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9 Best Buck Knives for EDC, Hunting, and Survival [Buck Knives Review]

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Choosing the best Buck knife for everyday carry, hunting, or survival can get overwhelming fast. Buck knives come in many different models, materials, blade shapes, and additional features… it’s a knife jungle out there!

That’s why we decided to give you a clear-cut no-nonsense roadmap that will lead you to your perfect blade – your best Buck knife. First, we’ll go through the best Buck knives for survival, hunting, and everyday carrying, listing the pros and cons of each one. Then, I’ll tell you a little more about how to choose one depending on what you need most from your knife.

Folding knife resting on a wooden log.

Our Best Buck Knife Top 9

Before we get into the details and discuss the features, pros, and cons of each knife, let’s take a quick overview of all of our favorite Buck knives:

05/10/2024 06:53 am GMT

Best Buck Knives Review

While it would be easy to group all Buck knives as excellent-quality pieces with excellent craftsmanship, Buck has some unique knives. They’ve got everything from everyday carrying pocket folders to sheathed fixed blades.

So, let’s break down these top-of-the-line knives by their most significant benefits, best applications, and weakest points.

1. The Best Buck Everyday Carry Knife: 722 Spitfire

The 722 Spitfire is a little dynamo of a folding knife that packs one hell of a punch! As one of Buck’s more modern designs, it has incredible versatility. It is one of the best pocket knives for everyday carry, but it can do much more.

The Spitfire is a sleek and aggressive knife with a folding blade that offers the biggest bang for your buck. Hands down! Given its overall quality, durability, versatile design, and low price tag, you’d have a tough time finding a better Buck knife among its peers.

With just 3.2 oz in heft, this is one of the lightest all-purpose Buck knives. If you’ve ever been in a survival situation, you know that every ounce counts. Buck really “trimmed down the fat” on this knife, which makes it much easier to carry and conceal.

The length of the blade is 3¼” with a hollow grind, but don’t let the size fool you. Buck Spitfire is viciously sharp and ready for some serious cutting. It also holds its edge like there’s no tomorrow, and it’s effortless to re-sharpen.

I know what you’re thinking. A hollow grind makes for a poor cutter. That primary bevel makes no sense.

I had similar concerns back when I got my first Spitfire. However, after years of abusing it, I have nothing but praise for this little monster. Buck knives are NOT fragile razor blades; they’ll take a ton of punishment before losing their edge.

Like many Buck knives, Spitfire uses 420HC blade steel packed into a comfortable and grippy anodized aluminum handle. Add an aggressive drop-point blade, and Spitfire doesn’t look so friendly anymore.

Optional serrations allow you to saw your way through tough materials in a pinch. The overall fit and finish are top-quality, without the blade rubbing on the liner or similar issues reserved for low-quality folding knives. The blade locks safely in place.

Buck 722 Spitfire Pros

  • Extremely compact folding knife
  • No-hassle one-handed opening
  • Aggressive drop-point blade
  • Durable super-sharp edge
  • Comfortable anodized aluminum handle
  • 420 steel blade
  • Rugged construction
  • Sleek & attractive design

Buck 722 Spitfire Cons

  • Not the best knife for larger, more demanding tasks

2. Best Auto Lockback: Buck 110 Folding Hunter

The Buck 110 family is also known as “Folding Hunters,” and it’s one of the first popular lockback knives. It single-handedly revolutionized the knife industry with its innovative folding knife locking system, and since, then, it’s become an American icon that most knife enthusiasts know and love.

This is the folding knife of choice for many people, from hunters to people who just like to have a blade on hand.

After all these years, the Buck 110 folding knife is officially available as an automatic! So you can forget about 3rd party conversions. This bad boy has a built-in auto action straight from the production line.

This Buck knife 110 Auto is an ideal companion for the great outdoors. I’ve used it for many common tasks, as well as cutting canvas for a makeshift tent and skinning an elk. Weighing 7.1 oz, it’s much easier to pack and carry than your regular fixed hunting blade. Plus, it’s more versatile.

