Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Spyderco Autonomy VS Hogue EX-A01

Alright ladies and gents!  It’s the match you have been waiting for.  In this corner is The Hogue EX-A01 automatic knife and in the opposite corner we have Spyderco’s auto knife:  Autonomy!

Spyderco has autos? 

I’ve been told that Sal, doesn’t like autos but when he’s asked to make one for US border guards or the Navy, well he just can’t say “no!”  I understand this on several levels.  When your country asks you to step up, how could you say no?  And if you say no, how would that affect your business long and short term.

rescue Automatic switchblade
Spyderco's Autonomy


The Autonomy was developed by special request for the Navy’s Rescue Swimmers.  The original version had a bright orange handle, but soon other military and paramilitary organizations wanted one.   The knife comes with only a rounded tip and a fully serrated Wharncliffe blade.  What I think is totally cool is the knife is designed so you can wash out the coil spring and re-oil it without disassembling the knife.  In fact, you can replace the spring without disassembling the knife.  More on this later!

I don’t have too much information about Hogue’s EX-A01.  I know Hogue better for pistol grips, but they began life as Hogue Tool and Machine started by Guy Hogue.  Like any good company they looked at their corner of the market and saw where they could expand.  In 2009 they teamed up with Allan Elishewitz to make knives.  The auto comes in two blade lengths, 3.5 and 4 inch.  They have a variety of blade shapes and styles as well as handle materials.

All in all, both knives are very cool.

Spyderco utilizes H-1 steel for the 3.75 inch Autonomy blade.  H-1 has an established reputation for laughing at salt water.  It is also an austenitic steel which, according to Spyderco, work hardens as you sharpen it.  This gives you a slightly softer spine and a hard edge.  This is the classic design on samurai swords, hard edge and softer blade.  The blade has a black DIC coating (Diamond-like Coating) to assist anyone who must worry about light discipline.  That doesn’t mean Madam Fifi uses aluminum chains instead of steel.  Of course if reflections are a problem, I’d recommend taking a black magic marker to the silver spider logo and serrated edge.

Automatic knife switchblade
Hogue's EX-A01


Hogue’s 3.5 inch blade is made of 154cm steel which they cryogenically treat.  Being a martensitic steel it goes through a complicated cycle of phases while cooling.  These changes are temperature and compositionally related and are driven by diffusion of carbon.  By carefully chilling this steel the manufacturer can push the ferrite and austenitic phases to form the harder martensitic phase.

Don’t get any ideas about trying this at home.  You could warp your blade, crack it or turn a perfectly fine steel into crap.  Just a word to the wise.

The Hogue blade has a black cerakote finish with protects it from scratches and other minor damage.  Some cerakotes have properties that make them less visible in infrared vision.  The blade can be described as a tanto harpoon style.  I’ve never been afraid of sharpening tanto blades; just sharpen both edges as independent edges.  You’ll be fine.

spoon clip automatic knife
The clip lets the knife ride low in the pocket.  What you carry should be only your business.


Both knives feature large buttons, but the Autonomy has a very large and protruding button that will grip your skin or the material of your glove, including dive gloves.  Both place the safety where I like it, next to the activation button.  I like the idea the safety can be deactivated and the knife opened by rocking your thumb backward and forwards.  That way your grip doesn’t change as it must if the safety is on the knife spine.

While both knives have clips that can be changed, the Hogue is designed to be tip up or down, but right side only.  The Spyderco is right or left, but tip up only.

So at the bottom of round four here’s the box score:

Property
Hogue
Spyderco
Blade Length (inches)
3.5
3.75
Blade type
Harpoon Tanto
Serrated rescue
Grind
High V
High V
Blade Steel
154CM
H-1
Spring Stiffness
Good
Stout
Pocket Clip
Spoon
Wire
Clip Versatility
Tip up only L or R
Tip up or down, R only
Handle Material
6061-T6 Aluminum
G-10
Special Features
Course gimping
Oversize lanyard hole
Weight (oz)
5.55
5.35
Price Suggested Retail
$250.00
$349.95
Made in
USA
USA


Both knives have been described as flat grind, which is incorrect.  Both have a shoulder making them a high v-grind.  Both are about the same weight but the black G-10 Autonomy is significantly more expensive as compared to the rescue orange handle.  This might be Spyderco’s way of saying they don’t want to sell the tactical black to the public.  Just my thoughts.
The button-like object is the spring housing.  Easy to clean and oil.  Note the generous lanyard hole.  


Both can be found with better pricing if you shop around.

Spyderco sells a service kit “including a module wrench, protective blade guard, Torx wrench, two replacement kick springs, thread-locking compound, a spare pivot screw, and step-by-step illustrated instructions.”  After all you could be stationed where parts and mail service are only a dream.

Frankly, my needs are best met by the Hogue auto.  The serrated Autonomy blade has limited functionality.  It rips through straps, belts and rope.  But it doesn’t do very well cutting firesticks, my steak, cardboard and so many other daily functions.

Head to head rounding the last turn
Rounding the last turn in this mile and a half course, head to head and winner is......you the consumer.


The winner of this match is…,  well, I carry two knives and one is a full serration and the other plain edge.  I would be happy to pocket either.  

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