Rick Hinderer - XM18 3.5" Gen III





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Published on Sep 24, 2010

As some of you might have noticed I have a new found interest for the custom knives world. Nothing wrong with production knives but I was getting slightly bored and wanted to have a look on the other side of the fence. I would like to blame (actually) thank NYCDave212 for that. His vids are always well presented and show us pieces of cutlery that we hardly ever see anywhere else.

My interest for Rick Hinderer's creation was born there. It took me several month of looking around trying to understand how and where I could find one not without difficulties. See Rick is a fireman and knife maker and he has been for years. His knives are very well built and they are meant to withstand a LOT of hard work. Where he the beginning Rick was able to cope with demand, it became quickly evident to him that the XM18 would change everything. After 2 generations of custom handmade XM18 he had to resort to CNC machining. Please refer to nycdave's vid to get the full picture.

Now the XM18 Gen 3 are what people call Midtech. A lot is done by machine but Rick still puts his hands on those for the final grind and checks. The XM range come in three different models, the 3" XM18 ideal for EDC, the 3.5" XM18 still very EDCable and then the mighty XM24. This latest is a new creation and is still very difficult to find. Rick doesn't make them very often and finding one online for less than $1,000 seems impossible.

Anyway, mine is a brand new XM18 3.5" with a Duratec 20CV tumble washed blade and titanium framelock. The blade shape is called Spanto and it is a mix of Spear Point and Tanto. It's the best of both world where you get the cutting capability of a spear point combined with the piercing capabilities of a tanto. The only other knife I can think of with such a grind would be the CQC15 from Emerson. The new version of the Gen 3 comes with flatten screws and are flushed in the G10 handle. The framelock is very sturdy and gives great feedback too. Some will find the big flat screw for the pivot to be ruining the aesthetics of the knife but I understand that for ease to maintain on the field (a bit like for Emersons) Rick chose something rather simple. Style should never sacrifice functionality!!

The feel in hand is exceptional and where one would expect such a beefy knife to be VERY heavy, it actually isn't. This is mainly due to its open construction and titanium framelock and liner. The result is very pleasant and I never thought I would say that but it even has taken my Para 2's place in my pocket.

I am very impressed by the quality of construction as well as the fit and finish. As more and more of these will be available in the future, they might become easier to find but I will tell you that, this is worth every cent/penny and I know that I can trust this knife with my life if I need to.

Thank you again for watching commenting and subbing !

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