Hinderer XM 18 3.5” Flipper – Slicer Grind (Gen 4) ReviewFebruary 11, 2017
- Heavy duty construction
- Ergonomic shape
- “Slicer” blade grind
- Quick & fluid flipper action
- Requires a specialty tool to tighten pivot
- Sought after and hard to find
Being considered one step below a custom knife in terms of quality and build, the fourth-generation Hinderer XM-18 3.5” flipper with Slicer grind is perfect for the dedicated, everyday user willing to spend a good chunk of change for a reliable workhorse of a knife that requires little maintenance to provide years of dependable performance.
CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS
G-10, S35-VN, and titanium are commonly used in folding knives these days, but titanium hardware and being assembled by hand take this knife to the next level. If you buy one, look for little details like indents cut into the handle scale and frame to seat the thumb stud, and the patterning on the frame lock relief. Sometimes attention to detail goes a long way.
EASE OF USE
Knives of this stature generally feel bulky and can be hard to work with, but being that the XM-18 is made primarily from titanium, it flips open and locks open with ease. Hinderer’s Slicer grind allows the blade to slide through fiber, skin, paper, even a thick sheet of leather, with ease. One drawback is that the pivot requires a specialty spanner-style wrench to adjust the blade tension, which can loosen up over time.
Hinderer Knives produces one of these specialty tools, but fair warning, I doubt you’ll need it in the first year of using the knife.
STEEL QUALITY/EDGE RETENTION
S35-VN has grown in popularity over the years due to its high resistance to wear and corrosion—which has been improved even more on the XM-18 with its tumbled finish. The jury is still out in regards to how well S35-VN holds an edge, but I’ve never had an issue with it. Even in this case, the XM-18 is still factory sharp after all the testing I’ve put it through.
Everything on the XM-18—the frame thickness, blade thickness, size of the hardware—is bigger and better than what you’d find on the common folding knife. Considering the materials used on this knife, these “exaggerated” features make for the ultimate, life-long companion in an easy to deploy pocket knife.