Review: GiantMouse GM5

Piotr Ma gives us his rundown of the latest workhorse outdoor folder from Ansø / Vox.

It’s been a long journey with Jens Anso and Jesper Voxnaes, starting with the GM1 about 3 years ago. Now, with GM5 they came to the point which is, in my humble opinion, a turning point in the GM story.

It’s a knife that others will be judged against. It’s not only functional, but it really sets the bar very, very high for the direct competition – in materials, aesthetics, quality and most important in usability. Did I just start with the conclusions? So let’s back it up now!

If you read my other knife reviews you might notice that I’m not too crazy about flippers, assisted openers, and other speed-oriented opening devices. So for me a classic framelock, that only opens with a thumb hole, is a very welcome refreshment in GiantMouse’s line of folders.

The opening is easy and silky smooth thanks to the ball bearing pivot support. The framelock on the GM5 is very solid, with a stainless steel front inlay and an anti-overdrive device to prevent wear and/or overbending the locking bar. The titanium handle feels very natural in hand – it’s simple enough to work with almost any grip (straight, revers, hammer, carving, etc).

And here we come to one of the nicest features on the GM5… the 3D texturing on that contoured and rounded handle. Now that texture design is a piece of art of its own! It’s a very good mix of being not slippery (wet or dry) and not too rough, both for hand and pocket.

What’s more it can be cleaned easily, it stays clean for a long time and doesn’t attract dirt. I’d go as far to say it provides a kind of self-cleaning during use, like a well-designed off-road tire pattern.

And last but not least it’s just a joy to look at. It looks almost organic, but there is still a kind of mathematic structure. Love it. It’s probably the best 3D texture I’ve seen carved into a titanium handle. All the details, like the raised pivot area, chamfering here and there… I’m not a CNC machinist but what I know tells me it was not easy to program it in CAD, and to execute it in such a detailed way.

To enhance the classy look they also added a blue pivot collar and full Ti backspacer with a lanyard hole exposed through handle cut-outs, which is easily big enough for 550 paracord. Really well done.

The blade is just what I like on a workhorse outdoor folder – it’s big, broad, with high grinds and a thin steep cutting edge. Actually the GM5’s blade could be an illustration of ‘slicer’ on Wikipedia. It just glides through cut material. Uddeholm’s Elmax is a top-tier steel, no doubt! So you can expect great edge retention… but more on that later on.

Uddeholm’s Elmax is a top-tier steel, no doubt!

The raised ‘harpoon style’ false edge increases the tip strength without compromising the penetration capabilities. It also act as a stop-point for your thumb or index finger when you choke up on the blade for skinning or precise tip-cuts.

The jimping section at the base of that swedge helps it too. Still, GiantMouse could have made it even slightly better for outdoor… they could use the top part of the swedge to put a 90 deg grind on it and make it a scraper / fire-starting feature for use with a ferro rod. Then it’d be an absolutely perfect wilderness folder in my book.

But, of course, such a modification is super easy to do and wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to do. So maybe I’ll do it in the future. Or maybe not… the blade is almost too nice to tamper with!

The clip is very nice, as it is on all the Giant Mouse premium folders – 3D carved in Titanium and blue anodized to match the pivot collar. The handle slabs are relatively thin with a 3D contoured, so the GM5 doesn’t feel bulky in a pocket. The GM5 rides tip-up in a right-hand pocket and there’s no way to reverse it for a safe left side carry – southpaws should consider that fact.

Of course that’s mainly for aesthetic reasons, as it keeps the other side of a handle soooo super clean. By the way, the Giant Mouse keeps an ambidextrous clip design on the ACE line of knives, which are less collectible and more field-use oriented. Anyway, the clip does a great job and keeps the knife secure, reasonably discreet (especially on blue jeans) and exposed enough for a fast deployment.

I’ve been using my GM5 for more than a month – primarily as a camp and field folder on my 10-days trip in the mountains, but also in the city as my big EDC. Of course during my wild mountains adventure I’ve used it a lot for food preparation, whittling, carving, cutting and all the kind of blade use you could imagine in an outdoor trip scenario.

As mentioned before, that thin cutting edge and almost full height grind makes it a perfect slicer and whittler. It cuts like crazy, and thanks to a well heat treated Elmax it stays sharp for a very long time.

I did some rope cutting on a 12mm nylon rope and stopped counting after about 50+ cuts without any significant loss of edge performance. I also whittled a lot during that week in the wilderness, and the GM5 just slices big chunks of wood off spruce sticks and branches.

Making feathersticks is a joy too. I know a scandi grind could and probably would perform even better in some woodcraft projects, but the GM5 with its geometry in the blade is more than that.

It’s great for many other jobs too, including vegetables slicing and general kitchen use, for which the more wedge-like shape of scandi is not that good. The same applies to cutting through hard materials or multi-layer cardboard. For a big field utility folder, this blade works stunningly well.

Can you imagine a summer in the mountains without the occasional cold brew? Well, I can, but as far as I know tortures of any kind are not permitted, neither in the EU nor in US any more. And the GM5 as a functional outdoor tool can be easily used to pop-open a bottle of beer, of course in the closed position and with the hardened spine of the blade – not the Ti handle! It’s more and more a lost art these days, so guys and girls – remember, you don’t need a SAK to enjoy a bottle of cold beer after a hard day in the field.

Of course we could talk also about so-called tactical use as it’d definitely take a lot of LEO use and battlefield abuse, but… with such a beautiful non-threatening finish, blue color accents and overall pretty look, it’s not a knife I’d discuss as a potential tactical folder. It’s not designed as such. It’s too shiny. Too pretty. Which is actually GREAT!

In most EU countries, and even in some states in the US, the last thing you want is to be caught with a knife, which is immediately categorized as a ‘deadly weapon’ by authorities. Especially a black serrated model, with a bold ‘killer’ or ‘fighter’ name laser etched in the blade. And the GM5, despite its hefty size and overall strength, is the exact opposite of that.

I started this short review with a conclusion, but let me repeat it here – it’s a extremely usable and very carryable, full-size folder. Made in good old Italy, with top materials (Ti & Elmax) and using top-tier technologies (ball bearing pivot, lock insert, 3D CNC textured handle). A folder like that was hard to even imagine a decade ago.

It’s not cheap for a production knife, but you get a lot of premium for each penny you spend on it. Priced just below $350 it’s in line with the high-end production folders market.

Considering the limited run of just 300 pieces, I’m quite sure you’ll be able to sell it for more in the future if you’re a collector and you look for value both now AND in years to come. Or, like me, just don’t bother to evaluate the future market – use it hard right away and enjoy your time in the outdoor with that hi-tech companion in your pocket. Right hand pocket to be exact 😉

By Piotr Ma

Senior Contributor & Edge Specialist, more posts.