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Rick Hinderer: Transfers hands-on experience from the drawing board to your hands

Rick Hinderer is a knife maker who designs based on his experience as a firefighter and Emergency medical technician. As a result you end up with robust and solid knives that were made to be used. Hinderer designs for Kershaw and Zero Tolerance. However, he also creates knives for his own company: Rick Hinderer Knives.

Rick Hinderer

Born7 November 1964 in Columbus, Ohio, United States
Knife maker since1987
Own brandRick Hinderer Knives
Cooperations withZero Tolerance, Kershaw, KA-BAR, Viper, Strider Knives and Gerber
Rick Hinderer

How do you recognize a Rick Hinderer knife?

In a Rick Hinderer design two features always come first: ergonomics and robustness. As a firefighter Hinderer quickly learned that a knife should be practical and functional in order for it to work. His motto is: a knife should work for you, not the other way around. The ease with which you can handle a knife is just as important. His knives are therefore always great in hand.

Lock-bar stabilizer

A feature which demonstrates that Hinderer finds functionality key is the lock-bar stabilizer, something he developed after an incident with a pocket knife when he was out in the field as a firefighter. Due to the unfortunate combination of too much adrenaline and heavy working gloves his knife shut a little too hard. The result? A broken lock-bar which made locking the knife impossible. His solution was the lock-bar stabilizer, an overtravel stop which prevents the lockbar from overstretching.

Knives are a man’s best friend

Rick Hinderer’s knives are not only functional and ergonomic. They are a sight for sore eyes and enhanced with stunning details. One of the details is the recognizable stonewashed finish which makes traces of usage practically invisible. The handles are beautifully shaped and adorned with remarkable textures.

The recognizable stonewashed finish

Rick Hinderer XM18

At the moment the most popular model is the XM18. XM represents the military term ‘experimental model’ while the 18 stands for the badge number Hinderer wore as a firefighter. Specifically for this model Hinderer purchased his first CNC-mill which he used to perfect the XM18 with optimum precision: from pivot to lock. The knife is the embodiment of Rick Hinderer’s philosophy. Today you will find the XM-18 in countless amounts of compositions. It is an extremely robust and ergonomic knife, designed to be a reliable tool. It is for a reason that he makes use of the slogan ’Your life, your Hinderer knife’.

The popular XM-18 knife

The story behind Rick Hinderer

Rick was born in Columbus, Ohio and spent his childhood at many different farms. After finishing high school he moved to Wooster, Ohio where he trained to be a horse trainer and blacksmith at the Agricultural Technical Institute. Here he also met his wife Laurie.

Soon, however, Rick decided to stop his training and started working as a blacksmith. At the same time he also started making his first knives which he sold to clients. Anything he earned from his sales was used to purchase new materials. Rick Hinderer Knives was born and his career as a knife maker soon sky-rocketed.

Rick Hinderer’s career as a knife maker soon sky-rocketed

Around 1986 Hinderer started making custom designs, with the UFT-model as his first, a forerunner of the current FireTac model. During this period Rick also became a member of the local fire department. Dealing with, often, tough circumstances Rick learned all about the limitations and general points for improvement when it came to pocket knives. These educative moments led to the designs of pocket knives such as the XM18.

Rick cooperated with brands such as KershawZero Tolerance and Gerber. On all these designs Rick’s philosophy was key which led to knives that are enhanced with solid locks and great ergonomics. This, however, doesn’t mean that less time was spent on the look and feel of the knife. A great example is the a Zero Tolerance 0562CF.

Today Hinderer is still working on designing and creating knives and he is not planning to stop doing exactly that anytime soon.