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How to Choose a Knife - Five Outstanding Good Quality and Good Value Buck Knives

Updated on February 27, 2012

Among knife users, Buck Knives is considered one of the best companies around for good using knives. They don’t sell a lot of fancy or collectible knives, but they lead the list for a good using knife that you don’t mind getting dirty. That is not to say that Buck does not make some pretty fancy knives, but that is not their primary emphasis. Buck also has a reputation for excellent customer service, good repair work, and great knives at a very reasonable price.  If you want a fancy show knife, Buck probably won't have what you want (although they might), but if you want  a good working knife or outdoors knife, they have about anything you might need.


Buck Knives is one of the earliest American knife companies still in existence, starting in 1902 and really opening shop in 1947.  They have made a number of the most popular knives in the world, including the 110 Folding Hunter knife and the 119 Special.  For years, if someone pulled out a knife, there was a good chance that it was a Buck knife.  The Buck 110 was the most popular folding knife in the world for many years.  It probably is still the most imitated knife in the world and several American companies still make a variation on Buck’s design.

Buck makes many good models that will serve anyone well. They make fixed blades, tactical-style folding knives, and more traditional pocket knives. Recently, they have reduced their line of traditional pocket knives and moved more towards the tactical folder area, but both are still available. There is no one best buck knife, but here are my picks for the five best overall.

My list of the five best Buck Knives:

1. Buck Pathfinder – The Pathfinder is a mid-size fixed blade knife with a 5” long, fairly slim blade. It makes both an excellent choice for an all-around outdoor knife and a good option for a dedicated hunting knife. While not a large chopper type, the Pathfinder is big enough to do almost anything that needs to be done in the outdoors, yet small enough to do finer work easily.

2.  Buck 110 Folding Hunter – The most popular folding knife in the world from the 1960s to the 1980s as well as the most imitated and copied knife in the world.  The 110 is a large folder, with a sturdy clip point blade of 3.75”.  The included leather sheath is of excellent quality and carries well (some models come with a synthetic sheath instead of leather).  There are some folders now available from other companies that are slightly better for some purposes, but for the cost, there still are not many better choices for a hard-use folder.

3.  Buck 119 Special – The Special is similar to the Pathfinder, but a larger blade with a more pronounced clip point.  Probably Buck’s most popular fixed blade model, it also makes a great choice for a general purpose outdoor knife.  The Special is also not a huge knife, but it is large enough to do heavier work than the Pathfinder.

4.  Buck Vanguard – The Vanguard is another hunting/outdoor knife.  It has a slightly shorter blade than does the Pathfinder, but is heavier and sturdier.  The Vanguard is designed more to be a hunting knife than a camping or bushcrafting knife, but has become popular for that purpose.  The handle on the Vanguard is differently shaped than either the Pathfinder or the Special and is made of different materials, which are probably better for woods use.

5.  Buck Bantam BLW – The Bantam line is a small to large size series of tactical-style folders with lightweight thermoplastic handles.  The Bantam BLW is the mid-size model of the line with a blade just over 3” and probably the most practical size.  This is a good cheap utility line that is one of Buck’s best for value.  I have been using a Bantam BLW as my utility knife for the last few months and it has done an excellent job!  I can’t really complain about anything.  There are better folders available, but for the price, it cannot be beaten.

Buck makes many other excellent knives like the Woodsman, Special, Ranger, Vantage, and Stockman, but the ones mentioned are the outstanding models to me. Buck did not quite make my list of the top five folding knife companies, but they are still one of the best choices out there. If you have never used a Buck and want a cheap but good outdoor knife, be sure to try them out. If you want to learn more about pocket knives, be sure to check out It has a lot of information on how to choose the right knife!


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    • bladeguy profile image

      bladeguy 7 years ago

      I'm always impressed by the quality and beauty of Buck knives, whether it's decades-old collectibles I find or new models that get released. Thanks for the hub!

    • Tim_511 profile image

      Tim_511 7 years ago from Huntington, WV

      Hi Joey! If you mean a folding knife where you can literally take out a blade and replace it, I don't know of any. SOG makes a couple of revolver models that let you switch between 2 blade options, but it is a fixed blade. If I learn of any, I'll be sure to mention them.

    • profile image

      Joey Bennett 7 years ago

      I tend to go for folding knives. I find that they are much more convenient and easy to fit into a pocket. Would you suggest a knife where you can change the blade?