I recently ordered two Zero Tolerance folding knives to test out and add to my EDC rotation – the short-looking 0900 that was introduced as part of ZT’s 2015 lineup, and a 0562 that was introduced as part of ZT’s 2014 releases. Both of those knives are due to arrive later this week as part of a larger order from BladeHQ.
There are a couple of other new knives that Zero Tolerance has brought to market this year, including the 0450, which was designed as a throwback to the original limited edition Zero Tolerance 0454 knife. I hadn’t considered adding this one to my EDC collection and rotation, as it doesn’t look to fit my style or needs.
The 0450 isn’t a knife I was prepared to buy for personal use. But when I saw an email from Kershaw and ZT saying that they had a 0450 sample available for review, I jumped at the chance to check it out.
The Zero Tolerance 0450 is an absolutely fantastic EDC knife. It arrived the same day as about a dozen other pocket knives I ordered for upcoming testing. I opened the box, gave the knife a quick inspection, flipped the blade forward, closed it up, and let out an expletive or two.
I was immediately and utterly surprised with the 0450’s looks, feel, overall geometry, and flipper mechanism.
It was love at first flip! I then bumped the 0450 to the top of my testing queue.
The 0450 is elegant in a way I didn’t think Zero Tolerance was capable of. It has the same non-tactical styling that I found appealing in the Rexford-designed 0801 and 0770CF knives, but with extra gentleman-like touches.
Features & Specs
|Zero Tolerance 0450|
|Blade Style||Plain edge|
|Handle Material||Titanium, stonewashed|
|Pocket Clip||Left or Right
The WOW Factor
The first thing I noticed was the Zero Tolerance 0450’s red spacers. They’re a nice touch and add just as much color as is needed.
The Zero Tolerance 0450 also has polished hardware on both sides of the blade pivot. They fasteners are domed a little, too. This is another very nice touch, as it gives two-tone contrast to the titanium handle.
There’s also gentle, but effective jimping (finger-gripping grooves on the back of the knife blade).
The Zero Tolerance 0450’s knife blade is made from S35VN stainless steel, which is a specialty knife steel alloy that offers great toughness and edge retention. I haven’t tried to sharpen the blade yet – nor do I need to, as it arrived fairly sharp right out of the box as expected.
The drop point blade shape isn’t perfectly to my liking. The 0450 is a narrow knife, and along with that comes a somewhat narrow knife blade. I tend to prefer blade shapes with a bit more curve, such as on the Spyderco Techno I recently reviewed.
The Spyderco Southard flipper knife, which I reviewed about 2 years ago and still travel with, has a more desirably blade shape, but it’s also a bigger knife. It’s a little longer, but it’s wider, heavier, and it feels bulkier. When I carry my Southard, it is often in a bag and not clipped to my pocket.
I have only used the 0450 for a couple of days so far, but it’s handled every cutting task I threw at it with great ease.
There’s a slight swedge machined or ground into the spine of the knife. I can’t tell you what its functional contribution might be, but it adds to the aesthetics of the knife. The swedge is NOT sharpened, despite how it might look in the photos. The tip of the blade is also tapered, but only ever so slightly.
Some people like to open folding knives, even flippers, by grabbing the back of the knife blade. Good luck trying that on this one – the swedge ensures that you all but cannot.
I’ve used the 0450 so far to open packages, cut cardboard boxes, cut some paracord rope, shave off a huge splinter that was hanging off a 2×4 I brought home for a project, score plastic clamshell packaging for easy opening, and to cut up soft fruit (mainly a banana). It’s a great general purpose slicer, and I like the shape of the tip as it allows for precise cutting control.
Opening and Closing
I am almost afraid that phenomenal is not strong enough a word to describe the snappy and fluid-like smooth speed of the flipper mechanism. Zero Tolerance built the 0450 with a KVT ball-bearing opening system, which is responsible for the lightning-quick manual blade deployment.
This is one of those few knives where the blade just flies open upon command. It’s easy to close as well, one-handed if needed, but I often use two hands for greater safety.
With some manual flipper knives, I sometimes mis-flip and get a half-opened blade that doesn’t have enough momentum to lock up. That hasn’t happened with the 0450 yet, and I seriously doubt it will ever happen.
