Buck Bantam Knife Comparison and Review

Buck Bantam model 285 in Camo
Buck Bantam model 285 in Camo

When choosing your custom hunting knives, you want quality. For decades, Buck has been delivering well built, well-thought out knives.
From the battlefields of World War II all the way to now, they’ve earned a reputation for well made knives.
Enter the Buck Bantam, a series of personalized pocket knives in a range of four sizes. With so many options even in the same family of knives, making a choice can be tricky. This is especially true when selecting a knife as a gift.
Our handy guide to the Buck Bantams will help you make the right decision for yourself or the people in your life. See the end of the post for a comparison chart!
Each of the Bantams come in the same six handle colors, aside from the Nano which comes in five.
The handle of each Bantam is made of an easy to grip, textured thermoplastic. Your main difference overall is in size, but there are a couple other key features to be aware of as well.

Buck Bantams in colors
Various colors available on Buck Bantams, from top left down: Mossy Oak Camo, Kryptek Typon, Kryptek Highlander, Blaze Orange Camo, Pink Camo, Black


Buck Bantam NanoBlade length: 1 and 7/8 inches
Handle length: 3 inches
The smallest size is the Bantam Nano. This knife will go great on a keychain or clipped to bag. The blade is a little on the stubby side, but as sharp as any Buck. Slim, compact, and portable, the Bantam Nano is a perfect choice for those who like to keep a blade handy at all times. Also a great beginner knife, since you’re less likely to cut yourself on this one, and you’ll do less damage if you do. At less than five inches long when open, this is one of Buck’s smallest.
Considering a personalized laser engraving? Due to the smaller size, I recommend keeping personalization to a single word. A first name, for example, will look fantastic. Most logos and longer names will still fit just fine, but could look cramped depending on their shape and length. If you’re looking to engrave something on the more complicated side, I recommend hopping up a size to the Bantam BBW 284.

Buck Bantam 284BANTAM BBW 284

Blade length: 2 and 3/4 inches
Handle length: 3 and 3/4 inches
The Buck Bantam BBW 284 is a middle of the road knife. It’s not too big, not too small. The 284 is lightweight, and still something you could clip onto your keys. The keychain hole gets a slight upgrade here to a larger lanyard hole.
If you’re put off by the tiny Nano, but still want something you can easily slip into your pocket, I would recommend considering this knife. Another upgrade is the thumb-stud on the blade, which allows for one-handed opening. Probably the biggest drawback is the lack of a pocket clip, but once again Buck has a solution in the next size up, the BLW 285.
Considering a personalized laser engraving? As you can see, the blade is a little longer. Perfect for logos, names, and wedding titles. I have seen a lot of corporations use this knife as an affordable safety gift, and their logos often come out looking good even on the modestly sized blade of the Bantam BBW 284.

BANTAM BLW 285Buck Bantam BLW

Blade length: 3 and 1/8 inches
Handle length: 4 and 3/8 inches
The Bantam BLW 285 is probably my favorite of the four. It’s a little bigger than the 284 without getting too carried away. The 285 has a pocket clip in addition to the lanyard hole. If you’re like me and you like to be able to clip your knife to a pocket (or a belt), you’ve got the ability here.
Like the 284, the BLW 285 also features one-handed opening thanks to the thumb stud on the blade. The blade itself is a good size, maybe a little larger than your average pocket knife. The 285 is like a hunting knife in a more compact form. If you’re set on a Bantam but unsure which knife to choose, this one is definitely your safest bet. This size is very popular for personal gifts.
Considering a personalized laser engraving? The bigger, taller blade makes for a lot of engraving space. A taller logo will fit better on this knife, or if you have a lot of text you want to fit in, go with the 285 or consider going up to the fourth and final size. Names, wedding titles, full Bible verses and personal messages are all going to look good on this Bantam.

BANTAM BHW 286Buck Bantam BHW 286

Blade length: 3 and 5/8 inches
Handle length: 5 and 1/8 inches
The Bantam BHW 286 is huge. This is the biggest Bantam, probably perfect for hunters, soldiers or survivalists. Personally, I think it’s too big for everyday use, but don’t let that stop you.
The standard Buck quality is still there, in a size that dwarfs the Nano. For the size, I will say it remains lightweight. Compared to other hunting knives I’ve used, this one is by far the lightest. If you’re on the go, camping or traveling or what have you and carrying a lot of equipment, this could be a major plus. You still have a pocket clip like the BLW, as well as the lanyard hole and the thumb stud for one-handed use. A very popular knife with hunters, particularly in the green and pink camo.
Considering a personalized laser engraving? Being the largest, naturally the 286 has the most engraving space. Perfect for showing off an extra-complicated logo, but of course just about anything will work here, including names, wedding party titles, and lengthy, personalized messages.


I have a hard time finding anything negative to say about any Buck knife, and the Bantams are no different. Consistently sharp, well-made, and reliable. In all my experience handling knives (and I handle hundreds any given week), I have not come across any crafted with as much care as Buck makes their knives.
You might pay a little more for the Buck name, but this is one case where the brand is actually worth it. Whatever size and color Bantam you might choose, I think you’ll be glad you did.
We hope this brief guide to the Buck Bantam will help you make a decision. If you have any questions or comments let us know.


NANO 283BBW 284BLW 285BHW 286
Blade Length1 7/8″ (4.8cm)2 3/4″ (7 cm)3 1/8″ (7.9 cm)3 3/4″ (9.5 cm)
Steel type:420HC420HC420HC420HC
Length Closed3″3 3/4″4 3/8″5 1/8″
Pocket ClipNo, keychain holeNo, lanyard holeYESYES
Weight.6 oz (17.1 g)1.5 oz (42.7 g)2.4 oz (68.3 g)3.2oz (91.1 g)

2 thoughts on “Buck Bantam Knife Comparison and Review”

    1. Hi!
      Good question. On the Buck Bantam’s, here is what those letters stand for:
      BLW – Bantam Light Weight
      BHW – Bantam Heavy Weight
      BBW – Bantam Bantam Weight

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