- Created: Sunday, 04 May 2008 04:33
Steel: S30V stainless-steel with Tungsten DLC coating with Tiger Stripes
Handle: 3D machined, G-10 and Titanium
Blade Length: 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Closed Length: 5 1/4 in. (13.3 cm)
Overall Length: About 8-5/8" open
Weight: 8.6 oz.
Sean of LA Policegear sent me over to the ZT booth and it turned out to be a real treat. I don't know much about knives, but I do know these are some sweet rides. I took home a 0301 model to beat up on and have embraced it ever since. The design background on this piece is that it is a collaboration project between KAI's Ken Onion and Strider. Both these guys know how to make some mean knives so it wasn't too much of a surprise the 0300 series is an awesome result. Both the grip and blade have nice smooth curves with the blade having the classic Strider tiger stripe paint job.
The difference between the other 0300s is just color of one side of the handle. 0300 being black, 0301 Ranger Green, and 0302 Coyote. Only one side is color since the rest of the handle is black titanium with a frame lock. It is probably old news for many, but I hadn't seen a frame lock before and think it is the shiznit. On classic liner locks there can be a threat that after one stabs something then twists, it is possible to release the liner lock and now the user has a potential threat to cut off their own fingers. This is not the case on the frame lock since the lock position is reinforced as the user grips the knife. Both sides of the handle have an unique texture that is easy on the hands while still assisting in grip. The 0300 grip won't have as much stick as patterns that feel like sandpaper, but the pattern fits the style/concept of the rest of the knife well.
The first impression is typically that the knife is a bit big, but almost everyone likes how it fits in their hand, including me of course. I find the size to be a great compromise of blade length, but slim overall knife thickness. For only being about .5" longer than similar size class knives, you get a LOT more blade. One down side to this size is that it is a little bit harder to deal with in my pocket that also has a wallet. If the wallet wasn't in there, there wouldn't be a problem at all. The 0300 uses star / Torx screws for the grip and even smaller ones for the belt clip. There are holes on both grip sides to allow the 4 common belt clip mounting positions to allow the user to get their best mounting position based on hand and internal or external mounting. I find Torx screws a pain in the ass, but I guess most knife companies choose them so the screws are not overtightened. At the bottom of the grip is a good sized hole to accommodate a lanyard; I show an example in my pictures.
Now for the feature I've been saving, this knife uses the Kershaw knives SpeedSafe system which is the rad. Using an inner torsion bar, when the user presses the upper protrusion or the thumb stud with a little force, the blade springs out the rest of the way. Since the release protrusion is on the back and thumb studs are on both sides, this is totally ambidextrous. The amount of force needed to release the blade is a great balance of easy to do with one hand, but hard enough to not happen by accident while on you or in your pocket. Unless something is in the way, the blade with reliably extend all the way out and lock into place. The frame lock must now be released to fold the blade back. On this particular knife I'll go ahead and recommend not to use the thumb stud. It is hard to push on and when done it can be easy to cut yourself due to being used to having to follow through with standard knives. Since the blade springs out, it may get ahead of your thumb and when you try and "follow through" it will be onto the blade instead of the thumb stud. Stick with using your index finger on the upper back protrusion, works every time. As an additional bonus, the Speedsafe system is not considered any kind of switch blade so is legal to use in many of the states that give knife owners a hard time.
I haven't had a chance to truly punish this knife, but I have been told by many it holds its sharpness quite well. Hard-use owners have additional comfort in which with the Kershaw lifetime warranty they will sharpen your blade to factory specs free of charge. I haven't seen a lot, but at this moment this is the most worthwhile feature rich knife I have seen and used.
*Quick update: I've destroyed many boxes with this knife and had to break into my own home with it. Scratched up the cool-guy finish some, but till going strong.
<ZT VIDEO 1> Overview of the ZT knife line.
<ZT VIDEO 2> Additional design details.