Steve Shackleford Blog

EX-03: More Than Just Another Black Handle Tactical

Sometimes it’s easy to denigrate the many black-handle tactical folders on the market, but Hogue Knives’ approach to the grip material for its EX-03 sheds new light on black.

The handle material for the EX-03 is a polymer known as Polyphenylene Sulfide. The trade name is PPS.

A polymer known as PPS is the handle material for the Hogue4 EX-03. (Hogue photo)

Hogue uses a polymer known as PPS for its EX-03 folder. (Hogue photo)

“This material was selected for its high-tensile strength—29,000 psi—along with many other strength categories which are superior to a more commonly used reinforced nylon such as Zytel®,” noted Jim Bruhns, president of Hogue. “PPS is also much more thermally resistant than nylon, which is more of a big deal that you would expect.

“In most applications reinforced nylon, also known as glass-filled nylon, works very well through a wide range of temperature. We have seen occasion where polymer products fail as a result of extreme temperature in some obvious places, such as the trunk of a car where extreme highs and lows can occur. Again, PPS wins in this category with a much higher deflection temperature than nylon.”

The internal components that make the EX-03′s mechanism are 17-4 stainless steel. The real trick, Bruhns stressed, was getting such a robust assembly staged into an injection-mold tool in a way that the blade could be added and adjusted as part of a final assembly after molding.

“This was something that was met with quite a bit of skepticism, as the problem is quite challenging,” Bruhns continued. “This really goes to the root competency of what we do here at Hogue.”

Bruhns was able to develop the needed tooling for the task and the results speak for themselves.

“We now have a single-piece polymer frame folder with all of the best-known materials available in a rock-solid assembly,” he stated. “This knife is the best bang for your buck available today.”

For more on the Hogue EX-03, see the May BLADE®, on newsstands Feb. 25.

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