Buck 110 Folding Knife : America’s Knife

Colt Single Action Army and Buck 110 Folding Knife
If the Colt Single Action Army the most well known handgun, then certainly the most recognized knife in the nation is the Buck 110 folding knife

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- If the Winchester Model 94 is considered the most popular rifle in America and the Colt Single Action Army the most well known handgun, then certainly the most recognized knife in the nation is the Buck 110 folding knife. For more than fifty years it has been at the forefront of what an affordable and quality made, every day knife should be.

Buck 110 Folding Knife

Buck 110 Folding Knife
Buck 110 Folding Knife

The Buck knife company started out with Hoyt Buck, who learned to make knives when he was a teenager. In 1941 he began making knives, one by one and by hand at his home. These early knives were known as “Four Strike” knives because each letter of Hoyt’s last name was struck in the blade. After World War II Hoyt moved to California and started the business of H.H. Buck & Son. This lasted until Hoyt Buck’s death in 1949. In that time company started changing and marketing more through dealers and began producing more than the twenty five knives a week.

Buck 110 Folding Knife Lifestyle
Buck 110 Folding Knife Lifestyle

In 1963 the company board decided they wanted a new folding knife that would be good for hunting but also used for daily chores and work. It had to have a very sturdy lock and a clip point blade that made it very handy for field dressing.

In 1964 Buck unveiled their new knife, christened the Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter, it had a 3 ¾ “ blade with a very easy release and a strong lock. The handles were wood with attractive brass bolsters. The 110 was the first folding knife that was considered to be as strong as a fixed blade. It became an instant hit with hunters and outdoorsman everywhere but also anyone he needed a decent knife that could hold up where other knives wouldn’t.

I first became acquainted with the Buck 110 when I worked for a paper mill when I was 21 years old. One department handed them out to every employee to cut the bands on bails of pulp that came in.

Sadly, before they were given out, the first inch of the blade was snapped off so there would be no point to worry about. Most of those knives had been circulating through that mill for a couple of decades from what I was told. I saw more than one that had been used over and over again, but the blade would still lock open like it was supposed to and did not move or loosen at all.

One night I was making my rounds and in the bowels of the basement surrounded by old pipes and steam I spotted the tell tale brass bolsters of a Buck 110. I picked it up and opened it and was surprised to see that the blade was intact, having somehow escaped from getting the tip snapped off. It had obviously been there for a while and no one apparently was missing it. So I took it home. I used for it a time, and then one day I too lost it, I wish I could remember where. I just hope whoever found it is still making good use of that knife, it has earned its keep and then some.

I bought a new Buck 110 a couple of years ago. The one thing I noticed about them is that the price of it varies wildly depending on where it is purchased. The standard Model 110 sells for $82.00 on Buck’s website, which considering what you’re getting, is a pretty good deal. I have seen them sell for prices all over the map, but the big box stores are a pretty good bargain. I got my Buck 110 for around $30 from my local Walmart. It came with a nylon sheath instead of a leather one, but to be honest, I have read enough reviews of the leather sheath having some issues that I didn’t mind the nylon.

From day one I was impressed with the Buck 110. The blade is extremely sharp, better than knives I have paid double and even triple the amount for. As for the lock, it’s sturdy and very positive. I have used the knife now almost daily since I bought it, and it is as positive as when it was new. It locks up as tight as a bank vault and does so with a very resounding “click”. Some say the Buck 110 is too heavy to carry around every day, I have never had that complaint. Even as wore out as the nylon sheath has gotten, it’s never given me a problem on my belt or cause for concern.

Buck 110 Folding Knife indicia marks
Buck 110 Folding Knife indicia marks

In all of the use I have gotten out of my Buck 110 Folding Knife, and that’s been a lot, more chores than I can think of and write about. It’s only needed to be sharpened once. The current 110’s have blades made from 420HC steel, which was implemented in 1993. From 1981 to 1992 the blades were made from 425M and prior to that they were 440C. If you find yourself looking at an older Buck 110, there is a symbol on the blade right under or beside the name and model number. Each year is different and goes back to 1986. Prior to that, there is no such symbol and if you see what looks like a Model 110 but it just says “Buck” on the blade, then you have one of the earlier knives made before 1972.

There have been an estimated fifteen million Buck Model 110 knives made since they were introduced, which says a lot about the quality of the product you’re getting. It also says a lot about the service and the company, while many other companies have sold out and are making their knives cheaper and somewhere else, the Model 110 is still made here in America. Buck offers their Forever Warranty on their knives in case for some reason something does break. Buck also has a service to sharpen your knife for you if you choose.

Buck 110 Folding Hunter Auto Automatic with Genuine Leather Sheath
Buck 110 Folding Hunter Auto Automatic with Genuine Leather Sheath

Buck has also improved on the classic design with the 110 Folding Hunter Pro Knife with an S30V Vanadium blade but perhaps the biggest leap forward for the knife is the 110 Auto Knife and the Buck 110 Auto Elite which opens the blade with a simple push of a button. By adding the automatic opening feature, the Buck 110 can compete with any spring assisted folding knife on the market.
I have owned a lot of knives over the years of several different styles and manufacturers, and I still have most of them, but the one knife that goes everywhere I do is my Buck 110. I haven’t found anything that will even compare to it, and with the cost of a new one, you can’t beat it and if something does go wrong, the warranty behind it and Buck’s customer service are second to none.

