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Knife Review: Kershaw Zing Stainless Steel Assisted Knife

Knife Review: Kershaw Zing Stainless Steel Assisted Knife

Posted by SD on Apr 15th 2020

The Kershaw Zing Stainless Steel Assisted Knife

Kershaw and their fans know that there is nothing that compares to a Kershaw. They have the award-winning technologies, they have the advanced materials, they have the solid sound of the blade lockup. All of this means that when you are carrying a Kershaw, you know that you are carrying the real deal.

So, what does the real deal mean? Well, Kershaw says, “The real thing means value and plenty of it. With Kershaw, you get incredible bang for your hard-earned buck. Even our inexpensive models are impressive. In fact, everything about a Kershaw is solid, crafted, reliable. That’s why we can back each of our knives for the life of its original owner against any defects in materials and construction with our famous Limited Lifetime Warranty.

“And yes, people do own their Kershaw knives for a lifetime. (Although, occasionally, a Kershaw has been known to get accidentally left at a campsite, lost in the garage, or permanently borrowed by a friend.)

“The point is, you can always look to Kershaw for everyday carrying knives that can tame any cardboard box and liberate any purchase from its plastic packaging, sporting knives that make hunting, fishing, watersports, and camping even better, work knives that won’t let you down, and tactical knives that ensure you’re ready for anything.”

They were founded in 1974 with the mission to design and manufacture tools that knife users were going to be proud to own, carry, and use. This means that each and every one of their knives need to be made with the highest quality. From hunting knives to collectors’ knives, Kershaw makes sure that they choose the high-quality materials and pair it with intensive craftsmanship to get a top-quality knife.

Not only that, but they have a commitment to innovation. They say, “Our SpeedSafe assisted opening knives were first-to-market. We introduced the concept of knives with interchangeable blades in our Blade Traders. Recently, our Composite Blade technology, which combines two steels into one blade, gives knife users the best of both worlds by enabling us to use steel known for edge retention on the edge and steel known for strength on the spine. And we will keep on innovating, bringing new and better technologies and materials to today's knifemaking industry and knife-using public.”

The thing about Kershaw is that you know that you can rely on the products they create. And better than that, you know that you will be able to rely on them for years, even decades, to come. Today we will be discussing the Zing.

The Blade:

The blade on the Zing is made out of 8Cr13MoV steel. Kershaw says, “You may have heard that 8Cr13MoV stainless is basically the equivalent of AUS8A. And it’s true. For everyday use, even a serious “knife knut” would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between a well-made 8Cr13MoV blade and a well-made AUS8A blade. Nevertheless, 

Kershaw Zing, Assist Knife

there are slight differences in the steel formula. While most other components are relatively equal, 8Cr13MoV has slightly more carbon for hardness and wear resistance and slightly less nickel. The key to blade performance for both of these steels is manufacturing quality. That’s where Kershaw’s expertise comes in. Kershaw precision heat-treats 8Cr13MoV steel to bring out its best high-performance characteristics: the ability to take and hold an edge, strength, and hardness. 8Cr13MoV is top-of-the-line Chinese steel and, we believe, offers our customers an excellent value. HRC: 57–59.” Really, this just means that for an excellent cost, you are getting a lot of quality. Especially because it will have undergone a Kershaw heat treatment.

The blade has been finished with a bead-blast. Kershaw explains this finish by saying, “The knife blade is "blasted" or sprayed with a mixture of fine media, including glass and aluminum oxide beads, under high speed and pressure. This smooths the blade surface and creates a soft, non-reflective, matte look. Depending on the media, this finish can produce a darker or a lighter blade color.” On the Zing, it does result in a pretty medium color. You can definitely find silvers that look a little bit crisper, but it is not a BlackWash by any means either.

The blade has a rounded spine, a fine tip, and a large belly. The large belly is going to make it a breeze to slice with. The fine tip is going to allow you to pierce with the Zing. In fact, it is going to excel at piercing through softer targets. Of course, since it is a finer tip, you will have to be careful when piecing harder targets. Because it is so fine, it may have the tendency to break.

The Handle:

The handle is made out of stainless steel, which has also been bead blasted. Stainless steel is a fantastic option for the handle, because it is hard, durable, and adds plenty of heft to the Zing. This is on the smaller side when it comes to folding knives, so adding in any extra heft is going to make the Zing even more reliable. Plus, stainless steel is incredibly corrosion and stain resistant, which will make this a lower maintenance handle and overall knife.

There are two drawbacks to stainless steel. The first is that scratches do show up on it rather easily. The second is that it does not provide you with the most secure grip that you are going to find.

On the butt of this handle, there is a small lanyard hole.

The Pocket Clip:

The pocket clip on the Zing is a 3-positon clip. This means that it can be attached for either left or right handed carry if you are choosing to carry the Zing tip up. However, if you would prefer to carry it tip-down, it can only be attached on the right-hand side.

