Buck 110 Folding Hunter Knife Review: A Timeless Masterpiece
Blade
Steel
Design
Weight
Handle
Sheath
What We Loved
  • Razor sharp blade out of the box
  • Easy to resharpen the 420HC blade
  • Timeless design
What Can Be Improved
  • Weight makes it impractical as an EDC
  • Brittle tip that can break
4.3Editor's Rating

Buck 110 Knife Review

Buck 110 review

Call me old school, but when I think of a folding hunting knife, the first thing that immediately comes to my mind is the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. Growing up, my father gave me very first knife (a Buck 110). This is not only a classic in my family, but also one of my favorite knives, and so I admittedly might be a bit biased as I’ve used one since being a boy. And, I know that’s not something unique to just me, but similar to many others as well. However, in this in-depth Buck 110 review, I will look to break down all facets and characteristics of this knife to explain what’s great about it, and what I wish Buck would improve on.

Specifications:

  • Blade Type: Folding
  • Tip: Crescent
  • Steel: 420HC
  • Blade Length: 3.75”
  • Blade Thickness: .12”
  • Knife Overall Length (Closed): 4.875”
  • Handle: Dymondwood
  • Knife Weight: 7.2 Ounces
  • Sheath: Leather

Overview

Without a doubt, the Buck 110 Folding Hunter is one of the most famous Buck knives on the market and has some real history behind it. It is their most iconic model, and true piece of Americana. Created in 1963 by Al Buck, the 110 truly helped to put Buck knives on the map and to create such a lasting brand. What made this knife so unique was its innovative design. Typically, folders did not, and still do not have the strength to rival that of fixed blade knives. That’s what made the 110 so innovative and disruptive.

Features:

  1. Lockback design, ideal for its strength and safety when in use
  2. Strong stainless steel crescent blade, perfect for detail oriented work such as field dressing, skinning and when camping
  3. Forged with 420HC stainless steel which is a sturdy and easy to sharpen steel
  4. Includes Buck’s Forever Warranty which is reassuring how much Buck stands behind their knives

Buck was able to pair the portable and nimbleness of folder, with the strength of a fixed blade. And in doing so, has turned this bad boy into a timeless classic, and one of the most influential folders – or knives in general – in modern times. Heck, most people already have it in their collection as this knife has sold millions of times. Of all the knives on the market, if you don’t personally own one, you probably know someone that does, and for good reason.

The 110 has aged well because even in a time where technology is ruling all industries and advancing faster than we can keep up with it, the Buck 110 goes back to the roots of simpler times. It is a classic, old timer knife … a classic made in the USA. It is Buck’s flagship folder model, and for that reason alone, whether you’re a collector or not, you’ll probably want to consider hanging it on display just because of its looks and heritage. When you see it in person, you can appreciate its work of art.

Quick Thoughts

As I’ve alluded to already, the Buck 110 is an old school knife, and hasn’t changed much from the way it was created back in 1963 (some real history). It was one of the first commercial folding hunting knives made available, so you have to keep in mind that as a pioneer, it paved the way for many of the folders out today. It has some rawness as the first mover.

With that being said, the 110 is not suited for every single task, but I’ve found it to be incredibly well-rounded as an outdoor folder. It’s a robust knife with numerous uses and functionality, perfect for field dressing, hunting and skinning, fishing, and tactical in a pinch. Although it wasn’t designed to be a box cutter, or pocket knife, or even for cutting onions, some people use it for everything (and can’t say that I haven’t as well). If you’re looking for a skinner, this can slice through dozens of deer or elk, and many faithful users have relied on it to do so.

The Buck 110 is a lockback folder, and a quality alternative to the big fixed-blade knives, which is what many hunters (including myself) use in the field. Typically, you can’t rival the strength and reliability of a fixed knife, so there are naturally going to be trade-offs.

In my opinion, I believe the 110 has had such incredible success because of its appeal to our primordial instincts. There is something about its raw, yet polished look that is simply alluring. You just have to hold it to understand.

I am now going to review specific aspects of the Buck 110 that I consider important in a knife.

How’s The Blade Quality?

Whew, is this blade sharp! And, I’m glad to see that even to this day, out of the box the Buck 110 is hair shaving sharp (hey – we all do it to test our new blades).

