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Hinderer Knives History

By | October 29, 2018

The Stuff of American Legends

Rick Hinderer is the kind of guy everyone learns about in High School, but nobody seems to think is possible anymore. He is the kind of man who started with just a dream and went on to build a legacy. 30 years ago, he started from humble beginnings, working to make showpiece quality knives from a shop he made from a refitted turkey coop to being the world renowned bladesmith and designer he is known for today.  Once his reputation for design and craftsmanship took off, Rick Hinderer needed to expand from that 14'x18' turkey coop into a more substantial facility. 

The current base of operations for building some of the best tactical and first responder knives money can buy is a place called the Ranch, in Shreve, Ohio.  Every knife, tactical pen, or other implement bearing the Rick Hinderer name is made there, and Rick himself oversees the manufacturing process from beginning to end.  There is a good chance Rick Hinderer himself gave the final approval for the knife you carry in your pocket or display in a case in your collection.

Rick Hinderer first became interested in knife making while working as a ferrier.  It wasn't much of a leap to apply his knowledge at the forge to knifemaking.  Perhaps it was boredom with shoeing horses that inspired him to make his first blade.  Soon after, he shifted his trade from iron shoes to art pieces, and eventually to crafting tough and hard knives from Duratec 20CV and CPM-S35VN tool steel.

The Right Tool with the Right Experience

Rick Hinderer not only plied his trade with being a ferrier and a knife maker, but he has also worked for decades as a first responder.  He has been on the front lines when it comes to emergency extraction, fire and EMS training.  With the knowledge of how a situation unfolds in the field, he also understands the optimal design a tool should have when being used in the field.  Customization of blades to suit the needs for first responders has led Rick Hinderer to keep the end user in mind for all of his blades, pens, and other tactical gear.

In fact, the ability to make a Hinderer knife your own is paramount to what Hinderer knives are all about.  In field customization, modification, and repair are what keep Hinderer knives at the cutting edge of tactical and first responder blades.  The Tri-pivot system not only includes a compartment for storage of three different pivot/washers, but also a built in tool held in the handle which allows a user to break the knife down in the field, make the necessary adjustments and modifications, and return to the task at hand in a matter of minutes!

Years in the field taught Rick Hinderer that seconds can really count when it comes to saving lives, so why not make sure the best tool for the job is always within reach.  This is why every screw, fastening tool, scale, and blade is crafted at the Ranch to ensure the best quality control and uniformity in creating these masterpieces.

A blade worthy of the Hinderer name

A dedication to clean aesthetics combined with ergonomic design make every knife or pen as much a pleasure to hold as they are to look at.  In taking the time and care to create a knife suited to arduous tasks, especially when human life is one of the possible stakes, these blades are built with the consideration that you should be able to hold onto them for as long as you need to, in order to get the job done.  It is this kind of dedication that won the 2018 BLADE Magazine award for Most Innovative American Design for the Tri-pivot system introduced on the Fulltrack model folding knife.

The Tri-pivot system will eventually find its way to the rest of the Hinderer line, providing on-demand customization whenever it is needed.  It is a game changer for tactical and EDC knives, truly making a knife your own, as is Hinderer's goal.

The right tool for the job

From folding first responder knives and heavy duty work blades to fixed tactical knives, Rick Hinderer has applied his understanding of knifemaking to suit a variety of tasks.  With micarta handles, either in tactical black or emergency orange, a Hinderer knife will provide a sure grip in any kind of weather, climate, or terrain.

How it's done

Unlike hammering out artisan blades on an anvil in front of a forge, at the Ranch, Hinderer knives undergo a different process. One which looks an awful lot like the future, combined with old-school quality control and a dedication to craftsmanship.

