believing it will perfectly meet all of their needs, but in my experience there has to be some give and take.
The tool is not perfect, but what do you expect for less than $10? Yes, there is a lanyard hole – but I found that to be the perfect way to clip a Streamlite Nano to the Shard. Both slip in to the little change pocket on my jeans and ride there just fine.
I’ve used the bottle opener much more than I ever guessed I would, and having the little flashlight attached has been invaluable. But the rest of the Shard has been extremely useful too. It is not made to be your primary tool, so if you expect to be able to pull the engine out of a car with nothing else you should probably pass on it. However, if you are in a pinch and need something to loosen a Phillips or straight screw and nothing else is available – the Shard will save you from trekking back to your toolbox. The screwdrivers absolutely do work if you are a little patient, and pry bar and nail puller features have also come in handy more times than I can tell you. Would I disassemble something with 20 or so case screws with it? No. But has it saved me when I needed to remove or tighten a screw in a pinch? More times than I can count.
The Shard is the kind of tool you keep in your pocket or on your key ring to help with little annoyances that pop up. The best thing to do is to think outside the box and forget about what the packaging says it will do for you. I guarantee you will adapt it to fit lots of other every day needs aside from the obvious, although I will agree that the calling the notches on the sides a wire stripper is a bit of a stretch. Personally, I look at them as “grip enhancements”.
Pick one up, you won’t be disappointed if you look at it as it was probably intended – an inexpensive enhancement to your EDC assets.
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May 29, 2018 at 6:28 PM
You might have gotten a fake shard.