With a blade length of 3¾”, the Buck 110 is made of 420HC steel with the standard Paul Bos heat treat. In addition, it comes with a sleek satin finish and cryogenic treatment for superior edge retention.

The crescent tip provides a sharper point and a thinner blade. It’s perfect for finer cutting in tight places and intentional punctures. However, the point is not as strong as with skinners or drop points. That’s just one of the reasons why we think the Spitfire is the best Buck knife.

The eye-catching handle of the Buck 110 is made of ethically sourced Crelicam ebony with brass bolsters for a truly classic design. A conveniently placed push button allows instant auto-deployment and easier one-handed operation.

In addition, the friction-fit leather sheath comes with a safety mechanism that prevents deployment when you remove the knife.

Overall, the Buck 110 Auto Lockback walks a thin line between a fine subtle blade and a rugged game knife. It excels in both roles, making it a seriously unique knife. Often imitated, never replicated!

Knife Pros

  • Fully automatic action
  • No-hassle one-handed operation
  • Extremely sharp blade with a satin finish
  • Cryogenic treatment for better edge retention
  • Ebony handle with brass bolsters
  • Crescent tip for optimal detail cutting & puncturing
  • Solid lockback
  • Leather sheath with an additional safety mechanism

Knife Cons

  • The tip on this Buck knife is not as strong as with skinning knives and drop points, so it’s not the best choice for experienced hunters

3. Best Compact Auto Lockback: Buck 112 Ranger

If the Buck 110 series is not compact enough, the Buck 112 family is precisely what you’re looking for. The Buck 112 Ranger is a smaller version of the famous Buck “Folding Hunter.”

It comes with all the same features, including automatic operation. A fine-tip 420HC blade, comfortable handle with nice features like brass bolsters, cryogenic treatment, friction fit leather sheath… you know the drill.

The only difference lies in its size and weight. 112 Ranger Auto weighs 5.9 oz, and it has a 3-inch blade.

The more petite frame makes it easier to pack and carry, but it has downsides. When I started using it, I felt the lack of range that the 112 gave me, especially during finicky work like cutting wire in a tight space.

Still, both models perform equally well when it comes to larger outdoor tasks like prepping firewood, opening cans, cutting cords, or making a shelter.

Knife Pros

  • Fully automatic action
  • No-hassle one-handed operation
  • Extremely sharp blade with a satin finish
  • More compact than the 110 family
  • Reliable, solid knife
  • Cryogenic treatment for better edge retention
  • Ebony handle with brass bolsters
  • Crescent tip for optimal detail cutting & puncturing
  • Solid lockback
  • Leather sheath with an additional safety mechanism

Knife Cons

  • Shorter reach than 110 models
  • Fine tip not suited for rugged tasks

4. Best Buck Knife For Hunting Big Game: Buck 119 Special

The Buck 119 Special is the grandfather of all hunting knives! It’s the best buck knife for people who live to hunt (and hunt to live).

The 6” fixed clip blade is made of 420HC steel and has a recognizable satin finish. Also, it features hollow ground bevels with a plain edge. The weight is 7.5 oz for phenolic and 10.5 for cocobolo models.

I’ve seen many 119 Special reviews mentioning “phenolic blades.” This seems to be a common misconception. For future reference, “phenolic” is the term used for handles, and it means they’re made of plastic to a certain degree. It can never be used to describe the actual blade.

Speaking of handles, the 119 Special comes with a phenolic grip with an aluminum pommel and guard polished to perfection.

It features the same crescent tip as the 110 family. I’ve already talked about the trade-offs of the finer point, so I won’t repeat myself here.

Finally, it comes with a genuine leather sheath.

I’ve never been much of a hunter, so I never used the 119 Special that much. However, when I did use it, I felt like I could do anything with it.

Ultimately, as far as Buck knives go, this is a serious piece of equipment made for experienced hunters. This is the blade for you if you don’t want to trade sheer power for compact dimensions.

