For knife enthusiasts looking for an affordable pocket knife that doesn’t look like every other knife out there, Kershaw has come up with the Zing. Though it runs in the ballpark of most affordable knives, it features a custom design by renowned knife maker RJ Martin.
The knife itself is a high quality flipper, assisted opening knife with some custom design enhancements by the knife maker. Like most Kershaw knives it uses materials that are above the standard for this type of knife.
For its superior quality, materials, and design we give this knife 4.5 out of 5 stars.
- Unique RJ Martin Design
- Good quality sold steel knife
- Solid steel frame lock
- Pocket clip tip up carry only
- Lock can be stiff when new
- Handle can be slick when wet
Kershaw Zing Features
Blade – The blade is a custom design and is made of 8Cr13MoV Chinese stainless steel. This steel combined with the design of the blade makes it good for a variety of tasks from food prep to utility cutting to heavy duty cutting and carving. The blade also retains a surprisingly sturdy point for puncturing materials. The blade retains sharpness well and is easily sharpened if it does become dull.
Handle – The handle of this knife is bead blasted stainless steel as well. This is a rare feature for pocket knives. This increases the weight of the blade, which in turn increases downward force when cutting. The handle curves slightly and features a ridge or “hump” near the middle making tasks like chopping food relatively easy. The handle also features a small lanyard hole at the base and a triangle pocket clip.
Deployment and Lockup – The deployment for the Zing is a flipper assist deployment mechanism. The thumb-notch flipper in the middle of the knife allows the knife to be quickly and easily opened with one hand. Most assist knives must be manually opened part of the way before the assist takes over and opens the knife the rest of the way. This feature is also safer than other quick open mechanisms on similar knives.
For lockup the knife uses a built in stainless steel frame lock. The frame lock holds the blade in place with a locking bar while open and when flicked closed the locking bar moves back over to hold the blade inside the enclosure when closed.
Design – The combination of design modifications give it unique utility and features that are not found in other knives in this category. It maintains a balance of cutting surface and tip strength not present in other knives. The unique shape of the handle also lends itself to cutting tasks.
Blade Make, Design and Function
The blade of the Zing is a custom RJ Martin design that is basically a heavily modified drop point blade. Made of 8Cr13Mov Stainless steel, with a matte bead blasted finish, it features a wide belly blade with an extremely sharp tip.
The tip is stronger than a standard drop point blade and the wide cutting belly makes it an excellent cutting or chopping blade. The blade comes in at an even 3 inches giving plenty of length for a knife of this size.
The fine tip is sharp enough to pierce most soft to medium materials like cloth and paper and the belly of the blade can handle even difficult cuts fairly well. The steel composition is a mid grade steel that holds up well and is easily sharpened.
The blade also functions in combination with the unique shape of the handle making tasks like chopping for food prep even easier.
Handle Feel and Ergonomics
The handle is also solid stainless steel. Although the knife is surprisingly thin, the all steel handle adds heft to the knife which improves reliability and the extra weight adds heft when cutting.
The back side of the handle features a ribbed design for gripping and the slight curve makes for a convenient rocking motion when chopping, adding to the utility of the blade. The handle also has thumb studs, a small lanyard hole, and a triangle point ambidextrous pocket clip, though some users say it is a bit thin and flimsy.
The all steel handle is also stain and corrosion resistant making the entire knife relatively low maintenance. The handle comes in at just under 4 inches making the blade to handle ratio almost evenly balanced.
The two complaints that users have about the steel handle are that steel is prone to scratches, which show up easily and the lack of a textured grip surface can make holding the knife feel less secure.
Deployment and Lockup
The Zing is an assisted flipper knife. The flipper mechanism flips the blade out from the locking mechanism and allows it to be flicked open easily with one hand.
The flipper is very fast and is widely considered one of the safest fast opening mechanisms for pocket knives as the blade never comes within range of the operator’s hand.
For lockup the blade features a solid steel frame lock that maneuvers the locking bar behind the blade when open to prevent accidental closing and pulls the bar over the blade when closed to prevent unintended opening.
One complaint that some owners claim is that the frame lock has a tendency to allow the blade to move after prolonged use, though no notable faults have occurred because of this.
Kershaw Zing Review – Final Thoughts
The Kershaw Zing is one unique knife. The modified blade design makes it an excellent utility knife for a wide range of cutting and piercing tasks from food prep to outdoor sporting.
The blade steel is solid, fairly long lasting and easily sharpened. The stainless steel handle is a unique choice among pocket knives.
The handles unique shape aids in cutting tasks and the steel construction makes it more durable, reliable, and maintenance free than similar knives in the category. The Speedsafe assisted open mechanism makes opening the knife a snap with either hand and the mechanism is extremely quick and safe.
The frame lock provides safe locking when the blade is open or closed and fits the knife comfortably. While not the perfect knife for every task, the Kershaw Zing is worthy of any knife owner or even the avid collector.
- Heat-treated 8Cr13MoV stainless steel offers excellent strength, edge retention and wear resistance
- 410 steel handle construction features SpeedSafe assisted opening, secure frame lock, 3-position pocketclip and lanyard hole
- Stainless steel version of the original Zing designed by RJ Martin is slimmer, for even more comfortable carry