Buck 119 Review

The Buck 119 is a larger, American-made classic hunting knife. This knife has been virtually unchanged for decades and is well known for its versatility when dealing with game as it can handle dispatch, skinning, field dressing, quartering and even the more precise tasks such as filleting a fish. This is a knife almost every seasoned hunter or angler has either had or used at one point.

This knife is lightweight and well balanced as well, which makes it fast and convenient to bring and use any time you are in the field.

Buck 119 Knife

Although it is not as heavy as a survival knife, this knife will work as such if required. It can handle going through logs that are wrist-thick with little difficulty, as well as making feather sticks. After completing these tasks, it can then be used to whittle a skewer and then both harvest and cube the meat to place on said skewers.

And lastly, below, please take a look at our interactive table that compares the Buck 119 to similar knives on the market:

Cold Steel SRKCold Steel Survival Rescue Knife (SRK)$$$
Gerber LMF II Survival KnifeGerber LMF II Survival Knife$$$
Ka-Bar Fighting KnifeKa-Bar Fighting Knife$$
Esee-3ESEE Knives 3P$$$
SOG S37-K Seal Team KnifeSOG Seal Team S37-K$$$
cold-steel-recon-1Cold Steel Recon 1$$$

Size of the Buck 119

The Buck 119 is a large hunting knife designed over 40 years ago and has changed very little in design over the years. One thing that has changed is the metal used, and therefore the weight has fluctuated some over the years.

Despite this, the overall design has stood the test of time and is still very functional and highly sought after in the hunting community. This is not an overly heavy knife, and as such is not very effective when used to chop wood; however, as this is a hunting knife and not a field knife, this is not a huge issue.

This knife’s relatively light weight makes it ideal for skinning as it is much easier to maneuver and you do not have to deal with the weight of the knife, either.

Below, please take a moment to view some of the best-selling knives currently for sale on Amazon:

1) Cold Steel Survivalist
2) Ka-Bar USMC
3) Kershaw Cryo II
4) Mossy Oak
5) Kershaw Knockout

  • Your Blade Options

As mentioned above, the Buck 119 has had several metal changes over the years, yet the overall size and shape of this 6 inch hunting blade has changed very little. This blade is currently made from a 420HC Stainless Steel and possesses a satin finish. It has a clip point and a fairly shallow belly, allowing it to smoothly enter smaller areas for finer work.

This blade holds an edge surprisingly well and is well known for its versatility in field dressing and breaking down game. The edge on this knife is fairly easy to sharpen, as it is very basic and a standard wet stone would bring this blade’s edge from very sharp to rough shave worthy with ease. Because this knife is so simple, it is a great blade for beginners to learn how to sharpen on, as even with a fairly dull or poorly sharpened edge, this blade will still be very functional due to its overall shape and clipped point.

One thing you may want to invest in, should you require a razor sharp edge on this knife, is a good quality strop to really smooth the edge and prevent any drag. If you are very new to sharpening knives, you may want to go to a professional knife sharpening service and ask them to show you what tools you need and how to use them appropriately.

  • Handle

The handle on this knife comes in either wood or resin. Neither of these provides the best grip should the handle get wet. Despite this, the way the handle is shaped, it should prevent any unfortunate incidents caused by slippage, even when wet.

One work around for this would be to always wear gloves when using this knife for wet work, the other thing some people have found useful is to lightly sand the handle for more grip. Personally, I am not comfortable with a lightly sanded handle and I would opt to use gloves, especially if quartering a deer.

  • Sheath

The Buck 119 comes with a fitted black leather sheath, which holds the knife securely and is made of good quality leather. This sheath allows for safe and secure transportation on your belt or in a bag, protecting both you and the blade’s edge. As the 119 is a very common knife, there are plenty of custom sheaths available, although the original sheath is more than adequate.

The Buck 119 vs Ka Bar BK2

The Buck 119 and the Ka Bar Becker Campanion (BK2) are two very different knives. Both are fixed blades and an overall length of 10.5 inches, however that is where the similarities end.

