One of my bucket list items is an original World War Two M2 Paratrooper knife. The M2 was designed to fit in an accessible pouch when a paratrooper was loaded down with all the gear he needed to punch Hitler in the mouth. The M2 was a switchblade and was designed to allow the paratrooper to cut himself free from his suspension lines should he become entangled. This gave me a fascination with so-called switchblades and led me to the Gerber Covert Auto.
The Covert Auto is a ‘switchblade,’ but automatic knife is the more appropriate term. This knife is no M2, but it has its own World War 2 heritage. The Covert Auto uses the classic Applegate-Fairbairn blade. The Applegate-Fairbairn dagger was designed for commando units in World War 2 who needed a knife that could both take out sentries and be a competent fighting blade. This knife is likely inadvertently the spawn of both the M2 Paratrooper knife and the famed Applegate-Fairbairn dagger.
The Covert Auto – Into the Breach
This little switchblade is made by Gerber, and it’s a premium grade knife. The blade is made of S30V; a premium grade knife steel. It’s incredibly strong, holds an excellent edge, and is extremely durable. This steel resists rust and is made for long term durability and use. The blade has a spear point tip that’s quite pokey and pointy. The Covert Auto can come with a serrated edge or a straight edge, and I have opted for a straight edge.
The overall blade length is 3.78 inches, and the grip is 4.92 inches. Combined, you get a knife that is 8.7 inches in length total. It’s a beefy knife, and the mini variant might be better for everyday carry. The Covert Auto weighs 5 ounces, so being easy to carry isn’t an issue.
Like the classic M2, the Covert Auto deploys the blade out the side of the handle. This differs from the out the front designs that are a bit more popular these days. The out the side’s simpler design requires less maintenance and tends to be more durable and robust. A bit handier when you are in the military and actually using your knives rather than looking at them.
Safety Is Critical
As any risk reduction plan will tell you, safety is paramount. The Gerber Covert Auto uses a press button blade release, but it’s backed with a manual safety. The safety slider moves up for safe and down for go. The safety is quick and easy to engage and stays engaged. The slider is a ramping, textured design that makes it easy to find without looking and to activate or deactivate at will.
The safety is well done, ambidextrous, and will keep the blade from deploying negligently. The Covert Auto has a dagger type blade, but one edge is false for safety purposes. With a side deploying blade, one edge is always exposed, so it has to be dulled for safety sake.
Ergonomics and Grip
The design is simple but effective. The grip fills the hand and allows you to assume a comfortable standard grip position. The grip scales are textured and allow you to assume an excellent grip on the knife. A good grip isn’t just convenient but necessary to make using the knife safe and effective.
The handle sides are jimped to improve your grip even more, and the false edge side of the blade also sports jimping. The blade’s dagger design also grants a natural swedge that lets you cut through thick materials without the blade getting stuck.
As mentioned, the safety is easy to access, as is the deployment button. Both are placed in a way that allows you to instantly reach either to deploy the blade.
Lastly, the Gerber Covert Auto has a thick and hefty pocket clip that keeps the knife wherever you place it. You can carry it in confidence with this pocket clip, and you’ll need something like this when carrying a 150 dollar knife.
The hard part about auto knives is the legality of them. Before planning to purchase one, you need to research state and federal laws. In many states, automatic knives are legal for military members to carry and possess, but it’s always worth researching. An automatic knife can be hard to obtain, but they are incredibly handy to have from a duty perspective.
Gerber offers an excellent heroes program that offers discounts to military members and first responders, and if the Covert Auto appeals to you, this might be the best route to take. The Covert Auto combines the best aspects of two awesome and historical knives to create one well designed and well made automatic knife.
Automatic knives are excellent tools for military members. Their ability to be deployed effectively with a single hand is fantastic. There is a reason while the M2 and similar knives have served for so long. Heck, the Covert Auto even has an NSN number. Automatic knives are capable tools and unbeatable in the niche they serve.