The Gerber Covert F.A.S.T Knife is a nice little piece of tactical history in your pocket. The first thing I noticed before it was out of the package was the signatures on the blade, Fairbairn & Applegate. For those that don’t know, Fairbairn is kind of a tactical legend from the early part of last century. He served in the British military police in Shanghai. He co-authored Shoot to Live, pioneered innovative and effective hand to hand fighting techniques for the British Army and helped design the commando knife that the British Royal Marines are still issued today.
I know, I know… we beat them twice, so why would I want some Red Coat knife? Don’t worry, the same year Fairbairn and Sykes made their knife for the Brits an American Colonel by the name of Rex Applegate made a more sturdy and hefty version and Fairbairn signed off on it. The American version is this knife’s granddaddy. No skinny European stiletto daggers here.
This is a sturdy American knife.
The blade itself at 3.6 inches is not quite a half size version and not quite 2/3rds size of the original 6-inch knife. This makes it handy for both utility and defense. The spear point offers excellent penetration, the combination razor/serrated blade offers good options in cutting ability. It’s small enough to do work in tight spaces and big enough to do damage if needed. After a little break in, the assisted opening is so smooth, it might as well be a slightly slower automatic knife.
The safety/locking mechanism is robust and would take some serious force to make it fail. It locks automatically when the blade is opened and is positioned so that your thumb keeps the safety/lock activated when holding it. When closed, the safety does an excellent job of being a safety. I found it a little hard to deactivate in a hurry but a drop of oil and some manipulation of the safety smoothed it out quickly without making it deactivate too easily. My only complaint is that if you want to carry it safety off for faster deployment, the design basically forces it on as you pocket it. The assisted opening isn’t sensitive enough to warrant needing to carry it on safe, in my opinion. But, I do like the option.
The handle is wide enough for a good grip, yet slim enough to not add any real bulk to your pocket. It’d be perfect to carry in the waistband for even more concealment if you’re in a place where pocket knife clips stick out. It’s an easy knife to “grey man” with.
The pocket clip only goes in one place. I think they missed an opportunity here to let the end user position the clip so that you could reach in and deactivate the safety easily as you pulled the knife. But that’s nothing a little focused training can’t overcome.
All in all, I think that had Applegate and Fairbairn survived to today to see the Cold War and GWOT, they’d think of this pocket folder as a natural evolution of their knife for EDC or low pro/low vis operations. So if you’re looking for a new pocket knife with solid design and history behind it, the Gerber Covert F.A.S.T knife is definitely a blade to consider. Especially considering it only runs about Gerber Covert F.A.S.T. You’re getting a lot of blade for your buck here.
Author – Seth Lewis served as a reconnaissance infantryman in the 82nd Airborne with two deployments to Iraq as well as 18 months in Afghanistan doing High Threat Protection for the Department of State. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and us currently working as a security contractor for DHS and a firearms instructor.