Zero Tolerance 0545

A new favorite knife of mine, with a near perfect execution.

Over the holidays, I found myself in an outdoor store which sold Zero Tolerance knives (among others) and I played with a few of their models. Some were models I had thought about picking up over the years, and some were simply the type of knife you appreciate existing, while never wanting to own. Unknown to me at the time was that the ZT 0545 existed, but when I got back from the trip I started to look at ZT in general as I was impressed with the offerings I handled.

Because of the action and the thin nature of the ZT knives I handled, I needed to get one. Coming across the ZT 0545, with a MagnaCut blade — it seemed like a perfect match, if a little large. I went for it.

I am glad I did, because this knife is very good, and likely underrated in general.

Materials & Specs

The specs, per Zero Tolerance:

  • CPM MagnaCut
  • Blade Length 3.2 in. (8.1 cm)
  • HRC 60-63
  • Blade Thickness 0.09 in. (2.3 mm)
  • Closed Length 4.3 in. (10.9 cm)
  • Handle Material Carbon fiber front, titanium back
  • Handle Thickness 0.375 in. (9.5 mm)
  • Overall Length 7.5 in. (19.1 cm)
  • Weight 2 oz. (57 g)

The material choices are top notch, and the fit and finish is excellent. The blade deploys smoothly with a crisp lock up. There is very little to complain about. My only complaint would be the rather minuscule pocket clip, which is annoying to use.

In Use

I have to say right at the top, this knife is incredibly good, to the point where it has been stealing pocket time from every knife I own. So I am going to dive into why…

The blade is absolutely amazing. The factory edge is among the sharpest I have received, and I’ve yet to need to do more than strop the edge back to razor sharp. Couple that with MagnaCut — the perfect steel for a daily carry knife — and you have a really stellar blade. But it goes a little further here.

The size of the blade is deceptively large. It feels like a 3.5” blade, which handles like a 3” blade. It does look visibly large once deployed. The curve of the cutting edge is near perfect for me. There’s a large belly, and a lot of edge overall to work with, but it also culminates in a fantastically dangerous looking tip. The mark of a good knife always starts with the blade, and this blade setup is better than the Sebenza.

The next attribute of this knife is the deployment of the blade. I generally loathe a ‘flipper’ style opening, but it’s executed really well here. The blade deploys very smoothly, with a quiet, but reassuring click into full lock up. It’s not an aggressive looking flipper when you deploy the blade, which helps to give the knife more utility in a wider range of settings.

Once you deploy the blade, you’ll notice two things: the knife is thin, and the balance is nice but unusual. At 3/8” thick the knife really is slim. That slim nature means that the knife can feel small and light, while actually offering a long blade and long handle. But there are downsides. Holding this handle for a long time, or gripping it tight in a hard use scenario, will come with reduced comfort. I’ve had no issues in most of the general tasks, but I could see someone working with a knife for longer periods start to be fatigued by this setup.

The next is the balance. All the weight of the blade is centered at the pivot point. Because of that, the blade feels like it is sitting at the front of your grip, without falling forward. Most knives will try and balance out the blade more with weight at the rear of the handle, so it feels more rested in your palm. With the 0545, the blade settles in right at your thumb and index finger. Again, this give you some feeling of control, while keeping the knife light.

The handle is nicely shaped, and offers my hand a full grip on the knife, which is not something I am used to in a knife I carry daily. This also works to offset the thin nature of the handle, as you are working with your entire hand, instead of only a few fingers.

All in all the ergonomics are surprisingly great for how thin and light the knife is.

There is one big miss here: the pocket clip. It’s tiny, and it’s a royal pain in the ass to flip to another side of the knife. It does sit very low profile on the knife, but it is also needed as the knife is large and thus best carried when clipped to something. But I’ve found this tiny clip to be hard to clip to things, hard to release the knife from things it is clipped to, and at the same time applying high wear and tear to the spot it is secured too. That’s effectively bad all around. I long for an aftermarket clip upgrade on this.

This is also a testament to how good the rest of the knife is, as I would otherwise not put up with the annoyance this clip causes me. Great knife, shit clip.

Overall

This is easily my most used knife since getting it a couple months back. I really like this knife, and while it’s not better than the Bexar or Sebenza, it does compliment both of them nicely. I don’t carry it as much to the office now, but I do carry it constantly when around the house.

Highly recommended.

Buy here, $272

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