KA-BAR Dozier Folding Hunter
+ Light but surprisingly sturdy.
+ Handles normal outdoor cutting tasks well.
+ Low price plus excellent value.
– Noticeable blade wobble after one years use.
– Too light for heavier chopping and cutting tasks.
You’ll never catch me outdoors without my Leatherman Wave multi-tool and my Buck 112 Ranger pocket knife. These are my go-to tools and I’d be lost without them. I’ve had the Buck since 1986.
Buck Knives 112BRS Ranger Lockback Folding Knife
Recently I considered replacing the Buck with something lighter and more modern. Being a married man, I had to obtain permission from the family CFO (chief financial officer, my wife), a notoriously stingy money manager especially when it comes to outdoor gadgets. I received permission but a strict budget was imposed. With this in mind I purchased the Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter pocket knife and a box of chocolates.
Well over a year has passed since I made the purchase. The chocolates are long gone and so is any residual goodwill. But I’ve still got the Ka-Bar and here’s my review.
- The Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter features a 7.62cm (3 inch) straight blade.
- The overall length of the knife is 184mm (7 ¼ inches) open and 108mm (4 ¼ inches) closed.
- The handle is made out of a material called Zytel and Wikipedia tells me that this is a fancy word for plastic and fiberglass.
- The blade is opened with a thumb stud and locks into place with a “lockback” mechanism.
- The knife weighs a total of 68 grams (2.39 oz). I paid $18 for this knife, not including shipping charges.
I have to admit that I was somewhat concerned when the Ka-Bar arrived in the mail. Compared to my trusty Buck, the Ka-Bar was a true lightweight. The Buck weighs 159 grams (5.60 oz) and that’s more than double the weight of the Ka-Bar.
I immediately had doubts about the sturdiness of the Ka-Bar, especially under the type of wear-and-tear that my knives experience. Could this featherweight knife hold up?
One Year Later
Other than a few superficial scratches on the plastic handle and severe paint chipping on the pocket clip, the knife is alive and well today. The pocket clip, by the way, continues to maintain it’s strength.
I refuse to purchase overly-fancy, high-priced equipment because I know my gear is going to take a beating. My gear has to be sturdy and reasonably priced. If something breaks I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted my money.
When I’m outdoors I cut a lot of things: rope, food, wood, and so on. I never avoid cutting something because it may damage a knife blade. Obviously I don’t cut through solid rock, but if something needs to be cut, it gets cut.
The blade on the Ka-Bar held its own. On close inspection with a magnifying glass I cannot see any nicks or dents in the blade. I’m impressed. I sharpen my knives frequently. The Ka-Bar seems just as sharp as the day it arrived. The blade passes my non-objective hair shaving, paper slitting, and paracord cutting tests, just like it did the day it arrived.
Despite it’s initial flimsy appearance, the lockback mechanism has survived. My fingers are saying thank you to Ka-Bar. Unfortunately, I can now detect a slight wobble between the blade and the handle.
I don’t think it’s a serious fault but something inside is not as tight as it used to be. I suppose that after a year of hard use this is acceptable, but slightly disappointing.
Notwithstanding the minor blade wobble, the Ka-Bar has been an excellent investment. I estimate that the price per outing cost of the Ka-Bar works out to something like 70 cents. That’s an incredible value for only $20.
This knife has served me well in over a years worth of camping, hiking, and fishing expeditions. If I had lost the knife or damaged it beyond repair, I wouldn’t have felt too bad. Fortunately for me, I can still get another years use out of the knife, and maybe more.
You may be wondering if I’ve decided to replace my trusty Buck 112 with the Ka-Bar Dozier Folding Hunter. To be honest, after so many years with me in the field it can’t be replaced. What I have decided to do is add the Ka-Bar to my gear.
Sometimes I put it into pack or tackle box, other times it’s clipped to my pocket. The Ka-Bar’s negligible weight is a big advantage. So, no, I haven’t replaced my Buck, but I have gained another trustworthy outdoor tool.