Knife Pros

  • One of the best dedicated game knives
  • Sturdy, long-lasting full tang construction
  • Extremely sharp and easy to re-sharpen
  • Ergonomic phenolic handle
  • Paul Bos heat treat
  • Genuine leather sheath

Knife Cons

  • It’s a larger knife that’s not as compact as the folding models
  • Fine tip not suited for rugged tasks

5. Best Budget Knife: Buck Bantam BBW 284

The Buck Bantam BBW is a small & affordable everyday carrying folder ideal for your everyday needs. It’s a Jack-of-all-trades in the Buck family of knives.

The 2¾” sturdy blade is made of 420HC steel and features an aggressive drop point like the Spitfire. The strong tip makes it perfect for puncturing tasks, but this little guy is also as sharp as they come. Plus, it weighs only 1.5 oz.

You’ll find a thumb stud on both sides for easier operation and a secure mid-lockback mechanism for a smoother closing. Plus, it offers one-handed opening for a swift draw.

In addition, the handle is glass-reinforced nylon with a textured surface for a more secure grip. It also features a lanyard hole for keychain carry.

Knife Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Compact dimensions
  • Has an aggressive drop point
  • Glass-reinforced nylon handle
  • Textured handle for a superior grip
  • Mid-lockback mechanism
  • Lanyard hole

Knife Cons:

  • The handle on these knives is not top-quality
  • No pocket clip

6. Best Classic Fixed Blade: Buck Woodsman 102

The 102 Woodsman is a part of the Buck’s “classic fixed blade” knife family. While it is very similar to the 119 Special, it has a thinner blade and a HUGE size difference.

The Woodsman comes with a 4” 420HC blade and weighs 3.6 oz (2.5 for phenolic). A super-sharp edge with a fine clip point is ideal for prepping smaller game and fish. However, it’s not one of the best game knives for large animals. If you want to hunt bigger game, you’ll need a larger knife like the 119 Special.

Similarly to 119 Special, this sturdy knife features a full tang construction with a finger guard on the handle for a classic design. The carry option also comes in the form of a genuine leather sheath for extra comfort and convenience.

Knife Pros

  • High-quality, fixed, sturdy blade
  • Supreme edge/easy to sharpen
  • Knife of choice for prepping small game & fish
  • Fine crescent point for detailed work
  • Woodman 102 knives feature full tang construction
  • Rugged & solid knife

Knife Cons

  • These knives are not ideal for larger game
  • Fine tip not suited for rugged tasks

7. Best Mid-Size Fixed Blade Knife: Buck Selkirk 863

If you’re looking for a fixed mid-size outdoor blade in your knives, look no further than the Selkirk. It offers the best of the two worlds – the light weight of the folder paired with the sturdiness of fixed hunter knives.

The 4⅝” blade is made of 420HC steel and has a vicious drop point. The overall weight of these knives is 7.6 oz, which is a little hefty but is a testament to their durability.

Selkirk 863 comes with a stylish brown/black CNC-contoured Micarta handle. The injection-molded polypropylene sheath lends itself to both vertical and horizontal carry. The

Still, don’t be fooled by the size of these knives – Selkirk is a dedicated hunting knife. It can even skin an animal in a pinch. I used this exact model when I first learned how to skin an elk in the field. The drop point helped avoid accidental puncturing.

Knife Pros

  • Compact dimensions
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy, durable construction
  • Comfortable micarta handle
  • Knives come with a polypropylene tactical sheath
  • Rugged drop point

Knife Cons

  • These knives are not as powerful as larger hunting knives, so they don’t make the best skinning knife

8. Best Buck Knife For Survival: Buck 105 Pathfinder

The 105 Pathfinder is another member of Buck’s “classic fixed blades” knife family. Unlike the 119 Special or Woodsman, this is a classic, all-purpose fixed blade, which makes it one of the best Buck knives for survival.

Its heavy-duty full tang construction can take tons of abuse, which has made this knife one of my favorite tools.

The modified clip blade is made of 420HC steel and has an impressive blade length of 5 inches. In my experience, it can take a serious beating before it loses its edge, but re-sharpening it is a breeze.

