Zero Tolerance ZT 0452CF, by Pat Cascio

“Proudly Overbuilt In The USA!” That’s what is written on every Zero Tolerance product box that leaves their factory.

A longtime friend, and fellow gun writer, once told me that, you have to catch the reader’s attention in your first couple of sentences or first paragraph of an article, or the readers won’t read any further. I certainly hope I caught your attention. I know a lot of our readers are like me, they love Zero Tolerance (ZT) knives, for several reasons, one is that they are built in the USA, right here in my home state of Oregon. Secondly, when you unbox a ZT knife, and inspect it, you will find no flaws in the manufacture and design of the knife —ZT truly means “zero tolerance” and they won’t put up with anything but perfection in all their products. I’ve had a lot of ZT knives go through my hands and have yet to find any flaws or imperfections in any of their products.

I won’t bore our readers with this, because I’ve mentioned it before, but I still do some knife designing, and had many of those knives built by custom knife makers. And, the ZT line is the equal to the best knives that many custom knife makers turn out! Today, many custom knife makers make use of modern equipment, like CNC machines to mill out their knife blades, and even the handle scales. For a time, we called those knives “mid-tech”. That meant: not quite hand made, but not fully machine made, either. I’ve toured the Kershaw Knives factory — where ZT knives are made — a division of KAI Corporation, and have watched knives being produced from the knife blanks, to the CNC machines, to the assembly and final fit, plus the sharpening of the blades, its quite the process to watch.

Zero Tolerance knives are always in great demand. Quite often, I have to wait for a newly-released folder to get into my hands, because they get sold out just that fast. I don’t mind waiting in the least, either. It is always a welcome sight when I know UPS is bringing me something from ZT. And, I’m never disappointed, when I unbox a new design. Many readers ask me to review higher-end knives, and I do my best to accompany those requests, but there are only so many knives that fall into this category. I  do review a lot of regular production knives from Kershaw, and they produce some outstanding knives, that are more than affordable, and will get the job done, no doubt about it.

Zero Tolerance ZT 0452CF KnifeA little history is in order: The original ZT 0454 was an award-winning collaboration between ZT and custom knife maker, Dimitry Sinkevich, but it was only a very limited edition run that sold out fast. Still, fans of ZT knives wanted one, so then came the the 0452CF version. The 0452CF is the same size as the original 0454 but with the substitution of carbon fiber handle scales on the handle, and the blade is made out of S35VN hi-tech stainless steel. The blade has a dual finish. This hi-tech stainless steel sharpens easily and holds an edge a good long time and no worries about the edge chipping — like a lot lesser stainless steel blades do. I like that ZT used their now-famous KVT ball bearing opening system. This is super slick, to say the least — using the flipper extension on the blade — a simple press on the flipper and the blade opens with no effort. A titanium frame lock keeps the blade locked open rock solid, and it also has a lockbar hardened stainless steel insert to ensure a sold lock-up.

The blade is 4.1-inches in length on this folder. And as already mentioned, it is made entirely in the USA.

Zero Tolerance ZT 0452CF KnifeThere is a reversible pocket clip for right or left pocket carry, with the tip of the blade in the up position. The dual tone finish on the blade is stonewashed and satin —very eye catching, to say the least classy! The 0452CF only weighs in at 4.3-oz, so it is a light-weight, easy to pack in your pocket and in short order, you’ll forget you have it clipped in your pocket. There is also a lanyard hole in the butt end of the handle,. That is a nice touch. In my humble opinion, the 0452CF is a first-class gent’s folder, as well as a well-made tactical folder — all in one.

Zero Tolerance ZT 0452CF KnifeAs is my usual routine, I show various knife samples around to the guys at my local gun shop, and any customers who are in there as well. They all appreciate a well-made knife — every last one of them. Plus, I show the knives to friends, and I value their opinions. Most said “wow’ when they saw this folder and opened it — all commented how “class’ it was as well — without any prompting from me. First impressions say a lot, if a knife doesn’t catch your attention, you aren’t going to want one. Then, we have the guys who just have to test the edge most shave hair off their forearms, others reach for a piece of paper, to see how well it will slice it — no problems there — all ZT knives come shaving sharp right out of the box.

I do my usual boring testing — cutting all kinds of material, including blackberry vines — tough stuff to slice through in a single swipe. Cardboard boxes, rope, plastic —just about anything and everything that can be cut — gets cut — including work around the kitchen and even at the dining room table. The ZT never failed me. I carried this folder daily for three weeks, and at the end of my testing, the blade was only slightly dulled —a few minutes on the Croc Sticks had it back to the factory edge. I like a knife that holds an edge and is easy to re-sharpen without any special skills.

Zero Tolerance ZT 0452CF KnifeWe all have to remember that quality never comes cheap. You can buy some cheap knives, but in the end, you will replace them, several times over. When you purchase a quality knife, if will be with you for a lifetime of service. The ZT 0452CF catalogs at $300 full-retail, but you can find them for a little less. For example, presently Zero Tolerance has them specially priced on at $242, with the bonuses of both a nylon belt pouch and a Sharpi brand compact diamond sharpener. If you can’t find one discounted, they are still worth every red cent of the retail asking price. And, you will have a folder that is classy — a Gent’s Folder – as well as one that is tactical all in one.

You won’t be disappointed in the least with this ZT folder. Father’s Day is coming up, so drop some hints to the kids and spouse. Wwho knows, they might just buy one for you. And they would make a great birthday present or Christmas gift.