SHOT 2019: Zero Tolerance and Kershaw’s Latest on Display

At long last the two inimitable KAI labels, Kershaw and Zero Tolerance, have unveiled their new for 2019 lineups. Kershaw went big with more than fifteen new models while ZT kept things rather tame for the second year in a row, with just one brand new model being shown.

ZT Produces Smallest Knife Ever
ZT’s newest model is also its smallest ever, the Tim Gaylean-designed [Corrected 1/25/19: the original story wrongly cited Les George, not Tim Gaylean, as the designer] ZT 0022, a truly diminutive flipper. Its trailing point-ish blade measures a scant 1.8-inches long, but ZT managed to cram in a ball bearing flipper and a functional frame lock as seen on many of its stablemates. The 0022 is also a premium offering in keeping with ZT’s reputation, with a carbon fiber show side scale and a titanium frame lock.

Elsewhere, two existing models have been given slight variations. The 0460, designed by Dmitry Sinkevich, gets a full titanium version much like the 562 recently did, and the 0393, a Rick Hinderer design, is getting a new variation with glow in the dark carbon fiber insert. Yep, you heard that right.

Kershaw Goes Wide with 17 New Models
You kind of expect big numbers from the annual Kershaw catalog, and this year they certainly delivered with 17 new knives on display.

The big news for fans of Kershaw’s US-made products will be the debut of three new Launch models, numbers 8, 9, and 10. The Launch 8 modernizes the Italian stiletto design, reimagining the classic pattern in the Launch line-standard aluminum handle and CPM-154 blade steel. The Launch 9 is the mid-size model among the three new Launches, with a 3.25-inch drop point blade with an acuter-than-normal tip. Finally, the Launch 10 is something a little different: a tiny hawkbill automatic.

The majority of the new releases play up the accessibility of Kershaw, with prices well south of $100 and the standard materials we expect from the company: G-10, stainless steel, or FRN for the handle, and 8Cr13MoV blade steel. The XCOM is a big, bold Les George design that brings the familiar WWII-style trench knife into a folding format. It’s a large knife but should travel well with a deep carry clip and a relatively modest weight of 4.2 oz. The Oblivion goes for a technical look (a running theme in this year’s releases), mating a mostly stainless steel frame to FRN-accents along the spine. It’s a SpeedSafe knife with an overtravel stop and, like the XCOM, a deep carry clip. Gus T. Cecchini is back with the Turismo, a mid-size design that brings the S.L.T (Spring-Loaded Tab) opening method first seen on the ZT0055 into the Kershaw side of camp.

There’s a second S.L.T.-equipped GTC design this year, called the Collateral. Although angled to hit a sub-$100 price point like most Kershaws, it does pack in a carbon fiber accent on the handle. The impressively skeletal Decibel weighs 2.7 oz., even with a decently-sized 3-inch sheepsfoot blade. It makes an interesting comparison with the Mixtape, which incorporates a similarly-shaped blade of similar length, but in a less stylized nylon handle, and a thumb disk instead of a stud. Both the Mixtape and the Decibel are manual openers.

Les George also contributed the Seguin, which follows the lines of popular designs like the ZT0920, albeit on a smaller scale and with humbler materials. He’s also the mind behind the Boilermaker, a workman’s knife that comes with an interesting PVD coating on both blade and handle. George also showed his facility with sleek lines on the sinuous Innuendo, another mid-size offering with a 3.3-inch blade and thumb disk opener.

Kershaw’s in-house design team also did yeoman’s service for the 2019 offering. There’s the Antic, another mini knife, which brings in a multi-functional karambit-style finger ring and even locks up with one of the tiniest frame locks we’ve seen for some time. The new Epistle is an attractive but plainspoken working knife, with a ‘just right’ blade length of 3 inches, a liner lock, and slim overall carry profile. Finally, Kershaw expanded their Starter line of very entry level-priced knives with the Misdirect. It has a similar blade profile and length to the Mixtape and Decibel, but is less expensive, with 4Cr13 blade steel and a SpeedSafe opening system.

Finally, we noticed two line extensions for existing models as well. The Rick Hinderer-designed Cinder is getting a copper model, and the Reverb grows up with the XL, which adds about a 1/2-inch of blade length while retaining the sleek, skeletal design and carabiner on the spine that we saw on the original.

Knife in Featured image: Zero Tolerance 0022