This knife comes with a 3.75 inch clip point blade with a crescent tip, shaving sharp out of the box. While a smaller blade size, I prefer that for more finer and detailed work such as whittling sticks. As opposed to a 14 inch blade on a bowie knife, a 3 – 4 inch blade allows for more precision to make delicate cuts. This knife has been used to field dress many whitetail deer, the fine and sharp point allow for that. It will be small for batoning, but understand that is not its design, it’s primarily a hunting knife.

buck 110 blade

The blade is beautiful and has an excellent fit and finish to it. The belly is fastened at angle, making it the perfection option to slice through most material and objects – super sharp for slicing right through food (for camping) or game. The blade appears to be hollow ground, and has an acute tip.

There is one common complaint about the knife. You need to be careful with the tip as it is brittle and can break. Many users and hunters that I have heard from have mentioned that excessive and rigorous use on the delicate tip results in a broken tip. So keep that in mind, depending on the work that you will need it for. Another point worth mentioning is that there is no jimping or choil on the blade if you like to choke up on the blade (as you can with a fixed blade).

Lockback Design

All things considered, the Buck 110 has excellent lockback design and deployment. The lockback is designed for strength and safety, and ensures that that knife locks tight so that it won’t close when in use.

The blade safely locks up nice and tight when extended with the lockback design. There is minimal wiggle or concern that it might close on your hand while in use. When you pull it out of its sheath for deployment, it opens nice and smooth, and visibly locks so that you know it is engaged.

One drawback, for some, is that you realistically need to use two hands to open the 110. The nail nick on the knife allows you to easily open the knife, but with two hands. If you would prefer the quickness and dexterity of being able to use one hand, you would need a thumb stud in order to seamlessly do so. However, this has never been much of an issue for me, and I prefer that the spring is reinforced so vigorously so that when it is open, or closed, I know that it is locked.

How About The 110’s Steel?

The Buck 110 is constructed with Buck’s standard 420HC steel. While 420HC is an average steel, the heat treatment by Buck makes this an exceptional and much higher grade steel than it typically would be. It is regarded highly for its ability to replicate the wear resistance of high carbon allows, but the advantages of chromium stainless steels for its corrosion resistance properties. For the money, this steel has phenomenal strength, not only for wear resistance, but long-term durability as well (a reason why Buck knives last so long).

The 420HC takes a wicked edge, and even after beating the knife, it easily sharpens back to razor sharp levels. The Rockwell hardness of this steel is 58. Overall, it is an excellent steel that holds a great edge, but the one caveat that I will include is that this is not a “2017 knife”, nor is it a $200 – $300 knife. For what it is, the steel is superb. If you want top of the line steel, look for S30V from Buck.

What Do You Think of the Buck 110’s Handle?

The Buck 110 is constructed with one of my favorite handles, a Dymondwood handle with brass bolsters. It isn’t necessarily the most ergonomic handle that I have ever used (and widespread agreement on that), but there’s something about it that simply feels right in your hands.

Buck 110 handle

I’ve said this a few times in the review, but you need to hold it in your hands to truly feel the elegance of the craftsmanship, it is much more than just a chunk of wood and brass. The handle rests naturally in your hand, and has a nice wholesome feel. It is hefty with good weight because of the brass bolsters, and gives it a solid, thick feeling almost like a rock.

You’ll notice it has beautiful wooden scales. Just all around a truly gorgeous knife, and beautiful handle. It might look familiar because many companies have attempted to replicate this design. The difference is the 110 is a no frills knife. There is minimal finger grooves for your hand, but no jimping, which is another example of how it goes back to the old school ways of just being a simple, no bs knife.

I find that a quality knife, particularly for intense work like hunting or skinning should have good weight distribution, and feel balanced in your hands. With a folder, the joint or pivot should be centered, which offers you more control as you use the blade. The balance is perfect in the 110, directly in the middle, and I find it to be comfortable for delicate work.

Thoughts On the Design

Considering the age of this knife, it’s no stretch to call the design of this knife to be a timeless masterpiece, or in other words, a serious homerun by Buck. Why is it such an iconic folder? I would argue largely because of the impeccable craftsmanship, and gorgeous design of this knife. It balances between being contemporary and traditional.

The brass liner on the handle and brash holsters is classy, the finish is exceptionally polished, and all around, it makes up a sleek, classic design.

While this is a knife designed to operate as a hunter’s companion for field dressing and finessing murky situations, I think it holds just as much value in the elegance of its design and appearance. If you think I’m too goo over the 110’s design, you can take solace in the fact that very rarely will you hear negative remarks on the 110’s appearance.

