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 Gerber Applegate-Fairbairn Fast Knife
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john carr
Member

954 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2014 :  12:23:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OK Knife affictionados, I don't know why I want one but I want one. The prices are all over the board, ranging from $32.00 to over $200 w/shpg. They show some different model numbers. Are some automatic and some not? Some show carbon steel, some stainless. Some give very little product detail. Anybody know??

yoshmyster
Advanced Member

Mexico
11003 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2014 :  2:57:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Know what?

Not one of my "really want" knives. Can't go wrong with carbon. If you're gonna use it buy it used. If it's fugly you can take it apart and bead blast it. I always thought the blade was thin and light. I suppose since the fellers who made it was old school stabbers. So I guess it was designed that way. Also the handle being light (to me it feels off) and oddly shaped, it's not for everyone.

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beantownshootah
Advanced Member

USA
13050 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2014 :  5:03:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by yoshmyster

Know what?

Not one of my "really want" knives. Can't go wrong with carbon. If you're gonna use it buy it used. If it's fugly you can take it apart and bead blast it. I always thought the blade was thin and light. I suppose since the fellers who made it was old school stabbers. So I guess it was designed that way. Also the handle being light (to me it feels off) and oddly shaped, it's not for everyone.




So you're talking about the Fairburn-Sykes commando dagger (which is a little bit different, I think, than the knife the OP is asking about). .

If I remember correctly the originals are all hand-finished carbon steel. If its stainless it might be a good knife, but no way is it a "real" WWII era blade.

On shape/durability, this is a very particular knife design intended for a very specific purpose. . .basically stealth/easy carry and close quarters stabbing (period). The knife blade isn't intended for general use, and its not very thick nor strong in cross section. Try to pry with this thing, and it will snap.

The handle is designed (on purpose) with a round cross section and indentation deliberately to emulate that of a fencing foil or rapier. Its also deliberately blade heavy, to feel "alive" in the hand, again, specifically to facilitate stabbing (and no other purpose). So a conventional knife grip won't work here. . .and its not really intended to.

The point is this is supposed to be a pure combat implement, not a general purpose knife. For THAT purpose its a good knife. . .for anything else. . .not so much.

The "real" ones are fixed blade with a one piece blade handle, and the pommel riveted on. Since these are amongst the most copied knives in the world, it wouldn't suprise me if someone made a folding/automatic copy at some point, but that's not what these are "supposed" to be.

As to cost, the reason the prices are all over the place is because quality is all over the place. These range from cheap-Asian made knockoffs that are basically fit only for paperweights, all the way to full fledged handmade copies that exceed the originals in materials and build quality, with everything in between.

"Authentic" WWII-era ones are out there, and they're not necessarily crazy priced (I think you can still find legit beat up ones for under $100), but I'd be VERY leery of buying one at any kind of premium price without a real expert appraisal/evaluation because there are so many knockoffs and deliberate forgeries floating around.

As to which one you want. . .that depends on you. If you just want a show-piece, you can get a cheapie. If you actually intend on bringing this thing to war, you'll probably want to pay the premium for a newly made version by a quality maker. If you want a true collectors piece, see above.

Now, on the Applegate-Fairburn "FAST" knife, that's basically a modern folding "conception" of the British Commando knife, described above. To this I say "meh". Gerber's version is probably OK, but I wouldn't expect super-high worksmanship or steel quality for any folding knife that costs $50. If you just want a cool-looking pocket knife, this will work, I guess, but I don't think I'd buy this as a "serious" fighting knife.

In terms of model variation, I'd imagine you can just look at Gerber's website to figure out differences. There are differences based on steel and lock quality here between different models, though I can't comment on any of these from my zero first-hand experience. Different dealers will ask different prices for the exact same thing. . .so if you decide on a model you like, you can then shop around to find the best possible price.


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john carr
Member

954 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2014 :  5:08:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I found a few things about it. They make two models, the mini which you can buy for $32 and the full size one which starts in around $60. These come from China. If you want a Gerber made here in the U.S. better figure starting around $90. The descriptions are spotty and don't tell if it's auto opening or not. The blade thickness is 1/10th inch. I think the stainless blades come from China. I may wait a while. Thankjs for the suggestions.
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tsr1965
Advanced Member

USA
7088 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2014 :  7:01:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gerber made two variations of that knife. They made the full sized folder, then they made a 3/4 size Covert model. I have the full size, and have had it for 15 years. For the cost of it, it has a lot of bang for the buck, and holds a decent edge.

I will say, it is nothing like my BenchMade, Pardue inspired, folding automatic, but it is 1/4 of the cost also. For hunting purposes, I carry the Gerber, as it's double edged blade is awesome for field dressing big game, and I also have a Buck folding Alpha Hunter in my pack, which is the most serious edge retaining edged weapon I have.

Best

Take a look at these auctions on the otherside...
http://www.GunBroker.com/Auction/BrowseItems.aspx?IncludeSellers=484399

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tocamoha
Junior Member

236 Posts

Posted - 03/04/2014 :  9:57:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
go to havalon and don't look back.
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john carr
Member

954 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2014 :  08:52:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Quote by beantownshootah:

Authentic" WWII-era ones are out there, and they're not necessarily crazy priced (I think you can still find legit beat up ones for under $100), but I'd be VERY leery of buying one at any kind of premium price without a real expert appraisal/evaluation because there are so many knockoffs and deliberate forgeries floating around."

Yes I had one of these several years ago, bought it a a "military surplus store". I tried throwing it at a big elm tree in the yard. It didn't stick but when I picked it up, one inch of the point was bent in a 25 degree angle to one side. As you say, "pure junk.)
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beantownshootah
Advanced Member

USA
13050 Posts

Posted - 03/05/2014 :  09:54:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by john carr

quote:
Quote by beantownshootah:

Authentic" WWII-era ones are out there, and they're not necessarily crazy priced (I think you can still find legit beat up ones for under $100), but I'd be VERY leery of buying one at any kind of premium price without a real expert appraisal/evaluation because there are so many knockoffs and deliberate forgeries floating around."


Yes I had one of these several years ago, bought it a a "military surplus store". I tried throwing it at a big elm tree in the yard. It didn't stick but when I picked it up, one inch of the point was bent in a 25 degree angle to one side. As you say, "pure junk.)


Unless you're specifically talking about the low-end Asian made knockoffs (which have poor finish, and typically won't take an edge), I wouldn't say these are "pure junk".

"Real" throwing knives are specifically designed with thick and slightly soft blades with wide edges to stick into targets, be easily removed again, and to resist the considerable stresses of being repeatedly thrown into things. Without getting into the "real world" utility of knife throwing (IMO it approaches zero) *MOST* knives (including F/S knives) simply won't stand up to that sort of abuse, even excellent ones.

Again, the F/S knife was designed for one and only one thing, to be used by trained commandos as a stabbing dagger. That's why the blade is thin, and its deliberately a bit flexible so it will bend instead of snap on stabbing. For its intended purpose, the WWII knife is excellent, and there are reasons why its been so iconic and popular for 70 years, plus widely copied for any number of current-use fighting blade designs. For just about everything else? No.

Back on the Gerber A/F "FAST" knife, the Gerber "FAST" system is their version of the assisted opening system, similar to that from every other big knifemaker. Its basically a "semiautomatic" design that's legal mostly everywhere.

I don't know if they have a full auto version, but honestly, even if they did, I don't think there is much real-world advantage to these in the days of legal assisted folders that basically do the same thing. Knife itself is what it is. . .a relatively low cost "tactical" (ie fighting pattern) knife, that's adequate for routine use as a knife, and probably "good enough" as a fighting knife in a pinch. If that's what you want, you probably won't be disappointed.

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md1634
Member

527 Posts

Posted - 03/10/2014 :  11:59:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Look at the EK knives
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