Product Review: KA-BAR 5704 ZK (Zombie Killer) Chop Stick Machete

**Note** This is a GUEST POST from Bill Anderson. Bill is an avid survivalist and has worked in the commercial natural disaster and hurricane preparation industry providing first response for natural disasters including hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.

As an outdoor enthusiast, I own several different styles of machetes that I use for different purposes. My pack always includes a Woodman’s Pal, Latin and Bolo machete. I am constantly on the lookout for new styles or an “improved version” of the machete. I am a huge fan of the Walking Dead series and I was excited when Creek asked me to try out the new Zombie Killer line of KA-BAR machetes and write a review.

KA-BAR provides the following description for their line of ZK machetes:

In an ever-changing world, the need for preparedness has never been greater. Without notice the game can change and the rules no longer apply.

Questioning your gear at a crucial moment is not an option. Whether setting up a camp or securing your perimeter, ZK knives are designed to perform under the most rigorous, unexpected and apocalyptic situations.

This is my review of the KA-BAR 5704 ZK (Zombie Killer) Chop Stick Machete:

I am not going to go into details about how nice the packaging is (and it is). I do not care about the box. I choose a machete for its functionality and features.

Specifications:

  • Blade Length: 9”
  • Overall Length: 14-5/8”
  • Weight: 1.25 lbs
  • Thickness: 0.205”
  • Steel: SK5
  • Made in Taiwan

 Features:

  • Angled blade: Ideal for cutting limbs and clearing brush
  • Full tang: Durable
  • Pry bar tip: Useful for opening doors, sewer drains, etc.
  • Pry bar hook: Located at base of handle
  • Neck Knife: Additional blade included with Chopstick
  • Interchangeable Glass Filled Nylon Grip: Reduces fatigue and slippage
  • Nylon Sheath: MOLLE compatible with a micro sheath for neck knife and large stuff sack with Velcro pad
  • Lime green shoe lace: Ideal for lashing

 When unpacking the Chopstick the first thing that I noticed was the ZK Apocalypse symbol on the blade.

Unfortunately just beneath it at the base of the blade it reads “Made in Taiwan”. I was a little disappointed by this.  I prefer to purchase American.

There are a few features packed into the Chopstick. The “Zombie” green handle can be changed out to a black grip that is included. The sheath is MOLLE compatible and very well built.  (More details on the sheath to follow)

 

Functionality:

Having unpacked the Chopstick, I was anxious to put it through some field tests so I set out into the woods.  The machete has a nice weight to it, but it is not evenly balanced.  The bulk of the weight lies along the cutting area of the blade, so when it is out stretched in your hand, your wrist has a tendency to turn downwards.  It was immediately apparent that the machete does not come with a sharp edge.  I set to work trying to chop through random saplings only to find that I was expending entirely too much energy.

 

I had checked the sharpness of the blade before setting off into the woods and decided it would be in my best interest to pack a sharpener. Prior to sharpening the blade I wanted to compare the difference to the machete straight out of the box and after sharpening it so I took a 2” caliper branch and made over 20 chops to the branch. After sharpening the ZK Chopstick I made 12 chops just a few inches to the left.

 

 

The rounded handle and beveled grip should allow the user to make repetitive chops while reducing fatigue and hand cramps. In my experience, my hand was feeling the shock after the initial attempts to cleave through the branches with a dull blade.  I think this was made worse by the uneven weight of the blade.

A unique feature of the ZK Chopstick is the tip of the blade.

 

 

The blade itself makes for an excellent pry bar. In an urban survival scenario the pry bar could be utilized to pry open a variety of things from doors, man-hole covers, etc. In addition to the pry bar tip there is also a hook at the base of the handle.

 

 

I am assuming the hook could also be used as a smaller pry bar, but due to the width of the hook as well as its size I do not believe there are many practical uses for it.  It also has a rounded edge and I do not believe it was designed to be utilized as a gut ripper. However, I did find it useful to support my pinky finger at the base of the hook when gripping the handle. This allowed me more flexibility when gripping the machete and enabled me to grip the handle further back from the blade.

 

The ZK Chopstick also comes with a neck knife.

 

 

KA-BAR’s idea to include a neck knife with their line of ZK machetes is great. Unlike the machete itself, it actually has a nice edge to the blade right out of the box. I love this concept as it gives the user the ability to cleave through brush and branches with the Chopstick while having a smaller blade for intricate details or bush craft. As said, the concept is great, but the reality….not so much. The neck knife is made in China and in my opinion is not worth the time they took to stamp it. It appears to be made from a very low grade steel and I found it very uncomfortable to grip in my hand barely being able to get three fingers around it.  In my opinion, the handle needs to be longer.  I considered wrapping the handle portion in paracord but if I did that then it would not fit in the micro sheath. That being said, nobody is purchasing the ZK machete line for the neck knife, so if you own one or are considering purchasing one I would recommend changing out the neck knife for a sturdier better built neck knife.

Sad, but true:  My favorite thing about the ZK line of machetes is the sheath.

 

 

As previously mentioned, the sheath is MOLLE compatible though it does not include straps. It would be necessary to purchase a set of Blackhawk or Condor straps to attach to other MOLLE webbing. It has a large belt loop allowing the user to attach it to any size belt. There are two lashing holes at the top and bottom of the sheath. The sheath has a Velcro pad on the front of the large stuff sack allowing you to add your favorite “Zombie Hunter” patch or any other patch that you like. In addition to the adjustable Velcro straps and snaps for the machete there is and additional micro sheath with snap for the neck knife. The front stuff sack is huge. I am 6’2” and can fit my entire hand in it. It would be ideal for storing a sharpening stone and a mini survival kit while still leaving room to spare. Once again the ZK logo is displayed (back of sheath)

 

After using the KA-BAR ZK Chopstick in the field I have decided that I will not be including it in my gear.  I really had high hopes for this machete because I am both a KA-BAR and Zombie fanatic.  I had wanted to make a home for the machete in my zombie apocalypse kit alongside my DEET free Zombie repellant and Hornady .40 cal Zombie Max rounds.  There is no doubt that the machete looks tough and after sharpening the Chopstick, it was very proficient at chopping and splitting wood. However, there are several other machetes on the market including the Bear Grylls Parang (See previous review by Creek) that do a better job and are more comfortable to use.  The retail price on the KA-BAR website is $79.41.  Hummmm.  It is manufactured in Taiwan, the weight distribution of the blade is off, and the neck knife is more of a novelty than a functional knife.  In short, my favorite thing about the machete was the sheath.  There are much better options in this price range.

 

All that being said, , if you are a collector or a zombie apocalypse fan, then the ZK Chopstick (along with the other machetes in the KA-BAR ZK line) is a cool novelty blade to display.  I have no doubt that if the zombie apocalypse was to ever come, it would be a very good tool for splitting a few zombie skulls.  But for everyday use in the woods, I believe there are more practical machetes on the market.

 

**Note** This is a GUEST POST from Bill Anderson. Bill is an avid survivalist and has worked in the commercial natural disaster and hurricane preparation industry providing first response for natural disasters including hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike.

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About Willow Haven Outdoor & Creek Stewart
Creek Stewart is the Owner and Lead Instructor at Willow Haven Outdoor - a leading Survival and Preparedness Training Facility located on 21-acres in Central Indiana.  For more information on Survival Courses and Clinics offered at WHO, click HERE.  Creek is also author of Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit and The Unofficial Hunger Games Wilderness Survival Guide.  Visit Creek's personal web-site here: WWW.CREEKSTEWART.COM. You can contact Creek directly at creek@willowhavenoutdoor.com.
 
 

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