Zero Tolerance is a sub brand of Kai USA Ltd. For over 100 years, Kai has been the leading producer of premier blades in Japan. Kai also is a major manufacturer and distributor of disposable razors, surgical tools, personal care products, and housewares in japan. Kai is committed to innovation and always produces high quality tools.
Zero Tolerance saw a gap in the market for Made-in-the-USA knives in 2006. These knives would need to be hard use knives that would meet the needs of professionals in the military and law enforcements, as well as other first responders, such as firefighters and emergency medical personnel. The first products that Zero Tolerance produced were combat knives, but over the best decade, they have expanded their product line to carry other general use and premium knives and tools. Zero Tolerance carries anything form larger and heavier outdoor knives to slimmer and lighter everyday carrying knives. Each of these tools are built to meet Zero Tolerance’s high standards.
Zero Tolerance knives have been known to be “proudly overbuilt”. This means that they use the highest quality of materials to produce their knives. Some of these materials include S30V steel, CTS 204P steel, titanium, and G10, among other things. The manufacturing for these tools are smooth and the Zero Tolerance fit and finish is second to none. When you are carrying a Zero Tolerance knife, you know that you can rely on your knife. This is a tool that will last a lifetime with you. And if you treat your knife well, the knife will treat you well back. Zero Tolerance has recently released a brand new knife called the 0850.
The blade on this knife is made out of CPM 20CV steel. This steel is considered an ultra-premium steel or a super steel. Crucible is the producer behind this steel and they made it to compete with Bohler’s M390 steel which is also similar to Carpenter’s CTS 204P steel. CPM 20CV steel is a Powder Metallurgy tool steel, which means that you get a combination of fantastic wear resistance and great edge retention. Because the steel has such high levels of chromium in it, you also get extremely high levels of corrosion resistance. This steel requires very little maintenance to maintain its high quality. However, because this is a harder steel, it does tend to be a very hard steel to sharpen.
The CPM 20CV steel has been finished with a stonewash finish and a satin finish. The stonewash finish is created by tumbling the steel around with an abrasive material, which is normally small pebbles. This creates a very textured look, which is usually regarded as rugged. After the steel has been tumbled around with the pebbles, it is smoothed over and then polished. Because of the textured look, this steel easily hides scratches and fingerprints, which accumulate over time. And, the finish helps to preserve the look of the blade overtime. Then, the steel undergoes a machined satin finish. The satin finish is when the blade gets sanded in one direction with increasing degrees of a fine abrasive. The satin finish shows of the lines of the knife, while working to reduce the reflections and glares of the steel. The blade has been finished with a two toned look. The satin finish is used for the majority of the blade, while the stonewash portion is the raised section on the blade.
The steel is carved into a sheepsfoot blade shape. The shape of the sheepsfoot blade is created by having a straight edged front blade and a dull back spine that curves down to meet the straight edge. The two edges meet at the tip and form what is called a “false point”. Because of the false point, you can cut and slice without having to worry about controlling the point or accidently stabbing something. This shape of blade is very popular with emergency responders because they are able to cut through seatbelts without worrying about injuring the victim. Another very popular use for this shape of knife is with sailors, because they can cut the rigging without piercing through the sails. The last very popular reason for a sheepsfoot blade is for the Japanese Santoku kitchen knife that uses this blade for slicing through food with the point getting in the way. One of the great advantages to having a sheepsfoot blade is that you can hold the dull edge with your fingers to give you more control over your cuts. Because the shape of blade has such a straight edge, the cuts that this knife can produce are extremely clean. The only drawback to the sheepsfoot blade is that there is no point whatsoever on it. This means that you have no stabbing capabilities. However, this drawback is also one of its biggest benefits.
The handle is made out of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a pretty generic term for a material that has thin strands of carbon that have been tightly woven and then set in a resin. The full name for the material that you are getting when you buy a carbon fiber knife handle is a carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer. This material is one of the strongest materials that you can buy while also being extremely lightweight. Even though it is extremely strong, it does happen to be brittle. This is because the carbon fibers are all going in one direction. So while they are extremely strong in that direction, when the material has been stressed in any of the other directions, it tends to be extremely brittle. In the direction that the carbon fibers have been woven, the material is actually stronger than steel. Because of its brittleness, if the material is subjected to an impact on a hard or sharp object, it is prone to cracking or breaking. Because the manufacturer can weave the carbon fiber in a variety of different ways, you can get some pretty unique looks to the handle material. These different patterns can be very aesthetically pleasing. On the 0850, there is a light diagonal checkering pattern. The carbon fiber used on this knife is a deep blue. However, because of the weaving process, this material is a very labor intensive process, so it is on the more expensive end of the spectrum. Carbon fiber knife handles are normally only found on the higher end knives.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip is made out of titanium. This is a great material because it does feel springy, while it is still hard and durable. The pocket clip is straight, without any bends. The clip is kept in place by two small black screws that contrast with the clip. This is a single position pocket clip. The handle has only been drilled to carry the clip right handedly and only tip up.
This is a manual opening knife that utilizes a thumb stud. The thumb stud allows you to open this knife with ease. The stud sits on the side of the blade nears where the blade pivots on the handle. On the 0850, it is silver to match with the blade, instead of the common contrast that is found on thumb studs. This thumb stud is made out of aluminum, which is a great choice because it is extremely durable and strong, while also being very lightweight. This gives you the durability that you want in a thumb stud, without adding a large chunk of weight to the knife. This thumb stud has been anodized with a clear anodization. Because of the thumb stud, you can easily open this knife with only one hand. However, you to have to put your fingers and hand very close to the blade. Because of this, it is quite easy to slip and slice your thumb while opening this knife.
This knife features a round turned aluminum back spacer. Using aluminum for this piece of the knife is a great option because of how lightweight the material is. It gives you a sturdy back spacer while not weighing the knife down.
The 0850 also features a Sub-Frame Lock, with a hardened steel lock bar insert.
The blade on this knife is 3.75 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.156 inches. When this knife is open, the overall length is 8.7 inches long, and it sports a closed length of 4.95 inches long. This knife weighs in at 4.3 ounces.
The Pros of the 0850:
- The steel used on the blade is considered a super steel.
- This steel gives you phenomenal edge retention and great resistance to corrosion.
- This is a low maintenance steel.
- This steel also offers you a great level of wear resistance.
- The stonewash finish hides scratches and fingerprints with ease, cutting down on maintenance time.
- The stonewash finish preserves the look of this blade overtime.
- The satin finish shows of the lines of the steel.
- The satin finish helps to cut down on glares and reflections.
- The two toned blade gives this knife a very unique look to it.
- The sheepsfoot blade has a false point, so you won’t be able to pierce through anything with it.
- Because the sharpened edge is so straight and sharp, when cutting or slicing with this blade, you get extremely clean cuts.
- You are able to hold the dull edge with your fingers to give you more control over the knife and your cuts.
- Carbon fiber is a very strong material.
- Carbon fiber is also very lightweight.
- The thumb stud opening mechanism allows you to open your blade quickly and efficiently.
- The thumb stud also allows you to open this knife with only one hand.
- Features a round turned aluminum back spacer.
- Features a Sub-Frame Lock with a hardened steel lock bar insert.
- Zero Tolerance knives have been known to be “proudly overbuilt”, so you know that you will be able to rely on this knife when you need it the most.
The Cons of the 0850:
- Because the steel is so hard, it does tend to be tricky to sharpen.
- Because the sheepsfoot blade shape has a false point, you will have almost no stabbing capabilities.
- Carbon fiber is actually a very brittle material, so you have to avoid bumping your handle on a hard or sharp object.
- The pocket clip can only be put on to carry your knife tip up.
- The pocket clip can only be put on to carry your knife on the right side.
- Because it is a thumb stud mechanism, your hand and fingers do have to get fairly close to the blade when you are opening it, putting you at risk for slopping and slicing your fingers.
Zero Tolerance is an exceptional knife company. They have a commitment to innovation and their knives are designed to take a hard beating for long periods of time. They’ve been on the market for a little over a decade, which is when they saw the need for made in the USA knives that could take a beating. Since they released their first knife, they have gained the reputation of being “proudly overbuilt” which just means that they will only use the highest quality materials to build their knives. It also means that their manufacturing is smooth and seamless and they definitely don’t skimp on the fit and finish, having theirs second to none.
For their newest knife, the 0850, Zero Tolerance started out with a super steel. This steel is hard, tough, has great edge retention, and resists rust and corrosion with ease. They finished the steel with a two toned look to add some dimension and carved it into the shape of a sheepsfoot blade. To match the exceptional blade, they made an exceptional handle. The carbon fiber is a deep blue with an eye catching checkered pattern. This is a manual opening knife that sports a thumb stud. When you are carrying a Zero Tolerance knife, you are carrying a lifelong companion.