I mulled over the decision on whether or not to put the Buck Pilot in Survival Knife Reviews. For no other than it’s size. And it’s for this reason I finally decided to put it in the review after all. For the sake of this argument, size alone should not be the sole defining factor of describing a survival knife! Although the Buck Pilot is a small folding knife, it has qualities that any survival knife needs in order to be successful.
Up front, one of the things I don’t like about the Buck Pilot is that it’s made in China. I was surprised as anyone when Buck started outsourcing the manufacturing of some knife designs. It will take some time to see if the quality of the Chinese knives are as good as the ones made here in the U.S.A.
I’ve seen some Buck Pilot knife reviews that say Buck would not put their name on something that wasn’t a quality product. I’ve heard that same arguement from other companies when they outsource their products overseas and for many of them, the quality suffers. We’ll just have to wait and see if this is the case with Buck knives.
The Buck Pilot is a folding knife. The blade is stainless steel with a drop point. I found that the knife opened easily and I could do it with one hand. I also liked the stainless steel clip on the knife. This allows it to be clipped either inside your pocket or on the outside. You could even just clip it to your belt if you liked.This clip also helps stabilize the knife should you have to lash it to a stick for a longer reach or use as a spear.
I bought the Buck Pilot that has a partial serrated edge. The serration on this knife are sharp and easily cut through hard plastic sheeting, leather, rubber hose and saplings. This knife got dull rather quick in my opinion. But of course I was cutting everything under the Sun this day. If you’ve ever had a Buck knife, then you know some can be very hard to sharpen. This is especially true for the ones made here in the U.S.
It only took a few strokes on a ceramic stick to get the Pilot back to razor sharpness. I would imagine that under normal use, the knife would remain sharp for a long time.
I didn’t put this knife through any torture test such as batoning or using as a spear or putting it in a vise and seeing how far it would bend. To me, a lot of this is pure nonsense and only used for the drama crowd. Yeah, even batoning! If I need some split wood, I carry a hatchet or a heavy machete like a Woodsman’s Pal.
I suppose I might regret not carrying a huge bowie type survival knife if a plane I was on crashed deep in the forest and no one knew it went down. Of course, with my luck, the baggage that my knife was in would have probably been thrown on another flight!
The test I did perform with the Buck Pilot knife consisted of cutting normal (somewhat) stuff like saplings, cane, leather, plastic sheets and heavy cardboard. It handled everything pretty well.
But the real test is that I’ve been carrying it around for over a month in the woods. I’ve taken it exploring, camping, fishing and small game hunting. I’ve grown use to having this knife clipped inside my right pocket and it’s always at the ready.
I found that the folding knife mechanism keeps working well even after hard use. This knife has folded easily even when wet and dirty. That’s something I can’t say for some other folding type knives I’ve used over the years.
Overall, the knife has been pretty good. I’m a little amazed that a $20 knife has stood up to the things I put it through. On the downside, since I use a knife more than the average Joe, I have to sharpen it more than some of my other knives I’ve used for daily carry. Since I enjoy sharpening knives, it isn’t a big deal but for those who don’t know how or don’t care to do it, it could become a pain real quick.
Hey, if nothing else this knife is worth $20. I doubt you’ll find a better knife for the money…with the possible exception being the Mora knife. Buy one and throw in the glove box or tackle box. If you need a knife and don’t have your favorite survival knife handy, the Buck Pilot knife could be your saving grace!