Buck 110 Folding Hunter Pocket Knife Review
“The Most Famous Knife Of All Time…”
*This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn compensation if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you! -Koda Moon
Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we’re taking a trip back in time to the mid 60‘s.
That’s when our story begins… a time when knives were made of good ol’ stainless steel, brass, iron and wood. You could say it was a simpler time…
Our story really begins one eventful day in 1964; the day Buck knives introduced the Buck 110 Folding hunter.
Ultimately, this was a tool that would revolutionize the industry and forever change what it meant to own a quality folding knife.
Soon after the Buck 110 was released, it rapidly gained momentum throughout the knife world and found its way into just about every facet of American life.
Hunters, soldiers, cops, sailors, outdoorsmen, factory workers, and everyone in between carried a Buck 110. It was widely accepted as the “Everyman’s knife.”
It was so popular in fact, that a tradition was born out of it- one where the knife was passed down the line from father to son.
Handed down from generation to generation, it represented a rite passage for boys making their transition to manhood.
Fast forward to the present day, and I am honored to present to you my own take on the most iconic American knife ever made, the Buck 110 folding hunter.
The Buck 110 is the most famous knife in the world- bar none. It is a true classic. Its simple yet elegant design consists of a beautiful dymondwood handle, large brass bolsters and a 420 HC stainless steel blade.
While this knife is far from perfect (as is any knife), it still has those qualities you can’t help but respect. It’s a knife that, in a sense, is in a class of its own. It’s difficult to compare it to other knives, as doing so is akin to comparing apples and oranges.
Ultimately, the 110 is a pocket knife that marches to the beat of its own drum. Despite being outdated and inefficient in design and even function, we can’t help but be drawn to its remarkable reputation and killer looks.
WHO IT’S FOR?
Anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a true knife enthusiast. In all seriousness though, it’s pretty much suitable for all collectors, hunters, fisherman and outdoorsman of any type. Truth be told, anyone could enjoy carrying one of these.
The only people I could imagine who WOULDN’T benefit from the 110 are those who’s ONLY concern is modern urban efficiency.
Obviously, if you’re only into sleek and stylish modern folders, this knife is a big stretch. However, I still support what I said: Everyone should own one… regardless of your style.
This knife is oldschool, clunky and impractical. That being said, I still hold the opinion that everyone needs to own at least one.
While it’s certainly no high-tech folder, it’s still drop-dead gorgeous, reliable, durable and constructed with the highest-quality materials. I mean, there’s a REASON this is the most famous knife in America. Nuff said.
So the first time I ever saw a Buck 110, I immediately became obsessed with its rustic charm and fell under its spell. Hard.
I was only a curious 10 year old wandering aimlessly through the woods one day when I spotted a shiny metal object glimmering on the forest floor.
I ran to pick it up, completely oblivious that the object in my hand was actually the most legendary knife ever produced by man. I picked it up, stuck it in my pocket, went home and never looked back.
Ever since that day, collecting knives has been such a rewarding hobby (or possibly an obsession) of mine. Yes, the 110 is the whole reason I got into knife collecting in the first place.
SO, as a collector, I’ll just say it bluntly: you’re not really a knife collector in my eyes unless you own a buck 110.
That’s right, in my opinion, you cannot really call yourself a knife collector unless you own a Buck 110. It is basically a rite of passage among knife collectors.
My first impression of this knife was that it was drop-dead gorgeous. It looked exactly how a hunting knife should look- only it had more swagger, and let’s face it… there’s no substitution for impeccable style.
It had the sheer ruggedness of an outdoors knife, all the while maintaining an appearance of class and elegance you would expect of a gentleman’s folder.
To me, this knife looks like something you might find at a yacht club sitting next to a bottle of fine whisky and a box of Cubans. For lack of a better description, this knife looks manly as hell.
The moment you go to pick this thing up you’ll realize it is not a small knife, nor is it lightweight. There is nothing wimpy or frail about the frame of this knife either. Its robustness is truly something to marvel at.
Put another way, the last thing you would want me to chuck at your head is this knife. It has the potential to knock you out.
- Blade Length: 3-3/4″
- Blade Material: 420HC Stainless
- Handle Material: Dymondwood
- Blade Thickness: 0.12″
- Length Closed: 4-7/8″
- Locking Mechanism: Lockback
- Weight: 7.2 oz.
The Buck 110 wears a 3.75″ hollow-ground clip point blade made of 420HC Stainless steel.
I’ve found that this knife’s hollow grind makes it a pretty smooth slicer, especially when it comes to rough or coarse materials like rope or meat. The grind also makes it easy to get a super fine edge with little effort.
As for the clip point, in addition to being pure eye candy of badassness, it provides a pretty impressive piercing ability. Lightly push the tip of your finger into it and you’ll immediately know what I’m talking about.
