Wednesday, 21 September 2016

ZAK Tool Emergency Window Punch Review

Key Info
- Heat-treated steel tip (not carbide).
- Pull-and-release spring action.
- Integrated handcuff key (on the ZT57 model) to fit most handcuffs (ASP, Hiatt).
- Pocket clip.
- Made in the USA.

The ZAK Tool Emergency Window Punch comes in three different styles. The model reviewed is the ZT57, which has an integrated handcuff key at the top and seems to be more readily available in the UK at the time of writing.

Firstly, the handcuff key - it is designed to fit ASP and Hiatt handcuffs, which are the two most common brands in use today. It does not feature a double-locking pin, so cannot be used for this purpose, however, this does not affect its ability to unlock the handcuffs, as the double-locking feature only serves to prevent the handcuffs being inadvertently overtightened, not to prevent them being unlocked. The handcuff key is obviously of greatest use to policemen who would like a spare key, or a key that is harder to lose than the tiny standard issue key, however it could also potentially be of use in an emergency situation such as a kidnapping, especially in combination with the window punch, so it's handy to have on there even if you never use it.

Now on to the main feature of this tool, the window punch. It is not a carbide-tipped punch like some others on the market (the Leatherman Z-Rex for example), so it may potentially dull with use and need to be resharpened, though I suspect it would take many uses before this was required. In addition, it is not able to be used one-handed like the ResQMe or an automatic centre punch, so may not be the best choice for personal automotive safety (though much better than nothing at all), however, where this punch really excels is for use in vehicular extraction or for use in home emergencies. The punch is designed to break toughened glass with ease (despite the lack of carbide tip) and the pull-and-release design means that the punch does not have to be pressed hard against the glass or manually struck against it, allowing for very controlled glass removal without injuring yourself or the person you are trying to help!

The tool also has a pocket clip. This is handy and I use it to keep it clipped to my tool bag, however it does seem to be fairly thin so some care may need to be taken to avoid bending it. It is easily removable however, so could be bent back or discarded if damaged.


Operating this tool is easy. The tip is placed against the glass, and the other end is pulled back a little (don't go crazy or you may stretch the spring) and released. This acts like a hammer, striking the tip end of tool and driving it into the glass. The tool is designed primarily for shattering tempered (toughened) glass (automotive side windows, some home windows etc), which is notoriously difficult to break, however, theoretically it should be able to break plain glass too (at least thinner sheets of it), though it may be more dangerous and won't necessarily shatter the whole pane in one go.

It is worth noting that I have not yet had the opportunity to test this tool out myself, however, several videos are available online demonstrating it's effectiveness should you want to see the tool in action.

This tool is made in the USA and is of good quality. The aforementioned points about the lack of a carbide tip and the relatively thin pocket clip are perhaps weaker areas, however, overall it is a well made item. The machining appears to be precise and the finish is good. One potential area of concern was the method of attachment of the spring to the two ends of the "handle". I felt that the spring could perhaps come off one day, rendering the tool useless, however, I was pleased to note that the points at which the spring is coiled around the "handle" are tapered, so the spring should never come detached. Another thing that should be noted is that this tool is constructed entirely from steel and so is likely to be prone to rust (though I personally haven't had a problem), so it's probably best kept dry.

The ZAK Tool Emergency Window Punch is a quality item for shattering toughened glass. In my opinion it is safer to use than some other tools avaialble, making it particularly useful to have as tool for helping others escape their vehicle from the outside. If you're after a tool for personal safety then perhaps the ResQMe or Z-Rex might be better options, however, if you're looking for a safe and effective method to break tempered glass, then in my opinion this is the one to go for. (Available at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment....