Gerber Fastball S30V Folding Knife
Gerber Fastball Features Made in the USA Quality
I’ve been carrying the Gerber Fastball for a while now and I’m impressed with this Made in the USA folder’s function and quality. There’s plenty to talk about, including a nod to one of our favorites from the past and some key design features.
- Made in the USA
- High-Quality S30V blade steel
- Highly functional EDC design
- Good value
- No major drawbacks
The Gerber Fastball gives me the characteristics that I love about the Kershaw Leek but with S30V blade steel. Like the Leek, you also get a Made in the USA knife. With its medium size and super-functional blade design, it’s an EDC that almost anyone can carry and use daily, regardless of where your job or adventure takes you.
CPM S30V Steel
Gerber goes with S30V steel and black oxide coating for the blade. As one of the initial “super steel” members, S30V strikes a balance of excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance with moderate toughness and sharpening ease.
I’ve been carrying the Gerber Fastball as my EDC and using on all of my normal tasks. Whatever Gerber did in their heat treatment of the blade is a cut above the norm. The edge retention has been incredible, more on par with my knives that use CPM 20CV.
Gerber shapes their steel into what they call a Wharncliffe blade. However, the slight belly in the blade betrays it as more of a modified drop point in my opinion.
Regardless of what we’re calling it, the design is beautifully functional with excellent piercing characteristics. It daily tackles the chores of opening and breaking down cardboard boxes, opening the mail, cutting into clamshell packaging (the piercing tip is awesome for that!), and whatever else the day tosses my way.
Bearing Assisted Deployment
Gerber moves from a manual opening design to a bearing-assisted, finger flipper for deployment. It’s a great combination of quick opening and cost-efficiency. Gerber’s B.O.S.S. tech bearing system lets you open it nearly as fast as a spring-assisted knife, it’s butter smooth, and you save a little on the purchase price.
The 3″ blade has enough mass to open with ease every time.
The medium grey of the blade’s black oxide coating is offset by a darker, nearly black, aircraft aluminum handle. It’s a good utilitarian material that stands up to most of what you throw at it.
The negative for some people is that it’s slick, making it tougher to grip when your hands are sweaty. Jimping on the lock and flipper help keep your finger from sliding forward to the edge, however, there’s no jimping on the top of the blade spine itself.
3 Clip Positions
The clip comes pre-installed in the tip-up position for right-handed use. You can also flip it to tip-down on the same side or tip-up for lefties. There’s no tip-down position for left-handed use.
The clip sits reasonably deep on your pocket, but it’s not going to make it virtually invisible while you’re carrying it. However, it’s a good strong clip that holds well with enough curve to slip onto your pocket without any trouble.
The Gerber Fastball’s liner lock works like almost every liner lock and engages the blade better than most any other knife I carry. Right out of the box, it fully seats in the center of the blade rather than to the short side where most of my knife locks sit.
I’ve never had a liner lock fail on me (or a frame lock for that matter), but I really like the confidence and security that a well-centered lock offers.
The Gerber Fastball lists on Gerber’s website for $105 ($100 for the Flat Sage or Urban Grey colors). From other online retailers, we’re seeing prices right in line with that.
Compared to the similarly styled Kershaw Leek, it’s quite a bit higher, but enjoys S30V blade steel and is a Made in the USA product. While styles vary widely, S30V knives start around $50 and move up quickly from there as you add bearings or spring assists and look at better handle materials.
For what you get, Gerber gives you a pretty solid value at the $100 mark.
The Bottom Line
The Gerber Fastball gives me the characteristics that I love about the Kershaw Leek but with S30V blade steel and the pride of a Made in the USA knife. With its medium size and super-functional blade design, it’s an EDC that almost anyone can carry and use daily, regardless of where your job or adventure takes you.
Gerber Fastball Specifications
- Model: Gerber 30-001612
- Blade Steel: S30V with black oxide coating
- Blade Design: Wharncliffe
- Deployment: Bearing-assisted finger flipper
- Handle Material: Aluminum
- Overall Length: 7.1″
- Blade Length: 3.0″
- Weight: 2.7 ounces