Buck Knives

The original Nighthawk was a great basic survival knife capable of performing virtually any task asked of it.

Not to be outdone (or fall behind in the market), Buck came out with the TOPS/BUCK Nighthawk, which addressed one of the major issues with the knife – its carry sheath – and added some bells and whistles to make it more sexy and appealing to a highly competitive market.

The original Nighthawk was a solid, durable, classically designed knife which fit multiple roles including hunting, survival and combat. Made of 420HC (high carbon) steel, it was extremely tough, easy to sharpen and very wear-resistant – all the qualities of a long term survival knife. However, the carry sheath had a lot to be desired.

The knife fit loosely, always felt unsecured and was limited in the ways it could be carried. Basically, it was a cheap belt sheath. In addition, under very hard use, the molded grip began to feel like it wanted to loosen up.

Although this “feeling” never led to catastrophic failure, it did lead to some doubts about longevity.

The new TOPS/BUCK Nighthawk has addressed these minor issues.

The sheath has been greatly improved to include an external accessory pouch and multiple methods of attachment including MOLLE (modular lightweight load-carrying equipment). Although this is obviously directed at the military, it should appeal to all of us as it gets the knife off our belt when needed (like when humping oversized packs).

In addition, the knife has a overall beefier feel and will stand up to heavy use as well as or better than the original. This is an important aspect of a long-term survival knife, because a knife which can’t take abuse is almost as bad as no knife at all.

Finally, TOPS/BUCK added some utility holes in the blade. Under normal situations, these may not have any use; however in a survival situation I can see where they would come in handy for things like twisting snare wire for traps.

Best of all, it’s made in the USA!

Overall, the Nighthawk is a robust, well-designed and appropriately priced knife which deserves Reggie’s Recommendation!


Reggie’s Recommendations are reviews of survival and rescue products personally tested by Mountain Shepherd’s own Reggie Bennett.

Reggie is not paid or compensated in any way for reviewing these products.

That means you get a real, honest, unbiased opinion on a product that might save your life one day.