The new Paradigm Pro is one of two Paradigm knives from Buck—the Avid and the Pro—to offer essentially the same knife with different steels and scale materials. In fact, the Paradigm Avid and Pro somewhat resemble the previously introduced Vantage Avid and Pro, but with the new Shift Mechanism/ASAP, although they also differ in terms of other materials and construction. When they were introduced, the Vantage folders really set the knife community all abuzz with how Buck can make such great knives in the USA and charge so little for them. The Paradigm twins will do the same.
The Shift Mechanism/ASAP opening mechanism works by pivoting the bolster towards the spine and then using the flipper to open the assisted-opening folder. Once open, the bolster needs to be returned to its original position, where it locks the knife open. The sequence is reversed to close the folder.
Today’s Ford Mustang doesn’t look a lot like the 60s original, but you can definitely see the lineage in the latter. Similarly, the Paradigm twins don’t resemble the classic Buck 110 too much, but you can still see the lines of the original in them. Maybe it’s the flared bolsters and pommel, maybe it’s the simple, flowing lines of the blade; whatever accounts for it, my first thought when opening the Paradigm box was “Hey, a 110 for the 21st century!”
Twins But Different
The new Paradigm folders follow Buck’s practice of offering similar knives to the market at different price points with slightly different materials used in their construction. Both of the twins have 3.25-inch hollow-ground blades—the Avid from 13C26Sandvik and the Pro from S30V; they both feature a reversible pocket clip, and the scales are similar, with the Avid’s made of Micarta and the Pro’s from G10. Each has a closed length of 4-3/8 inches, and each weighs 4.8 ounces. The most obvious thing about the Pro, which is the knife I have here for evaluation—besides its obvious high manufacturing and materials quality—is Buck’s brand new Shift Mechanism/ASAP opening mechanism. The Shift Mechanism (patent pending) bolster lock must be pivoted on the pivot pin towards the spine in order for the flipper to be used to open this assisted-opening folder. Once open, the Shift Mechanism/ASAP technology provides a robust locking mechanism and must be again pivoted to close the knife. With the folder closed, it also provides safety by preventing the blade from accidentally opening. Thus it safely locks the knife both open and closed. The Shift Mechanism/ASAP is a brand-new-to-the-world locking mechanism that Buck is very excited about, and the Paradigm twins are meant to be its coming-out party, so to speak.