Hogue Continues To Define Fine Knives Seven Years On
By Pat Covert
Photos By Chuck Pittman Inc.
Back in 2011 Hogue, Inc. had over 40 years under their belt making top-shelf aftermarket handgun grips and were world-renown for their quality. Looking to expand their product line beyond handgun grips and accessories, the company made the bold move to enter the booming tactical segment of the cutlery market. And why not? They already had an expansive production facility and add the fact most gun owners also own at least one or two knives, the question may better be posed as, “Why would you not?”
For knife designs the Hogue powers that be brought successful custom knifemaker Allen Elishewitz — who is also an avid shooter — into the fold. Allen’s extensive design prowess and impeccable reputation in custom cutlery circles, combined with Hogue’s experience and manufacturing capabilities, brought instant success. And it’s been an express train ride ever since!
EX-T01 Tomahawk with X5 Folder
“Our extensive manufacturing experience, along with nearly 50 years of service to our industry, has contributed greatly to our readiness to build a new knife product line that really compliments our catalog,” Hogue Knives President Jim Bruhns tells Handgunner. “We’re now in our seventh year of production. In that time our sales have grown beyond expectation. The first four years we experienced consistent growth through distribution and OEM customers.
“In year five we began to see acceleration of this growth, and that growth has helped push overall sales higher. We are very excited about the recognition of our knife brand and plan many more models with some new looks,” Bruhns added. “Our commitment to quality is directly tied to our brand and family business. We never forget our name is on every product and we take that very seriously.”
A chance encounter with famed custom knifemaker Allen Elishewitz turned into an opportunity Bruhns and his partners couldn’t pass up. “I met Allen at a birthday party of a mutual industry friend,” Jim notes. “That friend — speed shooting specialist Jim O’Young — suggested the collaboration. After getting to know Allen and his incredible talent the idea just made sense and we were happy to team up with a fellow perfectionist who insists on building quality products.
“Allen is a great friend and a unique talent. His interest in knives began as a Marine recon operator where he quickly identified the critical service elements of his carry knife. The versatility of a self defense weapon paired with non-combat utility quickly exposed weakness in both carry modes. Since that time Allen has developed and tested hundreds of use-specific knives. His success and reputation for innovation puts him among a very select few designers in our industry, and we are very proud to work with him.”
A Rapturous Line
The partnership of Hogue and Elishewitz never experienced many of the growing pains of many cutlery manufacturers. The company’s first offerings were the EX-01 button lock tactical folder and EX-F01 fixed-blade, which were premiered at the 2010 Blade Show. Since an overwhelming percentage of knife users are also firearms owners the Hogue name was an instant draw to the company’s booth and, seeing Allen demonstrating their knives was the icing on the cake. Hogue Knives became an instant name in cutlery circles and their line has expanded ever since.
Variety is the spice of knife for Hogue users. “There are five tactical folder models in our line, one out-the-front automatic, three fixed-blades and one tomahawk,” notes Jim. “Each platform has optional sizes, blade styles, handle materials and colors. We have well over a 100 product codes in all, with a rough split of 75 percent folders. The EX-01, EX-03 and EX-04 tactical folders are available in automatic versions along with our out-the-front OTF-1 model.”
“The new X5 flipper folder has quickly become the most popular knife in our line. This knife not only has a unique design, but a patent-pending technology making it the smoothest flipper on the market. Our EX-03 is an amazing single piece polymer frame folder and has a price point driving demand for this platform very nicely,” Bruhns informs.
Those very first Hogue knives continue to be popular as well. “Our original flagship EX-01 continues to be another very popular knife in both manual and automatic versions, and the EX-F01 fixed-blade has also continued to be one of our more popular sellers.”
While Hogue Knives is more often associated with tactical fare, a new fixed-blade addition aimed at the outdoor market is making waves. “The EX-F02, with its Automatic Retention Sheath and over-molded handle, is quickly moving up and beginning to challenge for first place among our fixed-blade offerings,” lends Jim. “It’s available in four colors and two blade styles. The Automatic Retention Sheath is slim, MOLLE compatible and ambidextrous making it easy for any user to carry with confidence. Overall, we are seeing growth in all platforms and this growth is driving us forward with great confidence.”
The EX-T01 is Hogue’s first venture into the tomahawk genre, and Elishewitz’s knack for sound, forward thinking design shines through. Designed for both tactical and field use, the 14.125″ EX-T01 has optional hammer, spike and pry-bar attachments that can be bolted onto the rear of the head. The business end of the hawk features a 3.12″ edge with a cut-out allowing it to be carried in a Kydex Magnetic Retention Sheath with an ingenious rotating lock on a pocket paddle design offering both MOLLE and Tek-Lok options.
Left: EX-01 Folder
Right: X5 Folder
EX-T01 Tomahawk Sheath
With seven years under the belt Hogue Knives is ready to add another seven — in a new facility outside their original digs in California. “Hogue has recently moved its company headquarters to Henderson, Nevada,” states Bruhns. “This was due in large part to a California statute that prohibits the manufacturing of automatic knives. After several failed attempts to work with the California Department of Justice, company CEO Aaron Hogue was forced to move our knife operation to Nevada. The move has proven to be a great choice and we are full steam ahead on our knife product line, with many more models to come. We are committed to our family business and to producing the finest quality products available anywhere.”
If you’re a fan of Hogue gun grips you can match many of their handle patterns to your knife. Hogue’s tactical folders can be had in an affordable range of $180 to $260 MSRP, and fixed-blades from $160 to $250. That’s a small price to pay for a piece of Hogue heaven in hand!
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/index, Ph: (800) GET-GRIP (800-438-4747).
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