Buck Ground Combat Knives, by Pat Cascio

I’ve had my Buck Knives Ground Combat fixed blade knives for a month and a half now, and wanted to give them a good workout before writing about them. However, this isn’t always the case with many other writers and websites. Many of these writers simply took the Buck press release, that was sent to them – I got it, too – and wrote their articles based on that piece of paper, without ever actually having the knives in-hand to test.

As an aside: One big-name knife company – that I won’t mention by name – once had a new public relations guy, and it was pretty obvious that he was probably fresh out of college. This young man knew just how to do public relations – by the book – not by actually having any hands-on experience. His concept was that writers would do articles on new knives his company was producing, by him simply sending them out a press release and a couple of color slides. Well, that didn’t happen – no one wrote any articles on those knives…it was only a few short months later, when this young man called me – almost begging me – to request some knife samples to write about – he was gone within six months.

To be clear on this, and I’ve mentioned this before, I will never write an article, without having a gun, knife or whatever the product is, without actually having the product in my hands for testing. If a company doesn’t want to send me a sample to use and abuse – to a certain extent – then I’m not interested in writing about their product. It is not fair to our readers, to write-up a review, without actually having hands-on experience with a product.

When I started writing, which has been more than 28 years ago, I took the advice from my long-time friend, and brother in Christ, John Taffin, who is also a gun writer. John told me “never tell lies in your articles, so you don’t have to remember those lies…” And, I’ve lived by that advice. I prefer to report the truth, the facts, my findings, and my opinions. And, don’t ask me what I had for breakfast yesterday – I can’t remember – see, what I’m talking about? It’s easier to report the truth than to make up lies.

Of course, readers can disagree on my findings in my articles, that’s only natural for some folks. That’s okay, I simply report the facts, as I see them, and my opinions, based on a lifetime of being around firearms and cutlery. I used to write for many of the printed gun, knife, and survival magazines – did so for a lot of years, but got sick and tired of spending more time – literally – begging to get paid, than I did testing and writing articles, so I stopped writing for all of them. So now write for SurvivalBlog.com on a regular basis – as a paid freelance writer, and I enjoy the freedom that SurvivalBlog’s Senior Editor, Jim Rawles, gives me to write about just about anything I want.

Back to Buck Knives, and their new Ground Combat fixed blade knives, I first heard about them last December, from my contact at Buck, and she thought they would be a great product for SurvivalBlog readers. I waited anxiously, for the SHOT Show to be over, so I could get my samples – well, it was quite a few weeks after that, before they arrived at my door – although they were well worth the wait. Buck doesn’t come out with a lot of new knives annually. But when they do, I can’t hardly wait for samples to reach me for testing. Buck has been around for more than 100 years. So they are well established as a premier knife making company. On average, a knife has a life span of about three years on the market – that’s not very long, to be sure, after that, the public wants something new and different. However, if you look at some of the cutlery Buck is producing, it has been around 50-60 years – some longer than that, so Buck knows what they are doing.

The Specifications

Buck is producing two different versions of their Ground Combat fixed blade knives, one has a spear point, and the other a tanto point – quite a bit of difference between them. The spear point blade is made out of 5160 carbon steel, where the tanto blade is made out of the same tough steel – very tough steel, to stand up to the rigors you’d use this knife for – be it combat, survival, or just hunting. Both knives have a 5.50-inch blade – I would have loved a blade half an inch longer for hand-to-hand combat, but 5.50-inches will have to suffice. Overall length of both knives is right at 10.75-inches, and the blade thickness is 0.200 inches.

Either variant of the Buck Ground Combat can be had in Sniper Gray Cerakote or tan Cerakote – I really was drawn to the tan color, in the tanto blade style. The tanto has a Micarta tri-color handle, while the spear point has the sniper gray color. However, you can have either knife in either color if you like – I requested the spear point in Sniper Gray and the tanto point in Coyote tan – and was pleased with my choices.  However, you can reverse that, and get yours in just the opposite colors if you prefer.