I mean, this thing really does have an insanely sharp tip, so I can see why it is a hunting knife first and foremost. The tip can easily pierce through a thick deer hide or similar material. That clip point is no joke.
As for the Buck 110’s 420 high carbon stainless blade steel, it might make you raise an eyebrow (at least at first)…
“Koda!” you might say, “420HC steel blows! Why would on earth I ever get a knife made of it!?” WELL I WILL TELL YOU WHY!!
The reality is, Buck doesn’t make your typical 420 HC stainless steel. They have the “magical touch” if you will: Buck’s famous heat treatment. I’m serious about that.
Buck has truly taken a run of the mill steel and made something magical out of it.
As they say, “A knife steel is only as good as its heat treatment”, and Buck’s heat treat is done by the best in the business- Paul Bos.
Any steel you get from Buck will most likely be as good as it can get heat treat wise, and I can personally vouch for the quality of this knife’s 420 HC blade steel.
In my opinion, 420 HC steel’s most redeeming quality is how ridiculously easy it is to sharpen. It’s able to get so hair-splitting sharp because of how soft the steel is.
That also makes this an ideal blade steel for beginners who don’t have a lot of sharpening experience because, let me tell you, this knife is hella easy to sharpen.
Another superiority of 420HC is that it is less apt to rust or corrode, so if you are an avid outdoorsman, that’s a pretty hefty bonus considering your blade has to hold up over time against nature’s harsh elements.
The Buck 110′s handle is as ridiculous as it is awesome… Let’s address the big fat elephant in the room.
“Dude, that handle is big. Like ‘how can you fit that in your pocket?’ big… Like ‘that knife is 99% handle’ big. Or ‘That thing must have its own gravitational pull’ big.” Ok, I exaggerate… But it is pretty big.
While a larger, bulkier handle may be a turnoff for some people, I actually dig it. It’s nostalgic in a way.
Using such a handle takes me back to childhood, a time when I didn’t didn’t have any fancy-shmancy light-frame carbon fiber knives.
Back then, I basically just walked around with a brick of a knife in my pocket that weighed down my shorts so much they just dragged behind me on the dirt…
…Ah, good times.
Aside from being a little bulky, the redeeming quality here is that the handle really is gorgeous. It’s a style that you can’t help but appreciate.
The wood is ‘Dymondwood’, and boy does it look sweet. If you didn’t already know, Dymondwood isn’t actually a type of wood at all…
Rather, it’s made using thin sheets of wood veneer fused together with resins under heat and pressure. It’s stronger than most woods and comes with less warping.
Now, you all knew this was coming… let’s talk about those big, bodacious bolsters! …Gotta love alliteration.
The brass bosters on the ends of the handle give this knife suck a bold and classy look. They also make up a majority of the knife’s overall weight and heavily influence the knife’s center of balance in hand.
Let’s talk basic cleaning for a second… So I’ve had a few 110’s, and I can confidently say that if you don’t take care of the brass bolsters and shine them every now and then, they will definitely get dirty.
Brass definitely gets tarnished over time and develops a rustic look. It’s a very distinct look- I’ll give it that.
Some people love that rustic style, but personally I’m not a huge fan, so I scrub my bolsters till they’re nice and shiny. Hey, it’s preference, baby. Maybe you like the rustic brass look… You do you.
As for the fit and finish, some of the pins are a bit sloppily placed with one or two of them slightly protruding, but it’s not a deal-breaker- I’m just a stickler for detail.
It’s not like the pins protrude enough that you feel them sticking out or anything. Rather, it’s more of a slight aesthetic annoyance.
If the bolsters were to create a hotspot, that might have been a more severe issue, but they don’t, so it’s perfectly fine. I can deal with a little sloppiness.
Ok, this is where things get a little bit old school… so hold onto your britches. That’s right, I just said britches.
Unlike modern folders that open with the flick of a wrist, the 110 requires a bit more effort. It doesn’t have any fancy thingamajigger hoohas like flippers, spring-assists or thumbstuds.
Rather, the blade is essentially a slab of steel with a simple nail nick. No frills here.
It does require two hands to open (unless you’re uber skilled) so I wouldn’t recommend you be an idiot and open it one-handed unless, of course, you wanna go to the emergency room with no thumb.
Luckily, opening this knife isn’t much of a challenge like you might expect. Buck made sure the 110 had a generous amount of blade exposed when closed, so there’s definitely enough steel to grab onto.
While opening, there is a moderate amount of resistance when pulling the blade out, but that’s more so in comparison to more advanced folders. Again, it’s apples and oranges.
You have to remember that this knife was designed in 1964, people. Holding it to today’s knife standards is suicide.
