Buckmaster: big damn survival knife from Buck Knives

Buckmaster survival knife
April 2, 2018  
Categories: Knives and Axes

The Buckmaster – it’s a monster blade suitable for hacking apart Third World dictators (think, Commando…) or beating railroad spikes in. Yes, the Buck Knives Buckmaster 184 survival knife is one big-ass blade, so what? We have a couple. Don’t judge.

Apparently, the 80s were a weird time for the “tactical” community. With larger than life heroes like Arnold, Stallone, and Weathers, I suppose it only makes sense that a knife like this came about.

survival knife from Buckmaster

The Buckmaster 184 Survival Knife – it’s a bit of a beast. Some guys can pull it off though…


The Buck Knives Buckmaster 184 is a huge, heavy survival knife. The blade is 425 modified stainless steel and measures 7 ½” long and ¼” thick. Three different cutting surfaces are applied to the blade: the standard straight edge graces the front of the blade, a serrated edge is nested on the top half of the back, and the venerable sawback adorns the bottom half. So you can pretty much cut anything.

Buckmaster knife

Kinda makes you want to head off to Val Verde and hunt Latin American dictators, don’t it?

The hollowed handle is also stainless steel, and is home to the threaded guard (more on that later). The handle is sealed with an O-ring and would make a nice place to store firestarting materials, or a shot of whiskey, but we don’t judge. The pictured example is accompanied by OD green 550 cord, because what survival knife is complete without that beautiful seven-stranded mistress we all know and love? Tip to tip the Buckmaster is 12 ½” long and weighs a whopping 23.8 ounces. With sheath, it tips the scales at just over two pounds. The end of the handle also features a lanyard attaching point for more 550 cord.


The Buckmaster with case – you can still get the hard shell on Amazon (but not the pig-sticker).


The sheath accompanying the Buckmaster is a heavyweight plastic and has two removable pouches for more survival paraphernalia. The knife originally included a Silva compass on a red lanyard, which fit perfectly in one of the pouches. The other holds the other more noteworthy feature of this knife, which we’ll address later. The ballistic nylon accessory pouches fit to the sheath via Velcro that wraps around the back and shields the embedded sharpening stone. The sheath also has places for more 550 cord tie downs, most likely for the survivalist’s leg.

Buckmaster 184

Buckmaster 184 Survival Knife and case…either of which would make a fine cudgel.


But what is easily the best part of the substantial knife? The threaded guard mentioned earlier is for two large tines. Supposedly this somewhat unique addition was for anchoring divers in place (this knife was at some point issued to SEALs, from what I understand). Most others say this feature is for making the knife into a grappling hook. I know what you’re thinking: “That’s a bad idea.” I agree, and I would never use this knife as a grappling hook, ever. I can only imagine the knife coming loose and shooting into the top of your head with all 1.5 pounds of steel.

Most “survival” knives nowadays are more reminiscent of bushcraft styles like Moras, ESEEs, and several others, making the beefy Buckmaster a bit outdated (but nonetheless awesome). I mean, who doesn’t want a freaking grappling hook with them all the time?



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Alexander Crown

Alexander Crown

About the Author

Alexander Crown (@acrown509)is a frequent contributor to Breach-Bang-Clear, and is a patched Minion. He is the almost certainly the littlest big mistake Gemtech ever hired. Astonishingly, they continue to promote him to a succession of higher positions. Prior to his early retirement due to an enemy winning a marksmanship award at the cost of his hamstring, Alexander served in the 3/509 PIR out of Ft. Richardson and spent time in Iraq. In addition to dabbling in the world of silencers and science fiction, he has a BS in biology and is an avid gardener who grows prodigious crops of improbably might vegetables.


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