The Hinderer XM-18 Spanto Pocketknife: The Full Nick Shabazz Review

Today, we’re going to take a look at a knife with a great design, some nice features, and serious hard-use credibility, but without the build quality and detent to really knock it out of the park.


Tall Hobbit says:

It’s a money grab haha and hinderer doesn’t give a shit because he’s making money regardless of a shitty product. People keep buying it

Samuel Burns says:

You CAN customize the ZT 0562CF! There are custom screws, pivot, lock bar stabilizers, and scales available online. I also improved the action (which was already great, let’s be real here) by swapping out the steel bearings for ceramic.

Andrew Humphreys says:

Hard pressed to hurt the tip.. stabbing a concrete block isn’t as hard as you make it seem.

GanymedeAerospace says:

Something about this review drove my cat nuts trying to catch the small man stuck in the tablet. He doesn’t normally do that…

Al Knife addiction says:

That is the only reason I won’t buy a hinderer (teflon washers) teflon is only acceptable in maybe a $20-$30 price range cannot see the benefit in using teflon washers very easy way to make Rick use bronze washers if no one buys any of his knives next year the following production knives will have bronze washers or bearings

JD says:

(Unfortunately) I carry strictly tip-down, in the right back pocket (blade against the seam). EDC’ing Millies over a decade now.
Kind regards from Amsterdam

Steven Rassmussen says:

Nick, would I be remiss in saying that at ~$425 price point, the Umnumzaan addresses a lot of the problems you have with XM-18? While the Umnumzaan might not be as hard use or customizable, it seems to fill the same niche as the XM-18? I mean, it has an over travel stop (not lockbar stabilizer), external blade stops, and a fairly no nonsense construction, all while being at the exact same price?

marrenmiller says:

Watching this makes me think that my Hinderer must be defective, because it has a great detent and perfect centering… Lol, I’m afraid that if I ever send it in for warranty that RHK will try to “fix” it.

Will's Pointy Things says:

Better late than never? Hinderers have always been over hyped. Great users but there are way too many options to consider for consumers any more.

TheDevilmerc says:

Well then. Looks like I’m going to get myself a ZT Hinderer. Love his designs but I always hear bad things about his customs. Which is unfortunate with that price point.

Woody Enfermo says:

Psst, “es un espanto” is a spanish expression that means “it’s so ugly that scares me”. Sorry, I’m a nerd of linguistic jokes

Joseph A says:

Thanks for the review nick. Good to talk about those key details when people are spending so much money.

Stoney Lonsome says:

Actually- now days you can replace the hardware on any knife- and the standoffs, add a back spacer, whatever you like. If it’s a popular knife that sells well the after market parts will be on eBay for sure. I just put all new blue titanium hardware on my ZT0452cf for instance- looks great. I added blue standoffs, replaced all the screws with blue titanium, and today I’m buying a matching blue pocket clip for it. Tbh though I’m starting to wish I had of gone with bronze- looks more classy and less flashy.

ShoeBakka1 says:

I would trade my xm-18 for 2 zt 0560/0561.

Jameson Cross says:

Spot on Nick! Great review!!

ARKognition 119 says:

All of the problems with the XM-18, and with the Hinderer brand as a whole, bow before the pride and stubbornness of Rick Hinderer.

Brian Whitlock says:

So the knife is great at what it was designed for but not great for people who just collect and fidget with their knives. I don’t see that as any kind of a negative. To each their own I guess.

kerryrwac says:

The detents even worse than a BM Axis lock’s and that’s hard to do . If a Cop here got a hold of your knife you’d loose it and the same with a free dropping Axis lock as knives that can be opened with a wrist flick are illegal . Great design befouled by poor execution .

Misanthropia says:

Do you have any idea when this XM was made? The detents have been pretty solid for the last two years (there’s a thread about this weekly on BladeForums). A good way to get an idea of this is to go to GP Knives or Knifecenter and watch the individual videos for each XM-18.

eMBee says:

Lmao i just happened to watch the disassembly last night. I dont even own the knife

Ryne says:

Thanks Nick, great review!

draco00 says:

That jimping without gloves is impossible to use during hard use. It’ll just shred skins off. I tried to love mine but sold it and never looked back

Mellowman Mace says:

No.12 spanner bit for the pivot. $3 on ebay.


Thank you for saving me $500+ mistake. I’ll stick with the ZT collaborations.

_ISO_ says:

Are you aware that your slysz Bowie reveal had a really good face review

the central avenue gunslinger says:

Thank god for zt lol it’s sad when a production company can make his designs better than him for half the price

Matthew Forrest says:

I agree that the hinderer is overpriced, especially in a world where chris reeve exists (worth every penny). But the teflon washers are absolutely not made to cover up bad tolerances. The one thing this knife has going for it is the tolerances and construction. The teflon washers require no maintenance and do not take side to side loads due to the thumb stud lock up. It’s a well thought out design. Designed for a purpose and well done at that. The detent as a flipper is another story but as a non flipper which I own it’s great… for 300 bucks

Marland Morgan says:

curtis f3 for around the same price. No brainer

diadora9292 says:

Totally agree with everything great review. I have the 3 inch xm-18 and switched out the teflon for bronze and in my knife.. much better

carhead says:

I was going to chide you about the hot spots because most people who really need and use a knife like that have rougher hands then you. But then I thought most men with rough hands probably wouldn’t spend that kind of money even if they could. We would buy the kind you usually make fun of. Nough said. Keep them coming.

