These are some of the most renowned and famous outdoor utility knives on the market today. The best buck knife still holds to its traditional American upcoming and has been refined and perfected over decades. These knives have astounding performance and quality that go head-to-head with the best.
They’re capable and handy for extensive outdoor use and are reliable and consistent enough to last a lifetime. We’ve guided you through choosing the perfect buck knife for you – helping you make the smartest choice and get the most value for your money!
Top 7 Best Buck Knife Reviews in 2023
We’ll take a detailed look at each of the 7 buck knives we’ve carefully selected to review. These knives reflect our goal of providing something for everyone. These are balanced knives that don’t make any sacrifices to quality and durability.
You’ll find what’s unique about each of the knives whether or not they’ll suit your needs and style. You’ll also find out what we did and didn’t like so that you can get a better idea of their real-world performance. Let’s jump into our top best buck knife reviews!
Buck Knives 110 Famous Hunting Knife
Let’s start with what’s probably the most famous of the pack. This knife has been stood the test of time and is still relevant over a century later. It’s a clip point folding knife made from 420HC steel. Buck knives get some of the best performance from this steel in their knives on the market. It’s exceptionally sharp and the blade comes to a strong and sturdy tip.
You’ll handle cutting and piecing without trouble. This is the kind of reliability and consistency you’ll want with you on your outdoor and hunting trips. The handle is made from high-quality ebony and held firm by two treated brass inlays. They’re rust-resistant and can take a beating without showing it.
You can flick the knife open with one hand (with a little practice) and the action is smooth and silky. There’s not a whole lot to complain about with this knife. You get what you pay for here. It’s a top pick for the best buck hunting knife in this price range.
- World-class durability and performance
- Exquisite sharpness and edge retention
- The handle is robust, non-slip, and ergonomic
- The strong and sturdy tip has powerful puncturing power
- Opening the blade is a little slow when done one-handed
- Quite heavy for a folding knife
Buck Knives 119 Special Knife
Here’s another top-shelf buck knife that uses the same exceptional quality 420HC steel. It’s one of the easiest knives this size to sharpen. While there are knives with harder steel out there, this knife keeps it practical and functional. It finds that delicate balance between hardness and not being brittle. This gives it one of the most versatile and robust performances for this price and size.
You’ll be able to use it for extensive general use without wearing and whittling it away. If you want to sink some cash into something worth your while, you won’t go wrong here. You’ll immediately notice how impeccably well-balanced this knife is. The balance point is right where your index finger sits and this lets you finely control every aspect of your cuts.
It’s a fixed blade knife so it’s inherently sturdy with a solid puncturing and piercing power. We love the black leather sheath it comes with. It’s friction held and awesome quality – and you’ll be able to mount it a quite a few different ways. Overall, this is quite possibly the best buck knife you’ll get your hands on.
- Impeccable balance for effortless cutting
- Very comfortable handle and a non-slip grip
- Great puncturing and stabbing power
- Top-class edge retention
- No lanyard hole
- The swept angle of the tip can be a little restricting for some skinning work
Buck Knives 284 Bantam Folding Knife
The Bantam series of knives offer you lightweight, sleek, and convenient functionality. They don’t sacrifice much versatility to achieve sleek and easy to use profiles. You’ll quickly fall for how smoothly these knives open and close. The mid-back locks are sturdy and facilitate easy and quick one-handed opening.
If you’re looking for a knife to carry every day, then Bantam knives might be just right for you. They make these knives even more reliable as an EDC by using premium quality materials. The high carbon metal is highly resistant to corrosion, staining, and scuffing. The fact that you’re getting enhanced portability without sacrificing durability is astounding.
You’re getting 420HC steel with class-leading edge retention and sharpness. These are some of the easiest knives to maintain and touch up. Finally, the ergonomic handle is gorgeous and comfortable. It suits ambidextrous use and has a lanyard hole to give it a functional edge over the competitors. Value for money makes this one of the best buck knife options on the market.
- Excellent value for money
- Lightweight and sleek without losing versatility or durability
- One of the better buck knives handles in terms of ergonomics and grip
- Class-leading edge retention and sharpness
- The paint job feels a little cheap
- One-handed closing is more difficult due to the back locking system
Buck Knives 112 Ranger Folding Knife
You’ll notice how stunning this knife is the first time you hold it. The light-colored brass bolsters add a classy and sturdy completion to an already excellent robust handle. It’s a clip point blade that folds and is locked by an excellent quality back lock. They’re a little tricky to close one-handed but are exceptionally safe.
The ethically sourced ebony hardwood handles are slip, bacteria, and moisture resistant. They give the knife a contrasting and attractive profile that catches your attention immediately. You’ll be able to whip this knife out for general use around the office or home as it’s not intimidating at all.
We love the downward slant in the spine of the blade. This helps bring the tip closer to the centerline of the knife and gives you exceptional control over the tip. It has great piercing power and makes an excellent hunter’s knife for skinning and gutting on the go. You’re getting a top-quality best buck knife for general and versatile outdoor (and indoor) use that doesn’t compromise.
- Handy and easy to carry profile
- Great balance between being lightweight and having a little heft to it
- Outstanding lock-up with no wiggle room
- The blade comes extremely sharp
- One-handed closing is very difficult
- Blade unlock button is in a hard-to-reach place
Buck Knives 120 General Knife
Here’s an extremely effective fixed blade Buck knife. Still using the clip point blade style, this 7.4” blade packs a powerful tip and a devastatingly sharp edge. It’s quite a bit bigger and heavier than many of the knives we’ve already looked at. Despite this larger size, it’s comfortable to hold and you don’t feel the weight.
There enough heft to let you know you’re wielding a capable and sturdy blade. We loved the ergonomic handle and found that it’s fit the shape of most hands well. There are gentle finger molds to help you better control the blade and stop it from sliding. This is a great knife for boning and skinning on your hunts or in the kitchen.
