Monday, February 18, 2013

Zero Tolerance 0560 (Hinderer Collaboration) Review

The Zero Tolerance 0560 (Hinderer Collaboration)
Click on any of the photos for an enlarged version

I had to sell a couple of other knives to fund the purchase of the Zero Tolerance (ZT) 0560 because I really wanted this knife. Fortunately, I found one brand new in the box at a gun show for a VERY good price and snatched it up in short order.


The lock side of the ZT 0560 is made of 3-D textured 6AL4V titanium while the non-lock side is made from 3-D Textured G-10 with a skeletonized, thin, I'm assuming titanium liner underneath (I'm guessing here) . The 3-D Machining on both sides of the handles look somewhat like fish scales; I like them. The blade is made of Uddeholm's "super steels" in ELMAX; more on the blade later. Like my favorite knife, the Hinderer XM-18 and my other Zero Tolerance knife the ZT 0550 , it is very apparent as soon as you open the box and handle this knife, you're handling top quality.It's also very apparent that it has a strong Hinderer lineage.
The beautiful 3-D Machined Titanium Lock Side of the ZT 0560


Out of the box, the ZT 0560 was VERY smooth albeit with some serious sticking trying to use the thumb stud. According to ZT however, the "thumb stud" is actually not intended to be a thumb stud for opening the knife; it's a blade stop. This knife was intended to be opened with the provided flipper. I can open it with the thumb stud/blade stop but it is very difficult. With the flipper, there is very little effort required and it works great. In fact, flipping it is very addictive and you'll probably find yourself flipping it quite-a-bit when you fist get it. 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 , like my ZT 0550 and Hinderer XM-18 are very substantial. The clip was tight and there were no burs on any of the milled areas. There were no sharp edges on either the G-10 nor the Ti Side. The jimping on the back of the blade, spine of the knife, lock area and inside the knife handle were sufficiently smooth and not uncomfortable by any means; nice machining! Blade centering was as close to perfect out of the box as I've seen on a Ti Frame Lock. The edge was ground very nicely and very even on both sides. The one ding I have on this knife is that the frame lock has failed several times. Once while trying to field dress a deer, the lock failed and cut my hand pretty good. Mere hand pressure backwards on the blade in the locked position can cause it to fail; no spine whacking needed. Other than blade play in the direction of the lock face however, there is no blade play in any direction. The sole blade play is due to the weak lock. I have contacted ZT and they have advised to send it in and I will update this review accordingly. Thus far, I have had zero issues with ZT/Kai's warranty service so I expect no be updated later..
Dang good Blade centering out of the box
As stated previously, I have had some issues with lock up on this knife but will be sending it in to allow ZT's excellent customer service remedy this...update to follow...
Lock up on the ZT 0560 (left) and the XM-18 (right)

If you look closely, you can see the detent ball marks on the blade but the detent/bearing itself is nicely concealed within the TI Side scale

I love the 3.5 inch stone washed ELMAX drop point style blade. It works excellent for just about all of my purposes, save delicate ones. ELMAX is a powdered steel  from a company called Uddeholm. ELMAX is a bit higher in carbon content than CPM S30V, CPM S35VN, CTS-XHP. This  gives it good wear resistance but even with it's higher carbon content, it's other characteristics like a higher Chromium content, allows it maintains it's claim to stainless steel. In use, it has proven one tough customer and I have seen zero signs of rust. I REALLY like this steel. All in all, I wouldn't change a thing about this blade
Excellent blade shape for many applications. You can also see why ZT refers to the stud as a blade stop.

One of the reasons I bought this knife obviously was it's similarities to my favorite XM-18. In truth however, it lies somewhere in size between the XM-18 and the XM-24. Despite it's closed size of 5 inches, it carries very well in the pocket with little pocket hog issues and feels excellent in the hand. The provided 4 way adjustable deep carry pocket clip is long enough to allow for some flex so as not to destroy pockets and makes it fairly easy to slide in and out of the pocket. In short, for such a large knife, the ergonomics are excellent!
A very well done 4-way adjustable pocket clip on the ZT 0560
ZT 0560 (left) compared to the Hinderer XM-18 (right); two fine knives...

The ZT 0560 weighs in at a significant 5.8 ounces but for a knife of this size and solid build, it's actually very well done. The overall opened length is a big 8.8 inches which makes it useful for many tasks but a little large for delicate ones. Those people who like large knives will be impressed but you might cause some undue bladder control issues with the sheeple while flipping it open in public so be careful.
A trio of Titanium frame locks, the ZT 0550 (left), ZT 0560 (middle) and XM-18 (right)

This is where there is a little controversy with the ZT 0560 . The traditional thumb stud that is used on countless knives from many companies is not actually a thumb stud on the ZT 0560 , according to ZT; it's a blade stop. I knew this when I bought the knife but being the seasoned knife nut that I am figured, I could use it as a thumb stud anyway; I was wrong. While I can flip it open with the thumb stud, it is very sticky and clearly wasn't intended for this. Conversely, the provided flipper works like a champ and flicks open with some serious authority. The pivot on the ZT 0560 is surrounded by what ZT calls the KVT (Kinetic Velocity Technology) ball bearing system. It's basically a set of bearings housed in a tough plastic washer and it works well. I am happy to report that flipping the blade open with the flipper is insanely smooth and FAST. In fact, as I mentioned previously, when you first get the knife, I'm betting you'll flip it until your finger is wore out. It's just fun to flip.


