-Price Paid: N/A
-Used for Every Day Carry
-Owned for 3 months
Note: The ZT 0301, 0302, and 0300 are all the same knife design, except with different blade finishes and scale colors.
While the knife is commonly sold at MAP pricing for 236$, it can be had for less through secondhand deals or private transactions.
I landed mine new for 190$.
To start off with, the ergonomics are excellent. The 3d machined G10 scales are contoured and textured to provide a firm grip. With or without gloves (I use the Mechanix brand), I can transition from a forward to reverse (edge in or edge out) grip repeatedly and quickly. There is an adequately jimped thumb ramp and a thumb groove along the spine.
However, there is a drawback to the aggressive texturing on the scales. It will wear out the edges of pockets if the knife is carried with the clip.
The flipper is easy to access and reliable in deployment. However, compared to other assisted knives, the opening is not as quick, given the extra inertia from the ZT0301's substantial blade mass. Having been a manual opening user for a long time, I found the resistance (from the torsion bar) a surprise as I closed the knife. It is still possible to close using only one had, but do be careful - if you slip, the blade can spring back into the open position.
The thumbstuds double as blade stops, providing an extra measure of blade stability. However, since they're placed very close to the scales, it takes a bit of practice learning how to use them to deploy the blade. They are not unusable, but compared to the flipper, they are less convenient.
Given the blade's mass, it is also possible to wrist flick the knife open in the forward and reverse positions.
The knife initially arrived configured for tip down carry. The parts of the handle above the pivot have sharp points - when reaching into my pocket to retrieve something else, I found these points scratching my hand. I thus found myself changing to tip up to avoid those instances.
The knife is as heavy as my fullsize Benchmade Rukus (610) despite being almost 2" shorter (overall length) and having a titanium frame. It may be uncomfortable to carry if you're not wearing jeans or work pants. However, the pocketclip does provide strong retention, though the handle does not conceal well - almost 1" of handle will be above the edge of your pocket (do take this into consideration if you are carrying in an area where such knives are discouraged).
The blade is wide recurved S30V steel and the 0301 and 0302 come with a tiger striped finish. The edge retention is great and the extra belly from the recurve increases the cutting edge. However, a recurve cannot be completely sharpened on flat stones - you will need round or triangular rods.
The pivot must be adjusted by a hex socket wrench (the knife was designed for military use and a hex tool would most likely be conveniently available). I personally don't find this useful, as I am used to using keychain torx bits to adjust all my other knives.
Without a doubt, the knife is well (heavily) built and a durable design. However, it may be overkill, depending on how you use it. But if you don't mind the weight, it'll make a great addition into your carry rotation.
Comment by abu uzayr 04/03/2012
Great review of a great knife. But similar to the ZT300 review, you believe that the thumb studs are too close to the handle. This may indeed be the case, but considering that the best way to deploy a knife using the thumb stud is to push the stud FORWARD and not sideways. The ZT300 series deploys as easy as any knife using the studs. I agree that this is a heavy knife but I believe it is superior to both the Benchmade Rukus and Skirmish, both of which I've owned and sold because I really did not like them. I feel that knives get more appeal the more banged up they look and the ZT301 is a serious heavy duty tool capable of some heavy duty treatment. Notwithstanding the fact that I believe the handle and definitely the blade ergonomics are better than Strider, not the mention the titanium / G10 colour contrast - sometimes I get this nagging feeling in my gut and wonder whether I should havew purchased a Strider in the first place! Great review great knife!