The overall weight is 5.8 oz.

The carry option is a genuine leather sheath that holds the knives tightly for superior comfort.

If you’re looking for well-rounded knives that can perform all tasks equally well, 105 Pathfinder is the piece for you!

Knife Pros

  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Extremely sharp, sturdy blade
  • Easy to re-sharpen
  • 105 knives feature the Paul Bos heat treat
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Stylish cocobolo handle
  • Genuine leather sheath
  • Hands-down best Buck knife for survival

Knife Cons

  • These knives are not ideal for passionate hunters. You’ll find a better hunting knife in the Buck 119 Special.

9. Honorable Mention: Buck 840 Sprint Select

The Buck Sprint Select is an extremely high-quality knife, but it’s a little pricier. Still, with the price you pay, you get some really nice features.

This Buck has a small 3-inch blade made with ultra-durable 420HC steel.

What makes it super unique, though, are the ball bearings inside of it, making for the fastest, smoothest one-handed opening you’ll ever experience. These bearings keep the blade coming out seamlessly, even after years of wear and tear.

It also has a comfortable handle made with glassed filled nylon for a lightweight yet incredibly shatter and chip-resistant grip that feels soft and supple. It’s one of Buck’s more modern designs but still has a classy, stunning appearance.

Beyond these benefits, this knife is versatile beyond belief. It is one of the Best buck knives for survival thanks to its reliability, lightweight size, and durability.

Buck Knife Buyer’s Guide: What is the Best Buck Knife for You?

While it’s nice to have a knife collection, knives are made to be used. So if you don’t get one that suits your lifestyle, you’ll just have a sharp decoration to collect dust with.

As always, the best knife for you depends on what you’re trying to do with your blades. If you are a hunter, you may want a knife like the Buck 119 Special or 102 Woodsman. For everyday use, a Buck 110 Folding Hunter, Spitfire, or Bantam might be best.

How you plan to use your knife will dictate the best shape, size, weight, carry options, appearance, and materials. 

To help you find the perfect match, I’ll list some of the most common situations in which you might want to use your knife and the best Buck for each scenario:

  • If you live to hunt, the best buck knife options would be the 119 Special and 102 Woodsman, depending on the size of your preferred game.
  • If you need the best Buck knife for survival, a smaller tool like Spitfire or Selkirk would be perfect, depending on whether you like folding knives or fixed blades. I personally think the Buck 105 Pathfinder is best in survival scenarios, but only use it if you can spare the extra room.
  • If you’re just looking for everyday pocket knives to do common tasks, something like a Spitfire or Bantam would be the best Buck knife.

Is Buck a Good Knife Brand?

Buck is a good knife brand, offering great value for its quality. In addition, Buck is known for its reliability, lifetime warranty on all of its knives, and use of high-quality, tough materials.

Generally, Buck knives are of the same quality as more expensive knives but at a reduced price point. That makes them a great choice for knife enthusiasts and everyday people looking for an inexpensive yet reliable blade.

If you look at any “top 10” list of hunting knives or pocket knives, you’ll probably find at least one Buck knife on there. That’s because many of their knives are heritage quality, which is astonishing considering the cost.

So, if you are looking for a great deal and value for your money, Buck is the best knife brand to shop from.

Do Buck Knives Hold Their Edge?

Buck knives hold their edge incredibly well. Buck is famous for its patented tempering process for each blade. All knives are heat-treated according to their intended use, giving them the perfect balance of strength, corrosion resistance, and flexibility.

Since Buck creates each of its knives with a specific purpose, it’s essential to find your perfect match from the wide variety of blades in its catalog. Otherwise, the knife you pick might not be ideal for the tasks you need it for.

However, Buck is one of the best names in the knife game when it comes to edge-holding capabilities.

Buck equips its knives with the renowned Edge2x technology. This allows their blades to be sharper than other knives and hold their edge longer. This feature also makes their knives much easier to re-sharpen.

What Steel Does Buck Knives Use?

