Buck Knives 119 Review: Is This Buck’s Best Hunting Knife?
Blade Quality
Steel Quality
Knife Design
Sheath Quality
What We Love:
  • Excellent craftsmanship
  • Bang for your "Buck"
  • Gorgeous knife
What Could Be Improved
  • Rivets on the leather belt loop
  • Choil
4.6Editor's Rating

Buck Knives 119 Review


What Do You Get?

  • A razor sharp 6” clip blade
  • Weighs a solid 7.5 oz
  • Excellent length: 10.5”
  • Constructed with 420HC steel and full tang
  • Strong, compact fixed blade knife
  • Designed with a beautiful Cocobolo Dymondwood handle OR black phenolic handle
  • Comfortable brass pommel and guard which features a 75th Anniversary Medallion
  • Paired with a genuine leather sheath
  • Made in the USA


Well, it’s only fair to get this out of the way first. I have to start by acknowledging that I am a pretty big Buck fan, and it’s not just for any old reason. Buck has earned my respect and trust in their brand from their constant top-notch craftsmanship and quality, especially for the prices that they charge. My first ever knife was a Buck 110, so when I had the opportunity to grab a Buck 119, I knew it was time to try out an iconic flagship of Buck. This is my Buck 119 review after all of these years!

Unboxing the Buck 119

After you unbox this monster, it almost looks too good to use as you lose yourself in its blinding reflection. Out of the box, the Buck 119 is 10.5” in length, has a razor sharp 6” clip blade, and weighs a solid 7.5 ounces.

And, let me call this thing what it is. It’s a large, traditional American-style hunting knife. AKA the classic, old-school look and feel which SCREAMS Americana.

The Buck 119 is constructed with 420HC Steel, and while it’s not exposed, it is in fact full tang. You’ll notice one of two handles: either the classic black phenolic handle, or my personal preference, the Cocobolo Dymondwood handle. And of course, it comes with a genuine leather sheath.

Honestly, What Do You Think?

Honestly? Well, I’m impressed. You don’t have to be a knife critic to be able to appreciate the amount of time and detail that undoubtedly went into crafting this knife (dating back over 40 years ago). You’ll also be hard pressed to find anyone who has something negative to say about this knife, for good reason. In review is the Buck 119 for Buck’s 75th Anniversary. And, if Buck says that this is one of their best-selling knives, who am I to disagree with that? It certainly has the legacy to back that statement up.

This is an impeccable, timeless masterpiece by Buck that isn’t just lip service … but you can tell that it’s super multi-functional for anything from skinning, field dressing, filleting fish, light camp work, fishing, trapping, hiking, quartering to I would even say carving. I would leave batoning and bushcraft off of that list because while it’s an incredibly well-rounded and versatile knife for hunting and skinning, it would not be my go-to for bushcraft or survivalist knife. It is not designed to baton, or chop wood in half, or other super intensive tasks. For that, you want something like a bowie knife, a machete, an axe or a saw. This is a general purpose hunting knife that can get you out of a jam, but it will exceed all of your expectations for hunting and field dressing.

In this review, I will be focusing on the Buck 119 with the Dymondwood handle. It is a personal preference, but I have found it to be the better balanced knife between the two, and in terms of design and aesthetics, I think it is hands down the superior choice. For that reason, that is the model that I am focusing on, but everything else about the knives are identical except for the handles.


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Tell Me About the Steel

The Buck 119 is constructed with Buck’s standard 420HC steel. And while it’s their “standard”, it’s better than the industry standard. Buck heat treats their 420HC steel so that it is corrosion resistant and has a strong edge retention. With a RC 58 hardness, it means that the steel is tough, but not overly hard that it cannot be easily sharpened. For less experienced knife users who may not be sharpening masters, 420HC steel is a good fit.

On the Buck 119, they certainly do not skimp on the steel by creating this knife with a nice thick slab … a thickness of about 3/16”, plenty thick for a skinning and hunting knife. This thick sturdy steel extends all the way down into the pommel, in other words the Buck 119 is full tang without being exposed. The wood handle covers the steel, even though it runs through it.

Depending on your needs, not having full tang can be a deal breaker, so it’s generally one of the first things that I look for. Particularly in a strong hunting knife, you want it to be full tang. That’s great to see in the Buck 119.

What About the Blade?

Arguably most importantly of any feature of a knife is the blade. The design and handle are both important, but if a knife can’t hold its own with a crappy blade, then it is not worth my money.


Buck 119, straight out of the box, comes with a razor sharp clip point blade and a great cutting edge. The Buck 119 can cut clean through any hide, skin, fur, and meat on any deer or elk like a hot knife through butter. One of the reasons that I have become such a big Buck fan is that they never disappoint with a dull or shoddy blade – making this the real deal for hunting and skinning.

If you’re a hunter, or looking for a knife that can help you with field dressing, one of the best things about the Buck 119 is that it will make your life easier. As opposed to using a dull knife that could not only destroy the meat you are trying to preserve while field dressing, but also cut you, the Buck 119 is a long and sharp knife offering extreme maneuverability.

The Buck 119 has a hollow ground blade that looks as good as it performs. It has a nice stabbing clip point tip, which I find great for puncturing and stabbing wood or game. This type of knife is not designed for chopping log after log, but it is designed to be lean to do detail work. I’m also impressed by its thick sharp blade which helps it to slice through most things unquestioned. I found it strong enough to tear through a rib cage. Why? Its thick spine and full tang really give it that extra strength, yet still preserves the nimbleness required for delicate cuts and skin removal and gutting.