  • Blades are cut from blade stock with precision machines
  • The blade stock is shaped by precision tools
  • The blades are tumbled with a variety of media that will provide a corrosion resistant/water resistant finish
  • Blade stock is then sent through a quality control assessment to determine whether or not it is within acceptable tolerance levels 
  • Titanium scales and liners are pressed, cut, and drilled by machine to rigorous standards of tolerance
  • Blade stock is sharpened and then assembled by hand
  • Finished blade is tested for sharpness

What Hinderer is known for

  • The XM-18: a versatile drop-point or harpoint point flipper knife with basic ergonomics and no-frills micarta handle.  A jack-of-all-trades knife.
  • the Halftrack: a mid-range knife with enough heft to tackle heavy-duty work.  Beefier blade stock and handle for comfort and strength
  • The Fulltrack: the big-brother of the Halftrack, available with the Tri-pivot system for interchangeable pivot washers and customization
  • the XM-Slippy: an ambidextrous deployment knife with a low profile for maximum comfort in Everyday Carry use
  • the Flashpoint: a fixed blade belt knife, ready whenever you need it.  Features a kydex scabbard which can be worn on a neck chain

Signature Hinderer Designs

Rick Hinderer has collaborated with Zero Tolerance, Kershaw, and others to produce knives that reflect the core design features of Hinderer Knives.  You might recognize some with the Kershaw 1555 Cryo, Zero Tolerance 0393 Flipper, and ZT 0562 Slicer.

Some key elements to many Hinderer designs

  • Finger choils on the blade for added leverage
  • Jimping along the back of the handle, as well as continuous jimping along the blade back
  • flippers and thumb studs for quick deployment
  • Spanto point and clip point blades  
  • A slight curve on the titanium handle that fits the palm well. Angled dropoff near the butt of the handle 
  • Exposed screws for ease of adjustment
  • Lanyard holes incorporated into the butt of the handle
  • Reinforced lockbars and stabilizers that prevent wear against the steel of the blade.
  • Machined tolerances under .001"
  • Interchangeable deep carry pocket clips

Two big features

  • Tri-Way Pivot system which includes incorporated tool, three sets of washers, and a compartment they are all kept within the handle
  • Reinforced lockbar stabilizer which eliminates corrosion and wear against steel of the blade through compatible alloys.  Will not allow for overtravel or accidental failure!

 Available Grinds

There are an almost limitless combination of lengths, grinds, handle configurations, and other design substitutions you can apply to your Hinderer.  For example, here is a list of available grinds.

  • Spanto
  • Slicer
  • Spearpoint
  • Skinner
  • Dagger
  • Harpoon
  • Harpoon Spanto
  • Tanto
  • Recurve
  • Bowie
  • Serrated Spanto
  • Hellfire


  • 1980s--Making art knives in a converted turkey coop.
  • Working as a first responder
  • Early 2000s, changes from artisan knife making to modern CNC precision manufacturing
  • Sept. 11 WTC attacks and ensuing conflicts worldwide makes knife making industry more focused on tactical application and first responder use.
  • Feb 2006 the XM Series is born.  XM-18 Gen 1 is named for eXperimental Model and 18 is named for his fire department unit number.
  • Dec 2006: XM-18 Gen 2 is introduced.  The main difference being a full titanium liner with "Hinderer" engraved on the blade and lockbar stabilizer.
  • May 2008 XM-18 Gen 3.  The Spanto grind finds its way onto the XM blade, then the "slicer" grind was also made available.  Titanium scales also available.
  • Oct 2008: XM-24 introduced. 4" blade Gen 1 design.  Also available with titanium scales, thus replacing G-10.
  • June 2010 Gen 2 XM-24 introduced at BLADE Show.  Spanto, Slicer, and hand ground designs available.
  • Oct 2011 XM-18 Gen 4.  The stop pin is moved to eliminate the choil and allow for a variety of other grinds if applicable.
  • 2011 Rick Hinderer wins Collaboration of the Year Award with Zero Tolerance 0560/0561.
  • 2014 Rick Hinderer wins American Made Knife of the Year Award with ZT0562CF
  • 2015 Collaboration with Kershaw to bring the Kershaw Shield
  • May 2015: Retail prices for Hinderer Knives increase for the first time since 2004
  • May 2015 Hinderer Knives moves shop to new location in Shreve, OH.
  • 2018 BLADE Magazine Most Innovative American Design Award for Tri-Way Pivot System
  • NOW--implementation of Tri-Way Pivot system on future production knives.  "Make it your own!"

Rick Hinderer knives are not only aesthetically clean, but also comfortable to use and carry.  They feature insanely low degrees of tolerance in their manufacture and are guaranteed for life.  They are made in Shreve, OH and as an authorized dealer of curated knives such as Rick Hinderer Knives, features fast, free shipping in the US and a satisfaction guarantee.  If you don't love your Rick Hinderer Knife, simply return it, and you will not be charged a restocking fee.