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Best Gerber Knife: Hands-On with 4 of Our Favorites

The knife is super useful as a tool.

But there’s something to be said for having the right tool for the right job!

A precious, stabby family.

Stick around as we walk you through our thoughts on some our favorite knives from Gerber’s impressive catalog.

Best Gerber Knives

1. Gerber Fastball

First up!

The Gerber Fastball is a no-frills, reliable EDC folder that’s gradually taken the space in my pocket previously reserved for my SOG Twitch XL.

The Gerber Fastball, deployed.

While the Twitch has been a seriously handy knife for the past several years, it’s opening mechanism has a habit of getting bound up by grime and pocket lint over time, and the time has come to put her out to pasture.

Getting used to the Fastball’s opening mechanism was a little bit odd considering I’d been using the SOG for so long, but after a few weeks of use I felt right at home with the slight wrist flick you might need to accompany the opening motion when deploying the Fastball.

Guess how many attempts getting this photo took.

That’s not necessarily a criticism of the Fastball either per se – the Twitch is just a much faster deploying EDC knife – but realistically, I can’t recall a single situation during the period I’ve carried it in which those micro-seconds carried any tangible advantage.

The Fastball’s got a pretty standard finger flipper opening mechanism on the spine of the folded knife, and will usually lock into place correctly once you’ve found the sweet spot combo of pressure and speed used to flick it open.

I’ve found that something approximating a ‘snapping’ action with the index finger works quite well, and gives the wharncliffe-style blade enough velocity to successfully catch and lock on deployment.

You’re damn right we’re going to get our money’s worth out of this macro lens.

The blade’s deployment is super smooth however and has remained consistent over the past few months through daily use without any kind of cleaning or maintenance.

Gerber’s B.O.S.S. Tech system aids in this consistency – utilizing ball bearings inside of a cage surrounding the blade’s interface with the knife body to reduce friction and ensure that the opening mechanism remains smooth even through the introduction of wear, tear and grime.

The ball bearings in question sit underneath the knife’s folding mechanism.

No complaints here! Outside of taking a tiny bit of muscle memory switch up to get used to, the Fastball has remained remarkably consistent considering I haven’t cleaned it at all.

The Fastball’s pocket clip is capable of being mounted in three different positions if you need some ambidextrous EDC knife solutions for whatever reason – or it can be ditched entirely. The frame includes a lanyard loop as well, and the liner locking mechanism is a breeze to disengage assuming you’re at all familiar with the world of folding knives.

Liner locking goodness.

The Fastball’s blade seems much more durable than my old SOG’s as well – and shows no signs of pitting, wear, or dulling whatsoever. That may change in the future and I’ll be sure to update the article after I’ve got some more substantial time with it.

97
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

But as of right now, the Fastball certainly has my recommendation if you’re in the market for an affordable, straight forward EDC folder that prioritizes durability and consistency above fancy features.

Go Fastball, Go!

Bokeh for days.

What’s your take on the Fastball?

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (301)

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2. Gerber Spine Fixed Blade

If your hobbies often have you venturing out into the wilderness for whatever reason – hiking, camping, climbing, what have you – you likely know the value of a good fixed blade camp knife.

The Gerber Spine!

A bit more substantial than your average folder, the fixed blade knife is essential if you’re spending any length of time in the outdoors and anticipate a need setup shelter, stripping bark off of a branch for kindling, etc.

The sturdier, larger blade and increased grip area of a good fixed blade knife lend themselves to various camp and outdoor tasks much more naturally than that of a smaller folding knife.

The Spine, sheathed.

Gerber’s Spine is aimed specifically at the amateur outdoor enthusiast – and it’s honestly a demographic we don’t see pandered to super often by companies that actually make a quality kit.

While the Spine is admittedly a bit slim on the features, it’s still totally serviceable for your average weekend warrior – and at ~$40 or so, is absolutely several steps above the gas station knives we often see newer folks bring out on the trails.

The Spine includes a sheath with an enlarged rear clip ostensibly meant to slip right over the lumbar strap of your day pack – keeping it both out of the way on the trail while still being plenty accessible.

The sheath’s clip, meant to attach to a backpack’s lumbar strap.

A personal gripe with the sheath itself however is the force it takes to draw the Spine.

The sheath utilizes a locking notch that clamps down on the blade where it meets the handle, and drawing the Spine requires pretty significant force applied to the nub on the sheath that free’s its clamp on the blade.

The amount of downward force involved however feels like a bit much – as I personally do not like the prospect of white-knuckling in the process of unsheathing an extremely sharp object.

I’m hoping that continued use makes ease of operation a bit easier, but this seems like an oversight considering it’s going to live on your pack’s lumbar strap – not an especially sturdy anchor point.

The release notch in question.

However, the knife itself is quite nice!

The grip is made of a supple, rubberized material that ensures you’ve got good purchase even with sweaty hands.

It does, however, have a tendency to collect dirt, dust, and grime quite quickly – but this doesn’t really hinder operation. We’re assuming that if you’re shopping for a camp knife, you’re not super worried about it gathering a bit of patina.

The Spine’s blade is quite sharp and I’ve had no issues with losing an edge through the tasks I’ve put it through thus far – namely some light hiking and an overnight camping excursion.

38
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Again – there’s not too much to say here outside of the obvious, but the Spine is likely a great option for someone looking for the sturdy utility of a fixed blade while easing into the wondrous world of outdoor hobbies – especially considering the price!

3. Gerber Ghostrike Punch Knife

Gerber’s Ghostrike series offers lightweight, skeletonized, and minimalist knife designs that stay out of the way until you absolutely need them in a defensive situation.

