One of my favorite parts of SHOT show is always the Kershaw booth.  Kershaw and Zero Tolerance are both owned by KAI Group and international cutlery organization.  As such, both as shown off in the Kershaw booth.  We walk in, exchange pleasantries then down opens the hidden shelf display to reveal this years line-up of Kershaw and ZT blades.  We spend the next thirty minutes checking out each knife, one-by-one.  It’s such a condensed and efficient meeting, and it leaves myself and my fellow writers talking about our favorites from the bunch for the rest of the day.  Among those favorites was ZT’s 0562 ti, a titanium-handled knife that was made in collaboration with custom knifemaker Rick Hinderer.

Let’s check the tale of the tape before digging into how the 0562 ti has performed.  As per ZT’s website:

  • Made in the USA
  • KVT ball-bearing opening system
  • Flipper
  • Reversible deep-carry clip (left/right, tip-up)
  • Frame lock, lockbar stabilizer
  • Steel: CPM 20CV, stonewashed flats, machine-satin grinds
  • Handle: Titanium, stonewashed finish
  • Blade Length: 3.5 in. (8.9 cm)
  • Blade Thickness: 0.156 in. (0.396 cm)
  • Closed Length: 4.8 in. (12.2 cm)
  • Overall Length: 8.3 in. (21.1 cm)
  • Weight: 5.3 oz. (152 g)

It’s always nice to review American-made products over foreign ones, and even nicer when those products are made just down the street.  In this case, Zero Tolerance’s factory is just a quick drive down the road to Tualitin, Oregon.

While the blade is the beating heart of any cutting platform, ZT is clearly interested in using more exotic metals in the handles as we’ve seen more and more titanium, carbon fiber and G10 being used recently.  I think it’s pretty clear that whenever possible discerning end users want stronger, lighter and less maintenance on half of their knife.  Titanium definitely delivers in that respect, keeping the 0562 ti’s weight down.  This feels like a strong, mid-sized pocket folder when you’re using it.  It just doesn’t feel like one when you’re carrying it in your pocket.

Regarding the blade, the 0562 ti uses CPM 20CV steel.  I’m no metallurgist, so I like reading up an expert synopsis (like this one found on Bladeops.com) to know what is expected of certain steel.  Some rust easily, some dull quickly but can be honed to a razor’s edge.  The CPM-20CV is considered an excellent choice, providing a good hardness rating (HRC ~60), good corrosion resistance and fantastic wear resistance.

In my time with the 0562 ti, the above statements have been absolutely true.  I have abused the blade, but it has kept a very good edge throughout.  Diminished from its factory state, yes, but still very sharp.  When I took a few minutes to polish up that edge, it took very little time to get back into arm-shaving range.

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The ball-bearing opening system is incredibly smooth.  It takes lost a bit on initial force to overcome the resistance of the lock bar, then the blade glides out into place.  Far fewer “three quarter-open” incidents with this knife than any other EDC blade in recent memory.

Zero Tolerance 0562 titanium handled knife | A titan among men

The locking system is spot-on.  I’ve found it impossible to intentionally “over-lock” the 0562 ti.  Overlock occurs when the blade is opened more forcefully than designed, so the locking bar engages the angled portion of the blade base further inboard than intended.  When this happens, it’s unreasonably difficult to unlock the blade to fold it back up.  I slam this thing open with as much force as I can muster (short of using hand tools) and the frame lock disengages just as smoothly as ever.  Another neat feature is shown when you’re releasing the blade to be folded back into the frame.  A small spring-loaded  ball bearing catches the blade just after unlocking and requires a little force to overcome.  Considering how smoothly the 0562 ti’s blade swings open, it’s nice to have this little safety stop to ensure the freshly unlocked blade doesn’t just swing shut on any fingers that haven’t been rotated out of the way yet.

Zero Tolerance 0562 titanium handled knife | A titan among men
Top, ZT’s solid lock. Bottom, overlock

The pocket clip is perfectly functional, if not a little overzealous in strength from the factory.  I’ve had to bend mine out just a bit to reduce wear-and-tear to my pants pocket.  While it reverses for right- or left-hand carry, it came in right-hand, tip-up more like I prefer.

Zero Tolerance 0562 titanium handled knife | A titan among men

So far, it’s been all roses with the 0562ti right?  It’s easy to be impressed with this pocket folder.  There is one this that wasn’t aces for me, and that’s a design decision less than a manufacturing shortcoming.  It’s in the titanium handle.  Rather than machine in any texturing, the 0562ti is left featureless.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “slippery”, but it is very smooth.  During normal use, it’s not an issue.  I’ve had no troubles using this for my EDC blade while testing gear and working in the shop.  I am hesitant however to carry this as a defensive blade when I’m heading into the city.  The slick grip is just not grippy enough to give me the warm and fuzzies for use in a life-or-death situation.

The 0562ti is a fantastic pocket folder, combining lightweight, excellent blade and fine attention to detail with regards to the locking system and opening system.  The 0562 ti is listed by ZT at $350.  If you’re in the market for a high-performing, extremely durable pocket folder, definitely check this one out.

@Rexnanorum