No hunter or survivalist would be equipped without a good knife. And, when it comes to knives, Buck folding knives are considered one of the best options. Here’s where we’ll guide you through the best Buck folding knives.
What is a Buck Folding Knife?
Before we get into the best Buck folding knives, we should clarify what exactly a buck knife is.
Buck Knives is a manufacturer based in the USA. However, since they are often credited as inventing the folding lockback knife, the term “buck folding knife” is often used to refer to other brands of folding lockback hunting knives – not just ones made by the Buck company.
Note that Buck Knives did not actually invent the lockback knife. They’ve been around since the 1600s. Buck just popularized the lockback in the 1960s. Their Buck Hunter 110 is marketed as “The Original Lockback knife.” (source 1, 2)
Buck folding knife = lockback hunting knife
Why a Lockback Knife?
In general, fixed blade knives are best because of their strength (especially when they are full tang). However, we don’t always want a fixed blade knife. Folding knives have the benefit of being lightweight and easier to carry.
If you are going to choose a folding knife as your hunting knife though, the lock mechanism really matters. You don’t want the knife accidentally closing on you while you’re gutting or skinning an animal, do you? (EDC has a good article on knife lock types).
A lockback knife has a spine on a spring. When the knife is in open position, the spine locks onto a notch which is on the back of the blade. To close the lockback, you push down on a part on the back of the spine, causing the knife blade to disengage so it can close.
Compared to other types of folding hunting knives, a lockback is a good choice because of the strength and reliability it offers. The only major disadvantage is that you usually need two hands to close the lockback. For more on this, Read: How to Choose a Knife.
Best Buck Folding Knives
*Because “Buck folding knife” is synonymous with “lockback hunting knives,” we’ve included some knives which are not made by Buck. They are all excellent knives though!
Called “The Original Lockback Knife,” the Buck 110 was initially released in 1964 and has remained popular since then. It is affordable (around $60), made in the USA, and has a lifetime warranty.
Note that the Buck 110 is a clip point blade. This makes it a good choice for an all-around blade for camp shores while still having the functionality of a hunting knife. For avid hunters though, a drop point or skinning blade is probably the better choice.
The Buck 398 has a 4” blade, is 5 ¾” when closed, made from 420HC steel, and is fairly lightweight at just 5.1oz. The gut hook is well designed so it can be used on a wide range of game.
As far as cheap folding hunting knives go, this is one of my personal favorites. It only costs around $60 and is one of the lighter-weight models made by Buck Knives (4.6oz). The rubber handle and finger grip in the design make it easy to hold and give you more control.
4. Buck Bantam BHW Knife – Model BU286CMS14
Here is one of the pricier models of Buck folding knives. It costs approximately $150 but is worth it for such a nice looking and nice feeling knife. Usually I don’t like textured handles because they can cause blistering or chaffing, but this one is made from “copperhead snakeskin glass-reinforced nylon” that feels nice and gives better grip.
Note that the blade is short at 3 5/8” but the closed size is 5 1/8”. So, if you have larger hands, this is a good choice of Buck folding knife.
This Buck knife was first released in 1990. It stands out because its interchangeable blade feature. With the newer version of this knife, you have three blade options: drop point, drop point serrated, and gutting. Not everyone is a fan of interchangeable knife blades, but they are great for people who can’t afford to buy 3 separate knives and don’t want to bother lugging them around. This Buck knife is a bit pricier than most of their options (it costs around $125) but you are getting three knives in one.
Spyderco is one of my favorite knife brands, and their Delica made my list of Top 10 Knives for Under $100. Their Native 5 makes the list for best buck folding knives because it is so lightweight at 3.7oz despite having an open length of 6.95”.
7.Viper Start Lockback
Viper knives aren’t as popular as brands like Buck or Spyderco, but they are equally worthy of recognition. Made in Italy, these knives have a lot of style and great attention to detail. The Start series includes this great lockback. Note that it is a bit larger and heavier than the other buck folding knives on this list (9.25” open, 6.4 oz), which might be preferable for big-game hunters.
This lockback is made in the USA, has a blade length of 3.77” and weight of 4.59oz, and is made from S30V premium stainless steel. The reason you’ll love it is because of its traditional style and how balanced it feels in your hand. The price isn’t bad either at around $120.
This knife looks ultra-modern and is incredibly compact. Thus it is great for your everyday carry. Yet the knife is quality enough to be used when hunting game. Left handed hunters will appreciate that this is an ambidextrous knife. The cost comes in at just under $100.
Steel Will makes a large, tough knife called the Gekko. The Gekko Mini is their EDC version of the same knife. This knife might break your budget at about $170, but it could also save your life and you’ll love having it with you. It has a blade length of 3.5”, closed length of 4.37”, micarta handle, and weighs 4.76oz.
What’s your favorite buck folding knife?