I really like the swedge on the tip of the blade of the Buck 119 and small grooves in its mid-section because it helps with penetration, and the sweeping belly allow for easier skinning and slicing. All of this combined allows for one tough blade. And, it will take you a lot of work, and abuse before dulling it.

One down side? Some complain about the choil and lack of jimping on the 119. To me, it’s far from a deal breaker as it does so much else right.

Design: A Thing of Beauty

Out of the box, this is my favorite thing about the Buck 119. The design has changed very minimally over the past 40 years since it was first incepted, and it still sticks true to the design that helped build Buck into the house hold name it is today.

In my opinion, the Buck 119 has a beautiful design and overall aesthetics: with its excellent fit and finish on the knife. The wood handle accentuates the elegance of the knife. Heck, it has the look of a knife that you just want to hang on your wall and keep on display. From a design perspective, it’s crafted as well as custom handmade knives 3 times its price.


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How About the Handle?

The Buck 119 is constructed with a beautiful Cocobolo Dymondwood handle (that looks more like a dark walnut type of wood) with brass pommel and guard. For 7.5 ounces, it feels awfully light weight and nimble in the hand. To me it fits like a glove.

7.5 ounces is not normally light for a knife. While it doesn’t feel heavy, I would say it feels more compact in weight … a feeling of strength and sturdiness. It’s excellent execution by Buck to identify a weight-balance distribution that is a pure joy to hold.

Overall, it’s a beautiful handle. It looks great. And is practical as well with wonderful ergonomics and grip. When wet, it maintains a decent grip, which is important for any hunting or skinning knife when you’re operating in muddy, bloody or wet conditions.

Don’t Hold Back Now, What About the Sheath?

If you’ve read my other knife reviews, you may have noticed that I’m hard to please with sheaths. When companies include nylon sheaths, I generally am not a fan. For a sheath knife, I like kydex and leather sheaths.

Buck deserves credit. The Buck 119 is now paired with a quality leather sheath. Not only does it look beautiful holstering this gem, but it is practical as well. It’s not over-the-top fancy or designed with crazy emblems, it just has a simple look and feel to it that gives off the vibe its ready for business.

One of the biggest mistakes I see with sheaths is with their safety. Plenty of times a sheath will allow a sharp knife to pierce through. Buck helps to prevent that common issue by including a thin plastic insert, which is a key difference.

Overall, this leather sheath does its job, and does it well retaining the Buck 119 nicely in place. It quickly deploys, and when not in use, sits nice and tight on the belt loop without wiggling while resting on your side. All in all, a durable, yet impressive sheath.

Buck Brand

One of my favorite things about the Buck brand is their commitment to standing behind their knives. Buck has a Forever Warranty which means that the Buck 119 has a lifetime warranty, which is nice to know how committed Buck is, especially when that type of service seems to be fleeting, but I digress. 

Also another great thing to note is that it is Made in the USA.

Verdict of the Buck 119

There’s a reason why the Buck 119 has been such a popular knife over the years – it’s a tremendous hunting and outdoorsmans knife. And, in typical Buck fashion, has phenomenal craftsmanship and quality.

Similar to the Buck 110, this is a true Buck classic, and the type of knife that you can pass down with your own legacy to your kids. The great thing about the Buck 119 is it isn’t just a beautiful knife, but a collector’s knife with decades of history. I’d say it is the perfect, luxurious working man’s hunting knife. Anyone would have a hard time trying to find American quality knives at this price point.

The length of time this knife has been around shows me the type of durability it offers. The clip blade makes it an ideal knife for hunting and skinning with great maneuverability for splitting hide, and even bone. It’s a sturdy knife that can make incisions and slices while skinning deer, and then serve you on a camp site. Maybe not my first choice, but it is certainly a wonderful tool that I will keep in my bag in the future while hunting or in a camp situation.

All of that to say this. This is one damn classy Americana knife. I have seen plenty of knives that cost many times more than this and don’t hold up as well, or look as good. HOWEVER, this isn’t a hunting knife with super modern sophistication or technology. There’s no super advanced materials or steel on the Buck 119. It’s simple an old-school, rugged hunting knife that your father, or even grandfather used. Even without cutting edge technology, it holds its own against modern knives in sheer ruggedness, durability and performance. Hopefully my Buck 119 review has shown you both the good and the bad!

 Editor’s Rating: 4.6 / 5.0

Check Price and Reviews on Amazon


What We Love:

  1. Excellent craftsmanship and design
  2. Beautiful fit and finish on the blade. Gorgeous knife
  3. Balance to weight distribution gives it a very comfortable yet substantial grip in your hand
  4. Excellent value for the money as it’s a very versatile knife.
  5. Bang for your buck

What Could Be Improved:

  1. Rivets on the leather belt loop can cause the knife to get caught up if you draw it out too quick

Frequently Asked Questions:

Question: What type of sheath does this knife come with?

Answer: There’s confusion over this because it has been changed several times. The Buck 119 now comes paired with a leather sheath.

Question: Is this a heavy knife?

Answer: At 7.5 ounces, it is compact, but not heavy by any means. It is plenty nimble for field dressing and hunting.

Question: What type of work is this knife best served to do?

Answer: Anything for hunting, skinning, field dressing and even for camping and hiking. I would go easy on hard-core bushcraft and batoning.


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