When I first reviewed the Hogue X1-Microflip, there was one thing keeping me from making a full-throated endorsement: the light button lock presented some safety issues. Good news is that Hogue had already initiated a revision to the knife, introducing a stronger spring and lower profile button to alleviate those issues. I’ve spent the last couple weeks testing out this revision to see how it compares to my original sample.
Whereas the knife I picked up at BLADE Show for my original review is the Rev A version, if you go out and order an X1-Microflip today, it is going to be a Rev B, which includes the fixes mentioned above. After three weeks of steady use, I am happy to say that the Hogue X1-Microflip now gets my full recommendation.
For starters, thanks to the stronger spring, the knife will always lock open when you flip out the blade.
On my old Rev A, having your finger resting on the lock button while flipping was enough to keep the blade from locking open. The blade would hit the stop pin and rebound back toward the closed position.
With the Rev B upgrades, this is no longer an issue. Even if you are intentionally pressing the lock with the pad of your thumb, the spring is strong enough to push the button out and lock the blade.
That new spring is paired with a lower profile button to make accidental disengagement during use a thing of the past as well. With Rev A, any task that required a full grip on the frame ran the risk of disengaging the lock. Rev B suffers this no longer. You have to make a conscious effort to pop the lock in any normal grip.
I filled up our recycling bin with cardboard last week, and while the Rev A lock presented a few issues for me in the past, I had no trouble with Rev B. I had everything cut down into strips and never once did I trip the lock. I’m convinced that you won’t have to worry, even without a secondary safety (something I had mentioned in my original review).
One thing you do give up for the extra safety is a bit of smoothness. The action is not as glassy as my Rev A knife. I was a bit let down at first because that action was one of the high points of Rev A. Taken by itself you may not notice it, but if you have one of the early knives this is something to consider if are thinking of sending your knife in for the Rev B upgrades (Hogue will do this free of charge, via the warranty info on their website).
This new action also affects another aspect of the knife. Allow me to quote my original review:
[The X1-Microflip has] a crisp, clean flipping action – as good as any bearing-based flipper I have used, and better than a lot of assisted opening knives out there as well. I can attest that it is nearly impossible for the blade to not fully deploy as Hogue states [previously].
While I think the X1-Microflip still holds its own against the good bearing-based systems out there, it is no longer the best; maybe a score of 4.5 out of 5 instead of a perfect score.
I can also no longer support the assertion that it is nearly impossible deploy the blade less than 180º – If I am trying, I can easily get the Rev B knife to only open partwat, something that was very difficult to do with the Rev A knife, even if I was trying to do so.
Good news though, is that it almost always takes intentional “limp-wristing” to produce that result. During actual use, 99 times out of 100 you are going to have a positive flip.
Given that this knife was brand new, it gave me an opportunity to test out the one other (non-dealbreaking) complaint I had about my original Rev A knife. The edge angle on my first blade was not fully consistent out toward the edge, which was revealed when I first went to hone it on my Spyderco Sharpmaker.
Unfortunately I still had a bit of an issue. One side was making contact just fine, but the other side was ground too shallow. You can see here from the tip how the angle is off on one side.
Long story short, you can now buy the Hogue X1-Microflip without worrying about safety. The new revisions have eliminated any issue, and I don’t even find myself wanting a secondary safety with this version.
I have to admit I am disappointed by the edge angles again, but that doesn’t change the fact that the convenient size, precise engineering, and killer blade make the X1-Microflip an awesome EDC.
I can’t say enough good things about my interactions with Hogue as well. Before my first review went live they had already initiated the Rev B changes into the lineup.
Not only was their response to my original review very positive, they also offered to upgrade my Rev A knife with the new parts to bring it up to Rev B spec. Long story short, my original knife wound up getting lost in the mail, so they promptly sent me a new knife.
After playing with it a couple of days and noticing the difference in the blade action from my first knife, I reached back out to ask about that. They had me send the knife back to make sure it was within spec before I wrote about it. It was, but even so they “fluffed and buffed” my knife to make sure it was the best it could be.
Throughout all of this I wasn’t only in contact with their marketing department, but also higher ups in the company, including lead engineer Scott Bruhns. I will quote from one of his emails here to give you an idea of their commitment to improving their products:
The concern you expressed along with feedback within our own ranks here at the facility has sparked a project to gain improved control of the detent mechanism; or “pop.”
As it stands right now there is opportunity for deviation from what ‘experts’ would consider the perfect amount of detent needed to achieve a swift, smooth, and a user friendly opening blade action. I am developing a way to considerably decrease that amount of deviation.
The fact that they are listening to feedback, both from within the company and from without, and are incorporating that into their products on a rolling basis (much like Spyderco and their Continuous Quality Improvement) is the hallmark of any good company in any industry. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!