I recently purchased a New Gerber Gator Jr machete and decided to test it out on some dead wood in my back yard.
At first I was extremely impressed by the packaging alone. I have to say that even though the blade of this machete is quite a bit shorter than the full sized version, it packs all of the form and function of its “senior” brother. This machete comes with a great sheath that looks to be custom molded specifically for this knife.
The edge of the Gator Jr comes near razor sharp right out of the package and the serrated side has a cross patterned teeth that work quite well for trimming small branches down to a more manageable size. This knife is light weight but still has a heft that makes it controllable in a heavy swing. the Hilt of the knife has a textured rubber handle that sits nicely in the hand although the corded “safety loop” doesn't seem like it would do too much if you lost control of the machete.
The blade has a nice spring to it without bending too much. When comparing the Jr to the original Gerber Gator, the junior weighs in a whopping 10″ shorter in blade length and about 4 oz in total weight . The total length of the knife ( around 18″) allows it to fit inside of most packs and also makes it much less cumbersome when strapped to your belt or thigh.
The only downside I have seen to the blade is in its build.
While it is a great steel and all around good knife I felt that the handle was a little light. A bit of research showed me why, the blade was made without a full tang. this means that the plastic and rubber handle doesn't have the full strength of the metal behind it and with rough use (ie: hacking at a tree trunk or thick log) may see the handle actually shatter and render it useless. I would say that if you would be using it as a general use machete or for light brush clearing this knife is a great deal coming in at around $20.
But for anything heavier, there are many better options available.