Buck Knives is a good knife company that makes affordable, versatile knives. The 284 Bantam is no different, being a budget knife that manages to get the job done. It comes reasonably sharp and will fit in just about any pocket or bag.
- Total Length: 4 3/8″
- Blade Length: 2 3/4″
- Blade Material: 420HC
- Blade Shape: Drop Point
- Deployment: Manual
- Lock Type: Lockback
- Handle Material: Black Textured Thermoplastic
All in all, the Buck Knives 284 Bantam is an excellent budget knife. It feels cheap, but it has a good blade that retains its edge pretty well and is reasonably good at resisting corrosion. If you want a small knife that functions well for most everyday tasks and that you can carry as an EDC without fear of being out of much if it becomes lost, then I recommend this knife.
Table of Contents
When you first take it out of the package, the first thing you’ll notice is just how cheap this feels. I held it in my hand and turned it over, wondering if the handle would actually break away if I were to try cutting through tough material like wood on a camping trip. It may not be that bad, but the handle feels like cheap plastic.
The next thing I noticed was the lack of a clip. I didn’t read the description too well and just figured that all pocket knives came with clips. It was weird that this one didn’t. I know, it’s small enough that it’ll just sit at the bottom of your pockets without too much trouble, but it’s also small enough that it would be easy to lose if it should slip out of your pocket. The knife is really small!
Due to its size, it also took me a few tries to really get it do deploy with one hand. It has little knobs for the thumb so you can open it easily, but you should manually move the blade around once you get it to kind of break it in a bit.
That being said, the blade was decently sharp right out of the box and I was able to turn around and use it on a package right away. It did its job perfectly, and in action, it seemed sturdy enough that I can see myself using it in my shop or doing some maintenance in the garden. It’s ultimately a far better knife than I anticipated.
The Buck Knives 284 Bantam’s blade is a drop point, making it fairly versatile in its use. The steel is made from 420HC, which is the high-carbon version of the 420. It seems that Buck Knives manages to heat treat it in a way that brings out more hardness than you’ll usually get with a blade made from this material, so you’ll have a good edge for longer. You might have to work a little more to sharpen it when it becomes dull, though.
Ultimately, I’ve found that I can use it for quite a few things. It opens packages well, and I sliced up an apple with it the other day while in the office with no trouble at all. I have yet to test it outdoors, but I think it’ll be a good knife for some bushcraft tasks, too. Sam has one of these knives and vouches for its ability to trim the bushes around the house without immediately losing its edge.
My biggest problem with the blade actually comes from its small size. I tend to prefer larger knives, myself, so the smallness of this knife tends to irk me. That’s what you get for buying a knife called a ‘bantam’ (bantam means miniature or diminutive) and thinking, “It can’t be that small, right?” Just be warned that if you want a lengthy blade, this isn’t for you. It’s only 2 3/4″, after all.
The handle is the weakest part of this knife. It feels cheap, like old plastic. Moreover, I wish there was more texture on it because it slips around in my hand somewhat. It’s easily the worst aspect of this knife, but I understand that Buck Knives was trying to keep the knife low budget.
Still, I would’ve preferred an aluminum handle, or at least something with some more grip to it.
This isn’t a heavy knife, which makes me concerned that I’ll lose it on accident one day while carrying it around. I can see it falling out of my pocket and never noticing until I change my pants or shirt. A lot of this comes down to the cheap material used in the handle, I think. The blade itself is decent enough, but the handle is very light.
Carrying and Deployment
Let’s get the bad thing out of the way first: there’s no clip. That’s right, no clip on this pocket knife. Why doesn’t the Buck Knives 284 Bantam have a clip? Beats me.
However, it fits fully within your pocket, so if you can get used to fishing in your pocket to get it out, it doesn’t really matter that there’s no clip. I always feel like I’m going to lose the knife, though.
Outside of the lack of a clip, the knife is tiny. Folded, it’s something like 3″, so it fits inside virtually any pocket. Sam likes that because, as she said in her first post, women’s pockets are very shallow. I like it because it means that the knife isn’t taking up all my pocket space!
The knife also locks well, so you don’t need to fear the blade slipping out as you’re going about your business. You should break the blade in by opening and closing it a few times, but that’s more for ease of deployment and it won’t compromise the integrity of the locking mechanism.
The Buck Knives 284 Bantam is a handy little knife. If you’re looking for a small knife that can handle light, everyday tasks then this is definitely up your alley. Its biggest downside is its handle, which feels cheap.