With the upcoming  (re)scheduled release of the latest and much awaited James Bond film NO TIME TO DIE, what could be more fitting than to take look at an automatic knife fit for the fictional super spy (or the tactical gentleman) the Gerber Covert Auto.

A Gerber knife was actually used in a James Bond film. M (Ralph Fiennes) gives James Bond (Daniel Craig) a Gerber 06 Auto CPM® S30V Drop Point in the film SPECTRE. The 06 Auto was designed for the US military and is a great knife, but the Covert Auto is a sleek modern classic, with a provenance and flair more fitting for the likes of James Bond. And the Covert Auto has an actual link to the literary James Bond via its design heritage.

OSS Jedburgh team in front of B-24 at Area T, Harrington Airdrome, England, circa 1944. Col. Rex Applegate, who co-designed the Covert Auto, was in charge of close-quarters combat training for the OSS, the forerunner to the CIA. Photo: US National Archives

Gerber Covert Auto

The Gerber Covert Auto is an evolution of the Gerber Applegate Combat Folder designed by the late Colonel Rex Applegate in conjunction with custom knifemaker Bill Harsey, Jr. It’s based on the Applegate-Fairbairn Combat Knife (a variation on the famed Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife) designed by Col. Applegate.

Col. Applegate was recognized as America’s foremost authority on armed and unarmed close-quarters combat. During World War II, he was recruited by General William J. “Wild Bill” Donovan to oversee close quarters combat training for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). His book Kill or Get Killed is considered one of the most influential books on close-quarters combat ever published.

Col. Applegate has been said to be the source and inspiration for several of Ian Fleming’s characters in the James Bond novels. And there’s another James Bond link to the Gerber Covert Auto, as well.

In 1942, while working for British Naval Intelligence Division, Ian Fleming trained at Special Training School (STS) 103 (or Camp-X as it was unofficially known), the top-secret World War II spy training school in Canada. Lieutenant Colonel W. E. Fairbairn was the Chief Instructor at Camp-X when Fleming was there.

The Gerber Covert Auto has become one of the most popular automatic-opening knives. Gerber provided me with the Tactical Grey Covert Auto with Fine Edge Stonewash Blade (Item: # 30-001307) for evaluation. The Covert Auto is also available with black or MultiCam® handles, black oxide blade and in partially serrated versions. Gerber also makes a smaller version called the Mini Covert Auto.

The Covert Auto line features a CPM S30V stainless steel double-bevel single-edged spear-point blade with swedge, mil-spec (MIL-A-8625 Type III Class 2) hard-coat anodized 6061-T6 aerospace-grade aluminum handle, and a deep carry black-oxide finished stainless steel clip for discreet right hand tip down carry. The blade is etched with Applegate’s and Fairbairn’s signatures.

Gerber Covert Auto is an auto-opening version of the Gerber Applegate Combat Folder, which is based on the Applegate-Fairbain Combat Knife designed by Rex Applegate and William E. Fairbairn during WWII. It’s a purebred fighting folder.

CPM S30V is a martensitic (hard crystalline structure) powder-made (sintered) wear-resistant and corrosion-resistant, US-made high-chromium premium-grade stainless steel, also containing molybdenum and vanadium.

Developed by Crucible Industries for knives, CPM S30V performs like a high-end tool steel with a corrosion resistance better than 440C. CPM S30V has a very refined grain microstructure that allows it to take a fine consistent edge. It has superior edge retention, better than D2 and 154CM.

CPM stands for Crucible Particle Metals®. The CPM method of manufacturing increases the uniform distribution of carbides, nearly doubling the toughness over conventional steels of the same composition.

The blade on the Covert Auto is 3.78 inches (9.6 cm) in length and 0.13-inch (0.33 cm) thick. Depending on the model, it’s available with either a fine edge or partially serrated. The rear of the spine has thumb jimping for better control. The sample knife came with a razor sharp factory edge.

The Covert Auto features a sleek, symmetrical handle. Longitudinal grooves and serrated dual index finger grooves provide a secure grip. All edges are chamfered for comfort. The handle has a lanyard hole.

The Covert Auto has an over-size firing button / push-button lock (plunge lock) that’s easy to operate, even with thick gloves. The button isn’t recessed in the handle, but it’s augmented by oversize slide-safety that locks the blade in place, open or closed. The slide-safety is perfectly positioned, located immediately to the rear of the button. Actuation of the safety was crisp and positive in the sample knife.

Gerber Covert Auto balances size and weight with concealability. It has deep-carry pocket clip for right-hand tip-down carry.

The current Covert Auto  models feature a  more powerful coil spring than earlier models.  It provides smooth, fast and reliable blade deployment. The blade opens with authority and locks securely. There was absolutely no blade play in the sample knife.

The Covert Auto has an overall length of 8.7 inches (22.1 cm) when open. Closed length is 4.92 inches (12.5 cm). It has a 0.48 inch (1.22 cm) thick handle. The knife weighs 5.0 ounces (141.75 g). It’s large enough to get the job done, but compact and lightweight enough for comfortable everyday carry (EDC).

The Covert Auto excels as a fighting folder. The dagger-like spear point blade has an acute point that excels in piercing. The ergonomics of the knife are outstanding. It’s exceptionally well-balanced and feels good in the hand. Not at all surprising for a knife that has its genesis with Col. Rex Applegate.

The workmanship on the Covert Auto is excellent. It’s made in the USA and comes with Gerber’s Limited Lifetime Warranty. It has a MSRP of $145.00 to $170.00, depending on the model.

Gerber Covert Auto

Manufacturer: Gerber
Model: Covert Auto
Designer: Colonel Rex Applegate, Bill Harsey Jr.
Mechanism: Push-button Automatic
Action: Automatic-opening
Lock Type: Push-button (plunge lock)
Blade Steel CPM S30V Premium Stainlrss Steel (58-60 HRC)
Blade Length: 3.78 in. (9.6 cm)
Blade Length: 0.13 in.(0.33 cm)
Open Length: 8.7 in. (22.1 cm)
Closed Length: 4.92 in. (12.5 cm)
Handle Thickness: 0.48 in. (1.22 cm)
Weight: 5.0 oz. (141.75 g)
Blade Style/Shape: Spear Point w/ swedge, Fine edge or Serrated (partially serrated)
Blade Finish: Stonewash or black oxide
Clip: Stainless steel, black oxide finish
Clip Type: Deep carry, Tip-down, Right hand carry, Removable
Handle Material: Type III anodized 6061-T6 Aluminum
Lanyard Hole: Yes
Type/Use: Tactical / EDC
Country of Origin: USA
Warranty: Limited Lifetime
MSRP: $145.00 to $170,00

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Eugene Nielsen

Eugene Nielsen provides intelligence and security consulting services. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California. His byline has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.

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