It can’t compare to todays metrics simply because the value of this knife and modern knives can’t be compared and contrasted… at least not clearly or with any validity.
In terms of closing the knife, it yields about the same amount of resistance as it does opening- not a terrible amount, but enough to be considered slightly laborious by some.
One thing I do LOVE about this knife’s deployment is the *snap* it produces when the blade locks into place. It’s SOOOO satisfying.
Not only can you HEAR that lock engage, but you can really FEEL it reverberate throughout your fingertips when it snaps shut. It really is the small things, you know??
The Buck 110 is bear naked. There’s no pocket clip, so your only two carrying options are 1) wear it in the belt sheath that comes with the knife (the old-school style of carry) or 2) carry it loose in your pocket.
Either of those carry options are fine, really. I’ve done both and I’m perfectly content carrying either way.
I will point out that it can be a bit bulky in the pocket, so if that’s bothersome to you, the belt sheath is probably your best bet. Plus, wearing a 110 sheath on your belt just looks bada** anyway.
Honestly, people are often stunned by how good the ergonomics of this handle are… I was one of those people.
This handle is bulky as hell, sure, but that also means it’s full-bodied, and that full body sits very nicely in the palm of your hand.
One might expect the handle to be uncomfortable in hand because of the boxed shape, but the corners are smoothed down and rounded out superbly.
The natural resting position of the handle in your palm doesn’t leave a lot of space for maneuverability, but the one hand position it does sit naturally in is a very solid, comfortable position.
I WILL say that when tightly gripped, there is a slight hot spot dead center in your palm, but I only notice it when I’m doing more aggressive woodwork that requires a much firmer grasp on the handle.
For EDC cutting tasks, however, the ergonomics are great. You’re gonna have no problems doing mild day to day cutting tasks with ease. You also won’t have any trouble carrying out mildly tough outdoor tasks for say, camping.
The Buck 110 features a good ol’ lock back design. It’s INCREDIBLY strong, solid, simple, and even more importantly, it’s reliable.
I can honestly say you do NOT have to worry about this lock failing on you. It’s heavy duty, especially compared to some of these wimpy liner locks we’ve got floating around the market today.
Aside from being as convenient as liner locks and frame locks, lock backs just have a brute strength about them that is, for the most part, unrivaled.
When I say this thing locks into place, it really locks. There is no blade play. That thing’s not moving. It’s always a bonus to know your lock isn’t gonna fail on you and get your fingers chopped off, you know?
Over the years I’ve had quite a few Buck 110’s, most of which came shaving sharp right out of the box. Beyond their initial wow factor and out-of-the-box sharpness, though, their long term performance remains steadfast.
In terms of performance and actual execution, I’ve never been unimpressed or disappointed by the long-term performance of these guys.
I’ve taken them out into the woods more times than I can count. I’ve brought them camping, hiking, fishing- you name it. They’ve always lived up to their name as a hunting knife and performed admirably.
It’s worth noting that while this knife is a high-quality outdoors knife, nothing can take the place of a true fixed-blade bushcraft knife. There are simply some tasks that the 110 was not made to carry out.
This knife can carve greenwood, make feathersticks and strike a fire stick no problemo, but I would DEFINITELY think twice about using it as a prybar or choosing to baton with it.
I mean, there’s a reason fixed blades were created. Use your head. If you like the Buck 110 but want a fixed-blade knife instead, I would recommend the Buck 119. They share a lot of similarities and their styles are in alignment.
Drop-dead gorgeous design
Piercing Clip Point
420HC blade is stupid easy to sharpen
LEAST FAVORITE FEATURES
Fit and finish: Pins are somewhat sloppily done
Big and heavy
Let’s face it, if America was to be personified by any ONE knife, it would most certainly be the Buck 11o. It’s big, bold, it’s strong. Above all, it’s revolutionary- errr at least it used to be.
Now, some might consider this legend to be a relic of the past, but I’m here to say that even in today’s modern world, it still remains relevant by bring tremendous value and purpose to the table.
Not only has it rightfully earned its spot among a specific niche in modern folding knives, but, even more impressively, it has earned its spot among the true legends.
The Buck 110 was my very 1st knife. It was and always will be the knife that opened the door and introduced me to the world of knife collecting…
As far as I’m concerned, it’s a knife that every enthusiast should own. I love my tacticals, my flipper blades and my lightweight EDC’s, but the 110 is just a milestone in knife history.
This is a slice (no pun intended) of real knife history that can be had for a humble amount of money. This knife isn’t just an icon, though…
It’s practical and it has withstood the real-world test of time. As I said way back at the beginning of this review, I don’t really consider you a knife collector until you’ve owned a Buck 110.
That may sound harsh, but it’s true. Sorry. Hopefully I’ve opened up your eyes to the value this untouchable knife really provides.
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