Review: Zero Tolerance Model 0801 Folding Titanium Tactical
Pat Cascio 07.07.16
“Proudly Over Built In The USA” is the motto stamped on the box of each Zero Tolerance knife, and I believe they live up to that claim. For those who aren’t aware, ZT knives are manufactured by Kershaw Knives in the same plant where many Kershaw products are produced. But ZT knives are not your everyday lightweight “using” knives. Nope, they are designed for rugged use by anyone who wants a blade that is overbuilt in all respects. This is a good thing because you don’t want a knife that will fail you when you need it most.
Under review today is the ZT Model 0801, another in the stout lineup of folders, and this one is a bit different than others I’ve tested and reviewed. The 0801 comes with a 3.5-inch blade of ELMAX super-strong stainless steel with a stone wash finish. I like the finish because it makes the blade look like a well-used and long-time friend when you open it up.
The 0801 has a frame lock, and the blade opens via a “flipper” on the back of the blade. This means there are no thumb studs on the blade, and I’ve grown to really like this. A simple and slight push on the flipper and the KVT ball-bearing system opens the blade, which locks open via the frame lock. The 0801 is 4.7 inches closed and 8.2 inches when opened. Weight is 5.8 ounces. Perfect.
The handle material on the 0801 is noteworthy in that it is entirely made of titanium. Many folders might have a Titanium liner or frame lock and some might have one handle made of thin titanium, but ZT went the extra mile and made the entire handle of titanium. Considering the high price of titanium, I don’t know how ZT was able to keep the retail price down to only $240.00 on this folder.
The handle scales have nice horizontal grooves for a secure purchase on the knife in all conditions, and there’s a lanyard hole in the butt of the handle. There is also an ambi pocket clip on the 0801 for easy carry in a left or right front pocket, and the clip allows for good deep pocket carry. None of the knife sticks out of the pocket except for the clip.
The 0801 has an open design so crud doesn’t build up between the scales, but don’t worry about flexibility. When I squeeze on the handle scales I see zero movement. Both blade and scales have a soft gray non-reflective finish.
When the blade is opened, the “flipper” is there on the bottom of the blade to prevent your hand from slipping forward onto the blade. Nice!
The KVT ball bearing system that the blade “floats” on is really something. A lot of knife writers mention how “butter-smooth” a blade opens on a folder, but in my humble opinion, I’ve yet to see any folder open more smoothly than those using a ball bearing system. Blades open almost effortlessly.
Don’t worry about accidental opening, though. Once closed, this blade stays closed. I actually tried to “flick” the blade open without using the flipper. No go! I had to apply pressure to the flipper to get the blade to open.
Like all ZT knifes, the 0801 came hair-poppin’ sharp right out of the box. So many knives today come with a blade that won’t cut at all, nor will they even take or hold an edge.
My 0801 was tested around the kitchen and used at the dinner table for cutting meat. I also tested the knife on cardboard, which will dull a knife’s blade faster than just about anything else. The knife feels great in the hand–as Goldilocks said, “it’s just right.” In more than two months of testing and cutting, the blade has yet to get dull enough to need sharpening. However, I took the blade to a set of crock sticks just to touch up the edge. After about a minute, the blade was as sharp as it came from the factory.
One last thing about the ZT 0801 is that, although it is designed as a tactical “work horse” knife to be abused under the harshest conditions, it doesn’t scream “tactical” when you pull it out. If I had to describe it, I would call it a gentleman’s tactical folder. It’s sharp looking, smooth, and will get the job done for you.
So if you’re in the market for a tough tactical folder that doesn’t look like a tactical folder, I think you’ll be impressed with the ZT 0801, which is currently retailing for $250.