Quality lockbacks - who & where?

Oct 14, 1998
In my quest to find a quality lockback that offers quality of materials and construction better then a Wal-Mart Buck 110 and a price less then a $300 custom has so far been relatively unsuccessful.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I found the Master Series Buck Lockbacks but, they are getting very hard to find. Too bad they are not a regular production item - I think people would be snapping them up left and right now that they have been discovered. Unfortuantely, that all seems to be water under the bridge at this point.

I had the good fortune to pick up a pair of PUMA's from Greg (aka "Kodiak") and am reasonably impressed with them. It is much too soon for me to make any definitive statements about those knives. The blade steel seems to be an improvement over most common production steels but, I am a little concerned with the metals brittleness combined with the thin profile of the forward 1/3 of the blade. Does anybody have much experience with these knives when they are cold (20 degrees below zero or more) and hard use such as an ice pick stab through metal cans and such? I would be interested in any general feedback on the PUMA lockbacks from long time owners and users. Also, how much does quality vary? Some of the PUMA specimens I have seen were not very good, while others appeared to be top notch. At around $100 to $200 full retail, perhaps I am expecting too much.

Are there other brands of lockbacks that offer superior construction to commonly encountered mass market knives that I have missed? If so, a link or phone number in the right direction would be much appreciated. In the end, I guess it all boils down to - where can I find a knife equivalent to the Buck Master Series lockbacks at a similar price point that is currently availble and will continue to be sold in the future?

Thanks everyone and, Stay Sharp!
Have you checked out the Kershaw line?. I dont know that they make the 110 look a like with wood handles or anything, but they do have them with black inserts. They dont look as nice but they are very good knives. As far as Puma, the quality seems to be all over the place. I had an old Deer Hunter, its quality was very good. Now it seems you only pay for the name and the quality stinks. Most modern Puma folders are very dull out of the box. I have seen them chip when people try to touch them up or they just dont sharpen up period. The rivots used to put them together looks like a first grader put them in and hammered on them a while. Over all, the latest ones I have seen are terrilble. I am not sure if its true or not, but I heard Coast cutlery bought all or part of puma, maybe that explains the downhill slide. Anyway, back to your original question, check out Kershaw.


I know that they aren't the same styling as a Buck, but I've heard good things about Cold steel at www.coldsteel.com . Hope this helps.

Just because I talk to myself doesn't mean I'm crazy. What's wrong with getting a second opinion?

[This message has been edited by Roadrunner (edited 19 June 1999).]
In the really traditional format, Puma is the top-of-the-line that I know of.

If you'd like something a bit less traditional, Katz knives makes some beautiful and monstrously overbuilt lockbacks. They feature Kraton, ivory micarta, and other nifty handle materials matched to heavy steel bolsters at both ends. They also have *double* lock springs, in case one ever breaks. In the hand they feel like a fixed-blade when open. The one downside (if you consider their weight a plus) is the use of cheezy plastic opening tabs in addition to a regular nail-nick.

When you say "lockback" you don't mean any knife with a locking bar, do you? You're talking "traditional" like a Buck 110? Otherwise, just get a Spyderco and call it a day. You might also want to check out some of the other Seki City brands Spyderco imports for "traditional" designs. The craftsmanship is unbeatable!


(Why else would a bear want a pocket?)
For my money, you can't beat a good ol' Buck lockback. Inexpensive and tough. I've been using them HARD for a decade and a half without a complaint. I have to replace them every 2-3 years. I have to replace these $200-300 linerlock miracle knives every 6 months to a year. Needless to say, I hate such knives with a passion and will not buy/use them.

If you want looks and nifty materials, I reccomend the Buck Titanium. Same lock and blade as the 110, but with a thinner, finger grooved, titanium handle. I like the plain one, the black is covered in some sort of lame goop.

I carry this thing to back up a $300 fixed blade. I don't mind shcuking out for a good knife. I use my knives more and harder than most. If I felt there was anything that offered a significant advantage over my Buck Titanium, I'd buy it.

If you want to check them out, Knife Center carries them. What's that?, www.knifecenter.com, I think.