Puma Classic Lockbacks | Folding Blade Knife Review

Folders with almost 50 years of proven field performance behind them.

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Harvesting crops from the garden is always a standard requirement of my folders during the summer. A long narrow blade like this Puma works best for zucchini.

As a general rule, I try not to mention other brands of cutlery in any article featuring a particular company but there are exceptions. Frankly, ignoring the fact Buck Knives first created the brass framed “110” pattern lockback folding hunter in 1964 is kind of like failing to acknowledge that John Browning and Colt Firearms designed the now universally popular Model 1911 .45 pistol over a hundred years ago. And, like the dozens of 1911 clone handguns made by other companies, the Buck 110 has been copied by vast numbers of cutlery makers around the world. One of the first to do this was the German brand Puma. Even today, Puma offers probably the most extensive line of 110 clone knives on the market, with a size and price range for every user.

Chinese Connection

While Puma has also long been known as one of the premium German brands, in recent years they have contracted out the production of many of their models to other cutlery producing countries. Puma’s approach to importing folders is more unique. I was told they felt that their average customer was primarily interested in obtaining a quality German-made blade. On the other hand, a large part of the production costs in any folder are in the assembly and finishing of the handle, spring, lock, and pivot pin. With that in mind, they now manufacture blades in Germany that are then shipped to China where they are assembled into an economical line of Puma working knives.

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Puma still makes the Military line in Germany. Top down, the General, Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Corporal. They range in size from 3 inches up to 4.9 inches closed, thus providing a practical folder for every need.

For those who would still prefer a 100% German-made product, there are also the traditional Stag-handled Earl, Prince and Duke knives; as well as the lightweight aluminum-framed ABS-scaled Corporal, Lieutenant, Sergeant, and General. Current Chinese assembled variations run in size from the 3-inch close “Gentleman SGB” to the 5.5-inch closed “Boss SGB,” with a at least four sizes in between those two extremes. Thanks to their American importer, I have had a chance to evaluate a number of these different models for several months over spring and summer of this year.



 

  • C. Stanton

    From the article: “As a general rule, I try not to mention other brands of cutlery in any
    article featuring a particular company but there are exceptions.”

    To make an exception for the Puma General (as you have in this particular case), is totally merited. As a patriotic American, it was difficult, at best, to purchase a blade made by some company that used to manufacture Nazi bayonets. If anything, I had to first work my way through Case, Buck and Gerber (folding and fixed), before finally succumbing to the siren song of Puma.

    I purchased my Puma General 230270 (s/n #54892), back in 1988 and have never experienced a single backward glance ever since. By itself, the difficult-to-forge drop point blade shape tells me that somebody went to great pains in the making of this blade.

    Let me put it another way. With my Gerber and Buck folders, there was no fear in flicking them open one-handed with the usual lateral thumb pressure. By comparison, to this day (even after miserably few steelings, honings or actual sharpenings, I still hesitate to do any such thing with my Puma General.

    All of this was proved out a few months ago when I lacerated my thumb on the blade’s back end while endeavoring to slit some duct tape. I cut myself on ANY blade maybe once or twice in a decade (this includes my numerous Wusthoff and Henckle kitchen knives). There was almost a goofy sense of pride in having to bandage myself up after getting cut on a blade that I have done everything but outright abuse for 15 years.

    Packed in a bureau drawer is my mint dual-blade Puma Ranger (Model 972) in custom made sheath (Image: http://www.knifetalkforums.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=102167). It is my “dress” folder but also one that I would unhesitatingly take into the trenches along with my favorite Victorinox Mountaineer Swiss Army Knife.

    Between the General, Game Warden and Mountaineer, only a better performing, fixed blade equivalent of Buck’s Fisherman (another favorite) would meet my edged-tool requirements before the discussion began to include projectile weapons.

    I Hope This Helps,

    C. Stanton