Friday, December 31, 2010

Review - Buck Vantage Select

A nicer everyday carry (EDC) knife, that perhaps you may not have heard about, the Vantage Select by Buck is a great EDC choice if you want a blade that is a little larger, but still very comfortable.

The Vantage Select, by Buck, is a great EDC folding knife.
The Vantage Select is part of the Vantage series of folding knives. The knives is this series vary in their blade steel and handle material. At the less expensive end is the Vantage Select, which has a 420 HC Stainless Steel blade and glass reinforced nylon scales. Then, you have the Vantage Avid, which uses 13C26 Sandvik Stainless Steel and Charcoal Dymondwood handles. To top it off in price and in the quality of the materials is the Vantage Pro, which has a S30V Stainless Steel blade and glass reinforced nylon scales.

All of the Vantage series of knives have the same appearance and dimensions and they only differ by their constructed materials. While I do not have experience with the Vantage Avid and the Vantage Pro, my experience with the Vantage Select should reflect on the rest of the knives in the Vantage series, since they all share the same design and dimensions.

The Vantage knives have stainless steel liners.
Speaking of dimensions, the Vantage Select is a large folding knife, like I mentioned earlier. It's drop point blade is 3.3" long, with a 4.4" handle. The blade grind starts very near to the spine, which make the knife great for slicing through materials. I particularly like the blade shape on all of the Vantage knives.

Moving on to weight, the Vantage Select weighs 3.9 oz, which is not very heavy to for a knife of this size. Some of the weight is due to the stainless steel liners that reinforce the scales on the knife. These steel liners add rigidity and strength to the knife handle.

The blade locks open solidly with a liner lock. Opening the blade is also very simple. There is a flipper on the blade of the blade, reminiscent of the flippers that Kershaw and CRKT has on many of their knives. For those who prefer using their thumbs to open their knives, there is also a thumb hole in the blade, very similar to what Spyderco has. In this way, the Buck borrowed great ideas from many knife companies when designing the Vantage.

The Vantage knives are usually carried using the removable/reversible pocket clip. This pocket clip enables tip up carry and can be switched for both right and left handed users. The pocket clip holds the knife very securely in the pocket. The clip also attaches at the very back of the handle, allowing the knife to disappear when carried in a pocket. When someone is carrying a Buck Vantage, it literally looks no different than carrying a pen, which can be a good thing depending on your situation. I must say that I really like the pocket clip on the Vantage.

The pocket clip allows the Vantage to ride low in the pocket.
The handle design feels very good when gripping the knife. The ergonomic contours in the handle make the blade easy to hold and to use. The scales on the Vantage Select, however, could have offered more traction. Overall, the scales are fairly smooth, with little other than the contours in the handle to help you have a firm grip. This shouldn't be a major issue, however, to most users. This is a folding knife after all, and it wasn't meant to handle the type of heavy use that would require high traction in the hand.

I must also say that due to the sleekness of the scales, this knife is very elegant and professional-looking. It would be a great choice for someone who wants to dress well and have a nice knife to match.

In case the Vantage Select gets dirty, the screws that hold the knife together use standard Torx bits, making the knife easily taken apart. This is very important, since a dirty folding knife will be difficult to open and close, due to added friction between in the pivot area of the blade/lock mechanism.

So, overall, the Vantage Select by Buck is a great folding knife. It's elegant curves and sleek appearance make it a great looking knife, while the size and design make it very functional. It's a blade definitely worth checking out.

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