The clip is kept in place by two silver screws, which match the entirety of the Zing. The clip has an almost leaf-like shape to it, expanding and curving outward toward the butt of it. There are also four holes that extend down the length of the butt of the clip. Each of the circles is reduced in size slightly.

The Mechanism:

The Kershaw Zing has been equipped with a flipper, a SpeedSafe Assisted Opening mechanism, as well as a frame lock.

The flipper is a small triangular protrusion that extends out of the spine of the handle when the knife is closed. The user will then pull back on this in order to flip the blade easily out of the handle. There are a couple of main benefits to the flipper mechanism. The first is that it allows you to open the knife with only one hand. The second is that it is the safer mechanism to use. For starters, when the knife is opened, the flipper is going to act as an additional finger guard. The second reason that it is the safer opening mechanism out of the popular options is that it does not put your fingers in the path of the blade when you are opening it. This is unlike the thumb stud, which does put your fingers in the path of the blade.

The SpeedSafe Assisted Opening is described as a “patented system that assists the user to smoothly open any SpeedSafe knife with a manual push on the blade's thumb stud or pull back on the flipper. SpeedSafe is built into many of Kershaw's best-selling knives.” Kershaw goes on to explain that “The heart of SpeedSafe is its torsion bar. Closed, the torsion bar helps prevent the knife from being opened by "gravity;" it creates a bias toward the closed position. To open the knife, the user applies manual pressure to the thumb stud or flipper to overcome the resistance of the torsion bar. This enables the torsion bar to move along a track in the handle and assist you to open the knife. The blade opens smoothly and locks into position, ready for use.” This means that the mechanism is going to be easy to use, while still not being a switchblade. This mechanism will allow you to more smoothly open the knife, allow you to bring the Zing into play more quickly, but still not have it fall under the strict set of laws that does accompany switchblades in the USA.

When describing whether or not the mechanism is safe to use, Kershaw says, “hen the user overcomes the resistance of the torsion bar, SpeedSafe assists in opening the knife. Once opened, a locking system secures the blade in position so that it does not close accidentally. When releasing the lock, the blade won't snap shut due to resistance provided by the torsion bar. Since the torsion bar provides a bias towards the closed position, it will normally hold the blade securely closed. New SpeedSafe users can ensure safe use of the technology by practicing to proficiency.” This means that you don’t have to worry when you are using the Zing—you are going to be safe. And nothing unexpected should happen.

The last mechanism that the Zing has been equipped with is the frame lock. Kershaw describes the frame lock by saying, “In a frame lock knife, the knife handle—its “frame”—consists of two plates of material on either side of the blade. To ensure a secure lock up, one or both of these plates is usually metal. When the knife is opened, the metal side of the frame, the lockbar, butts up against the backend of the blade (the tang) and prevents the blade from closing. To close a frame lock knife, the user pushes the frame to the side, unblocking the blade, and folds the blade back into the handle. Like locking liner knives, frame locks are manufactured so that the locking side of the frame is angled toward the interior of the knife, creating a bias toward the locked position. Both the blade tang and the lockbar are precisely angled so they fit together for a secure, reliable lockup. The thickness of the frame material blocking the blade open makes the frame lock extremely sturdy.” This means that you are going to be able to rely on the frame lock. You won’t have to worry about taking on some of those heavier duty tasks—the Zing will be able to handle them without betraying you.

The Specs:

The blade on this knife measures in at 3 inches long, with the handle and closed length measuring in at 3.9 inches long. This means that the overall length of the Zing is 6.9 inches long. This is a smaller knife, with the weight reflecting that, weighing in at only 3.3 ounces.


When Kershaw describes this knife, they say, “This is our latest and greatest Zing—the newest iteration of our popular “first generation” Zings designed by RJ Martin.

What’s different? First of all, this Zing is all stainless steel, from pointy tip to handle butt. Just smooth, sleek, bead-blasted steel all the way down. The blade is high-quality 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, heat treated to Kershaw specifications to bring out the very best in the steel—strength, hardness, and the ability to take and hold a wicked edge. The modified drop-point blade offers superior slicing and utility capabilities.

To give this Zing even more, well, zing, we added SpeedSafe assisted opening. Just pull back on the ambidextrous flipper and the blade moves out of the handle, quickly and easily. You can also access the Zing’s SpeedSafe feature with a simple push on the thumb stud. Either way, your Zing is ready to go quickly and easily.

As a frame lock knife, the Zing SS is slimmer than previous liner lock Zings and rides even more comfortably in your pocket. The handle is drilled so that you can position the pocket clip for either tip-up or tip-down. And, of course, there’s a handy lanyard hole. The Zing SS is a value priced, everyday carrying knife with a clean look and lots of style.”

Buy a Kershaw Assist Knife from BladeOps today here.