ZT KAI Brands Debut 2021 Releases

KAI’s dynamic duo, Kershaw and Zero Tolerance, have revealed their 2021 lineups. In terms of the new releases’ tenor, it’s business as usual – which means a slew of varied designs from Kershaw, and a much smaller, premium-directed offering from ZT.

ZT Looks Forward and Backward with Pair of New Blades

The 0762 comes to us from the in-house design team, and bears the hallmarks of that lineage. The ZT crew’s penchant for unusual blade shapes is in full display with a 3.4-inch modified wharncliffe blade – or is it a modified drop point? Either way it’s heavily modified, with a notably raised tip and quite a bit of belly. For the blade steel we’re getting CPM 20CV; the handle is prettied-up with full front-and back carbon fiber, skeletonized and laid over a steel fretwork frame. The pocket clip is made from titanium, as is the Sub-Frame Lock mechanism.

Also from the in-house team is the 0990, a knife that looks back on the classic, collectible ZT 0999. That was an uber-premium limited release, so the 0990 makes things comparatively more utilitarian while retaining the original’s techy bio-mechanoid look. The CPM 20CV blade measures 3.25 inches long and the skeletonized blade and handle combo give the 0990 a very carry-friendly weight of 2.9 oz.

Kershaw Fleet Arrives


Usually you can tell a Jens Ansø knife when you see it, but the Kapsule is a bit of a departure for the veteran designer. It’s a manual OTF knife with a button lock and a tiny 1.9-inch spear blade.


Nothing in the 2021 Kershaw lineup could be considered “high-end,” but the Endgame aims to catch the eye on a relative budget. Its handle is a mix of steel and GFN, some of which has been given a bronze anodization. The Endgame’s 3.25-inch blade is made from D2 and opens manually.


The Drivetrain is an assisted opener with D2 blade steel. It also packs in two emergency-oriented secondary features, in the form of a glass breaker and a seatbelt cutter.

Highball XL

The name says it all: the Highball XL is a larger variation of last year’s Highball – but at 3.3 inches in blade length, this is still an eminently EDCable blade.


On one level, the Bracket is simply a scaled-up version of the Static, now sporting a 3.4 inch cleaver blade. But evidently the other, multiple altered elements make it more than an “XL” of an extant design. The Bracket has 8Cr13MoV blade steel and SpeedSafe deployment.


The Platform follows in the footsteps of minimalist multifunctional knives like the Victorinox Cadet. The main feature is a 2.75-inch slipjoint blade; but in lieu of a pocket clip it packs in a folding pair of nail clippers.


The Strata knives are the latest blades to find inspiration in the Spanish navaja. Two sizes are available: the standard model’s blade is already large at 4.5 inches long, while the XL scales things all the way up to 5.4 inches.


One of three fixed blades en route for 2021, the Brace is a tiny, 2-inch-bladed neck knife. With an 8Cr13MoV blade, it’s the only new fixed blade made from steel, but more on that below.


The Arise fixed blade is part of what Kershaw is calling Project ATOM, a series of knives made not from steel but glass-reinforced plastic. A self-defense item, the Arise’s edge isn’t live; only the pointed tip offers any piercing capability.


The Inverse is the other Project ATOM knife. It takes its visual inspiration from the kunai, and once again the only part that’s “sharpened” is the tip itself.


Obviously designed for hard work, the Cannonball is a beefy stainless steel frame lock with D2 blade steel. Its 3.5 inch blade length puts it right in the wheelhouse for an all-around daily tasker.


The Analyst hearkens back to the work-ready knives Kershaw was known for five or 10 years ago. Its SpeedSafe tanto comes only in a combo edge and is made from 8Cr13MoV.


The hyper budget-focused Starter series is getting a new model, the Tremolo. This one has a 3.125-inch recurved blade that opens with a SpeedSafe flipper tab.