Puma fixed blades

Apr 27, 1999
Does anyone have experience with any of Puma's fixed blade knives? I'm thinking about getting one, but at the price I want to make sure they're really as good as they claim.

Beyond the glittering streets was darkness, and beyond the darkness, the west. I had to go.
-Jack Kerouac
I've had a couple of stag-handled Puma fixed blades -- the Bowie & the Hunter's Friend -- for 20+ years. The Bowie was my favorite all around camp knife for many years and has probably logged more miles & chores than the rest of my knives combined -- and that's saying a lot. The Hunter's Friend is still among my favorite deer knifes.

IMHO, they are a very good value for the money.

Dear Rockclimber,
I'm sure Puma doesn't sit too well with the knife techies.
They probably use the same steel they used 30 years ago.
I've owned 3 (still own 2) and have never been disappointed.
I was annoyed when they started making synthetic handles,
but I guess they have to pay the rent too.
Get a stag handled Puma, I'm sure it's not 440V, but it's a class act.

"The trouble ain't that there is too many fools,
but that the lightning ain't distributed right"
- Mark Twain -

[This message has been edited by Doc4570 (edited 28 April 1999).]
I purchased a 4 1/2 or 5 inch hunter style--may have been a Hunter's Friend or the next one up--in England in 1971. The reason I don't know exactly which one it is, is that I gave it to my daughter to go backpacking with and she liked it so much, she never gave it back! She's now married and living in Phoenix--a long way from Idaho! I don't think it was stainless but it didn't get a spec of rust on it over the years, stored in the sheath. Great little knife! Wonder if she'll trade me back for a one of my custom hunter's?
I'm not one of the crowd that has to always have the latest techology, but despite my earlier quite positive impressions of Puma knives, recently I've been just disgusted with the performance of several Pumas that I've had when seriously compared to other knives. Whether that is a function of a progression in my perception of my knife needs, or a function of Puma being largely stagnant in keeping up with technology, or simply a better awareness of what's out there, or some combination of all the above, I can't answer.

In folders I always thought that the Puma General was pretty good, but not long ago, I compared a Puma Master, (essentially a green handled General) to a variety of other similar knives and was simply appalled when it displayed edge retention characteristics in the bottom half of similar niche knives. Literally, a Buck 110 showed twice the edge retention, and I'm not at all a fan of the steel Buck is currently using for the bulk of their knives. It wasn't just that some high end, high tech steels were putting the Puma Master to shame, it was that it showed no more edge retention than some mere knockoff knives costing 1/4 as much. I still like the ergonomics of the slimmer handle and profile, but performance-wise the Puma has a long way to go to make up for the G-Mark to $$ ratio that owning one will likely cost most Americans. (or Euro to $$ if you prefer

In fixed blades, I've tried the Puma White Hunter (stag handle, early model) and the Puma White Hunter II (synthetic handled, late model). I never seriously comparison tested the early model, but the late model synthetic handled one was no more than adequate and substandard to many. In fact, I have an Explorer Brand direct knockoff of the Puma White Hunter called the Alpine Hunter that is made better and can compete on almost equal footing to the far priceier Puma White Hunter II. Neither knife held an edge long enough for even moderate cardboard or rope cutting. In both cases the edge holding was nowhere near as long as some far cheaper, better designed knives, and I'd trust neither to completely dress a deer without needing re-honing. (But then, I have some weird ideas about what a deer knife should be capable of, and none of those ideas involve cutting bone.
There are $10 knives I'd rather have, and I personally consider the whole design to be inferior to either dedicated skinners or dedicated choppers. I can think of worse knives to have along, but I also wonder when, and under just what circumstances I'd likely have something shaped like a White Hunter along, just in case I needed it's "features". I can't really think of too many times when I'd trade a flat spine that one could bash through small firewood for a clumsy attempt at a false edged bone cutter.

Having said all that you probably wonder why I have had 3 of that design and several other Pumas. Hmmm, that's hard to explain. There is *something* about Puma knives that I like. Putting my finger on it is tough.

Hey, you wanted an honest opinion, well I gave it.