This knife is an absolute classic in the hunting world. An American-made masterpiece that has been in production, practically unchanged, since 1963. It’s no secret that I love my old style hunting knives. And even though some of the classic designs such as the Buck 110 may not live up to the same technical standards as some of the newly innovated and designed knives on the market, these knives carry something that their newer counterparts don’t – class. I love the classic shape and design of these previous generation blades and it’s this nostalgia that keeps me going back to them.
Sure, there are lighter and stronger blades available for purchase but the classics should not be forgotten about and I for one, am extremely grateful that this brass-bolstered folding knife is still available in today’s market.
The modern equivalent of the Buck 110 would probably be something like the Spyderco Endura. But this comparison can be made in size only. The Buck 110 has a closed length of 4.875 inches and a blade length of 3.75 inches, which is fairly comparable to other, more modern everyday carry knives at the larger end of the spectrum. The Buck 110, however, weighs in at 7.2 ounces. More than two and half times the weight of the Spyderco Endura, which weighs in at a mere 2.8 ounces.
While it may be criticized by some, I find that the extra weight gives the knife a very comfortable and secure feeling in my hand and I find it preferable to the ultra light-weight designs some of the more modern knives incorporate. I’ve got nothing against the modern knives, in fact, I use them all the time, I just enjoy the added weight and stability provided by the Buck 110.
The only other real criticism of the Buck 110 I’ve heard in survivalist or hunting circles is that the tip is a little too delicate for some people’s liking. Personally, I prefer a fine tip and to be quite honest, if the tip of the Buck 110 wasn’t so fine, I’d probably modify myself so that it was. At the end of the day, like so many things about hunting knives, it all comes down to personal preference.
While it may look like an everyday, throw-around knife that you’d find in a working man’s toolbox, this knife isn’t really designed for all types of work. Because of its acute tip, it is much more suited to slicing and piercing work and not a great knife for prying. In fact, because of the tip design, you’ll most likely end up with a busted tip if you try to use it for prying work.
So why is the Buck 110 so heavy? Well, most of the weight of this knife is found in the brass bolsters and liners. You won’t find any attempt to shed weight off this knife, this is a heavy and sturdy American knife that’s built tough to stand up to tough conditions.
And it’s a good thing that it is because for better or worse, this knife is maintenance free. Because of the pinned construction, it’s not possible to tighten the pivot or dismantle this knife for cleaning and maintenance. The best way to clean this knife is with an air compressor or some q-tips.
Overall, the finish of this knife is fairly decent and the centering is adequate. The major downfall comes in the balance point of the Buck 110. There’s no way to skip around this issue, it’s just plain terrible. But of course, considering the weight of this knife’s handle, that’s hardly surprising.
The locking mechanism on this knife feels firm but allows some play in all directions if really pushed hard. But, the lock engagement feels very sturdy and reliable, so while I wouldn’t recommend this knife for prying, it feels solid enough for regular cutting, slicing and piercing work. Just keep in mind that there is no choil on this knife, so if the locking mechanism fails, you’re going to have a pretty nasty gash across your fingers and/or palm. So air on the side of caution and common sense when using this knife.
As I mentioned previously, I really like acute tips on my blades so this knife design definitely ticks the right boxes for me in this department.
The stainless steel blade, while being very finely ground, has a faint recurve but it’s not the best grind you’ll find on an out-of-the-box knife and in my opinion, the blade could also do with a bit more belly at the tang end of the knife.
So while this knife doesn’t really keep pace with the newer, top-end folding knives, for an everyday carry, it works more than fine.
While I do like the back-lock design of the handle, I just wish the locking bar reached the entire way to the back of the knife body, as visually, it makes the knife look a little unfinished, as if this was overlooked in the final design stage. And pressure wise, the locking mechanism does require quite a lot of force to disengage, so be prepared to give it a good, hard push.
And while it is possible to open and close the Buck 110 with one hand, I very much suggest using two hands to avoid any accidents. You can, however, purchase after-market screw-in thumb studs to aid one-handed opening and closing. Check them out on Amazon.
Because of its weight, the Buck 110 doesn’t come with a belt clip (I suspect because they couldn’t make one strong enough to hold this paper-weight!) but it does come with a stylish leather sheath. The only disappointing thing about the sheath is that it’s made south of the border in Mexico. Not that Mexico doesn’t make great knives and accessories, it just would have been nice to keep this iconic, American-made knife inside an American-made sheath. But understandably some shortcuts have to be made, especially when keeping the price of this classic blade below the $50 mark.
The sheath itself appears very well-built and sturdy so I can’t foresee any faults or breakdowns associated with this case. It incorporates a large belt loop that will fit all regular belt sizes.
It’s a bit bulky but shouldn’t present any issues as an everyday carry case. It is fairly obvious when worn on a belt but the sheath’s sleek design helps it blend into a non-threatening accessory.
The handle grip is pretty traditional here. It’s nothing too special but seems to be a little above average for comfort and grip. I much prefer the feel of this knife than many of the newer knife designs.
While chocking is possible with this knife, I wouldn’t recommend it due to this knife being fairly unbalanced and having no choil.
This knife is very suited to reverse grip though and it feels nearly perfect in the palm of your hand when held this way. In a self defense situation, this is definitely how I would be holding this knife.
Pinch grip on this knife is also very comfortable and considering this is a folding knife as well as a hunting knife, this makes a lot of sense.
Last Thoughts On The Buck 110 Folding Hunter
This really is a classic folding hunter design. If this knife wasn’t released until recently, it would probably be seen as unnecessarily weighty and probably wouldn’t sell too well. With that in mind, it’s difficult to compare this old school champion of a knife with the newer and more innovative knife designs out there. But what the Buck 110 lacks in modern design features it makes up for in looks and feel.
This knife feels like a knife should. It feels dependable and sturdy in your hand. It feels like it is built tough. American tough. And that’s a feeling you rarely get nowadays from the more modern blades.
So while it might weigh a little more than it should and it might not have the perfect finish or grinds, for less than fifty bucks, you can carry around a piece of American history on your belt and be damn proud about it while you do.
Buy one today. Just because you can.