The Buck 110 Folding Hunter will go down as one of the best inventions for sportsman, it’s iconic and brought the term “buck knife” to the common vernacular even when the knife in question wasn’t. Here’s hoping that while other classic icons of outdoorsman like the Winchester 94 stopped being made here in the states, that the Buck 110 stays just the way it is for another fifty years.


David LaPell
David LaPell

About David LaPell

David LaPell has been a Corrections Officer with the local Sheriff's Department for thirteen years. A collector of antique and vintage firearms for over twenty years and an avid hunter. David has been writing articles about firearms, hunting and western history for ten years. In addition to having a passion for vintage guns, he is also a fan of old trucks and has written articles on those as well.

  • 14 thoughts on “Buck 110 Folding Knife : America’s Knife

    1. I own several Buck knives from my teenage years. The Buck knife company lacks innovation and haven’t kept up with the times. With so many knives that are better and at equal price I see no reason to buy a buck.

      Of course now that I have money coming out of my ears, I own a Benchmade. OMG. Never again anything else, but benchmade.

    2. I live and work in Mountain Home, Idaho where Pastor Buck made his knives in the basement of his church. The pictures at the factory show the building well, and it hasn’t changed much. Some of his early knives surface at yard sales regularly, I’ve snagged a couple. After the war, he bought some grinders as Army Air Corps surplus, and those machines are still in use at the Post Falls factory. If you’ve not seen the factory, you should, it’s an excellent tour.

    3. Won mine in a company quarterly sales promotion in 1979, along with a Model 94 30-30. Still have both and the 30-30 is new (never fired) as I haven’t hunted for years. Love the Buck 110 and recently bought a Buck 300 Glacier, which is a handy everyday knife and lighter to carry than the 110 in it’s leather belt case. I was carrying an old Craftsman, made-in-Japan, clip point, lock back folding knife with brass frame, very similar to the 110 in weight and feel. It had an eagle embossed on the blade. Received it from my father-in-law at his passing and loved that blade. It was 50 years + and the blade had thinned from many sharpenings, but still it held a good edge. Unfortunately it didn’t have a sheath or pocket clip and one day it slipped out of my pocket and today someone else is hopefully caring for it. I was unhappy at my carelessness, but stuff happens.

    4. Great knife almost everyone on my first ship(USS Caloosahatchee AO-98, 76-80) had one I bought some for gifts great buy back in the day about $10.00 0r less in the ships store.

    5. I was a Boatswain’s Mate for 24 years and it was the only folding knife I ever carried.
      BMCS (SW/DV) USN, ret.

    6. I’ve had my 110 since i was a Boy Scout on Guam. I left there in 1973 bought the knife between 1970 and 72, not sure of the exact time, most likely bought it as the Navy Exchange. My 110 had traveled with me since then, including 10 years in the Army in Massachusetts, Arizona, Korea and Okinawa. I carry a lighter CRKT for my EDC, but that 110 is at home in a dresser drawer with the rest of my knives. Maybe I’ll pass it on to a grandson! My 110 is now over 45 years old.

    7. I’ve had mine for 40+ years now. I did wear out the leather sheath that came with it, long since replaced by one made of better leather, but the knife itself keeps rolling along.

      1. Bought mine in 1975 when I got to Ft. Bragg, NC. Wore it everyday until retirement in ’97. I packed it away and just recently dug it back out. It’s still a great knife.

    8. It’s my every day carry I just wish they would go back to the 440c blades the new ones don’t hold an edge.i would have to sharpen it at least once a day. But my pre 1972 I can go all week with hardly a toutch up. Even with that said best knife I know of

    9. I have owned several Buck 110 knives over the years beginning with the first 110 in the early 60s. The brass frame was heavy enough that you could hold the blade and snap your wrist and the knife would open and lock.

      In the early 60s most people were used to the soft easy to sharpen, quick to dull commercial knives. Buck used hard steel and a standard sharpening stone just wasn’t hard enough to sharpen a Buck.

      At this moment I have a Buck Stockman pocket knife and a 119 Special. The factory edge needed a few strokes on a fine diamond stone to refine the edge.

      One the Buck 119 Special the black phenolic was slick so I used a file to create some shallow grooves like on a 1911 slide so my old slick hands could hold onto it easier.

      Buck 119 Special Knife

    10. After years of buying knives on the internet I finally saw a Buck 110 with the leather sheath for about thirty dollars earlier this year. Though I have a gym bag with about 40 knives I’ve bought over the decades , I won’t need to buy anything else for everyday carry. The 110 is like a dependable buddy that’s there when you need it. If I ever do lose it , I’ll definitely buy another classic 110 folding hunter , not one of the newer models.

    11. I bought a 110 in 1973. Things have changed because it took forever to put a decent edge on it. Just before Buck moved to Idaho I purchased a 110 with a titanium handle. It is much, much lighter than the standard 110.

    12. I bought mine in 1974 while at Grafenwohr, Germany while there trying out for the USAREUR rifle team. It was a good knife but I could not put a good edge on the blade. That blade was very hard. The front doors to our Company building had some paint on the glass and I got tired of looking at it one day and was scraping it off when the CO walked up the steps and asked what I was doing. I told him what and why I was doing what I was doing. He just shook his head
      and went on inside. You see, we were not supposed to carry a knife with that big a blade. Nothing was ever said and nothing was ever said about those of us who carried and used our switchblades as we removed broken tie down straps as we strapped down the warheads for movement. Interesting times for a teenager.

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