I just bought a Buck Vantage Pro along with a Spyderco ParaMilitary II because I was looking for a good knife for every day carry (EDC) and I thought it would be fun to compare the two. My first real knife was a Buck so I had pretty good hopes for it, but I didn’t think it would be as nice as the Spyderco which costs about twice as much. A little wrong and a little right I guess…
Blade – the Buck Vantage Pro has a hollow ground, drop point blade made from S30V stainless steel with Paul Bos heat treating. The cutting edge has a deeper belly than the Para II which should make it better for skinning an animal. No surprise here given Buck’s long history of making hunting knives. The Para II’s flat ground blade looks a lot stronger than the Buck’s though, and the pointier tip is probably better for puncturing.
Handle/Clip – Both knives have handles (“scales”) made from something called G10. The scales on the Vantage Pro are smooth with rounded edges, and IMO a lot more comfortable than the rough, squared scales on the Para II. The clip on the Vantage Pro holds really tight, maybe to the point of being just a little too tight. It comes set up for right hand, point up carry. You can change it to left hand carry but not point down. Because of the way this knife carries and draws, point up carry seems to work better so this wasn’t an issue for me, but it might be for you.
Opening/closing – The Vantage Pro has a small slot on the blade for thumb opening, and a flipper on the back of the blade if you’d rather start the opening process with you index finger. Whether you use the thumb slot or flipper, it’s going to require a snap of the wrist to get the blade to lock. I also found that sometimes the blade lock locks a little too good and requires some extra attention to get it unlocked.
Overall impression – Some of the reviews on the Vantage Pro complain about the blade not being centered in the handle when it’s closed. Mine wasn’t but since it doesn’t affect cutting or operation, I don’t think it’s a big deal. I haven’t had mine for very long, but I’ve used it to strip thick insulation off of heavy electrical cabling, opened lots of boxes, and processed some pork chops. After all that, the blade was still sharp enough to shave the hair off my arms without pulling. It might not be the perfect EDC knife (neither is the Para II), but at about $62 it’s an incredible deal. For some uses (processing small game, etc) it’s actually better than some more expensive knives thanks to its deep bellied, hollow ground blade. The S30V blade should hold an edge nicely and be easier to sharpen than some of the fancier steels (SV110). You can get a good price on this knife here: