I was recently looking at a 1995 issue of Knife World, which discussed the (then) emerging Chinese pocketknife industry. One could have crossed out every instance of “China” and replaced it with “Japan”, and published the article in the 60s. Just as happened in Japan, decades before, the rise of premium Chinese brands and increasing costs of Chinese manufacturing, has forced companies are starting to look for other sources for budget knives.
Today, the knives that sometimes draw jokes from the American knife community come from Pakistan. If you have an email address publicly listed on the internet that is at all associated with knives, you will be bombarded with spam trying to sell you Pakistani knives. It is a running joke and leads to a very negative impression of the Pakistani knife industry.
BucknBear Knives is trying to change this. Founded in 2016 by Atif Shabbir, they made quite a splash with their Velociraptor Claw Karambit which has even been featured in the app/game Flippy Knife. Atif represents the 3rd generation of a knifemaking family.
Unlike the myriad of unknown Pakistani manufacturers who produce knives of dubious quality and sell to independent importers, BucknBear is headquartered in the United States. This gives Atif a better understanding of his target market, and an ability to connect with his end users. Being in the States allows him to address the negative perceptions head on, and with a brother overseeing the production back in Pakistan, the company maintains control of the process from manufacture through to when the knife is in the consumer’s hand. Instead of being an unknown, sending unsolicited emails, Atif has become a bona fide member of the US knife community, and is an approachable presence at public events such as Blade Show. The company is engaged and easy to reach on social media.
My first experience with BucknBear Knives was when they sent me a folding Lynx to review when I was Editor at The Truth About Knives. It was a solid knife, but while they have been making their fixed blades in-house since the beginning, they were contracting their folders to a Chinese OEM firm at the time. Today they have progressed in their manufacturing capabilities to where folders are now being made in-house as well, like their new EDC Cleaver pictured below.
As a part of our 100 Knives in 100 Days Giveaway, we are giving away a BucknBear Kings Tanto Hunter:
BucknBear describes the Knig’s Tanto Hunter thusly:
This Tanto model features a 1095 Damascus tanto blade and a bone/micarta handle.The Tanto Hunter fixed blade is a durable tactical knife that’s built like a tank. It has a full-tang blade made from 1/4 inch thick 1095 steel with a tactical look and feel. The handle has bone and Micarta scales with a hilt to provide extra protection. Knife includes a leather sheath with a trap.
Stats (as provided by BnB):
Weight 10.0 oz.
Overall Length 9.5″
Blade Length 4.5″
Blade Material 1095 Damascus 15n20
Blade Style Tanto
Handle Material Bone/Micarta
Handle Color No
Knife Type Fixed Blade
Knife Brand BucknBear
The BucknBear King’s Tanto Hunter is a substantial knife. At a quarter of an inch thick, it is undoubtedly a strong knife, but it isn’t a spritely one. The Damascus guard and pommel, while attractive, add more weight to the package. It balances towards the rear half of the handle’s micarta portion. Rear-balance does make the knife feel a bit more lively in the hand than if it were balanced farther forward.
With as many pieces as the handle contains – 2 bone scales, brass discs, 2 pommel and 2 guard pieces, and a total of 7 pins, there are plenty of opportunities for gaps, glue bleed, and other blemishes. The fit and finish on the BucknBear King’s Tanto Hunter is quite good with none of those issues. The plunge lines, while not perfect, are better than several popular knives of both American and imported manufacture.
The ergonomics are solid for my medium sized hand, but the hook on the pommel may cause issues for those with a larger paw. The finger scallops are in the proper places, and for close-up detail work, there is sufficient room to choke up with the index hooked in front of the guard. Strangely, the large choil is not particularly sized or shaped to match my index finger. That said, the choil does not feel uncomfortable when the knife is gripped this way.
I could not find an outside review of the BucknBear King’s Tanto Hunter. It is too bad, since I can’t really test a giveaway knife myself. It is my hunch that it would perform well, subject to benefits and limitations posed by a tanto grind on a 1/4 thick blade. I expect it to pierce well, and be fairly lousy at peeling an apple. But if the performance matches the visual quality of the knife, the winner should be quite happy with it.
I would like to thank Atif Shabbir and the folks at BucknBear for providing this knife for our 100 Knives in 100 Days giveaway. I look forward to watching the company continue to grow and transform the Pakistani knife industry.