Most of Buck’s knives are made from 420HC (high carbon stainless steel). This steel has excellent corrosion resistance and holds an edge very well. However, top-of-the-line Buck knives consist of S30V steel, which is the absolute best blade steel out there.

420HC is a standard for Buck knives, but it’s still far better than other blade materials from lesser-known brands. In addition, 420HC is well known for its corrosion resistance, making it almost rust-proof and easy to sharpen, no matter how old the blade is.

That said, 420HC will still rust if you soak it in salt water or don’t keep it clean.

On the other hand, you have top-tier blades made from S30V. This steel material is the diamond standard in the knifemaking industry, as it holds an edge longer than almost any other steel. However, it’s less corrosion-resistant than 420HC and harder to sharpen.

So, if you want a knife to use in damp places – think fishing, hunting, and survival – you will likely want a Buck made from 420HC. But, on the other hand, if you want a practical, strong knife for cutting wood, fabric, and other tough, dry things, S30V might be a good choice.

Sharpening a Buck Knife

To sharpen your Buck knife, you can either do it yourself or send it to Buck for sharpening. Of course, you can sharpen your knives yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend this unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

The official Buck website has an excellent sharpening guide that might help you with doubts and questions if you choose to DIY.

Alternatively, Buck offers a sharpening service for just $6.95 per knife + return shipping. Note that this service is not available for blades with serrated edges.

Looking for a Great Knife With Gut Hook?

If you want to take advantage of the reliability of a Buck knife but with a hook for hunting, here are our favorite picks from the wide variety of knives in the Buck lineup:

  • Buck BuckLite Max II. This gut-hooked version of one of Buck’s most popular b;ades is a fixed blade knife with large gut hook.
  • Buck Pursuit Pro with gut hook. Large fixed knife blade with a lanyard hole. Excellent design and durability – one of the best tactical knives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When shopping for a new knife, you want to make sure you can trust it. That’s why we thought we’d address some of the most common questions about Buck knives and discuss what makes them unique.

Can Buck Knives Survive in Extremely Cold Climates?

If you take good care of your Buck knives, they can survive even the harshest conditions, even in extremely cold or hot climates. However, you must keep your blades dry, ice-free, and lubricate them regularly.

What is the Buck Forever Warranty?

Buck guarantees that every single one of their knives will be free of defects in material and craftsmanship for the life of the knife. If your blades prove to be defective, the Buck knife company will give you the option to repair them or replace them with a new knife.

Note that this warranty doesn’t cover normal wear, misuse, and modifications of your knives. The company also warns against using their knives as hammers, pry bars, screwdrivers, or chisels.

Where Are Buck Knives Made?

Most Buck Knives are made in Idaho, in the USA. However, some of their lower-price knives are made overseas. All of the knives ranked in this review were made in the USA.

What Is the Largest Buck Folding Knife?

The largest Buck folding Knife is the Buck Knives 220 Silver Creek Folding Fishing Fillet Knife. This knife has a blade length of 6.5 inches. However, the largest Buck folding pocket knife is the Buck 110, with a blade length of 3 and 3/4 inches.

What Knife Made Buck Knives Famous?

The Buck Knives 110 Folding Hunter made Buck Knives famous since it was one of the first folding lockback knives for hunting. Released in the1960s, Buck has since sold over 15 million 110s, making it one of the most popular knives of all time.

What’s Your Best Buck Knife?

Finding the best Buck knife for survival, everyday carrying, or hunting comes down to identifying your needs and meeting them with the right tool. Whether you’re looking for a folding knife, a fixed-blade knife, a clip-point blade, or a pocket knife, Buck is sure to have the right one.

I outlined some of the most common cases and shared with you my list of favorite Buck knives. Among them, we covered the best Buck knives for hunting, everyday use, fine cutting, survival knife, tactical scenarios, cutting in tight spaces, intentional puncturing… and a lot more.

All that’s left for you to do is identify your needs and follow my roadmap. Then look at the price and decide the best knife for you.

Leave any tips and suggestions for your fellow knife enthusiasts in the comments below. Also, let us know if this list helped you find your perfect blade.

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