Thursday, February 8, 2018

Review: ZU Grunt

ZU Bladeworx Australia

I'm a sucker for a well made blade, and it's always hard to turn down an opportunity to add to my collection. I've been a fan of the ZU Blaadeworx knives or a long time and was already a proud owner of their Mekanix which lives in my IPad bag and goes most places with me as part of my EDC loadout. A friend loaned me his FFSK to review and it was sweet piece too. I've been lucky enough to follow along in the ZU Nation facebook group which is where other ZU owners congregate. This is where newreleases are announced and the pre-orders are advertised.

As the ZU Bladeworx business case revolves around small batches of blades being made and selling-out almost before production beginning, the best way to lay hands on a new one is to monitor the upcoming releases. So, when I saw the Grunt coming up, I thought I'd splurge a little and put my deposit down for a pre-release. A few weeks later and some production shots later, the "round 2" payment came due, and I started getting excited.

Once I had it in my hot little hands I was immediately impressed with its heft. At 220g (7 3/4 oz) it fits nicely into the niche the MSM-KA-BAR MSM-001 makes, size wise, whilst being a little less aggressively built. Sometimes you can have too much knife. The Grunt's skeletonised handle reduces the overall weight but maintains a lively balance and also allows for a variety of cord-wrapping options. The finger grips were not unlike those in the Mekanik, which were nicely finished so as not to tear up the naked hand.
The lines of the knife are very simple, almost plain, but that lives up to the Grunt name of the blade. Another similarity to the Mekanik is the grove running down the flat face of the blade on either side. This reduces the weight and would ad stiffness, on a longer blade, something the Grunt is in no danger of needing. its 6.5mm blade thickness is not playing around. This isn't a scalpel, its a pig-sticker. Like all ZU Bladeworx blades, it ships with wicked keen edge. Milled from high grade tool steel Cryodur 2379
 [D2] and then black nitride treated, after hardening to a Rockwell of 58-59HRC. these are hard-wearing blades.
I'm not one to abuse my knives, and save from an occasional battoning I see a a knife like this as a cutting, slicing and chopping tool. If you need a pry-bar, or a hammer, get one! That said, once I mounted the Grunt to my hiking and adventure "battle-belt" with its supplied updated Blade Tech Tek Lok spring-loaded locking belt fitting. I've used the older Tek Lok and this was a marked improvement, nicely paired with the knife and its kydex sheath.  It was so comfortable I went out shopping a couple of times with it on my belt not even realising. I managed not to land in any legal trouble, but thankfully no one at the hardware store cared I was sporting a hefty fixed-blade on my hip. That is actually a good point. for all its mass, he Grunt is not a large knife. It's a sensible size for sensible jobs. I take it camping and frequently do some camp-craft with it. not only food-prep but whittling and kindling making, I've also used it for crafting pot hooks and fire-tending sticks.

The blade features jimping on the spine and a notch forwards of the guard to allow the user to choke up the grip for fine work.

Here's a little bit about ZU Bladeworx, because  I think they're a really  interesting company with some important and relative contacts: They are an Australian owned an based manufacturer of Close Quarters Combat equipment and are a trusted manufacturer to the Australian Army. They have an ADF issued Roman Vendor Number.
They work closely with Australian CQC experts including Paul Cale and Ray Floro, both who are internationally renowned hand to hand combat experts. Paul and Ray are both CQC subject matter experts to our own Aussie Army and foreign allied armies.
Their products are either made in Western Sydney, NSW or North Brisbane, Queensland. All our products are legal under NSW and Queensland state weapons laws for civilian ownership. "Legitimate reason for carriage" is an important phrase. 
Most of their knives are limited edition and include the following;

There is an active collector community with a brisk buy/sell/trade philosophy in case you particularly want to get in on the action.

These are a solid, no frills, hardy blade, good for hard use as well as delicate and fine tasks. Deliberately engineered and superbly finished, these striking blades are both a collectors delight and a prepper's mainstay.





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