The Zero Tolerance 0450CF resides in the exclusive and stratospheric world of high-end readily available pocket knives. If you want to quickly and easily place an order for the best possible pocket knife for your outdoor adventures, your options are limited to this and just a few others. You can dig deeper, shop longer, engage in a dialog with knife boutiques, and do slightly better. But you can't do much better than this on the mass market. The ZT is well made of excellent materials. Our only "complaints" are in design matters. We wish the handle were a little bulkier for heavy tasks, and we wish it had assisted opening with thumb-stud activation. Our high-end award winners incorporate these important design cues, and the result is that we can't grant an award to the ZT.Editor's Note: We updated this review for Zero Tolerance 0450 Sinkevich Carbon Fiber on August 25, 2022, with a very candid take on value and suggestions for other products that may better suit your needs and budget.
Zero Tolerance 0450 Sinkevich Carbon Fiber Review
Cons: Super expensive, small handle profile
Manufacturer: Zero Tolerance
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Zero Tolerance 0450 Sinkevich Carbon Fiber
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|Pros||Top-of-the-line materials, tight construction, great blade||Incredible blade quality, assisted open, perfect combination of compactness/functionality||Light, simple, well-made, full size blade, full-function||Beautifully constructed, assisted open, good value||Small, portable, well-constructed|
|Cons||Super expensive, small handle profile||Pricey, blade lock mechanism not intuitive||Expensive, low profile handle, flexy plastic construction||Slender handle makes it hard to apply even pressure, thin blade is fragile||Not made for heavy-duty use|
|Bottom Line||A high-end pocket knife that is readily available at proven retailers; we only wish the handle were a little bulkier for heavy usage||Immaculately constructed knife in a form-factor that is easy to carry and large enough for virtually every task||For a full-function, full-size pocket knife, this is as light as it gets, and is the premier option for all sorts of human-powered adventures||A slender, svelte pocket knife with great materials and a reasonable value||A tiny, multi-function pocket knife|
|Rating Categories||Zero Tolerance 0450...||Benchmade Mini-Barr...||Benchmade 535 Bugout||Kershaw Leek||Victorinox Classic...|
|Blade and Edge Integrity (30%)|
|Construction Quality (20%)|
|Other Features (10%)|
|Specs||Zero Tolerance 0450...||Benchmade Mini-Barr...||Benchmade 535 Bugout||Kershaw Leek||Victorinox Classic...|
|Weight||2.4 oz||3.4 oz||1.9 oz||3.1 oz||0.8 oz|
|Blade Length||3.2 in||2.8 in||3.0 in||2.9 in||1.4 in|
|Blade Material||S35vn stainless steel||154CM stainless steel||S30V stainless steel||Sandvik 14C28N stainless steel||Proprietary Stainless (between 440A and 420)|
|Handle Material||Carbon fiber||Plastic||Grivory||410 stainless steel||Plastic|
|Blade Style||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight||Drop point, straight|
|Blade locks closed?||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Opening Style||Back of knife finger tab||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud||Ambidextrous thumb stud||Assisted, ambidextrous thumb stud; back-of-knife finger tab||Fingernail|
|Lock Mechanism||Frame lock||Proprietary (Axis)||Proprietary (Axis)||Frame lock||None|
|Carry Style||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Pocket clip and lanyard hole||Keyring|
|Closed Length||4.1 in||4.0 in||4.2 in||4.0 in||2.3 in|
|Overall Length||7.4 in||6.9 in||7.4 in||7.0 in||3.8 in|
|Thickness (w/o pocket clip)||0.4 in||0.6 in||0.4 in||0.3 in||0.4 in|
|Other Features or Functions||None||Lanyard hole, modular clip||None||None||Scissors, nail file, small screwdriver, tweezers, toothpick, key ring|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The absolute best (and most expensive) pocket knives are made by small boutique outfits and are available in extremely small production runs. We don't review them here, as our findings might be different with the next production run, or you might not be able to purchase a new knife like that anywhere. When you eliminate pocket knives that are not readily available at retail, the ZT 0450CF and just a couple of others (that often win awards with us, incidentally) top the market. The 0450CF is made with premium materials, close attention to detail, and sells for a price that reflects all this. We like the 0450CF a lot. At this price point, though, we like others a little more. This ZT doesn't win any of our awards, but that doesn't mean it isn't just as good as virtually any pocket knife we've ever tested.
Blade and Edge Integrity
S35VN stainless steel is the best steel we know of for mass-produced, widely-available knives. Zero Tolerance shapes it into a nearly-perfect configuration. We can't think of how we'd improve this blade. Our cutting experience has been flawless. It holds an edge better than most of the other knives we tested. The blade and edge geometry that ZT uses is carefully tuned and balanced for precise cutting and longevity. Every millimeter of the edge is usable. No thumb stud, hinge hardware, or blade "tang" protrusions interfere with using the edge. This is an easily overlooked blade attribute that affects your use.
The Zero Tolerance 0450CF is a full-length pocket knife with a relatively narrow (in both dimensions) handle. Its pocket clip can be configured for either right or left pocket carry (tip-up only). It locks open with a frame lock. The 0450CF opens with two hands or one. ZT designed a "finger flip" style deployment to open it with one hand.
The handle isn't as bulky as we'd like for optimum ergonomics. The carry options are nice. The frame lock works every time. Finger flip opening isn't for everyone. If you like it, you like it. However, most of our test team prefers thumb-stud opening. Some knives open with a finger flip or thumb stud. ZT committed to the finger flip mode.
The ZT 0450CF knife is about average in bulk and mass compared to other options in this review. The pocket clip is fairly standard; some of the knife's handle will show above the edge of your pocket. The semi-sharp exterior angles of the knife and handle will exert some wear on the inside and edge of your pants pockets, but not a lot.
You expect a knife at this price point to have the best materials and for those materials to be assembled immaculately. You get that, for sure, with the ZT 0450CF. The carbon fiber scale, for instance, saves just grams and adds significant cost. This is a no-compromise tool. The frame lock has a reinforced, presumably replaceable working surface. The pocket clip is so tight that it pulled threads from the fabric of our pants pocket, which brings us peace of mind that this expensive tool won't slide out unintentionally. This is a well-made product.
There are no other features on the ZT 0450CF.
Should You Buy the Zero Tolerance 0450CF?
Generally, it seems that connoisseurs of high-end pocket knives like to source them from boutique, one-off manufacturers. Those consumers have little need for our reviews. If you want the best but don't want to bother working with the manufacturer, your options are more limited. In those limited options, the Zero Tolerance 0450CF is a top contender. You don't choose a knife like this for its value. You choose a knife like this for optimum performance, durability, craft, and "flash." The carbon fiber alone is a showy choice. It lends little to no performance advantage but lends great appeal nonetheless.
What Other Pocket Knives Should You Consider?
While the ZT 0450CF is on the borderline of the highest-end knives we tested, it is easy to find mid-priced knives to review. For the money, we firmly believe that the Benchmade Mini-Barrage 585 is one of the best knives on the market. But if you're looking for quality at a slightly lower price point, the Kershaw Leek is a solid balance of performance and value.
— Jediah Porter
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