Rough Rider’s Once in a Blue Moon Lock-back (RR 1192)

Blue moon lockback
Once in Blue Moon Folding Hunter (5 inch lock-back) with sheath and card stock packaging.

Not my usual pattern:

I don't normally purchase 5 inch lockbacks. It really isn't a pattern I have a need for nor is it a pattern I particularly find appealing. The pattern is often called a folding hunter or a 5LB by knife collectors but the general public is more likely to call it a Buck Knife. This is because the most famous of all 5 inch lockback folding hunters is the Buck 110. Buck lovers will claim that Buck invented the pattern. Buck dtractors will say pletny of other people also had 5 inch lockbacks before Buck. Regardless of that debate it is hard not to admit that Buck made the pattern not only popular but famous. Despite owning well over 200 knives, I don't own a Buck 110. In fact I've never owned a Buck 110. Before I bought this knife, I had only purchaded one other 5 inch lockback. I also own a Bear & Son Official Boy Scouts of America pattern 297 folding hunter. I bought the Bear & Son knife as part of my offical BSA knife collection not because it was 5 inch lockback.

As I said, this is not a pattern I collect. So what made me buy Rough Rider folding hunter? The pure and simple truth: it was an impulse buy. I was visiting Smoky Mountain Knife Works on vacation, and as I past by the Rough Rider knives on my way to the Bear & Son counter this knife caught my eye. I had no intention of buying it. As I said it isn't my pattern. Despite owning the Blue Moon Sowbelly (a pattern I do collect), I also had no intention of collecting more knives in this series. But when I saw this knife, for some reason, I wanted it. After looking at it in the store and looking at the price they were selling it for; I really couldn't think of a reason not to buy it.

two Blue moons

Once in Blue Moon Sowbelly and folding hunter. These are the only "Blue Moons." I currently own. I'm undecided about collecting more in this series. The deciding factor will be the smooth blue bone. I find it hard to resist


The down side.

For me, the only real down side ot the knife is it doesn't fit within my collection. As I mentioned I do't collect other five inch lockbacks and I only have one other Once in a Blue Moon knife. For others the down side might be the low price compared to the fit and finish of the knife. It is priced low and would make a great everyday carry. The quality is such that you could use it everyday with no poroblem and the price is low enough to allow such use. But you would eventually scratch the handles and bolsters and the reverse frosted blade etch would probably get ruined as you use and sharpen the knife. The the beauty of the knife would get destroyed if you put this knife to constant heavy use. Of course when the knife is right around $10 you could buy two. One to use and one to display.

The up side:

The knife is inexpensive and looks absolutely stunning. The smooth blue bone has a nice deep transluscent sheen to it. The blue moon shield is similar to that of the Moonshiner series but it is engraved "Blue Moon" The revers frosted blade etch is also well executed and on this size blade is well defined and clear. The black cordura nylon belt sheath is also a nice touch. It has a velcro closure, bright blue Rough Rider log and horizontal and vertical belt carry options. It is semi-frim so it will hold a rigid shape which also provide more protection for the knife if you opt to carry it. I also like the velcro closure. While it is not as secure as a snap, it is less likely to mar the bone handle

I also like the shape of the handle. The top bolster has a slight swell, similar to that of a copperhead or canow which helps to prevent the hand from sliding up on the blade. The knife is also relatively flat which allows for easy and comfortable carry in a back pocket if you choose "back pocket carry over using the handy sheath.

A view of the knive closed along with nylon sheath. The slanted rear bolster is a nice touch. Note the swell of the top bolster.

Fit & Finish:
The fit & finish are really quite remarkable. The pins, bolster and bone handles are all flush. The reverse frosting on the blade etch is exceptional and well defined. The blue smooth bone does have various shades within it which is actually the way I like it. The ncickel-silver blue moon shield is flush wih the one and reallt accents the coloring

Stay & Play
The blade has no wobble and the lock is very positive. There is no feeling the blade is close to accidentally or that the lock will fail. The blade also rest in the handle cleanly and without any looseness. It opens smoothly with little effort. There is no half stop position.

Walk & Talk
As mentioned the blade opens and closes smoothly. Their is loud positive click when the lock engages so there is no doubt when the blade has locked. The lcok holds fast but is easy enough to depress when you wish to close the blade. Blade closes smoothly and with a decent snap for lockback. You lock and backspring are too strong to allow the user to pinch the blade and flcik it open. It requires two hand operation.

Compared to my other 5 inch lock-back.

As I mentioned I only have one other five inch lock-back to compare the 1192 against. In this case it is USA made Bear & Son example. As I am not a collector of the pattern and have handle a Buck 110 for many years, I cannot honestly compare the Rough Rider to the Buck excpet to say the Buck will cost you four times as much. I also know the Buck 110 handle is closer in profile to the Bear & Son, however it tends to be flatter and lacks the decided palm swell.

The Boy Scouts of America Folding Hunter by Bear & Son and the Blue Moon Folding Hunter. Note the handle shape. Both knives are actually the same size. The Bear looks smallrer due to camera angle.

What I like most about the Blue Moon is that the handle is flat and has a profile similar to that of copperhead knifie. By this I mean the noticble bump on the front bolster and the graceful downward slope towrd the rear bolsters (See picture above) At least for me, this provides for a nice comfortable grip and it also helps to keep the hand firmly on the grip while helping to prevent it from slipping on the blade.

Bear & Son has a profile simialr to the Buck 110 but in this particular pattern they have added a signicant palm swell. The swell aids in keeping the hand on the grip. But as you can see in the picture below it adds to the knife's bulk and make it decidely more heavy.

I prefer the lighter weight copperhead design over the palm swell. While I have not carried a Buck 110, I think either design might be better than the concave and flat design of the 110. Of course Buck fans will strongly disagree with me.

The RR and Bear & Soon have 440A stainless steel blades. Both wererazor sharp right of the box. The Buck 110 has Buck's 420HC steel which most people agree is similar to 440A. In short, all three knives are made of comaprable steel which is suitable for every day use in a knife of this pattern.

In short I know the RR and Bear & Son are well made and are excellent examples of the 5 inch lock-back. I also know that Buck would not have it loyal followers and it reputation without also being a fine knife. As such I feel any of the knives would be am excellent choice for people who like to carry this style of knife. The main difference between all three is the Rough Rider is $30 cheaper than the Buck or Bear & Son. .

Blue Moon on top and Bear & Son on the bottom. Note the noticible palm swell in the Bear & Soon. There are advantages to this palm swell but weight and back pocket carry are not two of them. The main advantage is improved grip. Rough Rider has also achieved a better grip by giving the handle a "copperhead" like feel.


Final thoughts.

I'm really happy with this knife. I really like the smooth blue bone. This makes the third Rough Rider and the fourth pocket knife I have in blue bone and I see myself buying more of it. I think if you're a collector or user of five inch lock-back you'll be plesantly surprised by the quality and workmanship of this one. The name says it all, a knife of this quality and at this price comes along once in a blue moon.


  • Model number: RR1192
  • Style: 5 inch lock-back
  • Country of origin: China
  • Closed length: 5 1/4 inches
  • Overall blade length (guard to tip): 3. 75inches
  • Blade style: Clip, hollow grind
  • Blade steel: 440 Razor Sharp
  • Handle material: Blue smooth bone
  • Bolster: Ringed Nickel-Silver
  • Tang stamp: Obverse - Rough Rider - Reverse: China, pattern number
  • Shield: Blue Moon
  • Spring: Stainless steel
  • Pins: Brass
  • Liners: Brass