Mention the name "Buck" and follow it with "knife" and most people who know anything at all about knives will envision a trusty Model 110 hunting knife in a battered leather belt sheath. The Model 110 has defined Buck's folding knife line for years. And with good reason. Like a 1960's Timex watch, that great old Model 110 takes a licking and keeps on ticking. Uh...cutting. Well, you get the idea.

But Buck makes a lot more models than just that venerable Model 110 folder. New to the line for 2004 are a couple of great lightweight clip-it knives: the Model 290 Rush and the Model 291 Rush.

What sets the Rush models apart from the other folders in the Buck line is the way the blade engages in a...well..."rush." These are assisted-opening knives that feature Buck's ASAP system.

I have to say that I haven't always liked assisted-opening knives. But the Rush series has some very nice features. For example, unlike many other assisted-opening knives, the Rush models use a patented dual-spring blade pivot. This translates to a smooth-opening blade that engages fully on demand. I tried, but I couldn't get my Rush to partially open once the opening motion started.

Of course, as with automatics, the worst thing that can happen with an assisted-opening knife is that it can engage inadvertently. To prevent this Buck uses an innovative blade lock. The locking lever closes into a small notch in the blade and the blade is locked in the closed position, requiring the user to positively unlock it. I can state with great confidence that Buck's blade lock design works. While evaluating the Model 290 Rush, I made repeated attempts to "bump" the lock off, and I couldn't do it.

Beyond its mechanics, one thing that I really liked about the 290 Rush is that it's kind of cool looking. The Model 290BL Rush that I tested has a midnight blue skeletonized handle and polished 420HC stainless-steel blade.

The Rush doesn't look like a duty knife, and I think sometimes that's good. Having a knife that doesn't scream "cop" is useful, especially when in, shall we say, "mixed company."

You can see the quality of the Rush models in their materials and design. Their stainless-steel blades are rust resistant, and take a very sharp edge. Their frames and grips have no sharp edges to wear holes in your pants. And they are light enough for comfortable daily carry even in a pair of light khakis.

Weight and bulk are problems that I see with many "cop" knives. Sometimes you pay for that rugged, tactical, built-like-a-tank look with discomfort. I can say from personal experience that the Model 290 Rush is a knife you won't mind carrying all day.

If you need or want a bigger knife the Model 291 Rush is the 290's bigger cousin. Where the 290 sports a 2.5-inch blade with an overall length of 6 inches, the 291 has a 3.25-inch blade and an open overall length of 6.25 inches.

The Model 290 Rush and Model 291 Rush both further the tradition of Buck knives. They are both well made and are priced to not break the bank; the Model 290 has a suggested retail of $73, and the 291 sells for about $90. By today's knife prices, that's really affordable. In addition, like all Buck Knives, the Rush models are covered by Buck's unconditional lifetime warranty.

If you are in the market for a new duty or daily carry knife, consider the Model 290 Rush or Model 291 Rush from Buck. Each of these knives offers the latest in folding knife design, technology, and quality at a reasonable price.

Buck Knives
Model 291 Rush

Blade Length: 2.5 inches
Overall Length: 6 inches
Weight: 2.4 ounces
Blade Material: 420HC Stainless
Handle: 6061 T6 anodized aluminum
Price: $90

Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman.