No stranger to the outdoors, Buck Knives has been producing quality tools for the sportsman since 1902. From hunting camp to overseas conflicts, Buck has built knives for everything a person might encounter. Now, with the partnership with the late Ron Hood, Buck has produced the Punk, a fixed blade, go anywhere, do anything knife that fits in around the campfire or the mess hall.
Ron Hood, and his wife Karen, worked for years to build up the “Hoods Woods” website that devotes itself to education of outdoor survival techniques, preserving primitive living methods, and promoting safety and sustainability in the outdoors. Ron and Karen Hood have produced piles of videos for their Hoods Woods educational video set. As a matter of fact, I remember watching some of those early videos when this gadget of a thing we call a You-Tube first started to get big. Ron always had a no nonsense approach, and he was never afraid to promote something that worked, and tell it like it was on junk. After Ron’s unfortunate passing in June of 2011, Karen has continued carrying the torch for www.survival.com.She has done great work for the outdoor and knife community, and really and truly, set the bar for folks like her.Karen has worked closely with Buck knives to develop the Punk from Ron’s prototype.The Punk is a fixed blade, go anywhere, do anything knife that Ron would have been thrilled to see.
The Buck Punk is a knife designed from the ground up to be one of the “if you can have only one” knives.The Punk is designed not only as a knife, but as a complete system that will give you everything you need, when you need it.Now, it’s been debated a zillion times, that one knife can’t do it all.I agree, just like one rifle, one 4×4, or one computer can do it all.But the Punk will do everything you ask it to do, from clean the buck you dropped in -10 weather, to build your fire, cut heater hose for a vehicle repair, and even mundane tasks like cutting up carpet or opening boxes.The Punk is the all arounder, the shortstop, the claw hammer and Channel-Lock combo…. whatever needs doing, the Punk will make happen.
The Buck Punk has a blade length of 5 5/8”, with a stock thickness of 3/16”. The blade is flat ground, my personal favorite, and is evenly ground throughout. The drop point design is another favorite of mine, and this design puts the tip directly in line with the handle. In my opinion, a flat ground, drop point design is the most utilitarian, and quite honestly, will do everything you’ll ask of it. The Punk is made out of a 5160 carbon steel blade that’s been coated in a green powdercoat finish for corrosion protection. I don’t know a whole lot about 5160 steel, as this is my first knife that uses it. But I can say it has served very well, kept a good edge, and hasn’t been so hard that I can’t resharpen it. One thing I have really liked about the 5160 steel it that it seems to ‘bite’ very well into wood. Some steels require a mirror polish on the edge to catch a good starting grip, but this 5160 steel is serviceable right from the factory. As a matter of fact, my Punk came sharp enough to shave hair off my arm and slice freestanding paper. Also, I can go either way on powder coating a blade. Some folks say it slows the knife down in the cut, increasing resistance and decreasing performance. With the Punk, I didn’t find this to be the case. In my normal use kicking around the house and out along my favorite 4×4 trail, it just plain worked.
The blade is full tang, and continues past the handle ending in an ample sized lanyard loop. This lanyard loop makes for an excellent striking point should you have to drive the knife into something. I know a lot of dyed-in-the-wool bushcrafters shriek at that idea, but in reality, when the chips are down, it happens. I once saw a multi-tool screwdriver driven into a door jamb to defeat a lock in an emergency. I tested the Buck Punk by driving the knife tip first through an aspen log about 1 1/2” in diameter. No ill effects occurred, the planet didn’t stop, the magnetic poles didn’t shift, and the knife didn’t explode in my hand. To the contrary, actually. The Buck Punk handled the test with flying colors, and I continued to baton the aspen log apart with mundane simplicity. I almost felt Ron Hood smiling as the Punk’s edge remained shaving sharp while splitting several logs. I also made quite a few fuzz sticks, and practiced drilling with the tip. After everything was said and done, the edge was dragging just a bit, but no dings or roll over could be found.
Sandwiching the knife blade are black linen Micarta handle scales, with red liners against the tang. The handle scales are said to be black, but in reality they’re a black/green combination that perfectly matched the green powder coating on the blade. The scales are held to the blade blank by way of two Chicago-style screws. The flat-head screws can be driven with just about anything you have handy, even a P-38 can opener. What makes this feature especially nice is that the handle scales can be removed. That sets up the end user for a blank slate for custom scales, or just a great way to get a good cleaning accomplished after getting things like mud, saltwater, or animal blood on the handle. The handle scales on the spine-side of the knife are a bit sharp though. The edge of the Micarta is cut so that when gripped with moderate pressure, it created a little ‘hot spot’ in the palm of my hand. This increased during use, especially prolonged use. I used a little 200 grit sand paper, and within about five minutes, I had all the edges rounded off nicely. Now, the handle doesn’t bother me at all. If you use a knife with gloves on, you probably won’t notice. But if it ends up bugging you like it did me, it’s nice to know it can be fixed quick and easy.
The sheath is really and truly one of the best features about the Buck Punk. The sheath is nylon, and uses a plastic insert to protect the blade and provide air flow and drainage should the knife become wet. Now, there a plenty of knives out there with nylon sheaths, but the Punk does it differently. The Punk’s sheath is MOLLE compatible, and allows for both a high and low carry on the belt. Also, on the front of the sheath is a built in pocket. The pocket is large enough for a full size multi-tool, or a 2 CR123 battery sized light. Also, the retention on the pocket is adjustable, which allows you to cinch everything down and prevent your equipment for rattling around and keep it from working loose.
I have been carrying the Punk on my everyday use backpack for over a month now. I loaded the sheath pocket with a Leatherman Micra, a BSA HotSpark ferro rod, a whistle, a squeeze light, and a small aluminum capsule stuffed with two Vaseline coated cotton balls and attached the Punk to the backpack via the MOLLE strap on the back of the sheath. I ran the compression strap of the back pack through the belt loop of the sheath, further securing the Punk to my pack. I have not had the Punk shift, slip, or otherwise come undone during every day use. Throwing the pack in the back of my Bronco, the Punk slid and banged around on some of my favorite off-road trails. The Punk stayed solid, and I’ve found I really like the double retention set up of the snap strap and para-cord loop with adjustment stopper. All cinched down, the Punk has no wiggle or wobble, it’s just quiet and ready.
After using the Puck quite a bit over the last month, I think Buck really has a winner here.Especially since the entire package comes in at 13.1oz, with the sheath!It’s a testament to Ron Hood in just how well this knife works in any situations.If you’re looking for a knife that’s not too big, not too small, will work when you need it, and can handle anything you throw at it, take a close look at the Buck Punk.Available for around $100, with sub-$100 prices out there with a little bit of research; the Punk offers a great value that Ron himself would be proud of.So check out the Punk…and in the meantime, I’ve got some Hoods Woods to watch.
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