The BK2 has a shorter 5 ¼ inch blade, which has a fairly large belly on it when compared to the length. It has a fairly rounded drop point and is quite heavy. This knife comes coated to protect the blade from rust as opposed to the satin finish on the 119, which will never chip away while you are using it.

The BK2 is also designed more as a survival knife as opposed to the 119, as it is much heavier (almost 1 pound) and thicker. This makes it more ideal for cutting branches and working with wood as opposed to finer tasks such as skinning and filleting.

Both knives have smooth handles and people seem to have the same problem of finding them slippery when wet. As this is a bulkier knife, there may be less chance of this blade getting wet when in use than the 119, however it is something to take into consideration.

Essentially, if you are looking between these two knives, you have to ask yourself what you are looking to do with the knife. If you are looking to go hunting and fishing with a knife that can handle survival tasks if needed, then the 119 is the one you want, hands down. However, if you are looking for a survival knife and want to do anything more significant, such as hacking through branches, the BK2 would be more practical.

Buck 119 vs Buck 120

The Buck 119 and Buck 120 are essentially the same knife, only the 120 is an inch longer in the blade and weighs 0.8 ounces more. Both knives feature a full clip, slender profile and have both gone through the metal changes over the years, yet both are currently 420HC stainless steel knives. The handles for both knives are made of the same material and have the same issue of being slippery when wet.

The deciding factor with these blades would end up being personal preference. Many people prefer the 120 over the 119 for dealing with game and deboning as it is a larger knife, yet others will still prefer the 119 due to its portability and diversity, in that it can do most of the things a larger knife can yet remain small and light enough to do the detail work as well.

Both knives are well suited for skinning, cleaning and breaking down game meat, although the 119 has an advantage when dealing with smaller game and fish, as it is able to do the finer work slightly better.

Regardless, both of these knives are quality knives made in the United States with full tangs and a very aggressive look to them, which truly fails to disappoint.

Buck 119 vs Buck 105

The Buck 119 and Buck 105 are very similar knives, as the 105 was designed to be a smaller version of the 119. There are a few key differences, however, that are important to note.

The size is definitely the first thing you will notice, as the 105 has a full inch less blade than the 119 and is significantly lighter. The blade also has a shallow modified clip on the tip as opposed to the 119’s rather aggressive clip. The 105 also has a much more shallow profile and the edge is much thinner.

So, what does that mean for you? Well, this means that it’s faster and easier to put a very sharp edge on this blade than its larger counterpart, yet will require more attention as it will lose its edge faster. That is where the relative thinness comes in useful. As it is thinner, it will not create as much drag as a thicker edge and is usable longer once the edge is dulled.

As the 105 is smaller, there is less room on the handle for deep finger grooves and therefore may be more difficult to handle with larger gloved hands. As the handle is the same as the 119, there are issues with grip when the handle’s wet, and therefore one should make sure they are aware of this and ensure the blade fits nicely in their hands–bare and gloved.

Quick Facts to Remember for the Buck 119

  • The Buck 119’s design has been around for over 4 decades with little to no change
  • Blade Length: 6 inches
  • Overall Length: 10.5 inches
  • Blade material: 420HC Stainless Steel
  • Handle material: wood or resin with an aluminum butt and guard
  • Weight: 7.5 ounces

Closing Thoughts

Overall, the Buck 119 is a well-rounded knife for any hunter or fisherman, as it is more than capable of handling any tasks regarding breaking down game or filleting fish. Ultimately, knives come down to personal preference, and as such there is no right or wrong decision. However, if you are in need of a knife for hunting purposes and want one that can stand up to some abuse, it’s wise to note that this knife has been well loved by many for over forty years. And many of the original Buck knives are still in active use, proving the durability and tenacity of this particular knife.

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And lastly, check out another in-depth video review of the Buck 119 (this one being the Buck Knife Special 119, to be exact).

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