The XM series is made from a 6AL4V titanium alloy and features an open back design. There are also several handle scale options, including G-10 or Carbon Fiber. These folders are also available in a stonewash or tumbled finish. Each handle is fitted with a reversible clip for tip up carry. In addition, the XM 18 also has a lock bar stabilizer and a removable titanium liner.
Rick Hinderer started making knives in the mid 1980s. He began by making semi-tactical and fixed-blade knives. During this time, he devoted a lot of his time to CNC machining and designing folding and fixed-blade knives. Eventually, he began creating his own no-nonsense tactical tools. His designs included the XM-18, which has since been spawned into many different variants.
While the XM-18 is a versatile and popular tactical folder, there are other versions that are more comfortable. The Strider SnG, for example, is a rough and tough folder. It features a more aggressive design and is only released in batches. However, the SnG tends to appeal to a different crowd than the XM-18.
Another option is the Chris Reeve Knives Large Inkosi. With a tanto blade shape, this blade is ideal for many applications. A blade of this size is also more compact, making it the perfect EDC option. This knife also features plain titanium handle scales. You can choose from several finishes, including a tiger striped finish. Also, this knife is available in both left and right hand configurations.
Other than the blade, the other main difference between the XM-18 and the CRK Large Inkosi is the handle. The Hinderer has a 3/8" head and a 4.125" closed length. Compared to the CRK"s handle, which is 3.25" closed, the XM-18 is a bit smaller, so it might feel more comfortable for large hands.
When it comes to fit and finish, the XM-18 and CRK Large Inkosi are very similar. Both have tri-way pivots and bronze spacers. They are also finished with an oil-finished walnut scale. But, the XM-18 has more jimping on the blade and a solid lockbar stabilizer.
One downside of the XM-18 is that the bearings can get dirty quickly. If this is an issue, you can always fix it by using a Teflon washer. Despite this, the XM-18 has great action and is a great tactical folder.
Another factor to consider is the price. Although the XM-18 is highly customizable, it is priced much higher than most other folding knives. That means that you might have a hard time finding the exact model you want. Plus, the XM-18 is expensive to maintain. Depending on the configuration you choose, you may find that you need to replace the bearings or have them modified.