I have a large pile of knives in my drawer right now that I am constantly swapping around as I test them. Luckily, today I have one that feels ready to be reviewed so we are going to take a look at the Gerber Fastball. It was launched by Gerber at the beginning of the year (so I'm a bit behind the curve) as a higher quality product as opposed to the more rugged and budget-friendly products that Gerber has become known for.
Blade Length: 76.2 mm (3“)
Closed Length: 104.14 mm (4.1“)
Overall Length: 180.34 (7.1“)
Weight: 76.54g (2.7oz)
Blade Thickness: 2.54 mm (0.1“)
Blade Material: CPM-S30V
Handle Material: Aluminum
Pivot: B.O.S.S. Tech Ball-bearings
Blade Design: Wharncliffe
Locking: Yes, Liner Lock
Opening Mechanism: Flipper Tab
Pocket Clip: Yes, Right-Side Tip-Up, Tip-Down, Left-Side Tip-Up
Additional Features: Lanyard Loop
I have seen several complaints about the Fastball failing to deploy but this has not been an issue for me. The detent has required a good amount of pressure for me, not enough to make deploying the knife difficult but just enough to keep the blade secure. The ball-bearings have also been smooth and have made deployment that much better. I have enjoyed the design of the blade and I feel that it fits the knife well. The Wharncliffe has helped me perform some more precise cutting due to the angle of the blade. The S30V came razor sharp and has sustained that edge so far. Gerber did a great job slimming down this knife and making it very pocketable while still giving you enough material to grip onto. The ergonomics have been comfortable and I can almost get a four-finger grip on the handle, which is about all I can ask from a 3" blade. Lastly, I appreciate that the Fastball is USA made up in Portland, which gives me a bit more confidence.
I really wish that Gerber would have made the extra effort to feature a deep pocket clip. The tail end of the knife sticks out of my pocket a good half an inch. This could have really rounded out the knife in my opinion. A very small issue I noticed is that the grind for the Wharncliffe is not completely symmetrical. It is an incredibly small difference to the point that I cannot get a good picture to demonstrate it. However, it is something that I can notice with my naked eye. The last thing that I want to complain about is the liner lock. I have said multiple times that for a lot of knives a liner lock is going to be just fine. I have personally never had one fail on me and I rarely put folding knives in positions that make me feel nervous in the first place. However, if you are going to go for a liner lock on a knife it should look sturdy and slide further over the blade. The liner-lock on the Fastball is pretty thin and barely gets to the halfway mark of the blade. Once again, it does not feel insecure but it looks less than perfect. This was also an attempt by Gerber to reintroduce a higher quality product into their line of products and the liner-lock feels like a cheaper option, especially if you were to pay the full retail price of $100+ that some people have paid closer to launch.
Fastball is a solid offering from Gerber and I am hoping that they continue that trend and build their name recognition back up. Of course, most people are familiar with Gerber but a lot of people seem to only think about their budget line and ignore the company as a whole, including some standout products. I personally think a good chunk of even the budget gear is right for the price and you actually get more than you pay for. I have enjoyed carrying this knife and it is definitely getting added to the ever-growing subsection of knives that get rotated frequently. If the locking system was a bit more robust and they offered a redesigned deep-carry pocket clip, I would not have any legitimate complaints.