Hinderer Knives Expands Automatic Lineup with Aluminum XM-18

New Year, new knives – and one of the first of what is sure to be many exciting releases is an aluminum-handled Hinderer XM-18 Automatic. A follow-up to 2022’s titanium-handled auto XMs, these aluminum versions are lighter and poised to lower the price point significantly.

After more than 15 years in circulation, Rick Hinderer’s XM-18 remains one of the most recognizable folding knives of the modern era. Alongside the Chris Reeve Knives Sebenza, it really defined the premium production knife concept, not to mention canonized omnipresent knife elements like the flipper tab, titanium frame lock, and hard use/tactical design language, just to name a few.

More accessible now than in those early days, the XM-18 has also enjoyed a healthy number of variants. In 2022, after the automatic knife production laws in Hinderer’s home state of Ohio changed, the company released a titanium-handled XM-18 automatic, which hit the market with a hefty price tag and never stuck around for long – both things that brought to mind that time when the manual XM-18 was a knife more heard about and lusted after than owned.

This new, aluminum handle variation doesn’t do much to rock the boat beyond the different material. It has the full 3.5-inch blade length of the original XM-18, fired open with a press of a button on the show-side scale. A single action auto, it also obviously forgoes the frame lock too, as the deployment button doubles as a plunger-style lock.

The XM-18 has seen reincarnations in all sorts of different blade shapes; whether the aluminum auto will get other shapes remains to be seen but the first one out is the spear point, which the previous titanium XM-18 auto also debuted with. Given aluminum’s receptivity to anodization, it’s no surprise that even before a full release we’ve seen the aluminum XM-18 Auto in both green and black; maybe more colors will follow.

Most important, perhaps, is that this knife has been given a retail price of $350. This is by no means a cheap piece, then, but it’s significantly lower than the titanium originals, which were north of $600. The aluminum XM-18 was teased, on the cover of a new issue of Blade Magazine, alongside an automatic version of the Hinderer Eklipse; expect more coverage of that one down the pike.

Knife in Featured Image: Hinderer Knives Aluminum XM-18 Auto

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