Zero Tolerance Tactical Knife

zt-tactical-knivesLook up close-quarters combat in the dictionary and you just might find a picture of Zero Tolerance’s new 5.5-inch bladed 0170. There’s no doubt that the late John Styers would’ve given this fighter a real thumbs-up.

From the very start, Kershaw’s Zero Tolerance line of no-nonsense tactical blades has made a major impression on me. Not only are their designs excellent for their intended purpose and railroad engineered for awesome strength, they are also 100 percent made in the U.S.A. Each year the company finds a way to expand the line by a very limited number of new models. One of the most recent is the ZT 0170 Fixed-Blade Combat Knife, an R.J. Martin design. One look at the handle would make you think the ghost of John Styers, author of the classic close-combat manual Cold Steel, had returned from the next world to help ZT create it.

zt-tactical-knives-bI’m a firm believer in the one-inch free-hanging manila rope test first favored by the American Bladesmith Society for testing their knives. The ZT lopped off this line with almost no effort on my part.

Due to the handle’s slanted thumb rest, the blade length of this knife depends on whether you measure from the spine or the edge side. On top, the blade is around 5.5 inches in length, but the edge runs a full 6-3/8 inches long. Built to fit even the largest hand, the grip is 3-D machined G10 roughly 5-1/8 inches long at the midpoint. Sandvik’s relatively new 14C26N stainless steel is used in the blade. Other than being said to be a version of 13C26N with added nitrogen and chromium for increased corrosion resistance, so far very little technical information has been released on this steel. 13C26N, on the other hand, is considered one of the higher grades of cutlery steel in the company’s line. At the spine, the knife is a very reasonable 0.121-inch thick. A right-handed Kydex sheath is supplied with each knife. With the sheath, the knife comes to 16 ounces. The suggested retail price is $150.

As I alluded to earlier with my comment about John Styers, the handle on the 0170 is definitely designed for his saber-grip style of knife combatives. This is a knife fencer’s hilt ideally suited to the techniques taught in Cold Steel. At an average of 6 inches long, the blade also falls right on the length that Col. Rex Applegate once told me he considered the minimum for effective weapon use. I do wonder why the knife wasn’t given a sharpened false edge, but in this age of city-by-city regulation, it would be impossible to know ahead of time how many places would raise legal issues with the company.

zt-tactical-knives-cNone of those survival manuals ever mention that cattail roots are actually buried very deep in bog mud and the plants are next to impossible to pull up. While I really probably should have carved a digging stick, I used the ZT to uncover this section of root from our pasture swamp.

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