Pros: Great feel and Blade.
Cons: Sheath last about 5 years.
I am a knife collector and aficionado. I have many knives and not all of them simply sit on the shelves. I am an avid outdoorsman. If there is a season named for it then I am most likely participating in it, such as deer season, moose season, trapping season, fishing season, ice fishing season, bow hunting season, muzzle loading season. All of these seasons require a good knife to be relied upon. The one knife that I choose for all of these seasons is the Vanguard made by Buck. While some knives are made for specialized purposes, the Vanguard covers almost all of them and is incredibly versatile. It is well balanced, holds a blade, is a good looker, and I would trust my life with it as I have done before.
Buck offers one standard Vanguard with two different handle materials. It is offered in the Black Rubber or Woodgrain handle. I prefer the black rubber handle because it feels a little bit more comfortable in my hand and is easy to hold on to in all wet situations including, water, blood or grease. The woodgrain handle looks much nicer and I recommend this one if the knife will only be used in dry conditions or will not be put to the ultimate test. The woodgrain handle looks much nicer on a belt.The rubber handle looks much nicer in the hand.
Cabelas teamed up with Buck to offer a Pro-Line of Vanguards with a darker wooden handle and their name on the blade. They also offer a custom Vanguard with an exotic Desert Ironwood handle which is absolutely stunning and a laser-cut skeletonized whitetail deer profile cut from the blade. This model is about $150 and is a limited edition exclusive to Cabelas and comes with a presentation box and leather sheath with a letter of authenticity.
Size and Appearance:
The Vanguard knife has a total length of 8 1/2 inches with a 4 1/8 inch blade length. It weighs in at a steady well balanced weight of 6.6 ounces. The knife I never leave behind is the rubber handled Vanguard which has been on my belt for years. It is a good looking knife, with a black rubber textured handle, brass butt and guard, and stainless steel blade. This knife has an incredibly nice feel to it. You really have to hold one and see for yourself. It is heavy enough to know it is there but not too heavy for a ton of use. It is extremely well balanced.-
Any quality knife like this one is extremely durable when used correctly. I have used my Vanguard for over 6 years with everyday use for more than six months straight. It has been used to field dress Moose, Deer, Turkey and Bear, Salmon, Trout, Pike and Crappy. I use it as my primary skinning knife on Coyote, Fox, Fisher, Raccoon, Skunk, Bobcat, and Otter. I find it a little bit large for Marten, Mink, Muskrat and Ermine and I use a smaller knife for these tasks. I have found the Buck Vanguard to work excellent for clean skinning and fleshing beaver. The blade is just the right width and size for this task.
Anyone who spends time in the field or on the water finds many uses for their knife, some which are not in the best interest of the longevity of the knife. I have used mine to get out of a pinch plenty of times, once to actually pry my hand out of a trap that was secured to a tree. This is one reason why I like a fixed blade knife which can be worn on a belt and be very rigid and rugged. I have used mine to pound over nails with the but, which I don't recommend because of the brass butt is a soft metal, but sometimes it has to be done. I have cut plenty of rope and hair which can be tough on a blade, I have put this knife through the test and it has passed with flying colors.
I do not recommend twisting any screws or pounding nails with any knife. Never pry with a blade unless absolutely necessary. Screws and prying have proven to be very detrimental to knife blades.
This knife is completely weather resistant. I have never found any wear or tear from any weather condition including 41 degrees below zero and 105 degrees above. I have used mine in snow, rain, sleet and hail and have never seen any damage or wear from the weather. The metal and rubber of course do not absorb any water.
The blade is made from stainless steel in the shape of a drop-point. This blade has a gentle, sloping convex curve to the point. Its thicker point is stronger for heavy tasks. The thicker tip is a positive for abuse but a negative for easy penetration. It is made for several uses with this shape excluding none. It is made from 420HC stainless steel which is not one of the hardest steels. This means it will require sharpening with frequent use or hard use but it is extremely easy to sharpen and keep an edge on. It will not rust either. I use an old sharpening stone and within five minutes can put a blade on for shaving if I dare.
I believe the MSRP for this knife is about $85 but don't pay that. The going rate for this knife is around $50 for the Black Rubber handle and another $10 for the Woodgrain handle. Most major sporting goods and outdoor companies carry this knife. Just about every knife store or online knife store will carry this knife, it is very popular made by a popular company. I paid $40 for my first one from Ebay, $15 for another from a store and $50 for a gift from Cabelas. At $50 it is well worth it!
Other great knives:
Buck Folding Hunter 110 Knife
Buck Vanguard Rubber Handle
Buck Companion Pocketknife
119 Buck Special
Buck Lumina Smoke
Spyderco Delica 4