Review of the Hinderer XM-24 Tactical Knife
I don’t claim any expertise in the knife world, but I do consider myself an enthusiast. My father bought and traded in knives when I was growing up and got me started early with a Swiss Army Knife collection. These days I collect knives from brands like Spyderco, Benchmade, and SOG – relatively mainstream manufactures in the knife world known for making high quality offerings which are made to be carried and used every day. Probably the highest grade/quality knife I’ve owned was the Chris Reeve Small Sebenza I owned briefly last year. And while I was familiar with the name “Rick Hinderer” and knew of his reputation, I had never owned a Hinderer knife prior to about two weeks ago. It was during that time while attending Tactical Defense Institute’s Handgun I-III course that I actually met Rick Hinderer – he was an instructor at the course. As luck would have it, Rick brought a few examples of his work with him (which are exceptionally hard to come by in the marketplace) and I had the opportunity to purchase a Hinderer XM-24 and a Hinderer Investigator Tactical Pen (which I’ll review separately in a future article) directly from the man himself:
The XM-24 uses exceptional materials in its construction – it’s a titanium frame lock (made from 6AL4V titanium) featuring a a textured G10 scale. Like all Hinderer folders, the XM-24 features the Hinderer designed lock bar stabilizer – an innovation designed to prevent accidental over travel of the lock bar during closing of the knife. Though it isn’t marked on the blade, I asked Rick Hinderer what grade of steel is used in my XM-24 and he indicated that it was S35V – a relative new “super steel” in the knife world. The blade and titanium side of the knife feature what I believe is considered a “tumble” finish. Normally I prefer a brushed or even polished finish, but the tumble finish suits the rugged, purposeful XM-24. Sure, the knife is a work of art, but this also a knife designed to be used as a tool, and the finish fits.
The XM-24 is not a small knife with a 4″ blade length, an overall length of just over nine inches, and a total weight of 7.8oz. It’s fine for carrying on the weekends, but I generally carry something smaller and lighter during the week. For size reference, here’s a photo of the XM-24 (top) next to a Spyderco Manix 2 – my previous favorite “weekender” blade:
Holding this substantial knife in the hand, immediately two things come to mind: Firstly, this knife is designed and manufactured in the same “over-engineered” manner in which I tend admire in many different kinds of products to which I’m drawn. I collect watches, and like Rolex watches for the same reason – the Hinderer XM-24 is the Rolex of the knife world. Every component used in the construction of this knife is hand made – even the screws:
The knife blade for example is impressively thick at the spine. I’m told that, while Hinderer does not recommend using a knife as a pry bar, many have used the XM-24 for this very purpose (Rick Hinderer has plenty of fire rescue/EMT experience and no doubt drew upon this experience when designing the XM-24).
The second thing that comes to mind when holding this knife is that if worst case scenario came about, and I was forced to use a knife in a defensive scenario, I would want that knife to be the XM-24. It feels amazing in hand and inspires confidence. Having taken a Defensive Knife Course at Tactical Defense Institute, I’ve received some fundamental training in knife fighting. Based on that course, the attributes of the XM-24 fit perfectly with tactical/defensive knife requirements. Thanks to texture of the G10 scale, and the ample amount of gimping designed into the blade, it’s easy to hold on to in hard use and you don’t have to worry about your hand sliding off the frame and onto the blade. Even the bottom of the frame features jimping:
Do I have any criticisms of the XM-24? Only minor suggestions for improvement. Firstly, the well-designed pocket clip on the XM-24 functions perfectly and can be moved to allow either blade tip up or tip down pocket carry. But the pocket clip doesn’t allow for “deep pocket” carry – a considerable amount of the knife frame is visible above the pocket line when you carry the knife using the pocket clip.
While the issue of how deeply the knife sits in the pocket is somewhat of a personal preference, I’d love to see an optional deep carry clip.
My second minor criticism has to do with blade deployment. The XM-24 offers both thumb studs and “flipper” style deployment. I’ve personally found that the quickest, easiest way to deploy the blade is a combination of flipper press with wrist flick – it’s smooth as silk when doing so. But attempting to deploy the blade fully in one stroke using the thumb studs is an exercise in futility. Playing devil’s advocate here, it is a very big, very heavy blade so expecting to be able to flick this knife blade open by just brushing the thumb studs is perhaps unrealistic. And the flipper-with-wrist-flick method of deployment could be perceived as fairly aggressive/hostile, so it’s good that a slower more deliberate method is also available. Still, I’d love to see smooth, full deployment via the thumb studs.
Minor criticisms aside, the XM-24 is easily the best made knife in my modest collection. The fact that they’re made in Shreve Ohio (I’m an Ohio resident) and that I’ve actually had the opportunity to meet and talk with Rick Hinderer makes it all the more special. With a retail price of $550.00 (and scarcity/high demand has driven that price up to easily double that amount in the secondary markets) the XM-24 certainly isn’t for everyone. Be prepared too to want to buy available accessories for the knife such as colorful G10 replacement scales, titanium scales, anodized pocket clips and titanium standoffs….all sorts of nifty items to personalize your knife. As for myself, as soon as they can produce more, I’m hoping to get a 3″ Hinderer XM-18 with a “slicer” grind for every day carry during the work week.
For more information about Rick Hinderer knives and products, please visit their website by clicking here.