Sturdy Sheaths

Now, on to the sheaths: Not that long ago, if you wanted a molded Kydex sheath like those that come with the Ground Combat knives, you could have easily paid $50 -to- $100 alone for the sheath. Modern materials and manufacturing techniques have brought the prices down on great sheaths like these. The spear point sheath was in black, and the tanto point was in desert tan. The knives had an excellent friction fit – no way they would accidentally come out of the sheath, but they also come with an additional retaining strap – just in case. The sheaths are made out of injection-molded Nylon and heavy-duty polyester. And, lastly, these knives are made in the USA – and that alone is a selling point.

Both knives balanced perfectly for me – and that’s something you look for in a knife that might be used for hand-to-hand combat against an enemy. I also loved the handle designed – sculpted, for lack of a better term, so the knives won’t twist or fall out of your hand under extreme weather conditions. The sheaths can also be tied down on your thigh, once you have them on your belt, or they can be lashed to your field gear. The choice is yours.

The press release I received from Buck, said that these knives were field-tested military operatives, in the most grueling conditions, and passed with flying colors. In my limited testing, I was not let down by these knives. Of course, any knife can be destroyed under the right conditions, and in the past, I did destroy some knives in my testing, but that’s not a fair test in my humble opinion – anything can be broken. However, I would have not second thoughts about carrying one of these knives on the battlefield – ever!

My Practical Tests

I did my usual limited (non-destructive) testing on both knives, and once again, I much preferred the tanto blade sample, over the spear point. No worries about either knife breaking the tip off of them – they are reinforced (read: thicker) in the tip area. I did my usual slashing at thick blackberry vines – and with very little effort the Ground Combat samples cut those vines in two without any problems. Cutting open heavy cardboard boxes – again, no challenge at all. I even used them around the kitchen for cutting up things – didn’t do great at cutting veggies, because the blades are thick – then again, they weren’t meant to be kitchen knives. I found that I could easily cut through yellow poly rope – and this stuff is some of the toughest rope to cut, bar none. Hemp rope – no problem – and I even wetted some of the hemp rope – and a wet rope is a lot more difficult to cut through – but the Ground Combats didn’t hesitate.

A Useful Lanyard Hole

The butt end of the knives, have a small lanyard hole – and if you’re going into harm’s way, I highly suggest using the hole, simply put a piece of 550 paracord through the hole, and when you draw the knife to use, make sure you wrap the paracord around your hand and wrist, and you won’t drop the knife, and if you do, the lanyard will keep it on your person. This is also a great way to make sure you don’t lose your knife in water operations – if you dropped your knife – it would sink and you’d be without it. So use a lanyard in combat conditions or around water.

The knives came with the fairly new edge geometry that Buck now uses, and it was more than hair-popping sharp out of the box, and both knives stayed sharp doing my testing. However, at the end of my testing period, I did touch up the edge on both knives, just to keep them as sharp as possible, and this new edge that Buck uses, makes these knives easier to re-sharpen when the time comes. I like that, a lot.

Full-retail on either of the ground combat knives is $130 and that is a deal, for such great knives – and if you pay retail, you aren’t getting cheated. However, I shopped around the ‘net and found these knives for as little as $99.99.  I suggest that you pick up one or two. And if you’re in the military, do so before you deploy overseas,. Make sure you have at least one attached to your gear. You will be totally blown away with either of these combat knives.




7 Comments

  1. Dang three years? The 110 came out in ’64 and the 112 in ’69. Got my 110 in the ’80’s, a 12th birthday gift from Pop and the Boy Scout Totin’ Chit was earned within the week. It’s still got a great edge after daily use and countless sharpenings. Guess what my brood got for their 12th birthdays?

  2. Great review, Pat, thank you. My son worked for Buck Knives for three months, a few years ago, but his house in New Mexico didn’t sell (the market went flat the week he drove to Idaho) and he had to come back. I toured their facility when I visited him, and was very impressed. (Bought some knives at a slight discount, too!) If anyone finds themselves on Interstate 90 in Post Falls, just inside the western border of Idaho, a visit is well worth your time.

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