Most of the knives I've had the pleasure to review have a decidedly tactical look about them. Of course, that’s kind of like saying "assault weapon". If the knife is used for tactical purposes then it is, by definition, a tactical knife. That said, the Buck Knives' Vantage doesn't have that military / cop look about it. It looks more like the knife you'd expect your grandpa to have in his pocket to pull out for general utility use. Taking that into consideration I did the only thing I could as I tested it: treated it like every other knife and beat the hell out of it to see if it would hold up. Let's see how it did...
Before we get into the testing information I should share the basic info about the knife itself. There are four variations of the Buck Vantage:
- Select Small
- Select Large
I recieved the Pro version for testing and evaluation. Those models range in MSRP from $30 for the Select Small to $75 for the Pro. Folded closed the Vantage Pro measures just under 4.5". The blade is 3.25" and that's plenty long enough for the large majority of utility uses you'll field. It's actually also long enough for a great many self-defense and offensive edged weapon techniques.
Take a look at the handles and note the wood grain detail carved appearance. In truth those grip slabs are contoured G10. During testing they got just a tad slick when they were wet, but given the overall design of the knife I don't foresee it normally being used under wet, bloody or sweaty conditions. Again, think in terms of the "dress up" pocket knife that can perform as necessary under extreme circumstances.
The blade is made from S30V steel and locks open via liner-lock. Engagement of the lock was positive and, when locked open, there was no discernable wiggle in the blade at its pivot pin. The thumb-hole for opening is oval shaped so that there is no hump created in the spine of the blade. The other opening option is created via some variation of the Carson Flipper. There is a small curved extension of the blade, directly behind the choil, that extends out past the grips when the knife is folded shut. That piece can be pushed and will rotate the blade out. If you have strong fingers you can easily flip the knife all the way out and locked into place. If your fingers aren't that strong, just get the blade started and combine it with a flick-of-the-wrist motion and the blade will rotate all the way out.
At the butt end of the knife a reversible stainless steel pocket clip is secured in a deep-carry configuration by two hex-head screws. While I'm not a fan of deep-pocket-carry, it's obvious that putting screw holes for the clip on either side of the grip slabs would detract from the appearance of the G10 grips.
Having learned all that I headed out back to the infamous testing shed. Out came lengths of twine, fishing line, string, that ugly yellow nylon "boating rope", some 1/2" hemp, and a couple lengths of 1" nylon. The Vantage cut everything with ease although it did take two passes to get through the ugly nylon yellow "rope". As the knife wasn't designed for the kind of abusing field use I'd normally subject knives too, I refrained from trying to punch it through wood or hacking any plastic construction buckets.
Remembering what the knife was designed for, it performed well. It's a good looking blade that hides good capability behind a gentlemanly appearance. MSRP is $75 but a google search found me some as low as $47.95. More information about them is available on the Buck Knives' website.