Zero Tolerance 0920, by Pat Cascio


If you want a custom-quality, harsh-use knife, then the ZT0920 that is under review today, should catch your attention. It is made by Zero Tolerance.

Zero Tolerance Knives

Zero Tolerance (ZT) knives is a division of Kershaw Knives, and they’re made right here in Oregon in the same plant where many Kershaw products are manufactured. Every ZT knife is only made in America. They claim their knives are over-built, and I’m sure not going to argue with ZT about this. We are talking about custom-quality knives that are every bit as well-made as any custom knives I’ve seen. I used to collect custom-made/hand-made knives, so I have something to compare the ZT line to.

Military and Law Enforcement

Those in the military and in law enforcement, who are looking for a knife that will never let them down, look to ZT knives to serve their needs. We are talking about hard-use knives that you can’t afford to have fail you; this pretty much sums up Zero Tolerance knives. However, savvy civilian knife users are also many of the customers that ZT serves.

Not Paid To Say Nice Things

Look, no one pays me to say nice things about their products, no one! And, our editor takes my articles at face value. He doesn’t reject them because I might be too critical of a product, and I certainly appreciate this. In the past, I’ve had a few companies threaten to sue me if I wrote an article that they considered overly critical of their products. Still, I don’t back off. One company said they had a product that was a better stopper than a 12 GA shotgun. When I was publishing a rag called Police Hot Sheet, I had one of my writers test this product. Needless to say, it didn’t live up to the claims of the maker. Threats were made if I published the piece. I did and didn’t get sued.

No Time To Review Junk Products

Personally, I have no time to review junk products, and I know this upsets some people. I just won’t waste my time or SurvivalBlog’s time reviewing junk. It would be a disservice to our readers. So you will only find some of the best of the best products under review. Once in a while, I’ll start testing a product, and it fails early on. I stop testing and return the product. I just don’t have the time to test junk for our readers, period!

Decent Folding Knife Overseas, But Some Want Best We Can Afford

When it comes to cutlery, you can find a decent, really decent, folding knife made overseas (save the hate mail) for $30. For many users, that’s all the knife they’ll ever need. However, there are some of us who really want the best knife we can afford. This is where ZT knives comes in. I was touring the Kershaw Knives plant some years ago, and during a meeting I was sworn to secrecy and shown some of the very first ZT knives they were going to produce. I was blown away with the quality of the pre-production samples. Believe me, it was hard, real hard, waiting for samples of those knives to reach my hands for articles.

Not Rich But Save For Superior Knife or Firearm

Like most folks, I’m not rich; I’m far from it, very far from it. However, when I’m in the market for a superior knife or firearm, I’ll save my money so I can get it. I don’t want to waste my hard-earned money on anything less than what I really believe I need and want.

Zero Tolerance’s ZT0920 Knife Design

The ZT0920 is based on custom knife maker Les George’s “Harpy”, and it a functional and clean design. It doesn’t have anything it doesn’t need.


The 3.9-inch blade is made out of CPM20 CV, which is a powdered super stainless steel. I had my doubts about powdered steel knives when they first came out, but they are top-notch in all respects. I’ve never had a blade fail me. The blade on the ZT0920 “has a scooped spine, top swedge, and a slight recurve to cutting versatility,” according to the ZT website. There is no thumb stud for opening the ZT0920, instead it has a “flipper” on the rear of the blade, with ZTs KVT ball-bearing opening system, and it is fast, and super, super smooth. It doesn’t take a lot of pressure on the flipper to open the blade, and it locks solid in the Titanium frame-lock that has a hardened steel lockbar insert, which is nice!

Handle and Clip

The handle material is made out of Titanium, which is strong stuff and very expensive to produce. There are CNC’d vertical serrations on one side of the handle scales for a sure grip, and it just adds to the overall eye-candy appeal on this folder. ZT found a clever way of keeping this big folder’s weight down, for easier carry. The inside of the handles are machined with weight-relieving pockets, and ZT also adds a little color with a bronze anodized aluminum spacer and bronze-anodized Titanium pocket clip. When closed the knife is 5.1 inches long; when opened, it is 9 inches long. It weighs 5.4 oz. The blade itself is stone washed for a nice subdued finish that is very tactical looking. The pocket clip is reversible for tip-up carry, and a nice lanyard hole completes the overall look on this folder.


I carried the ZT0920 in my right front pocket for close to a month, and it was used daily for all manner of cutting chores, many involved opening cardboard boxes from FedEx/UPS. The folder was also used around my small homestead for daily cutting chores, one of which is the never-ending blackberry vines that grow thick and are hard to slice through with one swipe of a knife. Yet, the 0920 was up to the challenge, though. It had no problems at all slicing through those blackberry vines.

