|The Zero Tolerance 0550 Hinderer Design Knife|
My favorite knife in my collection is my Hinderer XM-18 3.5" knife. Several knives have come out over the years with similar attributes, using the Hinderer lockbar stabilizer, Ti side/G-10 side, heavy use blades, etc. but few have been patterned exclusively to somewhat mirror the XM-18 enough to be called a collaboration. Thus far only Gerber and now ZT carry those badges. I picked up the Gerber version a while back and promptly got rid of it. Unfortunately for Gerber when you own the real XM-18, expectations are high and the Gerber fell very short. Well the same expectations unfortunately applied to the Zero Tolerance version. How did it stack up? Read on...
The lock side of the ZT 0550 is made of 6AL4V titanium while the non-lock side is made from Textured G-10 with a thin stainless liner underneath (I'm guessing 420) . The blade is made of Crucible's "super steels" in S35VN; more on the blade later. The materials speak to the fact that this is a high quality, hard use knife, much like my XM-18. Very nice material specs on paper and one of the reasons I picked this knife up.
FIT AND FINISH:
Out of the box, the ZT 0550 was BUTTERY SMOOTH opening and closing. There were no issues with the pivot screw turning while opening like I've had with a few of my other Ti frame locks. The screws were all nice and tight and nicely recessed. The Standoff's were some of the most substantial I've seen on a production knife. The clip was tight and there were no burs on any of the milled areas. The edges on the G-10 and Ti lock side are nicely beveled for comfort and all the jimping lines up with their counter parts. The one ding I have to throw out there on this knife was that it came as sharp out of the box as some of the butter knives I have in my kitchen. See video below:
|ZT 0550 on the left and Hinderer XM-18 3.5" on the right. VERY nice lock up on both|
|Ti Frame lock goodness from left to right; the Spyderco Sage 2 , Hinderer XM-18 3.5" and the ZT 0550|
|The much improve Ti side frame lock and pocket clip of the 2nd generation ZT 0550|
WARRANTY / CUSTOMER SERVICE:
I don't usually include a section in my reviews regarding Warranty issues and customer service but KAI / Kershaw / Zero Tolerance deserves a mention on this subject. Two things stand out about this company in this regard; one, Zero Tolerance is made in the United States by craftsmen at their factory in Oregon. Second, Kershaw and Zero Tolerance have EARNED a reputation in the industry for their rock solid customer service and warranty. In short, it does not get any better that I know of within the knife world. Purchase a Kershaw or Zero Tolerance knife and you have bought a knife from a company that stands behind their product. Nothing else needs to be said....
In case you haven't figured it out, I REALLY like this knife. In fact, I'm considering buying another as a back up. The knife is just that dang good. As far as production knives go, I have not found many that I like better than the ZT 0550. I buy and sell knives fairly regularly and sell the one's that don't live up to their billing or just plain don't work for me. This one does and I'll be keeping it. Lastly, this knife is made right here in the good old US of A and that counts for a lot in my book! In short, if you are in the market for a heavy duty folder that carry's well in the pocket, one that will last you a life time, look no further, you have found it in the ZT 0550 . Well done ZT! Now I just need a ZT 0560 to put through the paces...must save more money :)
Materials: 8/10 (S35VN blade steel is nice but there are others I like better)
Fit and Finish: 9/10 (only a 1 point ding for coming new as dull as a butter knife, otherwise perfect)
Camp Use: 10/10
Hard/Military/Police Use: 9/10
EDC Use: 9/10 (might scare some sheeple)
Food Prep: 8/10 (good for most things, not so good for delicate uses)
Skinning/Game Prep: 9/10
Warranty: 10/10 (ZT & Kersahw are one of the few companies that score a solid 10 in this department)
Zombie Usefulness: 9/10 (only fixed blades get a 10, but this one's made for dang zombies)