Buck 112 Auto Elite Pocket Knife Review
Founded in 1902, Buck Knives have been around well over 100 years. I remember staring longingly at their offerings in the knife case at our local outdoor store and several came home over the course of my teenage years. I’m not quite as fit as I was back in those days, but I still appreciate a quality knife in my pocket. To that end, let’s see if the new Buck 112 Auto Elite pocket knife has a place in your collection.
- Push button automatic deployment
- S30V blade steel
- G10 handle scales with brushed nickel bolsters
- Classic styling
- Automatic knives are restricted in some states
- Separate deployment button and lock back release take a little getting used to
If you live an area that you’re allowed to carry an automatic knife, the classic design, clip point blade, and high-end material selection make the 112 Auto Elite an easy sell for any outdoor activities.
The blade uses S30V steel – one of the “Super Steels” – to give you an excellent combination of edge retention and corrosion resistance. It takes more work and skill to sharpen, but you’ll go much longer between honing than you will with a mid-grade steel.
The Buck 112 Auto Elite features a clip point blade design. It’s among the best designs that offer excellent piercing and slicing characteristics. The trade-off is a weaker tip that’s prone to breaking off if you drop or abuse it.
I personally love a clip point blade. I carry a drop point or a tanto to work where I’m around tools and hard floors all day. But when it comes time to play on the water or in the woods, the clip point is my go-to choice.
One of the reasons I’m in love with the Buck 112 Auto Elite is the classic styling they stick with on the handle. It has brushed nickel bolsters offset with G10 overlays. I still prefer natural wood overlays, but it’s hard to argue with the grip security you get from G10.
There’s no jimping on the handle or spine, leaving the classic pocket knife look intact and avoiding a more tactical feel.
There’s also no pocket clip. Instead, Buck opts for a leather sheath. You can make the argument either way – a clip is nice for everyday carry while leaving it off preserves the style. Because of the style, I think the sheath is the right call. The only thing I would do differently is to give the loop on the back a snap so you can put it on your MOLLE-style bags.
Deployment and Locking
Deploying the blade is about as easy as you can hope for on any knife. The simple push of a button does the trick. Righties will find it on the left side to use your thumb while lefties will want to flip the knife around to use your index finger.
What Buck does differently is incorporate a lock back design with the automatic opening. All of my other automatic knives use the same button to deploy the blade and release the lock. Buck’s design has a couple of consequences.
First, it takes a little getting used to have different deployment and blade release mechanisms. Even when you do, releasing the blade lock is a two-handed operation.
On the positive side, the thick blade spine locks in a manner than no frame or liner lock can match. While the legal department can’t let me say that it’s as solid as a fixed blade, it’s about as close as you can get.
Price and Value
The Buck 112 Auto Elite pocket knife has an MSRP of $225 and online prices are running closer to $180. For the design and material quality, it’s a price that’s not at all out of line. Buck’s website says there’s about a 5-week waiting period currently, so they’re clearly not having any issue getting people excited.
If the price or local laws are an obstacle, the 112 has some other options:
- 112 Auto: $175 (ebony handle, 420HC blade)
- 112 Ranger Pro: $112 (G10 handle, S30V blade steel)
- 112 Ranger LT: $34 (nylon handle, 420HC blade steel)
- 112 Ranger: $77 (ebony handle, 420HC blade steel)
- Customizable 112 Ranger: $83.50 (oak handle, 420HC blade steel)
The Bottom Line
The Buck 112 Auto Elite starts with a classic design and incorporates some of the best materials into it. You’ll pay a premium price for those premium materials, but you’ll get a knife that’s ready to work during hunting season with enough quality to pass down to the next generation. It’s time to fall back in love with Buck Knives.
Buck 112 Auto Elite Key Features
- The upgraded 112 Auto Elite features a G10 handle with brushed nickel silver bolsters and a clip point blade
- Easily deployed with the push of a button, readying the S30V blade quickly and efficiently
- Comes with a genuine, leather sheath
Buck 112 Auto Elite Specifications
- Model: Buck 112
- Blade Shape: Clip point
- Blade Thickness: 0.120″
- Blade Length: 3″ (7.62 cm)
- Overall length: 7.25″
- Closed length: 4.25″
- Weight: 6.1 oz (172.93 g)
- Handle: G10
- Carry System: Sheath
- Origin: Made in the USA
- Price: ~$35