Pasha S says:

I’ll pick one up when they fix the issues.

Justin Boyer says:

Excellent review Nick. I am going to wait until the Gen 5 comes out hopefully with resolved detent and upgraded steel for the price. I’ll keep my ZT 0562CF in my pocket for another year.

TheKillerKlok says:

Always liked the idea of a spanto blade shape, just haven’t found the right knife at a price that I like.

Knives that can easily open in my pocket is a hell no, especially at 400+ range, I couldn’t in good conscious recommend something with such a weak detent.

Arjun Gandhi says:

I’m now calling my XM 18 the Mr. Potato knife

Joseph Tousignant says:

LOT’s of useful info in my response here, AND I present a simple pivot interface for knives such as the XM-18 so that the female part of the Pivot stays in place and is no longer free spinning: I show this procedure as used on a Hinderer XM-18 3.5″ in the previous link.

The idea probably could have been Patentable, …but funds are tight, …so NOW it’s in the Public Domain Free for all, and can never be patented! 🙂 Knife makers and tinkerers have at it!

I liked this Pivot interface feature so much I’ve added it to all three of my Hinderer XM-18 knives, and even on my ZT 0562CF which was my first attempt at this idea. BTW, my ZT 0562CF now has a very nice added finger choil ,… probably Nick’s dream come true 🙂

I own the XM-18 Spanto in 3-1/2″, a 3-1/2″ Slicer, and a 3″ slicer version. I like the 3-1/2″ slicer blade shape the best, as the blade thickness is much more suited to my more average knife user needs than a first responder might require. All were bought used, BTW to save some dough.

My 3-1/2″ Slicer “was” a Flipper originally, but I HAD to convert it to non flipper as it was more painful for me to try to get it to flip than for most folks. I lost about 1/2″ of the tip of my right index finger when I was 16 (I’m 61 now, and I tangled with a running motorcycle chain and sprocket in an accident,… the bike won!)

While I was at it I added a finger choil that is more comfortable than most I’ve used, as I left the blade portion a few mm proud of the liners to fill the first joint in the index finger. It feels really comfortable this way rather than the usually seen totally flush to the liners method, as it conveys a “rounded” overall shape of the choil to the finger.

Before I converted it to non-flipper, I found the rather aggressive jimping behind the flipper was just too painful on my sensitive finger tip, and felt like a “cheese grater” on my more exposed nerve endings due to the long time finger tip damage. Even left hand on my uninjured finger was painful!

So initially I removed the jimping behind the stop pin and created a nice thumb rest dip for my thumb, and beveled the edges. That helped a lot with the grating factor, but the shape of the flipper and need to preload it was also digging into my sensitive finger, …so I finally removed the flipper entirely. Frankly, the non-flipper version is a much more comfortable knife anyway, as the flipper tab doesn’t dig into the index finger in a tight grip! A cleaner look too, as I’me more interested in functionality than a flipper toy. Ha!

While I was at it, I added phosphor bronze washers (one 1/2″ diameter and one .562″ diameter, .015″ thickness and 1/4″ pivot hole diameter). I also drilled them out with a 1mm round bur, and added a cupped side using a larger diamond setting tapered bur to better hold my moly/oil combo that I like on the blade facing side. The larger bur didn’t go all the way through, as just wanted to form a “cup” to hold the lubricants in place better. All burs were removed by a light sanding of both sides on a diamond fine sharpening stone. The knife is much smoother with these PB washers, and easier to adjust and more stable overall.

I later decided to make this knife about it as ergonomic as possible with the design, and took out and leveled the non lock side choil scale area. I’ve never cared for that personally, and see no need for it as it’s always been a hot spot for me. All scale corners were beveled and rounded much more than stock, and I lowered the tip of the pocket clip by shortening it up a little and rounded and beveled all corners and sides of the clip too to remove all stamping remnants. Basically the clip is now pretty much “invisable” to the hand, …a beautiful thing.

I also found the jimping on the bottom of the liners and scales was not to my liking, and softened it in those areas about 80%. I left enough jimping so that at first glance there appears to have jimping there,…BUT in actuality the hand feels it as smooth and therefor very comfortable. I left the jimping on the butt end alone, as in normal use it doesn’t get in the way, …and “if” I ever to need it to hold in a defensive position with my thumb over the butt for overhand stabbing motions, might be a good thing to have it there.

