Kershaw has been blowing the doors off the tactical knife market with the ZT (Zero Tolerance) line of tactical knives. Since their introduction a few years ago, they have set new standards for production tactical knife design and robustness. It always seemed to me that there was a gap in the line for a well-designed military grade auto knife and this year ZT delivered several new auto knife models to market. The most interesting and technologically advanced piece is the new 0650ST, designed by the imaginative father and son team of knife makers/designers Grant and Gavin Hawk.
The Hawks have contributed many innovative knives to the market over the last decade, including the DOG Lock, ET Knife and MUDD Lock. All of these are technologically advanced and show off the Hawks’ knack for solving the usual problems of knife design in an “outside the box” fashion while not deviating from the mission of creating a practical tool. The 0650ST is a stout knife. The 4-7/8-inch handle utilizes a sandwich-style construction of hard, anodized T-6 aluminum alloy scales with G-10 overlays for superb traction. The blade is a conventional and eminently practical 3.75-inch drop point, .125-inch thick and flat ground for maximum strength. The blade is Tungsten DLC finished in a satin black.
While the blade and the handle are well designed and crafted, it’s the new lock and button release the Hawk’s have designed that really moves this knife to the next level of automatic knife design. The new patent-pending “Crossfire” mechanism easily activates the blade with a short pull of the firing button towards the rear of the handle, but when the blade is locked in the handle, an additional downward movement of the same button locks the blade safely in place. This type of safety mechanism on an automatic knife designed for LE/Military makes a lot of sense. For starters, if the lock is engaged, the blade won’t open accidentally if the button snags while coming out of the pocket or if dropped. In addition, the lock is an optional movement, which means it doesn’t engage automatically so the user can choose the carry mode.
According to Kershaw/ZT’s Thomas Welk, “The Hawk’s Crossfire mechanism was designed so that the user doesn’t have to compromise their purchase when both opening and closing the knife. This ZT auto goes beyond what traditional push buttons offer, and gives customers a fresh, cool alternative that improves upon both safety and performance. Indeed, this is the start of the next generation of automatic knives for Zero Tolerance.”
When testing the 0650ST, the first thing I noticed was the comfortable handle—all edges are nicely radiused and the G-10 insert gives a good grip when wet or slimy, unlike bare aluminum handled knives. The pocket clip is stout and reversible and is fairly low profile.
The practical blade was shaving sharp and perfectly finished off with a series of hyper-aggressive serrations that were perfect for cutting nylon seat belt webbing and even heavy canvas. And speaking of the blade, the coil spring mechanism reliably opens the blade—and fast! This ZT auto snaps open with real authority against a hardened steel stop pin, not soft alloy. In real use, the lock works well and definitely provides an extra layer of security. The “L” shaped track the lock button rides in took a little getting used to but even covered in dirt and lint, the mechanism worked like a charm.
The high-end materials and thoughtful design of the 0650ST will ensure its success in the automatic knife arena. It offers a unique but practical option for high speed, extreme-use auto knife tasks.
For more information visit www.ZTKnives.com or call 503- 682-1966.