Super-Duty Swiss Army-Style Knife

December 17th, 2012 in Articles General Articles

When discussing Ten Essential Category-Tools” knife recommendations, we looked at multi-tools vs. Swiss Army-style knives, and concluded if you don’t need pliers, and want to save weight in the process, Swiss Army might be the way to go.

Swiss Buck

Buck “SwissMate” / Wenger 56 “Ranger” Knife


In the early 90’s, Buck Knives collaborated with Wenger of Switzerland to produce SwissBuck knives. The Buck versions, with some differences, were basically Swiss Army knives modified for the U.S. market.

Shown is Buck’s now-discontinued SwissMate, a large folding knife with multiple tool options. Wenger’s currently-available “Ranger 56” is very similar, and offers the same features.

The major difference (at least to my eye) is SwissBuck’s push-button blade-lock release and clip vs. spear main blade.

As a larger knife, both share a hand-filling profile (as opposed to the three-fingered grip required by smaller Swiss Army-style knives).

I purchased my SwissMate in 1998 on closeout for $10, new-in-box, with nylon belt case. A good deal then that looks even better now.

A Viable Multi-Tool Alternative

So why are we looking at this? Simply to point out a comparable alternative to heavier multi-tools, that has the same tool options, sans pliers.

SwissMate/Ranger 56 Tool options include:

  • 3 1/2-inch locking knife blade
  • 4-inch saw blade
  • Can opener with sharpened cutting edge
  • Large flat screwdriver/bottle opener/wire stripper combo
  • Punch/awl with sewing eye
  • Large t-handle Phillips screwdriver
  • Lanyard ring

Superior Saw

Overall, an awesome tool. The un-wimpy main knife blade locks securely. Other tools snap firmly open, and the saw (in my opinion the best feature) is superior to anything I’ve seen on any multi-tool! The teeth are aggressive and very sharp.


So…when I’m trail hiking, and not working around equipment (snowmobiles, etc.) or other applications that require pliers, this knife’s a very good alternative!