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There is an undeniable cool factor when it comes to automatic knives. As someone who owns several, I can’t seem to get enough of them. Generally, I’m a gun guy, but being a gun by default means being a knife guy. When a company that traditionally makes gun parts and guns accessories starts making knives my ears perk up. Needless to say now that Hogue has entered the knife market lots of us gun guys are paying attention.
Hogue has jumped headfirst into the knife market with folders and autos, and now even producing knives for HK. Today I am looking at my favorite Hogue knife, their 3.5-inch OTF, or Out The Front, automatic knife.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The Hogue OTF isn’t the most creative of names, but it’s descriptive enough. The Hogue OTF sports a 3.5-inch blade. The knife also has an overall length of 8.5 inches, a closed length of 5 inches, and weighs only 5.3 ounces. It’s a perfect size and weight for an EDC knife.
The Hogue OTF comes with either a clip point or tanto style blade. My model comes with a clip point blade which offers belly than a tanto blade, although the tanto would penetrate better. I find myself cutting more than stabbing, so a clip point made more sense. Plus I hate sharpening a tanto blade.
Hogue uses 154CM for the majority of their knives, and the OTF model is no different. 154CM is good steel, it’s pretty sturdy and offers above average corrosion resistance. I live in Florida, right on the Gulf, so it stays humid and salty but over the last year of use and carry it’s remained rust free. 154 CM is a decently strong steel, and it does seem to hold an edge very nicely and isn’t hard to sharpen. It’s not as easy as something like 1095, but it’s not frustrating.
The Hogue OTF has a thin blade without serration of any kind. It’s simple, smooth and functional. For extra protection, this particular model has a black finish, while other models come with a tumbled stainless finish.
The blade cuts well and chews through cardboard, rope, paracord, tape, and even more. I’ve used it as a lightweight EDC knife for over a year, and its never let me down. It’s cleaned fish, sharpened sticks to roast marshmallows and had a fair share of outdoors adventures on top of regular EDC work.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The OTF’s handle is quite large, as most OTF knives are. They have to house the mechanics of the knife as well as the blade. My gorilla sized hands love large handles like this. Hogue made their name initially making grips for guns, so they know a thing or two about ergonomics. They made the design with cuts and divots in all the right places.
The handle is designed to accommodate your grip with graceful rises and falls where your hands meet the handle. It allows for a firm and aggressive no-slip grip. The handle is machined aluminum and textured via machining as well. It gives the knife an overall effective grip and looks nice too.
The backside of the grip houses the push-pull release. Ergonomically its placed well and easy to reach. The button also acts as a thumb rest when using the knife and gives you a little extra leverage when needed.
The pocket clip is spoon-shaped and does its job. I do have one issue with it. The spoon sticks slightly up and has caught on chairs several times resulting in the pocket clip bending outward a bit. The design only accommodates a blade down carry.
The Hogue OTF is a big knife regarding pocket carry. This problem comes with all OTF knives, and they tend to have thick and somewhat bulbous handles. It’s something you can’t avoid with OTF knives. It jeans its fine, but in khakis or dress pants it leaves an imprint. My daily attire permits carrying it, so it’s not a personal issue.
Lock and Deployment
The Hogue OTF knife uses a push-pull device on the backside of the knife near the top of the blade. Push the device upwards, and the blade springs into action. Once the blade is deployed you pull it down, and the blade retracts. The button is positioned perfectly for the thumb to reach it in a standard hammer grip.
There is no extra lock or safety device on the knife, and the button is the only control. The switch offers enough resistance that it would near impossible for the blade to open or close without you wanting it to. If you keep your thumb on the button for extra leverage while using the knife the blade is not going to close accidentally.
The blade springs into action with some real force and makes a satisfying thunk as it opens. Every hundred or so opens I drip a little Zippo lighter fluid down the blade and allow it to dry. This fluid lubricates the knife and keeps it running for a good long time.
The Hogue OTF Automatic Review – Final Thoughts
The Hogue OTF is an excellent knife and a great OTF blade. It’s a good choice for EDC or self-defense. Its design is rock solid, and the ergonomics are on point. Admittedly its an expensive knife, but OTF’s are not simple knives, and the price reflects that. It serves two niches, guys like me who think their cool and people who need a one-handed solution with very little room to use a leverage-based knife. I’m betting most sell to guys like me, and that’s one of the joys of capitalism.
The Hogue OTF is a robust and well-made knife from a company that has quickly proved themselves as quality knifemakers.
Hogue OTF – From $229.00