Buck Knives
Company typeSubsidiary
Founded1902; 122 years ago (1902), in San Diego, California[1][2]
FounderHoyt Buck
HeadquartersPost Falls, Idaho, US
Key people
  • Al Buck (former CEO)
  • Chuck Buck, former chairman
  • CJ Buck (CEO and chairman)
  • Paul Bos
RevenueUS$80 million
Number of employees

Buck Knives is an American knife manufacturer founded in Mountain Home, Idaho and now located in Post Falls, Idaho. The company has a long history through five generations of the Buck family from 1902 to the present day. Buck Knives primarily manufactures sport and field knives and is credited with inventing the "folding hunting knife" and popularizing it to such a degree that the term "buck knife" has become synonymous with folding lockback knives, including those made by other manufacturers.


Company origins

Hoyt H. Buck became a blacksmith's apprentice in Kansas in 1899 at the age of 10.[2][3] He learned to make knives and at 13, in 1902, developed a method to heat-treat steel for hoes and other tools so that they would hold an edge longer.[2] Hoyt left Kansas in 1907 for the American northwest and eventually enlisted in the United States Navy.[2] He made his first knife in 1902 in Mountain Home, Idaho.[2] Hoyt made each knife by hand, using worn-out file blades as raw material.[4] Collectors call these early knives "four strikes" as each of the letters in BUCK was struck with an individual letter stamp. In 1961, marking was replaced by a one-piece stamp.[3]

When the United States entered World War II, the government asked the public for donations of fixed-bladed knives to arm the troops.[1] Upon learning that there were not enough knives for soldiers, Hoyt Buck bought an anvil, forge, and grinder to set up a blacksmith shop in the basement of his church.[1] Hoyt later explained, "I didn't have any knives [to offer], but I sure knew how to make them".[1]

After World War II, Hoyt and his son, Al, moved to San Diego and set up shop as "H.H. Buck & Son" in 1947.[1] These early knives were handmade and more expensive than a typical mass-produced knife. Hoyt Buck made 25 knives a week until his death in 1949.[1] In the 1950s, the company began manufacturing on a much larger scale and marketed through dealers as opposed to direct mail.[5]

The Model 110

The Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter.

On April 18, 1963, two years after incorporating, the Buck board of directors authorized development of a new folding utility and hunting knife.[1] The new design featured a sturdy locking mechanism and a substantial clip point blade suitable for butchering and skinning large game.[1] This became the famous Buck Model 110 Folding Hunter.[1]

The Buck Model 110 has a 334–inch blade, a high-tension lock, and a low-pressure release; the handles are typically wood with bolsters of heavy-gauge brass.[1] Introduced in 1964, it was one of the first lockback folding knives considered strong enough to do the work of a fixed-blade knife.[6] Its debut revolutionized hunting knives, rapidly becoming one of the most popular knives ever made,[1] with some 15 million Model 110 knives produced since 1964.[6][7] Before 1981, the specially heat treated stainless steel used was 440C, and from 1981 to 1992 the company used 425M steel. Since 1993, Buck has mostly used 420HC stainless steel for Model 110 blades, although CPM S30V steel has also been used for some production runs. Its design is one of the most imitated knife patterns in the world.[1]

In 2017, Buck introduced the Buck 110 Auto Knife (Model #0110BRSA-B) an automatic version of the 110, designed for one handed use. The knife is a heavy duty factory built switchblade which opens with the depression of a button built into the knife handle.

The Buck Model 112 Ranger, a slightly smaller version of the 110, has a three-inch blade and is better suited for carrying both with respect to the knife laws of some jurisdictions that limit pocket carry to three inches, and in terms of weight for the classic metal bolster editions.

In 2018, Buck introduced two new lightweight editions of the 110, a thick-handled FRN (fiberglass reinforced nylon) version called the LT, and a thin-handled FRN version called the Slim; both FRN versions rely on the FRN by itself for handle strength without reinforcing steel backplates, with the LT sturdier for use in field dressing medium and big game; it comes with the classic Buck belt sheath. The Slim version dispenses with any included sheath, since it incorporates a deep carry, stainless steel pocket clip (a first for any 110) which is reversible from side-to-side (but not top-to-bottom). The Slim also includes thumbstuds for one-handed opening, bringing the original 110 into the modern era in terms of light weight and common convenience features.

2021 Buck 110 Legacy Collection Folding Hunter 3.75" S45VN Plain Blade, Marbled Carbon Fiber Handles with Gray Aluminum Bolsters - Limited Edition Production numbers 2141 knives made. According to Buck customer service.


The Buck Model 119 Special.

