Buck Knives Vantage Pro Review
Cons: Steep edge angle on a thick blade, only two pocket clip orientations, no lanyard hole
Manufacturer: Buck Knife
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Buck Knives Vantage Pro
|Price||$94.99 at Amazon||$73.79 at Amazon||$16 List||Check Price at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Excellent steel, one-handed opening, simple construction||Beautifully constructed, assisted open, good value||Sharp looking and cutting, good materials, inexpensive||Serrated blade portion, carabiner carry option, lightweight, good blade steel||Tiny, lightweight, good sturdy blade|
|Cons||Steep edge angle on a thick blade, only two pocket clip orientations, no lanyard hole||Slender handle makes it hard to apply even pressure, thin blade is fragile||Less-than-ideal pocket clip orientation, sharp stowed edges wear clothing||Rudimentary construction, primitive lockback||Flexible construction, tiny|
|Bottom Line||The smaller knife makers have led a charge toward more usable knives at reasonable prices; with the Vantage, Buck more than catches up||A slender, svelte pocket knife with great materials and a reasonable value||A budget knife that leads its price range in performance and downright impressive quality||The best knife we have tested for rock, ice, and alpine climbing||Tiny knife with a simple, robust blade for backpacking, hiking, and other lightweight human-powered endeavors|
|Rating Categories||Buck Knives Vantage...||Kershaw Leek||Sanrenmu 7010||Petzl Spatha||Gerber Ultralight LST|
|Blade And Edge Integrity (30%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||Buck Knives Vantage...||Kershaw Leek||Sanrenmu 7010||Petzl Spatha||Gerber Ultralight LST|
|Weight (ounces)||2.8 oz||3.1 oz||3.2 oz||1.5 oz||0.5 oz|
|Blade Style||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Straight||Drop Point, hybrid straight/serrated||Drop point, straight|
|Blade locks closed?||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Opening Style||Back-of-knife finger tab or ambidextrous thumb hole||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud. And back-of-knife finger tab.||Ambidextrous Thumb stud||Ambidextrous thumb hole, ridged traction ring||Finger pinch|
|Lock Mechanism||Liner lock||Frame lock||Frame lock||Lock back||Lock back|
|Carry Style, in addition to loose in pocket||Pocket Clip||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Pocket Clip and lanyard hole||Carabiner hole||Lanyard hole|
|Blade Material||S30V stainless steel||Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel||8Cr13MoV stainless steel||Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel||420HC stainless steel|
|Handle Material||Plastic||410 stainless steel||Stainless Steel||Nylon||Plastic|
|Blade Length (inches)||2.5 in||2.9 in||2.7 in||2.7 in||1.6 in|
|Closed Length (inches)||3.5 in||4.0 in||3.7 in||4.2 in||2.6 in|
|Overall Length||6.0 in||7.0 in||6.5 in||7.0 in||4.5in|
|Thickness (w/o pocket clip) (inches)||.5 in||.3 in||.4 in||.5 in||.3 in|
|Other Features or Functions||None||None||None||None||None|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Vantage Pro is a modern contribution from this legacy company. Other Buck knives we have tested were less sophisticated and modern than the Vantage Pro. Improvements in pocket knives in recent decades have been incremental, but the sum is indeed more usable. The Vantage is the right size, with most of the right attributes, and has great blade steel at a good value.
Blade and Edge Integrity
The blade of the Vantage Pro is made of excellent (for the price) steel and is shaped into a robust, thick, steep-sided edge. Buck's heat treatment is proprietary, but legendary. S30v steel, as used in the version we tested (you can get different configurations of the Vantage), is known to be very, very good. Other manufacturers use this kind of steel in their "premium" products, for instance. This Buck blade is serviceable and robust. For the overall dimensions, the blade is relatively thick and its edge is formed by two steeply joining facets. As a result it holds up real well between sharpenings, but requires more force in harder materials like wood. We'll take that trade-off for an everyday carry blade, as we don't want to perform frequent maintenance. For game dressing, a finer blade is going to be better than that on the Vantage.
First, the Vantage Pro is just big enough to fill a clenched adult hand. For heavy use, we don't want anything smaller than this Buck. Your pinky finger barely gets in on the act, somewhat hanging off the rear. Another 1/4" of handle length would augment heavy use with minimal "cost." From pocket clip stowage you deploy it with either a thumb hole or index finger flip. Both work one-handed. Finger flip requires a pretty snappy move. We prefer assisted opening function, but that adds complication and expense.
Large enough for most moderate to heavy use, the Buck Vantage is small enough to disappear in most pants pockets. The rounded handle enhances ergonomics but makes it a little bulkier in carry. The pocket clip is tight and low profile. It can also be switched from one side or the other, but not from top to bottom. You have to carry the Buck Vantage "tip up," but you can do so in either left or right pants pocket.
Everything is tight and clean. There is just the right amount of tension in the main pivot; it doesn't fall open in your pocket, but a single, vigorous index finger flip deploys the blade when needed. The wide open frame sheds crud and pocket detritus when you want it to. The liner lock leaves no play in a locked out blade.
The Buck Vantage Pro is a simple, one-blade pocket knife. There are no other features included.
This isn't a budget knife. It'll cost about the same as a typical date-night at a nice restaurant. The purchase of the Buck gets you excellent steel, well-regarded construction quality, and USA construction.
An American-made, widely recognized brand making a modern knife to boutique-grade standards. The Buck Knives Vantage Pro is very well made and backed by Buck's large distribution network and many, many decades of business.
— Jediah Porter