9-21-2017

ZT Knives

ZT makes large overbuilt burly knives. The slogan on their box is "Proudly overbuilt in the USA". These are expensive knives, but people feel they are worth it.

ZT has a reputation for quality and exceptional customer service. Their knives are not for everybody. They are big, heavy and tough and will alarm a lot of people.

ZT was started as a collaboration of custom knifemakers, and may have been a part of Kershaw from almost the start. At any event, they are now part of KAI USA Ltd. which is a company that owns Kershaw, ZT, Shun, and who knows what else. This does not seem to be a bad thing. There does not seem to be any "dumbing down" of the ZT line to lower standards.

Many but not all of their knives are "flippers", and some of those are assisted.

ZT 0350

This is a very popular assisted flipper with a 3.3 inch blade. It has G10 handles and stainless steel liners. It is a liner lock knife.

This is the first (and only)flipper I have owned and I like it well. It fits my large hand and feels natural and quick to operate. It is definitely stout, heavy and seems "stubby". However, side by side with the Spyderco Paramilitary, the blade is just as long, and although it seems stouter, the Paramilitary is actually made from thicker stock. Both are fine knives of entirely different styles.

ZT 0630CF

This is essentially a ZT rendition of the Emerson CQC-8 with a 3.6 inch blade. You can read all kinds of opinions on whether you should get a genuine Emerson or a ZT version. For any number of reasons, if you are actually heading into harms way, I would go with an Emerson without a doubt. If you are an urban dude and appreciate leather seats and all of that, go with the ZT.

The "CF" model is a special edition of the regular 0630 with M390 knife steel and a carbon fiber scale, now hard to get your hands on. It is a frame lock knife, with a titanium frame. The lock part of the frame has been beefed up with a steel bar to engage the knife blade. This seems a little surprising, but apparently the concern was that the titanium would wear prematurely unless this was done.

The regular production knife has S35VN blade steel and a G10 scale. You get titanium with the regular version.

One of my concerns with this versus a genuine Emerson is that these knives are smooth in the hand. One side is titanium, and the other is a relatively smooth G10. A genuine Emerson gives you aggressive G10 on both sides, and I can tell you what I want in my hand if I am in a fight, possibly wearing gloves. But that rough textured G10 will put some wear on your nice pants. If this is a deal breaker, you are probably not a commando (I am certainly not).

This is an Emerson design with a "wave" opening feature. It also has a thumb disk, like an Emerson knife. Opening it with a thumb is quite awkward and difficult and my take is that unless you use the wave to open it, you may as well plan on opening it with two hands.


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Tom's Knife Info / tom@mmto.org