Before Zero Tolerance (ZT) knives came out, I was touring the Kershaw Knives factory, and I was sworn to secrecy, about the new ZT line of knives that they were coming out with. Needless to say, it was hard to keep it all secret, but I did. Many months later, the ZT line of knives became a reality. I had several samples of the first ZT knives given to me during the tour, and several more were sent to me, for testing some time after my tour. I was really impressed with the products I saw and tested – and I still am!
All Zero Tolerance knives, are made in the good ol’ USA – right here in my home state of Oregon. And I say, it’s really tough to top most things that are made in the USA. Maybe I’m biased – but I don’t think so. Yeah, a lot of knives are made overseas, and some of them have great quality. And by being manufactured overseas, the consumer saves a lot of hard-earned money, too. Still, I prefer made-in-USA products.
The ZT lineup was designed for hard use, and that means military and law enforcement – however, the sales of ZT products are not restricted to military and law enforcement. The public can purchase these knives, as well. Over the years, I can attest that almost all of the ZT line is what I’d call “over-built” and that’s not a bad thing at all, their products are meant for super hard use, especially when it comes to military use – where knives are used every day, for regular chores, or in harsh combat conditions. You’ve got to have a knife that you know won’t fail you, no matter what you put it through.
A close look at the 0357BW folder is in order. I really like this knife– from the tip of the blade to the butt of the handle. The blade is made out of premium steel – one of the latest “super steels”: CPM 20CV. This steel is tough – really tough, and it takes a great edge, unlike some lesser stainless steel blades. And it really, really holds an edge a good long time, and it doesn’t take an expert to re-sharpen the blade’s edge, either. The blade is blackwashed to help hide scratches, and to give it a stealth look as well. The handle scales are black G10 and that is super tough material. At one time, because of costs, only custom knife makers made use of this material for handle scales.
We have a blade length of 3.25-inches – a little bit shorter than I’d like, but it will get the job done in short order. The blade has a hardness of between 60 and 62 on the Rockwell scale and that is “hard” but as I already pointed out, it is fairly easy to re-sharpen. The folder only weighs in at 4.3-ounces – and that is light enough that you won’t notice it in your pants pocket after a long day of carry.
The 0357BW has the Speed Safe opening system. That means it only takes a little “push” or pressure on the flipper, to get the blade started, and then the Speed Safe takes over and the blade comes out and locks in place – solidly! We also have a reversible pocket clip, for tip-up carry in your pocket, and it is a deep carry clip, so that your knife doesn’t stick halfway out of your pocket, drawing attention to yourself.
Believe it or not, it is really a chore to do the testing needed to write a full-length article on knives – any kind of knives. This means that I do some extra testing, to make sure the knife sample is all it should be. No different with this ZT folder. I don’t attempt to destroy any products that I review – the factories already do all they can to make sure their products will stand up to whatever you throw at them. I’ve only had one knife company challenge me to “destroy” one of their knives, and I did everything I could, short of blowing it up, and it stayed together no matter what I tried.
I’m sure a lot of readers already know one of my testing protocols and that is seeing how easily a knife will slice through thick, tough blackberry vines – this is a test I never get tired of doing, especially with shorter bladed folding knives – it takes an extremely sharp blade to just take one swipe at these vines, to cleanly cut them in half…even a lot of lesser long-bladed fixed knives fail this test. So, without any shortage of blackberry vines, I tested this folder several times over, and with each single swipe of the blade, it cleanly cut through the thickest vines I tested it on. Plus, the vines are all either dead or dormant this time of year, making them all that much tougher to slice through.
I shaved a lot of pieces of paper, and this is no easy task, if a knife’s blade isn’t super sharp – the 0357BW easily allowed me to shave all the paper I wanted – never once slipping off the edge of the paper. When I first opened the box this folder came in, I checked the knife over, and was satisfied with the workmanship. I then proceed to “pull” to knife’s blade against the hair on the back of my head – a dull knife will simply slide right off. A sharp knife blade will pull on the hair and if you pull too hard, it will cut the hair – not doing that, my wife cuts my hair – has been doing it for 35 years now. I then shaved some of the hair off my arm – another great test of sharpness – no problem and I always have some bare spots on my arms, where I’ve tested knives on them.
I cut through some yellow poly rope, and this is some of the hardest material to cut – many knife blades will simply slide right off, or you’ll have to apply a lot and I mean a lot of pressure on the rope, and odds are, you’ll end up “sawing” the knife blade through this slick material. The ZT had no problems cutting through this rope. I easily “stabbed” the blade into stacked cardboard, and the blade went up to the handle without any problems.
An Unusual Throwing Test
I don’t normally throw folding knives as part of my tests, but I thought I’d try my hand at it, just to see how well the liner-lock worked – keeping the blade locked open. I knife did get the knife to stick in a tree, but the point of the test was to see if the blade stayed locked up – it did!
I use a folding knife, a lot of the time around the kitchen, for cutting up “whatever” for our meals, and my wife likes testing knives this way as well. Steaks were no problem – not that we eat steak very often on our budget. Of course, then there is the almost daily delivery of packages from UPS, FedEx, and USPS. With these, many times the stuff that I get is heavy, and packed in really thick cardboard boxes – tough stuff to cut into. The ZT had no problems – and a sharp knife is much easier to use than a dull knife is, only problem, you have to limit how much effort you apply into opening boxes – if you go too far, you can cut into whatever is in the boxes – I’ve done that more than a few times.
As I’m writing this, Zero Tolerance has this folder on sale for $160. The only problem is, they are out-of-stock, and regular price is about $195 – and well worth it – if you end up paying full-retail. As always, you should check around on the Internet, for this folder. Odds are good you might find it for less, and in some places, they are selling even more than the listed retail prices.
This folder may seem a bit spendy to many readers, and I know how hard it is to spend a lot of money for a knife – any knife. However, having tested a lot of ZT folders over the years, I’d say this one is priced about in the middle when it comes to costs. If you’re in the market for a new Every Day Carry (EDC) folder, then check this one out – it will be worth saving your money to get one…it’s a great tactical-style folder, and it won’t cry too much if you get it dirty, or scratches on the blade through use. And, because of its moderate size, it won’t scream “killer knife” when you pull it out of your pocket – it is a stealth folder, and a tactical folder all in one if you ask me.
As is my usual procedure, I showed this folder to the guys at my lock gun shop, and they all liked it – except one said it was “too big” – don’t think so myself…it is big enough to get through all your daily chores – so check one out – soon!