It is now almost 60 years since the Buck 110 was released for sale in the United States, and so much has changed about pocket knives in that time. Granted, much of what pocket knives have become is a result of the influence of the Buck 110, and Buck alone could almost be called responsible for the revolution that turned so many people onto carrying folders instead of fixed blades. The question is, after all this time, is the Buck 110 still what some might classify as the “best quality pocket knife” as it once was?
That’s a hard question to answer; today manufacturers like Benchmade, Spyderco and many others are pouring money and research into super steels, indestructible synthetic handle materials and ergonomic features like adjustable pocket clips, safe opening mechanisms and new locking technology. These, when compared to the 110’s nail nick, two handed opening, lack of a clip, and wooden scales make it seem almost like a Stone Age Tool.
Still, it would not be fair to lump the 110 into the wastebasket of bygone designs, as many critics have done in recent years. It still remains one of the best selling pocket knives in the country, and with a little dissection, anyone can see that the quality remains.
Even if it were not for Buck’s legendary “Forever Warranty” or their heat treatment that quite literally changed the way knifemakers tempered and treated steels in following years, the Buck 110 is a ridiculously tough piece of material.
It’s ebony scales and brass bolsters may be pretty, and they may categorically lack the wear resistance of G10 or Micarta, but they are dense, heavy and tough nonetheless. Buck’s 420HC steel blades may be cheap and softer than many super steels, but they are impressively corrosion resistant, surprisingly resistant to shattering and breakage, and will hold an edge longer than just about any other 420HC knife out there; its edge retention is superb. It has even been said that Buck is the only knife manufacturer that knows how to treat this grade of steel correctly.
So the knife does not balance well, feels clunky in the hand, lacks a pocket clip and requires two hands to open and close since it has no thumb stud. All of that may be, but the lockback on the design is visionary, it is iron-solid, and you can happily baton this pocket knife through a 3 inch round and the knife will come off none the worse for wear.
Add in the fact that the aesthetics are simply without comparison and you have a contender for what might be called the best quality pocket knife out there. It lacks the modern ergonomics and tacticool “room note” of modern folders, but it is a knife that will never go out of style, and more importantly, it is a knife that will do what knives are supposed to do. It will cut, it will split, and it will deliver, until long after you get tired of holding it.
If you’re looking for a new Buck 110 at a great price, visit White Mountain Knives at WhiteMountainKnives.com. There, you’ll find what you’re looking for, even if it isn’t a Buck. They have a huge collection of brands; whether you’re looking for a Kershaw Blur, a folding pocket knife with sharp edge and a stainless steel blade, a tactical knife or a frame lock with a drop point blade, you won’t need to look too hard to find it. Visit their website or send them a message at WhiteMountainKnives@gmail.com if you have any questions.