As with many other Zero Tolerance flipper folding knives, the right side of the titanium handle serves as a frame lock. Unlike most of the other ZT knives in my EDC rotation (excluding the 0801), this one has a steel insert attached to the inside of the frame lock. It’s attached using a small button head machine screw, which I suppose means it’s removable or replaceable if needed.
The frame doesn’t stick at all to the blade, as some other frame locks do, and should provide years of solid lockup.
If you hadn’t noticed already, ZT bestowed a sweet stonewashed finish upon the 0450. While the titanium handle won’t be anywhere as grippy as one with a G-10 scale, I don’t find it the least bit slippery. Maybe my stance will change when my hands are dripping with water or oil, but for now I think the grip is secure.
The 0450 comes with a deep-carry pocket clip, but not ultra-deep-carry. It works well, and can be reversed to the opposite side of the knife. Or you could leave it off and simply attach some paracord by means of the lanyard hole.
One of the other things that surprised me about this knife is how light it is: 2.9 ounces. I didn’t quite believe this, so I weighed mine. It came out to be 3.0 ounces (85 grams) – which is close enough. The Zero Tolerance 0450 is heavy enough to feel substantial, but light enough to where you can almost forget it’s in your pocket.
My phone weighs 5.8 oz, my keys 5.3 oz, and my wallet 4.3 oz. EDC folding knives and multi-tools (such as my recently reviewed Leatherman Skeletool) often share my right pants pocket with my wallet. My keys and phone go in my left pocket.
Size and Carrying
Online pictures don’t really do the 0450 due justice. It’s small, but not too small. Long, but not too long.
As with the short and wide Spyderco Techno, the 0450’s dimensions can give you a false impression of its size. Here it is, shown next to a Benchmade mini Griptilian, which I recently reviewed. It’s a little longer and a little heavier, but it’s also a lot more knife.
I thought that the Zero Tolerance 0770CF was compact, at least for a ZT knife. Well, the 0450 is smaller.
Compared next to the 0550 and 0770CF, the slenderness of the 0450 is even more apparent.
The 0450 is very comfortably small and easy to carry around. I hope that, after seeing how it compares to some of Zero Tolerance’s other offerings, you can see how I might be surprised by this knife.
How Much & Where to Buy?
The Zero Tolerance 0450 is made in the USA.
Street Price: $160
BladeHQ carries the 0450 for $160, and you can find it at other authorized dealers as well.
Conclusion & Recommendations
The Zero Tolerance 0450 is the kind of knife that I would ordinarily pass over, but I’m glad I had a chance to give it a try. It looks far better in person than I expected, and its long and slender geometries work a lot better for me than I thought they would. I tend to prefer short and stubby knives, which the 0450 certainly is not, which is why I was initially hesitant about the design. Those hesitations went straight out the window the first time I flipped the knife open.
Zero Tolerance got every aspect of this knife right. The blade flips open with a quick snap, it locks in securely, and it performs admirably. I’m not sure how well the blade shape will work for me long-term, but right now I’m liking how it can handle a mix of piercing and slicing tasks with ease.
I know that I shouldn’t be swayed too much by a knife’s looks, but the Zero Tolerance 0450 has instant gentleman’s knife appeal. It’s not quite as formal-looking as my small Moki Exo Red Fox, but it is longer, more capable, and faster to open.
So far, the 0450 is proving itself to be an excellent EDC folding knife. I’m still getting used to the blade shape, which I like, but not as much as some others.
If I had to complain about something, I’d say I wish the pocket clip allowed for even deeper carry. That’s not a big deal, as I will likely attach a pararcord pull for loose pocket carry, something I don’t often do with larger and wider EDC folders.
My experience with the 0450 has been short, and I plan to test it for a while longer. Not only for review purposes, but because I have quickly grown to appreciate its slender and very pocketable size. It’s the size and shape of a gentleman’s knife, and it looks like one too, but is built for hard use. Marvelous!
The Zero Tolerance 0450 isn’t at all what I expected, and boy do I like good surprises.
Thank you to Zero Tolerance for providing the test sample unconditionally.