Milwaukee Fastback Family of Pocket Knives

Fastback Pocket Knife

We had an opportunity to see all the new Milwaukee Fastback Knives at the media event earlier this summer which was really a delightful surprise to us. These knives will be hitting the shelves in the next few weeks and we were lucky enough to have received an early sample of the Fastback Smooth Blade 48-22-1990 ($17, Ohio Power Tool) pocket knife for testing. We have used as our daily carry for the last several weeks and overall we continue to be delightfully surprised.

What’s different from the Fastback Utility Knife?

Fastback Knives

The original Fastback had been our favorite after several Utility Knife Showdowns. While it stays at work most of the time we have been using it almost daily for over a year and still very happy with its performance. When we heard they were launching pocket knives the obvious question was could they continue to improve on what they’ve started.

The new pocket knives do get a whole new construction, it’s not just a Fastback with a different blade. Instead of painted metal the outside is made of a composite material. The inner workings are of course metal and while the knives keep the safety button for the opening to collapse the knives there is a more traditional safety release. The clip is also smaller and can be reversed if you prefer which is new for these Fastbacks.

Difference between the 48-22-1990 & 48-22-1995

These are the two traditional Fastback pocket knife models which are similar but have several key differences. The black Fastback 48-22-1995 ($24, Ohio Power Tool) has several upgrades if you will. First the obvious is the black blade which is stainless steel just like the others however it gets a black oxide coating for longer life. The blade also is half serrated which provides a little more versatility in cutting different materials. The opening is easier thanks to the spring assisted, which we have found the silver Fastback 48-22-1990 easy to flip open after working it in a little but this would also be a very handy feature. Finally the black Fastback 44-22-1995 is ½” longer when open at 8-1/4” total.

More new Milwaukee Fastback Knives

Hawkbill Fastback Knife

The Hawkbill Fastback 48-22-1985 ($17, Ohio Power Tool) is almost identical to the 48-22-1990 model with the obvious difference in the hawkbill blade. We’ve only had a limited time with this knife but for those doing flooring or roofing this would be the ideal knife. Another new utility knife from Milwaukee which doesn’t carry the Fastback name or opening mechinism. That being said we think it still has a place for those looking to increase safety in the work place. This knife is a Self-Retracting Safety Utility Knife 44-22-1915 ($11, Ohio Power Tool) which is spring loaded to automatically retract the blade after each use which could significantly reduce any cuts or utility knife injuries. These knives also come with the rounded tip carton blades idea for opening packages without accidentally damaging the items within.

Overall Performance

We really could not be happier with the performance and overall value of the silver Fastback 48-22-1990 Pocket Knife. Our first guess at this knife’s price point was actually double what it will be on sale for when it hits the shelves later this month. The weight is good, balance is very nice and we have been very impressed with the performance of the blade. It might almost seem tempting to discount the quality based on the price but don’t, Milwaukee has a very nice knife here. It would stand to reason since many people carry these knives daily, perhaps Milwaukee has discounted what would otherwise be a more expensive blade in the hopes of getting more brand loyalty out in the field. At least that’s what we would do. Whatever the reasoning for such a great value this is really a nice blade to consider for the glove box or your daily carry.

Unfortunately we have not had as much time with the black Fastback 48-22-1995 as we have not received a sample yet, which probably also means we would expect these to release a little while after the others. We had used it previously and it carries much of the same feel as the silver Fastback. At only a few bucks more with the additional features we will probably opt for this to be our knife of choice for the near future.



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  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for this great pocket knife review, it looks tough and have very sharp edge.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I didn’t even realize that Milwaukee was making any pocket knives. I wonder if these can hang with the best pocket knives in the same price range. I’m gonna have to try one out and review it on my site. Thanks again or the info and great writeup! I’m looking forward to checking out the Fastback too.

  3. Greg says:

    I personally like that red color grip. Thank you for your review article. I’m gonna look on some knives and then choose one. Thx

  4. jimmy says:

    Meh, you get what you pay for. The 48-22-1990 is just another cheap Chinese knife. Zero mention of the blade steel, seriously doubt it is 440C. Bead blast finish on blade requires more lubrication for corrosion protection. The edge grind is too steep for a working tool. Basic plastic scales. The wire pocket clip is flimsy and secured with a single screw. The liners are a little thin for a liner lock knife, with the non-locking liner being thinner yet. Speaking of locks, the push buton lock has considerable play.

    Is it worth $15? Sure. Lose the clip, re-grind the edge, keep it clean and understand it’s limitations. Or keep one to loan out to those that don’t.

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  6. Knife boy says:

    I will only use Damascus blades, studded with jewels handles on my gyproc because a pretensious knife costing hundreds of dollars will always cut better than cheapo made in china crap.

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