Buck Knives has become synonymous with hunting knives over the years. Ask anyone to name a hunting knife, and even those who don’t hunt or own knives for sporting purposes will likely answer, “Buck.”
And while the company remains a major force in the hunting knife category, those of us who are knife enthusiasts know very well that Buck Knives produces many other types of knives. The company put an exclamation point on that fact this year with the release of more than 50 new knife models.
Yes, some are hunting knives. I’d be disappointed if there weren’t some of those. But there are some very good looking EDC blades this year in a wide range of price points, along with fishing knives and upscale models in the company’s Legacy collection.
Here are some of the more notable models:
ALPHA HUNTER, SCOUT
Leading the newly released knives is the Model 664 Alpha Hunter. It is a fixed-blade knife designed to accomplish all tasks hunters face in the field and while processing game animals. You might recall that Buck had both fixed and folder models under the Alpha name some years ago. This year’s models are more than a reintroduction; they’re a complete redesign and upgrade.
The new Alpha Hunter is crafted from S35VN steel, and the unique handle is textured and available in either layered Richlite or Walnut Dymalux. This knife is approximately 8 inches long with a 3.6-inch blade and comes with a sheath.
Want something a bit smaller that you’re more likely to carry every day? A smaller version—the 662 Alpha Scout—is 6.6 inches long, has a 2.8-inch drop-point blade, and is also crafted from high performance S35VN steel. The MSRP on these knives are $250 for the Hunter and $225 for the Scout.
To many outdoorsmen, myself included, Buck Knives will always be associated with the Model 110 Folding Hunter and the company’s 100 series of fixed-blade hunting knives—you know, the ones with the aluminum bolsters and the smooth black phenolic handles. I own several, including the Woodsman, Pathfinder, Skinner, and, of course the famous Special. The latter is not only a hunting knife, but also a Hollywood favorite as movie-makers tend to employ the Special whenever the script calls for a scary-looking knife.
This year, there’s a new addition to the Buck Knives’ fixed-blade hunting line, and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on this one. The Model 117 Brahma features the familiar black phenolic handle and aluminum guard and pommel. It measures 8¾ inches long, has a 4¼-inch clip-point blade of 440HC steel.
As with other fixed-blade knives in the series, Buck also offers a Pro version of the Brahma. The Brahma Pro features the same clip-point blade, but it’s made of the highly regarded S35VN steel. Like the others in the Pro series, it too has an attractive and practical green Micarta handle. The MSRP for the Brahma is $94, while the Brahma Pro has a $200 suggested price tag.
NEW EDC OPTIONS
Among new EDC knives from Buck is the 838 Deploy Blackout with an Armor Black Cerakote finish on the S35VN blade and aluminum handle. The Deploy Blackout is an auto that can be opened with a push-button release and also features an integrated safety switch.
The 838 Deploy Blackout knife is 5 inches long when closed and has a 3¼-inch blade. A smaller version—the 839 Mini Deploy Blackout— is only 3¾ inches long when closed, has a 1.875-inch-long blade, and also features an Armor Black Cerakote finish on the blade and handle like the full-sized knife. The MSRP is $275 for the full-size model and $245 for the Mini.
“Buck Knives is a fourth-generation family business that began when Hoyt Buck…began making knives out of discarded file blades in 1902…”
Some 838 Deploy and 839 Mini Deploy models are made with 154CM blades. These carry a MSRP of $220 and $180, respectively, and are available with bronze or gray handles.
Buck also has some easy-opening manual flippers available. The Sprint Ops features a 3.125-inch reverse-tanto blade. Models are offered in S45VN and S30V steel. Handles are either carbon fiber or Micarta. MSRP runs between $200 and $260, depending on particular features. The Sprint Pro models have been updated. They are the same size as the Ops, but with drop-point blades instead of the reverse tanto. Steel and handle options are the same. Prices range from $190 to $250.
The Onset is a sleek manual flipper with a 3.375-inch blade of S45VN steel with a full, flat grind. A dependable frame lock resides on one side of the handle, with a textured G10 scale in either black or olive drab on the other side. The MSRP for the Onset begins at $235.
Buck hasn’t overlooked the slip-joint fans. The Model 250 Saunter is a slip-joint folding knife offered in four versions, with either a drop-point or-clip-point blade and a handle of either O.D. green or black Micarta.