The Gerber Ghostrike Punch Knife

The Punch Knife is perhaps the most minimal of all – at just ~5″ overall and a weight of just 4oz, this little dude is a great, low profile backup knife to mount to your rig, stash in a boot, or take with you on a jog – just in case.

The Ghostrike Punch includes a plastic sheath with included 550 cord that can be utilized for neck carry as well, if that’s your thing.

Personally, I’m not big on bladed tools being anywhere near vital squishy spots – but hey! You do you, boo.

Sheathed, with paracord lanyard.

The Punch Knife’s sheath also includes slots that allow for a belt-mounted carry as well – though they’re pretty much only wide enough to accommodate nylon duty belts. Your mileage may vary with anything thicker!

The sheath itself is equally lightweight and retains the knife through two rods that sit on either end of the sheath’s opening. The rods lock into corresponding notches on the blade itself and will lock into place no matter which direction the knife is inserted into the sheath from.

Grippy boi.

Previously, it appears that the Ghostrike series had some issues with the sheaths – there are plenty of reports abound online regarding the locking rods on the sheath becoming detached from the sheath body itself – leaving the sheath without a secure way to retain the knife.

This appears to have been addressed as we’ve had zero issues with our punch knife, and the rods themselves seem sturdy as ever.

The sheath’s retention is decent, but it does have a tiny bit of play. The knife is designed to be drawn quickly when in an emergency – and that accessibility perhaps comes at a cost.

We were also able to dislodge the punch knife from its sheath with a pretty hefty shake – and although this is obviously a purposeful attempt to disengage the retention system without drawing the knife directly, it’s good to be aware that the knife can come free of the sheath (or wearer) sustains some kind of particularly jarring blow.


To be clear – we’ve had no problems with the knife coming free accidentally during our testing of the Ghostrike punch – but we’ve also thankfully never had to use it in an emergency where such impacts might come into play. Food for thought!

The knife itself is quite nice.

The T-Shaped handle allows for a familiar grasp that sits between your fingers in a fist when drawn, and the grip itself is rubberized and features a diamond texture for an even sturdier grasp.

It’s a bit harder to form an opinion on the Ghostrike series of knives as their intended application isn’t something one can readily spend time testing.

35
at BladeHQ

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

But we definitely see the utility in a small, unassuming blade that isn’t going to take up any extra real estate on your kit if you enjoy the peace of mind that might come from having a last-ditch backup punch knife, are comfortable with a neck carry on your night jogs, or plan on mounting it to a belt or jamming it in a boot.

Perhaps not quite our cup of tea, but it definitely has its niche!

4. Ghostrike Fixed Blade

Quite similar in concept to the Ghostrike Punch Knife above, the Fixed Blade variant is quite different in a few areas.

The Gerber Ghostrike Fixed Blade

Obviously, the blade itself is of a much more traditional design – offering a 3.3-inch plain edge drop point blade with a rubberized, skeletonized grip.

More grippy boi goodness.

The Fixed Blade Ghostrike’s sheath is also quite different as well – forgoing the ability to neck carry for the addition of an extra set of belt loops, which allow the knife to be carried both in a traditional vertical fashion, or concealed along the belt itself horizontally.

The sheath’s horizontal and vertical belt loops.

The loops themselves are also a bit larger than on the Punch Knife, and the Fixed Blade’s sheath rides and plays much nicer with standard, non-tactical belts to boot.

The sheath utilizes a similar locking method as the punch knife, but the fixed blade’s sheath seems a bit more secure for whatever reason.

The same wrist flick that’s capable of partially dislodging the punch knife from it’s sheath leaves the fixed blade Ghostrike secure and locked in.

As mentioned, the grip is over-molded with a texturized rubber and includes a grooved notch for your index finger when drawn – giving you a bit more leverage and positive purchase than you’d expect from such a slim and minimalist blade.

The knife does have a tiny bit of play while secured in the sheath, but it’s nothing concerning outside of the tiny bit of rattling noises produced while moving.

Again, probably not a huge concern, but good to be aware of if you’re planning on carrying this discretely for whatever reason.

While we haven’t experienced this ourselves, a potentially common issue we see online is the tendency for the rubber overmold to get ground down and wear out over time. While that’s certainly concerning, it does look like most of the folks reporting this issue have been using the Ghostrike Fixed Blade as an EDC knife.

Similar to the Punch Knife, it’s a bit hard for us to really get into the knitty gritty on a review of a knife who’s true purpose as a defensive tool we have no real means to test – but it does seem odd to choose a purpose-made defense knife as an EDC utility knife and get upset when it doesn’t stand up to the daily use that particular role entails.

55
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

We’ll be sure to update this space down the road once we’ve got some more miles on the Fixed Blade, but it might not be a terrible, low-cost option as discrete backup blade, should you need one.

Conclusion

As mentioned, we’re pretty big fans of snagging purpose-built tools for whatever specific job you might be engaging in, and we’re stoked on Gerber’s generally affordable and task-specific line of blades.

Gerber Knives Group Shot

While time will tell if we run into durability issues that other owners appear to occasionally experience online, our initial impressions are quite positive!

Especially considering the price points involved. If you’re new to the world of EDC knives or are just starting to get a feel for the outdoors, the Fastball and Spine certainly wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

Check out more of our favorite knives in Best EDC Knife and Best Combat Knife.

best edc knives
Best EDC Knives

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1 Leave a Reply

  • Brownie the Destroyer

    Is the Fastball the only knife above Made in the USA?

    December 15, 2019 10:39 am
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