I picked up a Buck Vantage Pro and wanted to share my impression of the knife after a week of EDC use.
The Buck Vantage line is available in three grades: Select, Avid and Pro or good, better and best, respectively. Each grade is then available in two sizes: a 2 5/8″ blade (small) and a 3 1/4″ blade (large). Rather than try to describe all the differences between each grade, I would encourage you to visit Buck’s web site and check out the full specs on each.
I have the model 347 or the ‘large’ Buck Vantage Pro which has CNC contoured G10 scales and a 3 1/4″ blade of S30V. Heat treating on the Pro (as well as the Avid blades) is by Paul Bos, the guru of heat treating. All of the knives treated by Paul have his name and flame logo stamped or etched on the blade. Paul’s shop is actually located within the Buck factory in Post Falls, Idaho – a pretty cool arrangement.
Under the G10 scales are dual stainless steel liners with an integral liner lock. My preference would be for Buck to offer a titanium liner option for reduced weight, but that would bring a substantial increase in price.
The Vantage comes with a drop-point blade that resembles the blade offered in the Buck Mayo TNT titanium frame lock. In practice I’ve found the blade shape to be good for slicing veggies and opening packages. I even used it to dig a stray field point out of a tree during a pre-season bow practice session.
The Vantage offers one hand opening through either a thumb hole or a flipper. I tend to use the flipper although the thumb hole works just as well. Lock-up is solid whether flicking the blade open or using the thumb hole.
The Vantage Pro is an easy carrying knife that rides comfortably in the pocket. It’s pocket clip is attached to the end of the rear bolster allowing for ‘deep’ carry. In other words, when the knife is clipped in your pocket, all you see is the clip. One can debate the merits of this, but I like the design. The clip is also reversible for left or right pocket carry.
Buck has a devoted group of fans (including myself) and collectors, but they also have their detractors who consider them a second tier manufacturer below Benchmade, Spyderco and others. In the case of the Vantage Pro, it’s quality is easily as good or better than similar knives from other makers but at a substantially lower price.
In fact the Vantage Pro is an extremely good value. I can’t think of a knife from any other manufacturer that offers S30V steel, G10 scales, is made in the USA and retails in the $60-$75 range like this knife does. Add in Buck’s Forever Warranty and reputation for excellent customer service and you have a winner! Check out the Vantage Pro for yourself and I think you’ll agree.