Bear & Son Retro Lockbacks

Print Me a Pair
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Bear’s new pair sport 3-3/4" and 3" hollow-ground stainless blades (above).

Back when I was a whole lot younger there wasn’t much variety in lockback pocketknives. Well, at least not nearly as much as there is today. The reigning popularity champ was Buck’s signature 110 lockback Hunter. A hefty, straightforward, no nonsense clip-point with a positive lock actuated on the rear bolster, it was vastly influential and uncommonly sensible.

A boatload of current folders now rely on the liner lock and while they’re indeed “thumb handy,” there’s something traditionally comforting about the 110 style, including lack of speed flippers or assisted opening setups. Yes, they’re probably slower to close but it’s OK — you’re not going to break any speed records opening one either. These are pocketknives, not tactical folders.

Bear & Son Cutlery follows the old-timey 110 template with two new lockbacks, although on a slimmer, smaller scale. The Bear Branded Bone series contains several styles but the White Smooth Bone models include a 3″ clip point and a 3 3/4″ clip point. Both feature laser engraved bear pawprints on white bone scales and stainless high-carbon 440 hollow-ground blades. Both are thin and unobtrusive. Nope, no pocket clip. They’ll stay down in the bottom of your jeans pocket with the change and car keys the way God intended.


Both sets of scales bear “bear prints” for a distinctive “company logo” look.

Bear claims over 90 hand operations are required to produce each knife. I believe it. They’re extraordinarily smooth on opening and closing, and depressing the lock bar is equally easy.

The blades were sharp enough to shave arm hair out of the box, yet they didn’t “feel” sharp because someone had obviously polished or stropped them to the point there weren’t any microscopic “teeth” to grab on to the ball of my thumb (yes, it’s a dumb way to test an edge, but I’m honestly trying to quit).

The Bear line is made in the U.S.A. and lots of folks are willing to pay a premium price for this. Although these two are not inexpensive by import (read: China) standards, at $80.99 and $76.49 respectively, they’re a pretty good deal by any domestic yardstick.

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