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If you’re a knife knut, check out The Truth About Knives here

That’s right, the same Hogue Inc. we know and trust for firearm grips branched into knives a few years ago and currently offers a selection of folders, fixed blades, and even a sweet looking tomahawk. At SHOT Show 2016 I got the lowdown on a couple of the new models, including Hogue’s first OTF . . .

First up is the EX-05, which is another Allen Elishewitz design that Hogue has licensed (or partnered with Elishewitz in creating). It’s a sleek folder with a modified Wharncliffe blade, a smooth flipper action, and a push-button lock release. The slider seen behind that button is used to firmly lock the blade in the extended position. Note that the model in the photos is an “advanced prototype” and the final, production design is expected to be offered in two blade styles and with grip texturing.


Blade metal is cryogenically treated 154CM, which I believe is the case for most or all of Hogue’s folders.


They were also showing off their first OTF — or Out The Front, aka “switchblade” — knife. The one photographed here is also a late-stage prototype, so not quite production-level. Like the Microtech Scarab I once owned, it’s a double action design. Push forwards on the thumb button and the blade shoots out.


Pull back on the thumb button and it shoots back in. The laws on automatic knives as well as those that specifically single out “switchblades” really need to go. This is the easiest, safest possible way to deploy and retract a blade.


Next we checked out a large, fixed-blade survival knife called the EX-F01. It’s available with either a 5.5″ or 7″, quarter inch-thick, cryo-treated A2 tool steel blade.


But a survival knife needs a compartment for your fishing line and matches and such, right? Although not a speedy solution, the EX-F01 covers this base with a hollowed-out area in the frame under the grip scales. A Torx wrench clicks into the front of the left side scale for use in the scale’s removal and exposure of the internal compartment.


And finally, this one isn’t new but it’s my personal EX-02 with G10 scales that I picked up to go with my SP-01 and AR-15 grips. I’ll type up a full review on it soon.


If you’re a knife knut, check out The Truth About Knives here

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  1. I see hollow handles, secret hidden compartments and saw teeth anywhere on a knife as just a gimmick. A useless, performance degrading gimmick.

    Where’s the tommy hatchet they were speaking of?

    • 1/2″ thick full tang should be hollowed out under the scales, I think. Otherwise it’s gonna weigh a dang ton and strength is excessive regardless. Whether you need access to that hollow or not… may as well give the option of using the space?

      • Let me see. Hollow the space out to save weight. Then refill the space with crap that must weigh something and probably rattles as you walk. Throw in a specialised tool to get to that space…..

        No thanks. I want a murphy proof knife, not a storage locker.

  2. What does Hogue typically charge for a knife like that EX-05?

    Their *cheapest* Tomahawk is $300, and tops out at $500…

    • If it gets down to tomahawks I’m gonna cheat and use my chain saw.
      Hopefully it will start on first pull

      • “Hopefully it will start on first pull”

        Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.

        (Non) Pro tip: Keep a can of ether with tools like those… 🙂

  3. The Elishewitz design looks really racy and swoopy, but my experience with a couple of similar grip shapes from Gerber and CRKT were not very comfortable – too many sharp points and edges in the grip area. If you like Elishewitz’ designs, check out the CRKT Pharaoh – much cleaner lines, and as a bonus it is (or at least was) really easy to convert to automatic with the addition of a single spring in the already-prepped pivot.

    I agree on JWM’s comment on the hollowed out scales – if you need to use a small Torx wrench to get at the secret compartment, first thing you’ll do in the field under nasty conditions will be to lose the wrench. If you don’t do that, you’ll lose the tiny little screws that hold the scales on. Looks great in the shop – not so much in the field. Actually the Les Stroud-designed survival knifes by Kershaw pack a lot more utility into a fixed blade – but the ESEE and Becker knives in this category have better steel and are likely a better choice. Although the Hogue fixed blade does look okay and A2 is a nice steel; if you recognize that it will rust.

    I have an OTF by Schrade that’s a real PITA to open and close, but like the concept. This Hogue model looks considerably better executed. I’d have to actually play with one before buying though.

  4. The Hogue EX-04’s run about $259 for the G10 handle. The EX-05’s will probably run about the same or a little more, although that sexy metal handle doesn’t look very grippy.

    I usually carry a Cold Steel Recon 1, ZT 301, or a couple CRKT M16’s. I have a couple of limited-edition knives but they stay in cases at home.

    My rambling point is that a self defense knife should offer a great grip. Not sure that’s the case with the 05.

    • Hogue e-mailed and mentioned to me that the EX-05 and OTF at SHOT were still prototypes, which I either didn’t realize or forgot. They specifically mentioned that the EX-05 will have grip texture on the production ones. ETA is June. I edited the article to add the note that they’re prototypes and the production designs are likely to be slightly tweaked.

  5. Nice knives, they are too pricey for me, however.

    Hogue also makes a pretty nice buttstock that should be more popular because of its quality but isn’t because of the Magpul MOE market dominance. I got a black Hogue buttstock for $49 at my LGS last year. They of course offer different color over molded rubber portions. Nice, solid buttstock.

    • Yeah, the feel of their rubber material is pretty hard to beat. IMHO they nailed that balance of grippy and soft feeling but firm enough for solid control and still durable. And it’s “warmer” to the touch than metal, wood, or plastic. Comfortable, grippy stuff. Some of their fixed blades have the rubber overmold on ’em, actually.

    • Why’s that? I liked my Microtech very much and didn’t shy away from using it. I was impressed with the lockup of this Hogue, actually. I grabbed the blade and it was pretty solidly locked in place with only very slight side-to-side wiggle and nothing up-down. Maybe just the teeniest bit more side-side wiggle than you’d find in decent quality folders.

      • The mechanisms usually fail. At least the ones I had did. Blade lockup on my benchmade’s was solid, until they wouldn’t deploy or retract anymore after some non strenuous use.

  6. Nice eye candy, but for practical EDC use, I’ll stay with my Ontario RAT-1. I like a drop point as a strictly personal preference. Decent steel with AUS8, holds an edge well, nice weight and smooth action. Absolutely no frills. Inexpensive and can be found under $30. Just a solid, useful knife that won’t result in a panic attack if it gets lost in the field.

  7. I have 2 boats, a 100 ton captains licence and have been on the water all my life as well as shooting.
    Sometimes ppl should look outside the box for equipment.
    Myerchin knives.
    Worth a look.
    Only knives I trust beyond a big old Case knife.
    And I’m a big Hogue fanboy.

    • The Boyes are a bit specific to boating use, wouldn’t you say? The blade metal is really soft, and is clearly being chosen for extreme corrosion resistance (saltwater use) and geared towards cutting rope. The first isn’t a particular concern of mine and the second isn’t a limitation I’m interested in accepting. Those chromium alloys are interesting but it doesn’t match my personal general purpose knife use desires.

      Myerchin is also obviously geared towards rigging knives for sailing and such (aren’t they sold in West Marine stores?). Marlinspikes for loosening knots, etc. 440 C is fine, but 154 CM is a definite step up in every way. Myerchin is mostly manufactured in China, these Hogues are manufactured in the U.S. Not that I’m suggesting this means a definite quality difference as that is certainly not always the case, but it explains why the price on the Hogue stuff is higher than a lot of offshore-manufactured knives with similar on-paper stats.

      At any rate, I think they’re concentrating on hunting, camping, and general purpose pocketknife stuff. Sailing knives seems a bit niche, eh?

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