There are many different models of Buck knives, including:

Recent developments

In 1984, Buck introduced a survival knife with a hollow handle for storage and a 7.5 inch blade with a serrated spine and prongs so the knife could double as a grappling hook.[8] Dubbed the Buckmaster (Model 184), it was marketed to the military and fans of the Rambo films of the 1980s.[1] The Buckmaster was soon followed by the M9 Bayonet manufactured for the United States Army, with an initial order of 315,600.[1]

In 1992–1993, Buck introduced the Nighthawk, a fixed-blade knife with a 6.5 inch blade and a black handle made of Zytel for an ergonomic grip.[1] This knife (Best M9) was submitted to the United States Marine Corps for evaluation for use by the Marines.[9]

In 2000, due to a demand from major retailers to reduce prices, Buck opened a plant in China. Imports to the United States from this plant had reached a high of 30 percent at one time,[10] but have dropped to 13 percent with the majority of these knives going to large retailers as opposed to sporting goods stores or knife shops.[11]

In 2005, the company relocated to Post Falls, Idaho.[10] Leaders of the San Diego business community considered this move a blow to San Diego County's economic landscape and a symbol of the state of California's problems in attracting and keeping businesses.[10]

Buck Knives has collaborated with different custom knifemakers such as Tom Mayo, Mick Strider,[12] David Yellowhorse[13] and Rob Simonich.[14]

Al and Chuck Buck were inducted into the Blade magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame at the 1982 and 1996 Blade Shows respectively in Atlanta, Georgia in recognition for the impact that their designs and company have made upon the cutlery industry.[15] Buck's heat treater, Paul Bos, who heat treats knives for other custom makers and production companies at Buck's facility, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.


Buck Knives is an American manufacturer of different styles of knives including the first successful folding lock-blade, introduced in 1964.[1] Folding lock-blade knives and "Buck Knife" thereby became strongly linked in the mind of the US public, and the Buck design was much imitated, so that a Buck knife has come to mean any folding lock-blade design, even while Buck Knife is a trademark and not limited to folding lock-blades.[16]

Buck licensed art knives

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Buck Knives has produced art knives for and under license with other companies and organizations such as: the National Rifle Association of America, the Boy Scouts of America, Colt Firearms, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), Republic Studios, Harley Davidson, Indian Motorcycles, Ford Motor Company, Chevy Truck, Elvis Presley Estate, John Wayne Estate, Roy Clark, Purina, NHRA, Boeing, Monroe Auto and Ducks Unlimited.[3] Additionally Buck has worked with many commissions to produce art knives for state anniversaries (Texas Sesquicentennial), state agencies (West Virginia State Police), commemorations (Battle Iowa) or celebrations (Apple Harvest Festival).

In popular culture

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The History Of The 99-Year-Old Buck Knife". Popular Mechanics. 178 (6). 1 June 2001. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e Pacella, Gérard (2002). 100 Legendary Knives. Krause Publications. p. 126. ISBN 0-87349-417-2.
  3. ^ a b c Price, C. Houston; Mark D. Zalesky (2008). The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives, 15th edition. House of Collectibles. pp. 164–166. ISBN 978-0-375-72280-6.
  4. ^ Ables, Tom (1991). The Story of Buck Knives a Century of Knifemaking. Buck Knives. p. 120. ASIN B000M155X4.
  5. ^ "Obituaries: Alfred C. Buck, Knife Manufacturer, 80". The New York Times. 3 April 1991. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  6. ^ a b Petzal, David E. (June 1, 2008). "The 20 Best Knives Ever Made: The Buck Model 110". Field & Stream. 63 (2): 73.
  7. ^ "1 million, and still cutting: Buck Knives hits landmark production number this year", Coeur D'Alene Press, 30 October 2010: "Buck produced over 1 million Model 110 knives in 2010 alone."
  8. ^ Jackson, Mark (1987). "Survival Knives". Black Belt. 25 (2). Active Interest Media, Inc.: 40–48.
  9. ^ Dick, Stephen (1995), Blades of the Combat Swimmers, Tactical Knives, vol. 1, no. 2, p. 68-73
  10. ^ a b c Krueger, Anne (26 March 2006). "A cut above: Buck Knives enjoying a better business life in Idaho than El Cajon". Signs on San Diego. Archived from the original on September 9, 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  11. ^ "Buck Knives keeps its knifemaking legacy in family". The Spokesman-Review. 2011-10-23. Archived from the original on October 28, 2011. Retrieved 2012-01-25.
  12. ^ Markel, Paul (2006). "Practical Tacticals: Buck's Strider Folders". Tactical Knives Magazine. 13 (5): 76.
  13. ^ Price, C. Houston; Mark D. Zalesky (2008). The Official Price Guide to Collector Knives, 15th edition. House of Collectibles. pp. 493–494. ISBN 978-0-375-72280-6.
  14. ^ Winter, Butch (2003), "Collaborations with Custom Knifemakers", Sporting Knives 2003: 154–161, ISBN 0-87349-430-X
  15. ^ "Mr. SpeedSafe Joins the Club". Blade Magazine. 2008-07-22. Archived from the original on 2008-08-13. Retrieved 2008-07-30.
  16. ^ AEPMA Trademark List Archived October 1, 2006, at the Wayback Machine