Since the styles are so similar, I’m immediately tempted to compare this to the Buck Folding Hunter series — but when I do, I’m a little bit disappointed in Buck. Every time I compare something American to what should be the same knife from Puma of Solingen, Germany, I find that there is a difference. Somehow, Puma makes the same thing look better.
In the Puma Earl, a folding lockback pocket knife with a closed length of 4 inches, it’s not the company logo etched on the hollow ground 2-3/4-inch 440C stainless steel clip point blade that makes the difference. The natural stag handle slabs pinned with brass are nice, but we’ve all seen that many times. This should look like an ordinary knife, but there’s a graceful sweep to the handle that took some artistic sense and manual skill to produce. With slight differences from knife to knife, you can see the ability of the craftsmen of Solingen even in their version of an ordinary pocket knife.
There are a few things you won’t get with the Puma Earl, like one-handed opening — this is the old style that you open with two hands and a thumbnail. The lockback is simple and solid, but again it’s a two-handed operation to close the knife safely. Carry it either in the bottom of your pocket or in the belt pouch Puma includes, because in these old-style knives you don’t get a pocket clip.
Just got my Buck 110 out for a quick comparison again, and the Puma still looks better. Not big differences, just little ones, but Puma wins.