In the world of large folding knives, for years the Buck 110 Folding Hunter stood alone. Although some others also existed, Buck’s folder basically introduced the precursers of today’s tactical folders 1n 1962 with its large size and locking mechanism. Most folders previously had been intended to be carried in the pocket, now folders were large enough that belt carry was most suitable. Generally before, blades were supported by springs that held blades either opened or closed, but could be overcome easily. The Folding Hunter had a lockback that locked the blade open and could not easily be closed by accident. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, if someone carried a large folding knife, it was probably the Buck 110!
The Buck 110 is still a great knife, although there are now many more competitors, many of which are more technologically advanced. I own a Folding Hunter and I do really like them. The blade is a clip style 3.75” long. I do not particularly favor clips, but the blade on the Folding Hunter is pretty nice. It would be great if Buck would offer the same style in a drop point. The length is perfect for me, but may not be approved for carry in some areas. Steel is 420HC – again, not a great steel, but a decent steel, and Buck has one of the best heat treatments in the country. Their heat treatment makes the 420HC even better than it otherwise should be. There is no provision for one-handed opening, which is one of the reasons that some prefer other knives, but the 110 can be opened one-handed. You can grab the blade and flip your wrist – the heavier handle should snap open after some practice. If you have to have regular one-handed opening, a removeable thumbstud is available for the Buck from some aftermarket distributors that screws onto the blade. I have never used them, but I have heard good reports about them.
The handle is ebony diamondwood, so it is not real wood but it looks good and holds up well under use. You can get real wood grips for the Folding Hunter, but you have to order a custom 110 from the Buck website to get them. Sometimes Buck will do a special run with a different handle material or steel type for a company like Cabelas. The lock type is a lockback. It works and works well – I have never had a problem with it. The issue with lockbacks for me is that you cannot easily close the knife with one hand. On the other hand, some feel that the lockback is the strongest lock type, so it depends on your priorities. Overall, the knife is strongly built and will generally stand up to heavy use. The 110 comes with a leather belt sheath (or a cordura sheath if you buy a cheaper model) as it is fairly large and heavy for a folding knife. I would have no objection to carrying it in my pocket, but some people would find it too bulky and heavy to carry.
The 110 is a mixture of a traditional knife and a tactical knife. It has the single larger blade and locking mechanism of a tactical knife, but it is like a traditional in that it lacks a pocket clip and does not have one-handed opening. It is really a pretty knife and there is something sophisticated to me about a well-kept Folding Hunter is a nice leather sheath, especially the older brown sheaths. I love the 110, but really would rather carry a more modern tactical that has a belt clip. However, the Folding Hunter is a classic and everyone needs to own at least one!