A good knife is something you should never leave the house without. Sure, you may not use it everyday, but when you need it nothing else will do. There are a huge variety of knives to choose from, including your cheap Chinese blades, and your thousand dollar custom works of art, but for a reasonably priced hard use knife, there really are only a few manufacturers to choose from.
One of the best of these is Zero Tolerance and one of their most popular blades is their 0350. This review will cover the 0350, it’s technical details, and my experiences carrying it for several years.
The ZT 0350 is a spring assisted folder that is user configurable in a blade up or down carry and left or right pocket carry. It’s blade is 3.25 inches long, hollow ground, and its overall length when opened is 7.62 inches. The blade is secured in the open position by a very rugged liner lock system with perhaps the most robust lock up of any folding knife I’ve seen. Like any good knife, the key ingredient is always the blade.
The blade is made of a unique steel alloy developed for premium knife manufacturers, called CPM S30V. This steel is incredibly fine grained which increases it’s strength and allows it to hold an edge much better. Compare these two images of conventional steel and CPM steel to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
The blade also has an extremely durable diamond-like carbon coating which increases its wear resistance and reduces friction while cutting. In fact, when a standard piece of stainless steel received a two micron thick coating, it increased it’s wear resistance from 2 weeks to 85 years!!!
The best blade in the world won’t mean a thing unless you have a strong and comfortable handle. The ZT 0350 has a G-10 handle with fine crosscut lines to increase grip on the scales. G-10 is an excellent material to make a hard use knife out of as it is completely non-reactive with water and will not expand or contract.
The 0350 is a spring assisted opening knife. This means that you must either move the thumb stud or push the tooth on the blade to initiate the opening. The spring then finishes the opening process. Take a look at the following picture to better understand the mechanism.
I have carried this knife as my every day carry knife for about two years and it hasn’t let me down yet, whether I’m on duty or off. I own several Benchmades, Spydercos, and assorted other knives and this is the one I consistently carry every day. It is extremely rugged, as I mentioned previously. Once the blade is locked in the full open position there is absolutely no play in the blade. There are also several other key features.
My favorite feature is the tooth, or flipper that sticks out of the back of the handle when closed. This is a very easy way to open the knife whether you are wearing winter gloves or using your bare hands. It also acts as an important safety feature.
Most folks don’t realize that when you push most knives into something, using a stabbing motion, you have a very high likelihood of cutting yourself. In this case, the tooth acts as a guard and keeps your hand from sliding over the blade if you are stabbing something.
In summary, I would say that this is the best folder that I own. It is extremely rugged and always reliable. The blade is very durable and holds an edge well. It is also priced affordably. Most retailers will sell this blade for $140 or so, which is a reasonable price for something you can depend on for years.
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