Zero Tolerance 0055, by Pat Cascio

Zero Tolerance knives is a division of Kershaw Knives, and they produce some of the most hard-core fixed and folding blades to be found. Today we’re looking at the ZT Model 0055.

Kershaw Plant in Oregon

I still remember the very first time I toured the Kershaw plant, here in Oregon, many years ago. If I recall correctly, they had a mere 18 people on the floor assembling knives. All of that has changed over the years. They have a huge operation these days. They moved into another building and have already expanded their operation further. The operation is very big, to say the least. I easily lost count of the number of employees Kershaw has just assembling knives. Then add in the shipping department, front office, design crew, and many others. They must surely have several hundred skilled employees working there these days.

During my last tour, I was shown around by Thomas Welk. After the guided tour, I was given free reign to roam any place I wanted to and talk to anyone. Nice!

Kershaw/ZT Knives Kept In Stock

One thing that really caught my attention is that Kershaw/ZT Knives attempts to have just about every knife and tool model in-stock, if at all possible. There is a fleet of UPS trucks there, loading up on numerous boxes of products to deliver to dealers all over the country. Not many companies of any kind stock their products like Kershaw/ZT Knives does. Many have this silly “just-in-time” process, and many times they are out of the products you want. You have to wait for the next batch to be assembled. That’s frustrating, to say the least!

Kershaw/ZT Knives Assembly Line of Quality

The assembly line at Kershaw/ZT Knives is a sight to behold. Each person working the line has a particular job, when it comes to assembling and fitting knives. If there is something that isn’t quite right when a partially-assembled knife comes into the hands of the next person, they either send it back to the person who gave it to them or it is set aside to be examined later on. Either the defect is corrected or the knife does not get shipped out, period!

Make no mistake, Kershaw/ZT Knives fits their knives. They aren’t simply thrown together with no thought about how nice the parts fit together!

Kershaw’s Knife Sharpening Crew

Then we have the crew whose only job is to sharpen each knife, and it is amazing to watch these folks at work. It takes about a minute to sharpen each knife on a grinding/buffing wheel. Each knife is checked to make sure it is hair-popping sharp. They use newsprint for this purpose. If a knife won’t slice newsprint, it is worked on all over again. I wish I had the skill to easily sharpen knives like these folks can do.

ZT Model 0055– Unlike Anything Ever Seen Before

Today, we’re looking at the ZT Model 0055, which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. First of all, the shape of the blade will catch your attention, as will the 3D machined Titanium handle scales that are very attractive. This model was designed by custom knife maker Gus T. Cecchini. It started out as his Airborne model, and he went hog wild from there.

Hidden Flipper Tab To Open Knife

One design aspect that puzzled me is the method in which the knife is opened. Yes, it is opened with a flipper, but the flipper is hidden. UPS arrived at my digs, just as the wife and I were ready to head out to run some errands, and she grabbed the box from the driver and opened it along the way to our destination. Now, my wife isn’t really into knives, or so she says, but she has more than a few. She could not figure out how to open the 0055. Huh? How could that be? So, I pulled off the road, took control of the situation, and showed her how easy it was to open the blade. Duh! I only looked stupid. I couldn’t figure it out either. This puzzle had to wait until we returned home.

The 0055 features Gus’ hidden flipper tab. While the knife is closed, the flipper is concealed. When you’re ready to open it, pull back on the SLT, and a spring flips the tab up into position. Then, just pull back on the tab and the 0055 opens like any other ZT folder does. What’s nice with this design feature is that the flipper will not poke you when the knife is clipped inside your pocket. Plus the 0055 has the ZT KVT ball-bearing system, which allows the blade to almost glide open without any friction. Yes, it’s that smooth of an opening system.