Opinion on the Sheath

The Buck 110 includes a big genuine leather sheath out of the box, with a nice snap closure. Fitting for the 110, it is a classic belt sheath, portable for your belt, and it fits tight and snug when not drawn. I have not had issues with it wiggling or rattling in my pocket.  

buck 110 sheath

The craftsmanship on the sheath is superb. It has excellent stitching and is well-sown together. While it is made in Mexico, Mexico is known to have great leather, and this is a nice example of a thick and sturdy sheath.

One recommendation that I would have, if you decide to purchase and use the 110, is that it is ideal to use this high-quality sheath because of the weight of the knife. It feel significantly more natural, and balanced on the sheath on your belt or bag then to carry it direct. The knife is rather hefty and will weigh down your pocket. When you hold it, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

Overall, for the money, I have no complaints with the sheath, and find it to be fitting and classy for this knife.

Hefty Weight

The Buck 110 weighs 7.2 ounces. For a folder of this size, that means it has some heft to it. Of knives in this class, it is far from lightweight. This also puts it on the heavier end of being an EDC. While in use, the weight feels great, as I discussed above in the review of the Buck 110’s handle. However, the only time the weight can be a hindrance is when carrying it around. For that reason, I recommend using the sheath as it becomes significantly more portable.

The Buck Brand

As customary of the Buck brand, the 110 is made in the USA, and includes Buck’s famous Forever Warranty. Buck has built up a superb brand and image for not only using top quality materials, but their incredible craftsmanship. While I mentioned Buck’s great heat treatment in the Steel section, it is largely because of Paul Bos. Paul Bos’ progressive heat treatment and technology to forge classic knives such as the 110 is a large reason that it is as historical and iconic that it is.

My Verdict

Buck 110 review

Ultimately, you really can’t go wrong with this classic. If you’re like the millions of others who have owned and used the 110, then it’s likely you’ll not only fall in love with it, but also turn it into a legacy knife, and pass it on to the next hunter in line. To me, that makes it a truly nostalgic knife worth owning. For the price it is hard to beat as it is inexpensive, and a well-rounded, functional knife.

“Is it the most effective knife on the market”? “Is it the most cutting-edge knife on the market”? “How about, is it even the best hunting knife on the market”? Unfortunately no. But, for what it is (with legacy in tact), it is excellent.

It’s Buck’s flagship model that has inspired so many other great hunting knives. Holding it in your hand is like holding a piece of history, and for that, I recommend it if you’re looking to see the piece that influenced so many other knives.

And, hey, its gorgeous design doesn’t hurt either.

Editor’s Rating: 4.3 / 5.0

Pros:

  • Timeless design
  • Impeccable craftsmanship
  • Razor sharp blade out of the box
  • Easy to resharpen the 420HC blade
  • Classy genuine leather sheath
  • Fair price for the value and quality of this knife
  • Buck’s Forever Lifetime Warranty

Cons:

  • Weight makes it impractical to serve as an everyday carry.
  • Brittle tip that can break under rough conditions
  • As a classic, it is not going to be the most modern or advanced knife on the market

Q&A about the Buck 110

What type of blade is it constructed with?

As the name suggests, it is constructed as a sturdy folding blade.

What type of sheath does the Buck 110 knife come with?

This depends on where you buy your knife from, and from which company. Typically, the Buck 110 comes with a leather sheath, however some merchants still include a nylon sheath with the 110. At the time of this writing, the Amazon listing included in this review features the leather sheath.

How is the 110 opened?

Due to the design of the lockback on the 110, it has to be opened with two hands. This is a common question, and drawback of the 110. While there are alternatives such as getting a thumb stud, the fingernail notch on the blade is not ideal for one hand.

Where is the Buck 110 made?

Customary of most Buck products, the 110 is an American classic, and manufactured in the USA. However, the sheath is made in Mexico. While a stigma for some, Mexico has actually built a reputation for excellent leather manufacturing and craftsmanship, and a large reason that Buck has it done outside the USA.

What can this knife “do”?

Don’t simply want to leave it on display? While it’s a beauty sitting on your wall or shelf when not in use, this is a super multi-functional and robust knife. I’ve found it to excel in many hunting roles, such as for gutting and skinning deer and game, as well as for camping, fishing, and even tasks around the house.

Would you recommend it?

Depends on what you are looking for in a knife, what you need it for, and your budget. If you read the review, you’ll see that I am  a very big fan of this knife, however, no it is not for everyone!

Other Articles That You Might Enjoy:

http://www.huntsharp.com/deer-skinning-knife-set/

http://www.huntsharp.com/best-skinning-knife/

http://www.huntsharp.com/best-field-dressing-knife/

 

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