Review of the Buck 112 Ranger, Lockback Folding Knife
30 years of abuse and still going strong
I love this rugged, well built workhorse of a knife so much that I have bought two of them just in case Buck ever stops making it.
I purchased my first Buck 112 in 1982 when I worked at the sporting good's section in a brick and mortar retailer. I have put this knife through THIRTY years of daily use and abuse. The Buck 112 is still going strong.
The Buck 112, 30 years ago, differs a little bit from what is sold on the market today. The main difference that one notes is that the edges of the knife body have been machined to be more rounded and "comfortable" than its predecessor. Other than that, this knife has apparently stayed the same through the decades, as well it should.
I use my Buck 112 every single day. This is not hyperbole. I truly do use this knife for just about everything. The venerable little 112 has been used as a butter knife, fingernail pick, whittler, letter opener, construction adhesive spreader, film cutter, rose trimmer, fruit slicer, wood chisel, and I am sorry to say, occasionally as a screwdriver, hammer, wire cutter and can opener. This knife has never failed in any of the tasks I've thrown at it, though the blade rightfully did chip a little bit when used as a screwdriver.
The way that this knife is built allows the kind of abuse described above far more than some of the more modern folding knives might. The solid construction and large rivets allow more lateral torsion on the blade than I would be comfortable giving more modern and more expensive knives. Despite the abuse heaped upon this blade, when sharpened, it always comes back able to shave hair on my arm or slice through writing paper with ease.
If there is a complaint to be made about the Buck 112, it would be that the same steel that allows for the blade's ruggedness, also makes sharpening more time consuming, in my experience. Once sharp, however, the knife does exactly what a knife is supposed to do.
The one thing that I don't prefer about the current Buck 112 is the machined edges of the handle making it more rounded and giving it a slight bar of soap feeling. I prefer the 112 1980's styling with the sharp corners a lot better and would love to see Buck bring out a retro model of this knife, if only for a limited time. If Buck chooses to do this, you can bet I would be first in line, cash in hand.
In the last three decades, I have worn through 3 knife holsters with this knife, each time replacing the old holster with an original vintage Buck 112 sheath.
The Buck 112 is certainly an old-school knife. In its styling, weight and design, it hearkens back to a time when built tough was a positive aspect rather than a reason for a bean counter to veto a product.
Click to view the Buck 112 Ranger, Lockback Folding Knife on Amazon.com.