I also “stabbed” the 0920 into stacked cardboard. The blade went right up the handle, and this is also a good test of a locking folder’s mechanism. The strong lock on this knife never gave a hint of failing me.

The Knife is Man’s Oldest Tool

Of course, the knife is man’s oldest tool, and in reality, if you think about it, it is more of a tool than a weapon. However, any good knife can be used to fend off an attacker or two. The curved blade on this folder will easily slash/cut through flesh with ease. Even if a person is wearing heavy winter clothing, this knife will do a number on them. I tend to think of a knife, as mentioned, as a tool first and as a weapon second, so I look at any knife with these two things in mind.

Having lived in a big city for many years, I was unfortunate to be involved in a knife fight or two. That’s not something you really want to look forward to. The good news is that most perps usually have knives that won’t cut through warm butter. So, this can be to your advantage if your only weapon is a knife.

Never Had to Touch Up Blade on ZT0920

The CPM powdered stainless steel held an edge during my testing, and I never needed to touch-up the blade at all. Many types of stainless steel are overly hardened and can become brittle. Then the edge will chip, and they are very hard to re-sharpen, too. I have no doubts the ZT0920 will be easy to re-sharpen. I say this, because I never had a chance to try and re-sharpen the blade. The knife got lost. How it fell out of my pocket is still a mystery to me. The pocket clip is very stout. Maybe I just didn’t have the knife down far enough in my pocket. I guess I’ll never know. It’s almost a crime to lose such an outstanding folder. Then again I’ve had knives turn up when mowing my lawn. So it may be around my digs.

Retail Price and Supply

The ZT0920 retails for $300, which is a lot of money. However, if a custom knife maker made this one for you, it would easily cost twice or three times that amount of money and maybe even more. ZT knives are always in short supply, so if you see one and like it, it’s best you buy it “now” and not later because it’ll be gone.


  1. Nice review, I have the same problem losing knlves and tools into the brush or grass, i use a long handle magnet sometimes get lucky and find it before the mower blade gets it. Maybe is time to invest in a metal detector.
    Keep up the good work.

    PS: Survivalblog has a large following from the Cuban community in Florida, we love the outdoors and many are preppers, our sad history thaught us to improvise in order to survive and the hurricanes reinforce those skills to prep.

    1. It’s nice to hear where our fellow preppers are from! And how interesting to know that the Cuban community is so into prepping! I am just old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis, and clearly remember insisting to my parents that we really, really needed to build a bomb shelter in our back yard. So I guess you could say I’ve been prepping since I was a child. I even drew floor plans. Of course we never built it, couldn’t afford it back then. But history is our great friend, if we will learn from it.

  2. I also lose knives. I have a Kershaw folder that I have named Lazarus. I have lost this knife multiple times. One time it was lost for several months. And then one day I was driving down my gravel driveway and I saw something in the gravel that did not look right. I got out of my truck and low and behold, there it was. It had been run over and buried in the gravel. It was scratched but not broken. I lost it again and looked everywhere. Then one day I was doing some work using my tractor. I looked down on the foot rest platform and there it was.

    Great article. I am now saving up for a ZT. Hopefully it will be a lucky knife also.

  3. Thank you Pat. I’ve always believed you “get what you pay for” and I much appreciate your reviews. I will never hesitate to pay for a product that I feel is built to last a lifetime, in the end it’s a wise investment. Thanks for your honest opinions and I value your advice. This knife may be in my future!

  4. Thanks for reviewing an American made knife. Nice review – sorry to hear you lost this beautiful knife. I have a similar ZT folder and love this knife. Saved for awhile, as they are a little expensive, but no regrets- great knife. I do put it inside my pocket rather than use the clip, feels a little more secure.

  5. Great review Pat.
    I own a ZT. I also own Gerbers, Criswell, Al Mars, and a host of others.
    I’m a bit biased. I work at William Henry Knives. For serious duty use, I use my C-15 barracuda. It skinned 3 deer and one elk last year. Before it needed sharpening.
    If you would like to review one, I’ll send you my personally owned knife.
    Let me know.

  6. I would also like to see you review TominOregon’s offer. William Henry knives look really good in photos, I have never seen one in person and they are way out of my price range, but any knife that can skin three deer and an elk before needing resharpening needs to be looked at. I have gutted, skinned and helped skin a lot of deer, elk, antelope, caribou, sheep etc and skinning can be really tough on a knife blade. The best I’ve seen so far was a Benchmade but before I always carried two knives and a sharpener when elk hunting.

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