MORE LEGACY BLADES
Those looking for something extra special can turn to the Buck Knives Legacy Collection. This year, the company debuts five new knives in the popular Legacy series to include the stunning 590 Paradigm with a Raindrop Damascus steel drop-point blade—with spring-assist SHIFT mechanism opening—and contrasting ivory white G10 handles against a black DLC coated bolster. The MSRP is $700.
“…the Model 664 Alpha Hunter…is a fixed-blade knife designed to accomplish all tasks hunters face in the field…”
Another new Legacy Series knife is the 532 Bucklock with a stainless steel blade and polished copper with spine file work and Micarta scales ($425). The Slim Pro TRX series also grows with the addition of the 110 Titanium Slim Pro TRX that has bronze PVD fasteners inset in the gray bead-blasted titanium handle (MSRP $475). Two additional Legacy knives, the fixed-blade 192 Vanguard with a green canvas Micarta handle (MSRP $325) and the 110 Folding Hunter with scalloped black and brown Richlite handles, complete the new offerings in the series (MSRP $400).
SIX NEW INFUSIONS
Buck makes all of the above knives in the USA, specifically in the company’s factory in Post Falls, Idaho. But like many companies in this country, the company also offers some affordable imported knives. This year, Buck is offering its Model 239 Infusion in six varieties. You can get one of these spring-assisted flippers with a drop-point or modified tanto blade, and with either an aluminum or G10 handle. The blades are 3.25 inches long and are made of 7Cr steel. All include a reversible or removable pocket clip. Handle color options on the 239 Infusion knife include blue, orange, green, black, and teal. The MSRP is $56.
Another new EDC import is the 263 Hiline XL folding knife with a cleaver-style blade and anodized aluminum handle with Micarta inlays. The 263 Hiline XL is a manual flipper with a 3¾-inch blade of D2 and is 5.125 inches long when closed. The MSRP is $69.
FISHING KNIVES TOO
Buck Knives continues to expand its Hookset fishing knives with four models designed for use by saltwater anglers and three Hookset knives crafted for use by freshwater anglers. The saltwater Hookset knives have titanium coated 5Cr15MoV steel blades and includes a cleaver design that would also make a good general-purpose food prep knife. All Hookset knives have polypropylene handles with TPE rubber inserts to provide a non-slip grip.
All of these new knives are covered under Buck Knives famous Forever Warranty and are available immediately. KI
GREAT TRADITIONS AT BUCK KNIVES
Buck Knives is a fourth-generation family business that began when Hoyt Buck, a blacksmith’s apprentice, began making knives out of discarded file blades in 1902 in Kansas. In 1945, Hoyt and his wife Daisy moved in with their eldest son Al at their home in San Diego. Hoyt and Al made knives in a lean-to attached to their garage, and their blades were advertised as H.H. Buck & Son Lifetime Knives.
Hoyt passed away in 1949. Al continued the business and the company was incorporated as Buck Knives in 1961. By that time, Al’s son Chuck was on board. In 1964, the company introduced one of the most significant knives in the history of knifemaking, the Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter. Here was a sturdy, heavy-duty folding knife with a strong, dependable back lock that made carrying a folding knife a viable alternative to a fixed blade for many tasks.
Chuck worked his way up in the company until he eventually became president and CEO. His son, C.J., started working on the production line in 1978. C.J., the fourth generation head of the company, took over as CEO in 1999. The company moved into its current manufacturing facility in Post Falls, Idaho, in 2005 and currently employs more than 320 people.
Many of those people have been with the company for many years. That experience is important as Buck Knives are still sharpened by hand. They make it look easy. It’s not. I tried it and failed miserably.
For many years, the company has relied on 440HC stainless steel as its primary blade steel, although you’re seeing many of the new models with S30V, 154CM, S35VN, and S45VN steel.
“We don’t change steels a lot,” said C.J., “because it takes time to learn how to properly heat-treat it.”
Knifemakers know that the heat-treating process is key for any steel used. Buck uses its exclusive Bos heat-treatment process for its blades, created by Paul Bos, which entails heating, freezing, and then reheating the blades.
I am sometimes disappointed when knife companies discontinue models that have become my favorites. Thank goodness Buck Knives stays true to its roots. Alongside the company’s new models are the designs that have proven to be great knives that have stood the test of time through the generations.
And be sure to check back with KnivesIllustrated.com for more of the latest news from the knife industry.