Zero Tolerance knives Model 0560BW is the latest in the line up, at their plant in Wilsonville, OR from the mind of custom knife maker Rick Hinderer. I’ve reviewed several other Hinderer designed folders, all along the same line as this current folder under review for SurvivalBlog readers. Rick Hinderer is probably best known for the “Hinderer Lockbar Stabilizer” that is incorporated into the Titanium frame-lock style on his folding knives, which others are starting to copy (with or without license from Hinderer). What we have with the lockbar stabilizer is a simple two-piece special bolt/screw (for lack of a better term) that only allows the locking side of the frame lock to open to a certain point and no further. I’ve seen many frame-lock style locks that weren’t properly heat-treated or the bend wasn’t quite right, so the end user could over-extend the frame lock and ruin it. This is especially true with many of the cheap knock-offs from China. With the Hinderer lockbar stabilizer, you can NOT over-extend the locking bar on a folding knife.
One of the first things you will notice on the 0560BW is that the blade looks, for all the world, as being very well used. It is NOT! Zero Tolerance has blackened the blade, with Tungsten DLC Black Wash, and then given it a special “wash” or tumble, so the blade looks used. It’s still very tactical looking, but it looks well used. This is the first comment many people said to me when I showed them the 0560BW. The Titanium locking frame has the same treatment, too. The knife still has a non-reflective look to it, but it just looks used. On the opposite side handle, we have a stainless steel liner with a checkered black G10 handle scale covering it. There is also an oblong-shaped lanyard hole, but no lanyard is included. The entire frame is an open-post design and allows lint and dirt to slip through instead of building-up inside the frame.
For those who aren’t aware, Zero Tolerance Knives is a division of Kershaw Knives, and the ZT line-up is made-up of tactical knives and other tools for professional use. The ZT folders are a huge favorite of our men and women in the military, as well as those in law enforcement. ZT knives are built to withstand the harshest use you can put them through and come back for more. If you want a simple “Gentleman’s” folder, this isn’t the knife for you. Take a look at the Kershaw line-up for that type of folder. ZT knives are meant for very rough use, plain and simple.
The 3.75-inch long blade on the 0560BW is made out of ELMAX, one of the new powdered stainless steels, and it is super-tough, to be sure. ELMAX retains a sharp edge a good long time and is tough enough for all your needs. I believe that this line of folders is sincerely designed and manufactured for self-defense use, as well as limited survival use. Keep in mind that this is a folding knife and not a fixed blade knife, so it can’t take all the abuse that a fixed blade can. If you need a fixed blade folder, then check out some of ZT line-up for your needs.
The blade has ambidextrous thumb studs for easy opening. However, for even faster and easier opening, I prefer to use the “Flipper” on the blade. When the knife is closed, part of the blade protrudes from the blade. It’s actually on the top of the handle scales, when the knife blade is closed. You simply press on the Flipper with your index finger, and the blades comes right out of the handle scales. This is aided by the KVT ball-bearing opening system– a very smooth opening. Yet the blade is retained in the handle scales until you purposely open it. The blade’s opening is smooth as butter, maybe smoother, I kid you not.
On the Titanium frame-lock, there are “pockets” machined into it to actually lighten the entire knife, for easier carry. For carrying in your pocket, there is a pocket clip, and it is a quad-mounted design. You can carry the 0560BW tip up or tip down in your right of left pocket. It only takes a few minutes to move the clip to your desired position. My sample came set-up for right pocket carry, with the tip up. I saw no need to change it.
When closed, the length of the knife is 5-inches; opened, it is 8.8-inches. It weighs in at 5.8-ounces– not too heavy and not too light. The knife balances extremely well and is slightly handle-heavy. There are also friction grooves on the top front of the handle. These are deeply cut grooves as well as grooves cut into the bottom back of the handle and on the locking liner– all placed exactly where they need to be. The knife can easily be used in the fencing grip or the reverse (ice pick) grip, for self-defense use. The ice pick grip has a lot of limitations for use in self-defense, whereas, the fencing grip is probably the most used grip and one taught to me by my late mentor, Col. Rex Applegate, who is known throughout the world for his knife and gun fighting skills.
I also like the fact that when the 0560BW is opened, the “Flipper” then acts a lower guard, so your fingers can’t slip up onto the blade in the fencing position. Many folding knives do not have any sort of “stop” on them, and if you encounter something a bit tough, when “stabbing,” your fingers could easily slide forward onto the blade and cut you deeply, very deeply.
I have one minor complaint, which is a first for Zero Tolerance. While the ELMAX powdered stainless steel blade was plenty sharp, it wasn’t “scary sharp”, like ever other knife I’ve tested from ZT. There was nothing “wrong” with the edge, but I wanted it a little sharper. Every ZT knife I’ve tested before came scary sharp. It only took about 30 seconds on the croc stix to get the edge where I wanted it to be though. Perhaps I’m just getting too picky in my old age, but I like all my knives scary sharp.
The 0560BW was used all over my homestead for several days– in the kitchen and outside for various cutting chores. The blade remained sharp…very sharp. Still, I wanted to touch-up the edge, and it only took me a minute or two to bring the edge back to scary sharp. I claim no special skills when it comes to sharpening knives, either. So, it was nice to get the edge back where I wanted it to be.
Now, if the 0560BW isn’t quite what you’re looking for, then take a close look at the other Hinderer folders on the ZT website, and I’m betting you’ll find one to suit your needs. This is just one in a line-up of similar Hinderer folders from ZT.
The Hinderer ZT 0560BW doesn’t come cheap. Then again, QUALITY knives never do. I refuse to settle for second best when it comes to knives. The 0560BW retails for $325.00. Yep, that’s a lot of change. However, to get a similar, custom made folder from Rick Hinderer, you will easily pay twice that much. I know some SurvivalBlog readers complain about some of the knives I write about with regard to the prices. Well, if you want to buy a ten dollar knife for your survival, whether for the wilderness or on the streets, then please do so. However, if you want the best you can get for your survival needs, then take a close look at the ZT 0560BW. Is it worth the money? It sure is, in my book. Plus, you have the lifetime warranty from Zero Tolerance, too. They stand behind their products. When a knife is returned for warranty work, it is quickly repaired or replaced and shipped right back to you, too. I’ve toured the Kershaw plant several times over the years, and I’m here to tell you, that all their employees take great pride in producing the best knives they can, period, end of story!!!