The Buckmaster – SHTF Survival Knife on Roids

When I was a kid, it must’ve been like 1985 or so, I went with my father to an Army Navy store in Bar Harbor, Maine. There, behind the glass counter, was a monster blade unlike any I’d ever seen. It was . . . . awesome. I mean, c’mon, it was the BuckMASTER! Master of all the Bucks! I was a kid, so it had an even bigger impact.

My father asked to see it (for my entertainment), and I remember the guy behind the counter touting this mother of all blades. Much to my childhood boy delight, my father let me hold it and I was in awe. It was expensive, and even if I’d had the money, there’s no way my father would’ve let me have it, so back behind the counter it went.

That memory stuck with me a long time, all the way until when I was old enough to make my own decisions, and (after saving money from lawn mowings, etc.) I went to a local hardware store that sold Buck knives and asked if I could order it. The guy, looking at young me, said, “Order a what?” He called the distributor, and he ordered it. The knife came a week later, I went to pick it up, he looked at me again, and said, “You be careful.”

I still own it:


The Buckmaster story:

The Buckmaster (Buck 184) was developed by Buck at the request of Navy SEALs. It has a massive, high-end blade that’s 7 3/8″ long. The entire knife is exactly 1′. The points at the end unscrew. They are there so the knife can be used as an anchor for gear or as a makeshift grappling hook. The front saw edge on the back of the blade was designed for cutting wet rope.


Typical of most survival knives, the handle is hollowed out for water tight for storage of whatever components you want. Usually that’s a few matches, some fishing line, a few hooks, etc. Mine contains nothing but matches and something to strike them on.

The sheath is built out of a rugged, hard plastic. The knife was sold with optional nylon pouches that could be attached to the front for other gear. Mine is pictured with one pouch. The back of the sheath holds a built in sharpening stone. It has a quick-release belt loop, and it can be fastened to your leg. You wouldn’t want to go on a 10 day march with this strapped to your leg, but it certainly has applications in your bug out bag. They’re rugged as hell.

Production began in 1984. The knife came in non-reflective stainless and black. The first design included a small compass on the inside of the grip’s cap, but there was so much steel in the knife that it rendered the compass useless. Buck stopped producing these in 1997, and they’ve since become popular with collectors. An early production Buckmaster will sell for $400 or more. The later models, like my own, go for about half as much. 110,000 of these babies were sold. If you’re interested in one, beware the cheap knock-offs that companies have tried to pass off as Buckmasters. They’re Buckmasters only in appearance. Specify “Buck 184.”

– Ranger Man

BTW: The Buckmaster design was later tweaked to build the M9 bayonet, also a nice blade.

30 comments… add one
  • Jennersen July 14, 2008, 9:37 pm

    oh to be a kid again. Nice blade.

  • Weltregierung. July 15, 2008, 3:53 am

    ..Hmm…. get a Glock M78 knife.

    it´s like 35$.

    Perfect for SHTF as you buy 3 for 100$.

    – Cheersregierung.

  • Cole July 15, 2008, 10:03 am

    Man I have got to have one of those! I am now on the hunt for a Buck 184. Did I miss what kind of steel it was made from? Regardless, that’s one fine looking pig poker.

    • Ryan Peters November 4, 2017, 7:28 am

      I have one for sale never used. First run and I think I still have the box.

      • Craig December 28, 2018, 12:42 am

        Still for sale?

    • Keith R October 3, 2018, 1:56 pm

      I’ve got one I’ll sell you. Reply to me.

      • Craig December 28, 2018, 12:43 am

        Still for sale?

  • Phil in NC July 15, 2008, 1:13 pm

    It’s 425mod steel, similar to 440 I think.

  • Commander Zero July 15, 2008, 2:29 pm

    I bought one of those when they first came out, back when I was a kid. It was uber-cool. If you do some Googling theres a couple fascinating sites out there with the complete history as well as descriptions of a few variants.

    They rode the Rambo-inspired ‘survival knife’ craze pretty well but I think the day of the hollow-handled massive knife are past. I like the discontinued BK&T knives coupled with a Spec-Ops sheath to hold knife and ‘survival gear’. The Glock knife has proved itself to me and I keep a half dozen in storage for that rainy day.

  • Sharp Idea July 16, 2008, 7:38 am

    Think you guys will enjoy these:

    A titanium, lightweight, non-magnetic, non- corrosive, and multi-functional knife that can be used in all environments from the tropics to the arctic. State of the art blade hardening and a non-conductive Kevlar/Hytrel handle so tough you can pound nails with it!

  • thebronze July 26, 2008, 3:12 am

    I remember the BM from back in the day. They WERE cool. A lot of great knives available nowadays. I still have my Gerber Mk I and II.

