From Gun Grips to Knives: American Hogue Prepared to Take Center Stage

Hogue is fast approaching its 50th anniversary, but the company is still a relative newcomer to the knife world. Founder Guy Hogue’s original wooden gun grips started a brand that is now one of the largest suppliers of OEM grips and rifle stocks to the gun industry. More recently, Hogue entered the knife market with an extensive line of higher-end fixed blades, folders, and automatics. It was an unexpected move from a company best known for molding polymers. But according to Ryder Jones, Sales and Marketing Director at Hogue, it was a natural step for the brand.

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“It was a perfect fit”
“All Hogue products have an attention to detail in common,” says Ryder. “The owners are master toolmakers; we make all the tooling for our own grips on our molds because it’s the best way to maintain the kind of precision we want in our manufacturing.” Hogue’s tight control over its manufacturing provided the flexibility to stretch into knives. “It was a perfect fit to go into the knife business,” says Ryder. Hogue was ready to produce knives, but what it lacked were the right designs.

“That’s why we partnered with Allen Elishewitz,” explains Ryder. “Hogue knows gun grips, but we didn’t have the same deep knowledge of knife design that he has.” Elishewitz, a venerated custom knifemaker from Texas, was the youngest member of the American Knifemakers Guild when he was inducted in 1994. Now, he serves as Director on its governing Board. With a background as a Marine and degrees in both criminal justice and fine arts, Elishewitz was a perfect fit for Hogue, who wanted their knives to be useful, but distinctive.

Many of the knives in the line are Elishewitz originals, with his unmistakable curvaceous, tactical style. The materials and textures from Hogue’s line of gun grips are ported to the knives: the EX-01, for example, is made with their unique ‘G-Mascus®,’ a camoflauge-like G-10 material first used on their grips. “If you take a look at the EX-04, the ergonomics of it, you can see the correlation with the look and feel of our gun grips,” says Ryder. CRKT’s new Ruger line also takes its inspiration from firearms.

New Hogue Branding:
New Hogue Branding

Hogue just pulled their knife line even closer to the rest of its offerings under new, unified, and modern branding. “Over 50 years the brand evolved into different categories and kind of looked like it wasn’t one company, so what we did is try to get all of our lines together,” explains Ryder. “In stores, boxes, the look and feel – we wanted everybody to know that the guys who make your grips and maybe your AR buttstock is the same manufacturer that’s making knives.”

Knife featured in image: Hogue EX-04