Made in USA with Titanium, Reversible Clip and Frame Lock

Like ALL ZT Knives, the 0055 is made in the USA. The Titanium frame lock has a hardened steel lockbar insert, so there are no worries about this frame lock “springing” out of alignment. It simply isn’t going to happen. The reversible pocket/clothing clip is also made out of Titanium, for right or left pocket carry, tip-up. There are no worries about the clip getting bent out of shape if it catches on something. I’ve been there and done that with many lesser pocket clips.

Blade Specs For A Different Shaped Blade

The 3.75-inch blade is manufactured out of one of the super stainless steels called S35VN, and it holds an edge a good long time, and I mean a long, long time. It isn’t all that hard to re-sharpen, either. What’s not to like here? As already mentioned, the handle scales are also made out of Titanium that is bead-blasted for a nice subdued look. Blade thickness is hefty at 0.158 inches. the closed length is five inches and overall opened length is 8.75 inches.

The knife weighs a mere five ounces. As you will note from the pics taken by my oldest daughter, who does many of the pics for my articles, as I taught her photography, the blade shape on the ZT0055 is quite a bit different. However, if you turn the knife upside down, it appears to be a modified Tanto blade shape. Really! It is a bit different is several aspects, and it took my brain a little while to comprehend the blade shape, but I like it, a lot!

Hard Lessons

It’s a good thing that I’m not a gambling man; I learned my lesson when I was 17-years old at a family Thanksgiving poker game, where I not only lost all the money in my pocket but the money from my next paycheck. It was a hard-learned lesson but a lesson well-learned. I simply don’t gamble, unless you consider purchasing Powerball tickets a few times a year gambling. When the game gets over 150 million dollars, the wife and I will “gamble” $2.00 on a ticket. In any event, I could have won some easy money with the ZT0055 by betting people that they could open the blade. None could, until I showed them the “secret” to it. Then they were amazed, and moved on themselves to the next person, and “betting” them that they couldn’t open the blade.

Sleep Design

I like the sleek design of the ZT005 and the way it slides in and out of my cargo pants pocket, and it just flat out feels outstanding in my hand, too. The CNC machined lines in the handle scales also afford you a great hold on the knife, while at the same time not getting in the way of drawing the knife from your pocket. Nice!

Shaving Sharp

The folder came shaving-sharp out of the box and would easily shave the hair off my forearm too. Living out in the country, I always have need of a good, sharp knife for some purpose. More often than not, it is cutting open UPS or FedEx packages or some straps on boxes of ammo. Then there is the always constant blackberry vines, and this is a great test. A simple swipe with the ZT0055 on the thickest blackberry vines, and they were severed in two. And you have to know just how tough these vines are to appreciate how hard they are to cut in half.

The usual cooking/kitchen chores were no match for the 0055 around the kitchen. I also spent some time slicing cardboard, and this is always a tough test on a knife blade. Cardboard will quickly dull most knives but not so with the 0055. Over the course of using the knife for a month, it was still fairly sharp, but I wanted to test to see how easy it was to re-sharpen the blade. A set of crox sticks put that hair-popping edge right back on the sample.

Designed For Hard Use By Professionals and Preppers

Like all ZT knives, folders or fixed blades, they are designed for hard use by professionals, like law enforcement and the military, and savvy preppers, too. As I’ve said many times in my articles, you can buy junk, but the only thing is, you will buy that same junk over and over again. When you buy quality, you only have to spend your hard-earned money once. And, ZT knives come with a lifetime warranty against defects and workmanship. Full retail is $275, and this folder is worth every penny, if you ask me. Check one out!


  1. I’m on my third Kershaw knife and I’ve never been disapointed in their products. The only thing that turned me off a bit while purchasing my third knife was that I had to look at quite a few of their models (at Walmart) to find a knife that wasn’t made in China. I guess their Chi/com knifes are OK but I would much rather support America and American workers.

  2. I have s Kershaw Amphibian from 1984. Really love it but the US Army would not allow it in the barracks at Fort Lewis because it is double edged and has a serrated area on one side. Beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Artistic and functional utility all at once. Bravo

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