It’s a versatile and efficient general use knife that can easily handle intense or heavy-duty work. The brass bolsters protrude enough to keep your hands safe, but not so much that they get in the way. Overall, these buck knives are made with the serious enthusiast in mind. It’s built to last and can take a beating without throwing performance out the door.
- Ultra-reliable for general use
- Excellent at boning and skinning
- Super-versatile in skilled hands
- Brass bolsters stop your hands or the blade from slipping
- Quite a heavy and bulky blade – especially in its sheath
- Sharpening is a little more challenging than many buck knives
Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter’s Knife
To balance out the fixed knife we’ve just looked at, here’s another excellent 110 Buck knife. This series of knives seem to get the best quality and functionality out of the 420HC steel used for their blade. You can sharpen them to a razor’s edge without having to throw out edge retention. It does this while still being easy to sharpen and maintain.
While we’re not big fans of the unlock button being near the butt of the handle, it’s an exceptionally safe blade. Closing it one-handed will be a bit of a struggle until you get used to it. This knife closely resembles the original and iconic American buck knife. It looks superb and has that hefty and capable feel that’s hard to quantify.
You’ll get a genuine and high-quality leather pouch. It closes over the folded blade and has a brass clip that’s tactile and trustworthy. It fits easily and lightly into your pocket and doesn’t take up a tremendous amount of space. If you’re looking for time-hardened quality that you can bet your life on, this might be the best buck knife for you!
- One of the best quality leather cases on a buck knife
- 110 series is the original Buck knife
- Cuts astonishingly easy despite the lighter and more convenient profile
- Exceptionally easy to sharpen, clean, and maintain
- Closing the knife one-handed is slow and a little frustrating
- A lanyard hole in the leather case would have been awesome
Buck Knives 286 Bantam BHW Knife
Let’s finish with a unique looking best Buck knife. It’s a part of the Bantam folding series and features top-quality steel and a 3.6” blade. It’s robust and not too heavy. This is a knife you’ll be able to carry in a pocket or on your belt and not notice it. The handle is gorgeous.
It’ll immediately stand out as being on the best looking and feeling handles on a buck knife. We loved the finger swells and how keenly the fit different size hands. You’ll have a thumb stud to help you quickly pop the knife open in a smooth and swift action.
The lock-up is sturdy and doesn’t leave much room for error. It’s reliable enough to use regularly. One of our favorite features is the removable clip, making this knife one of the easiest to mount up quickly and carry. You’ll have tons of options and carry choices depending on the situation.
- The removable clip lets you get tons of carrying options
- Sleek and lightweight build
- Unique, attractive, and comfortable handle
- Larger lanyard hole
- Handle scratches quite easily
- You can’t close the blade one-handed
How to Choose a Buck Knife You’ll Love!
Here are a few of the important considerations when choosing the right buck knife. Their product range is quite diverse and it’s important to know what features support different styles and planned uses best. Let’s dive in.
Write It Down
Start by writing down a couple of features that are important to you. If you think style and aesthetics are important, put them near the top of your list. If you work outdoors more and need heavier cutting power, a buck knife with a serrated edge might be right for you. Use these features/requirements as a guide to decide on what is most important.
Steel Type and Quality
Buck knives use 3 main sheets of steel. The first and most common is 420HC steel. Its edge retention is mid-range and it has great rust resistance. It’s super-easy to sharpen and doesn’t chip easily. 154CM steel is a little more expensive but offers much better edge retention and some of the best corrosion resistance in its price range.
S30V is the hardest of the 3 and offers the best edge retention. You’ll get a wicked sharp edge, but it will be more prone to chipping and snapping than softer steels.
What locking type do you prefer? Choose something that your muscle memory is already familiar with. Do you need the knife to lock in its open or closed position – or both? You also need to decide whether or not you’d need a handguard. If you’re going to rougher use and outdoor utility, a small handguard is quite necessary.
If you’re going to be using the knife in the outdoors, a rubberized or textured handle is essential – especially in wet conditions. If style and looks are more important to you, Buck knives have several models with polished metal and wood handles – although they’re a little less versatile.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Where Do Buck Knives Come From?
A: They’ve been around for more than a century. They originated in the USA and quickly become widely used. They were designed and manufactured in the USA. Some of the earlier 110 series Buck knives were so popular that tons of copycat knives showed up – leading to the term “buck knife” being attributed to any knife with characteristics similar to the original. The knives have stood the test of time and are going strong to this day.
Q: What Is Special About Buck Knives?
A: Their heat-treated blades make probably the best use from 420HC steel. They manage to get sharper and stay sharper for longer than almost all other knives using the same steel. They’re generally excellently well-suited to outdoor and hunting use. They also have models that are hard to beat for general utility use (especially some of their fixed blade knives).
Q: Which Is Better Between a Fixed or Folding Buck Knife?
A: Full-tang fixed blades offer superior durability and cutting power. If you need a robust and capable outdoor or tactical/hunting knife, the fixed blade might be better for you. If you simply need an EDC knife that’s functional and capable enough to handle daily cutting tasks, the folder is more mobile and lighter than fixed knives.
Q: Are Lock-Back Buck Knives Better for One-Handed Use Than Frame-Lock Knives?
A: No, lock-back knives need two-hands for closing. One needs to compress the release switch and the other closes the blade. Frame-lock knives can be opened and closed one-handed and a little faster than lock-back knives.
You should feel confident to make your choice by now. If you’re not, feel free to go back over the knives and take a deeper look at the ones you’re interested in. Once you’ve got the best buck knife for your needs and budget, you’ll fall in love with their razor-like edges and class-leading ruggedness! Good luck and enjoy it!