Review of the Buck Alpha Hunter Folding Blade



Buck’s fixed blade Alpha Hunter’s have long been popular among knife enthusiast, but they also offer a folding version of the Alpha Hunter and that’s the model we’ll be reviewing today. This blade comes with a liner lock system that secures the blade firmly was deployed. The Alpha Hunter I’ll be reviewing is the drop point design, which differs significantly from other Alpha Hunter’s in that it does not come with a gut hook. I don’t really feel like I need a gut hook but if you do check out the Buck Alpha Hunter 278. Don’t think you’re getting nothing in return for the loss of the gut hook, though; the drop point version of the Alpha Hunter gives you a much stronger tip, which can be a great trade off if you are experienced at dressing game.

What can this knife handle?

As its name suggests, the Alpha Hunter Drop Point is a dedicated hunting knife. This isn’t some third world knockoff, these Buck knives were built right here in the USA and it shows in the product. Even though I usually prefer lockback designs for my folders, the liner locks on this knife lock the blade up tightly and I’ve really had no complaints. It feels hefty in your hands and it is a bit heavy due to the steel frame. I would never choose the Alpha Hunter as my primary EDC because of its weight but it could function in this role if you like beefy EDC’s. As a hunting knife I’ve had few complaints, the blade is sharp and I drop point design reduces the risk of puncturing any internal organs when cleaning game. Buck offers this same knife with a Rosewood handle and if you’re collector who isn’t going to be using the knife a lot this is a good option because the Rosewood handle looks sharp. On the other hand if you plan on making the Alpha Hunter a workhorse, I strongly recommend the rubberized handle. It provides a better grip (especially when wet) and warms up quickly in the cold.

Construction and Blade

420HC Stainless Steel was selected for the blade steel and I think this is the best 420 out there. It doesn’t hold an edge as well as some of the other steels out there but it gets sharp and is easy to sharpen thanks to its lower wear resistance. 420HC is highly rust resistant, which is very important for a hunting knife. Remember that you are going to be using this blade in the elements and you don’t need a knife that’s going to rust when it gets a little wet.

The blade on the Folding Alpha Hunter is 3.5 in long and has a satin finish. As I mentioned it’s not a light knife, weighing in at 8oz. The weight isn’t a minus to me however as it’s distributed well and I want a little bulk in my hunting knives. The drop point is a real plus to me as I’m experienced enough cleaning game that I don’t need a gut hook. The drop point design makes for a more solid blade and you run less of a risk of puncturing any internal organs and spoiling the meat.

Handle, Grip, and Feel

I chose the Alpha Hunter with the rubber handle scales and this is your best option if you intend to actually use the knife in the field. Overall I’m very pleased with the handle on this knife. The rubber provides a comfortable non-slip grip, even in the rain. Another bonus to rubber is that your hand will warm it up quickly with use, so your knife want freeze your hand off when you’re using it in the snow. A finger groove near the pivot and jimping on the spine allow for greater cutting control and precision. The knife is well balanced and will fill your hand. I would have liked to have seen a pocket clip on this knife. There is a lanyard hole but I find the weight of the knife makes it impractical to carry the ------ around your neck. A nice black nylon sheath is included but I’ve never really understood the point of carrying a folding knife in a belt sheath. At that point isn’t it more practical to just get a fixed blade?

Final Thoughts

I really had trouble finding faults with this knife. Obviously, I was not thrilled with the carry system but that was my only major hang-up. The steel could be better but it’s not bad and considering the price of the blade 420HC is more than adequate. The lock is secure and will stand up to heavy use and the handle won’t slip or hurt your hand during heavy use. Overall, the Buck 279BK Folding Alpha Hunter is a well constructed and solidly built hunting knife, and offers good value for its price so keep it in mind when you shop knives.
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