Buck's New Switchblades: the 112 Auto Knives

By Randy Wakeman

Buck 112 Auto Elite
The Buck 112 Auto Elite. Illustration courtesy of Buck Knives.

There has been a mystery to switchblade and automatic knives over the years. Perhaps it is from watching too many old B level gangster movies? As long as I can remember, they have been around. Many of the switchblade knives in circulation have been low quality, more of a conversation piece than anything else.

Switchblade knives have been brought in from Mexico in bulk, with the springs removed. Add the spring and viola, you have the esoteric switchblade that might open, but isn't much of a tool.

A mainstay in the Buck line has been their Model 110 Folding Hunter Knife. The original Buck Folding Hunter is renowned for its durability, reliability and elegant simplicity. Its 3-3/4 inch clip-point blade is fabricated from 420HC stainless steel. Solid brass bolsters protect both ends of the natural wood scales.

The 3-3/4 inch clip-point blade is ideal for a wide range of uses. A nail notch atop the blade easily opens the knife. To close, just depress the blade lock near the butt of the knife and fold the blade into the handle. The closed length is 4-7/8 inches, while the overall length is 8-5/8 inches with the blade open. A leather carrying pouch is included and, of course, the Buck Folding Hunter is made in USA.

The commercial success of the Buck 110 Folding Hunter spawned a somewhat smaller brother, the Model 112. The main difference is the 110 series has a 3-3/4 inch blade, while the more compact 112 series has a 3 inch blade. They always have been sturdy, practical, handy knives that are highly regarded.

Buck has now taken the 112 platform and turned it into a push-button automatic knife. It comes in two flavors, the upgraded 112 Auto Elite features a premium S30V stainless steel blade and G10 handle scales with brushed nickel silver bolsters (2018 MSRP $225).

The more classic looking 112 Auto, which the good people at Buck Knives sent to me for inspection, features a 420HC blade and Macassar Ebony Dymondwood handle with brass bolsters (2018 MSRP $175). Both models have an overall length of 7.25 inches with the blade open and a closed length of 4.25 inches. Their open blades are prevented from closing inadvertently by a conventional Buck back-lock mechanism, similar to the Folding Hunter. Leather carrying pouches are included.

The primary upgrade when you buy the Elite model is the S30V blade. Buck describes S30V super steel this way:

"This advanced steel, S30V, contains carbon as well as high amounts of Chromium, Molybdenum and Vanadium. This steel combines fantastic edge retention and high ductility combined with corrosion resistance. Double-tempered - it can be hardened to a Rockwell hardness of Rc 59.5 to 61. However, it is difficult to resharpen yourself, but we do offer sharpening services for a nominal fee."

112 Auto Basic specifications:

  • Blade shape: Clip point
  • Blade thickness: 0.120 in.
  • blade length: 3 in.
  • Weight: 6 oz.
  • Carry system: Leather belt pouch
  • Country of origin: USA

Buck adds this important warning:

**Please Note: The sale of the 112 Auto is subject to restriction by the laws of many states and territories in the United States and by Federal law. Federal law also restricts the interstate shipment of these knives except to certain customers. The federal restrictions are described in 18 U.S.C. 7 1716(9) (as amended) and 15 U.S.C. 7 7 1242, 1243 and 1244 (as amended). If you are interested in purchasing the 112 Auto, please contact 800-326-2825.

This knife is prohibited under the Criminal Code of Canada, Part 3 Firearms and other Weapons, Section 84 and cannot be shipped into Canada.

Laws in the US vary by state. Here in Illinois, switchblades were illegal until just last year. On August 11th, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law SB 607, which repeals the ban on switchblade knives in Illinois. However, before you go out and purchase a switchblade, you will need to obtain an Illinois Firearms Owner Identification (FOID) card.

Obviously, I have had a FOID card for many years, as do all Illinois hunters and shooters, so legal ownership is not a problem, as long as you are at least 21 years of age and have a FOID card. It is just a pocketknife with a three inch blade.

A Buck 112 Auto is a great Christmas gift for anyone who needs a convenient compact knife, which is most any hunter, hiker, biker, or boater. Buck has done a beautiful job with this little knife. It is sharp, sturdy and very easy to use. It is made in Idaho, USA and guaranteed forever.

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Copyright 2018 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.