  • john colburn November 30, 2008, 12:28 pm

    I ran acrossed one of these knifes at a guy’s garage sale ,didn’t know what kind of knife it was just saw it and had to have it . I paid 2 dollars for the knife,yes i said two dollars, took it home and put it in my survival back pack. iIdid not get the sheath with it but it’s in good shape ,it has the black oxidize finsh on it and after looking it up on line ,i know it;s the real deal, it has 184 us.pat.4622707 on one side in the bloodgroove, and buckmaster on the other side in the bloodgroove.and it came with the screw in grappling hooks too . so i think i got a good deal for only two dollars. tell me i dont know a deal when i see one .

    • Robert Griffin August 7, 2016, 1:54 pm

      thats a gen 2 or later, the first gens didnt have buckmaster on the side of the blades, i paid $134.50 for my gen 1 blade and still have it

  • john colburn November 30, 2008, 1:01 pm

    Oh by the way i also got a s.o.g, comemrative vetnam bowie fifth group special ops knife from the same guy that i got the buckmaster from on the same day ,the knife with the leather wrapped handle and steel bolster for only a dollar,so i got a buckmaster and a sog bowie for three dollars. wow what a deal.

  • Alex Plakos December 20, 2008, 12:22 am

    I have a balck buckmaster, near perfect condition. no spikes no sheath. If I could get a sheath, I would but If not, I am willing to sell it.

    • Anonymous March 12, 2016, 8:00 am

      Buck company in idaho has old stock picked one up for $40 plus ship the real deal

  • Instructor January 7, 2009, 3:11 pm

    Hi, I’m survival instructor in
    and I’ve the Buckmaster 184…

    this knife is indestructible and edge retention is near perfection!

    somebody have some old, bad condition model for cheep?

    • Anonymous July 23, 2015, 6:42 am

      Lol I have a Buck 184 in very well used condition.. I carried this knife all over the world in the Airborne Infantry. It’s chopped down dozens of 60 foot high trees (for bunker log roofs), dressed deer, gutted sharks, dug for water in the desert, extracted water from cacti..29 years of faithful service, & I havn’t broken it. If you knew me, that says a LOT.
      -The Wrath of Horvath

    • ceraphym August 13, 2016, 9:14 am

      If your still looking…

      • Arthur June 5, 2018, 2:55 am

        You still have it? and are willing to sell it? What’s your price?

  • Dawn January 11, 2011, 8:54 am

    I have a first generation BuckMaster 184. I bought it from my ex 7 yrs ago…he wants to buy it back but uh no way…it’s the most awesome knife in my collection. Heavy, rugged and screams no nonsense.

  • Larry January 12, 2011, 12:14 am

    I bought my BuckMaster 184 < USA PAT PEND in 1986 while stationed at Ft. Benning. I carried it my entire time in the service, during my backpacking trips with youth in Arizona, and camping with my family in Colorado. . . Love this Knife. . . It's a great all around blade, has handled alot of use and abuse over the years. . . ! I admit it may be a little more knife than I need these days, but I can't imagine going into the woods without it!! One of the best investments I ever Made!!

  • Ed August 14, 2015, 7:02 am

    I carried one from 1986 to 1988. I lost it on deployment some how it was like losing a relative.

  • Andrew Grove July 10, 2016, 12:07 am

    I bought mine when in 8th grade. It is an awesome knife. Only used to gut one deer.

  • Gerry Koch September 25, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Nice comments and information on this fine knife.have black and one boxes, everything else.this is a knife you can bet your life on.i also have the hardcover book on the knife.# 86.its sign by all who had anything to do with the making of this knife and it’s history.

  • Bill October 5, 2018, 4:12 pm

    I have the buck master for over 30 years.i love t it’s excellent conditio,with hard s health,compass,and both pins.never has buckmaster 184 pat.stamped ,but no buck master stamp bought before they started stamping them in the is for sure the best knife ,besides the 2 k-bars usmc I have… great knife for sure.purchased at sport authority for a big $122.00 in Orlando park,il 1988 brand new.

  • Steve McLemore November 7, 2018, 10:34 pm

    I have one that I purchased around 1986. I lost it going to a deer stand one afternoon. About 8 years later, I found it on a trail to that old hunting spot. The sheath wasn’t with it and it was missing one the spikes. It had some minor (literally very minor) rust spots and was a mess after being covered up with dirt, leaves, straw, etc for that long. Cleaned it up with a Dremel tool, reshaped and sharpened the blade. I just need to find replacement sheath and spikes and I’ll be good to go again.

  • Aaron July 18, 2019, 12:56 pm

    I bought mine in 1993. Cost me about $190. Absolutely love it! Bought a Kulinga skinner at the same time, for about the same price. Both are OUTSTANDING!

  • Gene December 5, 2019, 6:27 pm

    I have a black Buckmaster 184 Pat Pending, with all original items, compass, etc. Mint condition for sale. I am the original owner, purchased in 1985.


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