If you’re involved in technology, engineering, or personal preparedness, this phrase should sound familiar: “two is one, and one is none.” This means that anything can fail, and relying on just one of something may leave you high and dry some day.
I’ve carried a pocket knife since my father gave me one at age nine. Gerber’s Exchange-A-Blade knife has been in my pocket since 2008, and that does some of my more gnarly tasks like cutting cardboard or things that would prematurely wear a “real” knife.
As my personal safety training expands, I’ve learned that sometimes situations dictate the use of a knife instead of a gun or other tool. The EAB doesn’t cut it for this type of task, and so I started carrying the excellent ZT0350 spring assisted knife from Zero Tolerance.
The issue with carry a knife for defensive use is that two is one, and one is none. There are many reasons you may need a backup: you lost your defensive knife in a struggle, or you are impaired and can’t reach it, or you may be pinned or grappling with someone and can’t use that hand to get to your knife. Just like in almost everything else, having a backup is important. I keep my ZT0350 on one side — the question was what goes on the other side?
Easy answer: buy another ZT0350. At about $130 delivered from Amazon Prime, that was a spendy solution. I wanted the following attributes from my second defensive knife:
- 2.5″ – 3.5″ blade
- Spring assisted opening
- Backup thumb stud, thumb hole, or other way to open the knife
- The ability to mount the clip on either side, and with tip-up or tip-down carry
Unfortunately finding a knife with spring assisted opening and four-position mounting proved to be a challenge. I guess it saves pennies, but I really with more manufacturers would build their knives this way. I carried the Kershaw Compound for several months, but it was limited to right side only carry. Otherwise it was a very good blade.
Kershaw doesn’t make too many four-position knives, but one they do make is the Knockout. At a quick glance, it shared a lot of similarities with the ZT0350 and I was eager to try it out. At about $60 from Amazon Prime it seemed like a serviceable companion to the ZT0350.
Here’s my video review:
In short, despite the key difference with the grip material, I think the Knockout is a good alternative to the ZT0350. For the average person with rudimentary defensive knife skills, the biggest differences between the ZT0350 and the Knockout are minimal and may never come into play. I do with the Knockout had G10 scales or a better grip, but otherwise I think it’s a great buy.
As always, if you own defensive tools, please get defensive training and practice with what you own.