The last thing I did was add an “interface” underneath the female side of the proprietary pivot, so that I could easily disassemble and adjust the knife’s pivot without any special tools! This will end the need to Lock-Tite the pivot screw, OR the need for the special $75 Hinderer pivot tool!

I was thinking about filing a US Patent on this simple interface, but funds are tight right now so I’ll just put it out there as my “gift” to the knife world. What I did was use a 1.25 mm round bur and make a “cup” into the base of the female side of the pivot, and a matching cup into the flat shelf of the Hinderer frame. Both “cups” are at a depth of about 1/2 the diameter of the 1.25″ 440c stainless steel ball bearing, that lays into the cups once the pivot is seated. Tightening down the pivot screw LOCKS the ball bearing in place, and this interface mechanically connects the pivot to the frame so that it is no longer “free spinning”! So simple, …and I suspect it will soon come to be pretty common among tinkerers and maybe even some manufacturers!

I found I don’t need to use any Lock-Tite on the Hinderer pivot screw this way, as the pivot is not free spinning now, and it doesn’t tend to move easily. If I need to take any blade play out after extended use,…I can adjust the pivot with my JUST thumbnail! It takes a LONG time for any adjustment to the pivot being needed anyway, as it gradually loosens not from free spinning but I think the small vibration created of opening the knife gradually begins to loosen the screw part of the pivot. (takes LOTS of opening cycles to notice,…well over a hundred or two, and “in use” without playing with it is a non issue in reality. 🙂

Putting it out there like this means that NO ONE else will be able to patent it either. (“Prior Art” technicality ) By the way, a piece of drill rod could be used in place of the ball bearings, but the ball bearings are inexpensive, quick, work well, and are easily replaced if lost. (1000 ball bearings cost me $13.00 shipped! 🙂 After the first tightening down, the BB usually stays in place for most later maintenance, but if it comes free is easily positioned into the frame cup and the pivot positioned over it and twisted until it “drops” signaling the interface is in place. When taking the knife apart, it’s best to keep thumb pressure ON the female side of the pivot, to keep the interface in tack as you’re unscrewing the pivot screw. Use of any Lock-Tite when using this interface is not necessary, because again your thumbnail can tighten the pivot screw easily and last for a long time in normal “use”.

BTW, I also added this interface to my ZT-0562CF as well, and added a full finger choil and custom grippier G10 scales. (that was my 1st “prototype”)

Turns out I’d put the ergo’s and functionality of this modded Hinderer up against ANY other XM-18 out there!

…so Nick,..if you want to review, or at least try a 3-1/2″ XM-18 Hinderer “Slicer” version that will blow you away with the modded ergo’s, let me know and I’ll get it out to you. 🙂

Joe T
Ti Rod Tactical

Tmankiller72 says:

I own this same knife except in blue g10.
I will probably get a carbon fiber scale for looks and a little weight loss.

Dillo159 says:

Nick your my favorite YouTuber

Randall Kelley says:

I like my Hinderers. But I have gravitated to the 3″rs. I rarely need a big blade. Guess I am getting older.

Ayden Neufeld says:

Had mine open in my pocket more then once and cut me pretty bad

Jake From State Farm says:

I am actually shopping for a high-end production knife so thanks for this review. But I would rather save 15$ and get a Sebenza than this xm-18. Thanks Nick

Brad Griffin says:

The clip would be great for us left-handers.

KnifeLover ! says:

skinner blade’s detend is much better and dont need wrist flick…

Peter Cass says:

I’ve noticed that that flipper while very grippy is VERY ineffective. I do my own test with a flipper shape where I open it just past the detent, then try to flip it open with no wrist. It tests the smoothness and shape of the knife and flipper tab, and knives like the 0452CF pass this very well, and I’ve found that tabs that are above the pivot, and either curved out or flat work best. Hinderers have a low, concave tab that not only hurts to use frequently, it’s also borderline non-functional

Trenton May says:

Hey Nick have you looked at the USN forum under the Hinderer category Rob Orlando talks about how to easily center the xm-18s where there is no blade play and they will still be flippable.

Rodrigo Teresa says:

Hey guys, lately I’ve noticed the detent on my ZT0562CF getting somewhat weaker than it was previously. I’ve had it for about 4 months. There was some gunk in the detent hole which once removed helped a bit but that doesn’t seem to be the main issue. While I had it disassembled I tried my best to look at the detent ball to see if anything was going on there. There is a significant shiny patch that exists towards the middle of the ball, and because of the small scale I can’t tell if it has flattened somehow or if that’s just how the light catches the steel. The reasons I’m skeptical about it being deformed is both the quality that ZT is known for (you’d expect them to be hardened somewhat) and that I hadn’t noticed any detent softening until this past week. I really have no clue how after hundreds upon hundreds of flips over the past few months all of this softening would happen in the last week. Thanks for the help guys!

akcprivat says:

If you want a Hinderer bye a ZT 🙂

Timothy Becker says:

I want this knife, however until Mr. Hinderer switches away from nylon washers, be money is staying in my pocket.

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