Rick Hinderer is a name that most knife and EDC enthusiasts are familiar with, and for very good reason, he has been designing and making knives for well over 30 years! Rick Hinderer’s designs can be found in the line up of Kershaw Knives, Zero Tolerance Knives, Viper Knives, Gerber Knives, Kabar Knives, and of course his own company Hinderer Knives. Rick has designed both folding knives and fixed blades, and no single design is as iconic as the XM-18 folding knife that has seen a variety of iterations, sizes, and blade grinds. While the XM line is the most well known, Hinderer has many great designs, including a personal favorite of mine the Half Track. Today we will dive into the Hinderer Knives Half Track and see why it is such a great knife!
If you spend any time listening to Rick Hinderer talk, you’ll quickly learn he has a great passion for military history and arms. He has drawn a great deal of inspiration from historical military designs, materials, and names. The Hinderer Knives Half Track shares a name with a military vehicle that came into use during World War II. The Half Track was created as a solution for travel over rough terrain and can best be described as half truck half tank. The front featured wheels similar to a truck while the back had a tank like track, hence the name Half Track. The name is fitting for this particular design as it is a small knife but it is definitely built like a tank!
Design and Specs
The Hinderer Half Track is a compact folding knife coming in at an overall length of 6.6 inches opened with a 2.75 inch blade. The blade is a robust 0.165 inches thick and has been made from a variety of premium steels including S35VN and 20CV. There is jimping on the top of the blade closest to the handle to help lock your thumb in place during heavy use, it is effective but not overly aggressive. Like most Rick Hinderer Knives the Half Track has been made in a variety of blade grinds such as clip point, slicer, tanto, wharncliffe, and Rick’s iconic spanto grind. The variety is great as it allows users to get what they really want, or you can be like me and end up owning 4 of them!
The handle of the Half Track has a striking modern look that is somewhat angular. Despite the angles everything on the handle is chamfered nicely for comfort while in use. The thickness of the handle is just over a half inch which really fills the hand nicely providing excellent grip. The standard model features titanium handle scales with a textured g10 slab on the “show side” for additional traction in the hand.
The Half Track is shipped with caged ball bearings installed in the pivot system which provides a super smooth opening and closing experience using the flipper tab. While bearings have their merits, they have the significant drawback of failing when getting dirt and grime stuck in there. Fortunately Rick has designed the Half Track, and all his other folders, to operate on Teflon and phosphor bronze washers as well. These washers are shipped with the knife and can be changed by the user at their discretion.
The Half Track features a frame lock design that has seen a few different iterations over the years, the current design has a steel lock bar insert to reduce wear on the titanium lock bar through repeated opening and closing. The lock bar is equipped with an over travel stop to prevent over extending lock bar when disengaging the lock. The pocket clip is situated for tip up carry, that is not reversible.
Make it Your Own
A phrase you will hear a lot of when it comes to Hinderer Knives is “make it your own.” Hinderer Knives are built to be easily disassembled by their owners and because of this swapping out parts is very easy to do. Hinderer Knives makes a number of parts that can be changed out on your knife including different handle scales colors and materials, anodized titanium hardware, a variety of pocket clips, and more. Like the knives themselves these parts can sometimes be somewhat difficult to source, but with some patience and diligence you can find the parts you are looking for.
Now that we have gone on about the design of the Half Track, let’s get down to what really matters…carrying and using it! This is a knife that you really have to have in hand to truly appreciate, but I will do my best to convey my thoughts on it! When I first saw the Half Track, I loved the aesthetic, but was skeptical about how the little chonky tank would feel in my hand during use. I went back and forth for a while talking to people about it, and finally Scott over at USA Made Blade convinced me to pull the trigger. When I finally got my first Half Track in my hand it was love at first grip! The handle is somewhat short, but filled the hand nicely due to the chunky handle. The angles in the back of the knife handle weld perfectly into the meat of my palm making it very comfortable.
At 2.75 inches the blade is large enough to handle just about any EDC task you can throw at it, and the blade stock is robust enough to handle some serious hard use, and I have done quite a bit of outdoor work with my Half Tracks with no complaints. Across the 4 Half Tracks I have used, I have not experienced any lock up issues during use.
The action with the Ball Bearings is very satisfying and smooth, though I wouldn’t expect them to be “drop shutty” because of the smaller blade. I have used the teflon washers quite a bit while doing woods work and while you lose out a bit on the satisfying action the opening and closing remains very smooth and is reliable even after being covered in mud, sand, water, or red liquid.
If you are looking for a slim and slicey pocket knife this one isn't for you, but if you are looking for a compact yet robust folding knife that can handle all of your EDC tasks and a whole lot more, the you can't go wrong with a Hinderer Half Track. Like all Hinderer Knives, the Half Track is a dependable American made knife that is ready to work as hard as you do!
Like all Hinderer Knives, the Half Track is designed for user disassembly and maintenance. With a small phillips head screwdriver and a torx bit driver the entire knife can be easily taken down, cleaned, and reassembled. Knife Pivot Lube oils will work very well in Hinderer pivot systems keeping your knife action operating at peak performance and protecting the internal parts from premature wear and tear. As a special thanks to our readers you can get any of our lubricants today for 10% off using code BLACK FLAG” at check out!