Take a look at the provided photos of this knife; it's just plain cool. Everyone that has seen this knife remarks how nice it is. It will quickly become one of your most shown off folding knives.


With its blade shape and size, the uses are pretty much endless save delicate tasks like peeling apples, intricate carving, etc. For a police officer or someone in the military, this knife is tailor made for EDC (Every Day Carry) and last ditch self defense uses. This would be a great knife for any police officer, firefighter, EMT or someone in the military. It might be a little large for some folks who prefer a smaller EDC but for me, it works just fine.


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....I'll be testing it again with this knife. :)


This is one seriously well built, heavy duty knife, one that make you all the envy amongst your knife carrying buddies. Is the ZT 560 worth the $200+ asking price? Well if you count the sum and quality of it's parts, the build and the coolness factor, I think you'd be hard pressed to find another knife in this category priced better. To top if off, it needs to be mentioned that the ZT 0560 is made right here in the United States which is a huge plus for me (as it should be for others living in the US) .The ZT 0560 actually won Blade Show's Knife collaboration of the year for 2011. That being said, as of this writing (6-14-13), I'm having issues with lockup to the point that it's dangerous under heavy use. I'm assuming this is just a fluke and will be giving ZT the opportunity to prove me correct. Assuming this is the case (a fluke), this could well be one of my favorite knives in my collection. Everything else about this knife is dang near perfect for a knife of this size. This is a knife that I'll be carrying on and off duty and it will become part of my bushcraft arsenals. To be continued once I get the repaired knife (or an exchange) from ZT...

UPDATE 4/29/14 : I have FINALLY sent the knife off for service (I have lots of knives so I procrastinate a bit). I will update with ZT's response as soon as it occurs.

UPDATE 5/19/14: I just received my ZT 0560 back from ZT customer service. It now locks up solid as a rock. There is no lock rock what-so-ever. While they did not provide an explanation of what they did, it APPEARS as though they reground the lock face to make it sit more solidly against the blade. As it sits, this knife is as close in quality to my Hinderer XM-18 as I think any knife could be. This is ONE SOLID knife. Zero Tolerance / KAI / Kershaw again gets a solid 10 in the customer service / warranty department. Don't hesitate to get this knife.

The ZT 0560 on a bushcraft hike in the Lincoln national forest in NM.


  1. Any update on how ZT warranty service handled your lockup issue?

    1. Not yet. My job took me out of state for a bit and I hadn't sent it off yet; so my fault, not ZT's. Will update as soon as it's done. Thanks.

  2. Had my Gen 1 for a few months & love it, first ZT for me. No detent issues on deployment, have replaced scale with storm carbon fiber & clip with a deep carry Ti aftermarket & it is close to perfect. To achieve perfection I've just purchased a 0560 :-) Cannot wait for it to arrive. It'll join my rotation along with a large CR Sebingo my 0550 & a couple of Spydies. When will it end! :-)
    Cheers for the reviews, they helped me decide to become a ZTealot :-)

  3. Any updates on lock up issue from warranty????

    1. I just sent the knife off for service. I will update as soon as it comes back. Thanks...

  4. How much hard work can it really take now that you got it modified on warranty? I ordered one a few days ago and its the second gen with the steel insert on the lockbar, do you believe it can be trusted if you accidentally hit the spine or in some other way put force in the wrong direction (like jerking it out if you lodged it in a piece of wood or whatever..)?

    My intention was to get a big reliable knife for maybe some camping or hiking but also for those situations you hope you will never find yourself in. What do you think?


  5. As far as "spine whacking" experiments, frame lock knives (all of them) never fare as well as some of the other type locks in my experience. Having said that, what does the spine whacking test really prove? I've used knives under just about every imaginable scenario and NEVER have I needed to whack a spine. When I do my test(s) I put them through normal use. In the case of the 0560, I have now field dressed an axis deer, two white-tailed deer and one feral hog. Once the lock was remedied, I have had ZERO issues with it closing under these circumstances. If you've ever field dressed any large animal, then you will know, the LOCK, it's "grippyness" and strength are put to the test. This knife works great for these purposes. One of the beauties of a frame lock is that under stressful use your grip actually strengthens the lock strength whereas the same grip on a lockback can disengage it if not careful. The 2nd generation with the steel insert should be even better IMO. As to your question, hiking or camping, I don't think you could find a much better folding knife; although I prefer a fixed blade for camping. In a self defense scenario, I also think this knife would serve you well for all the reasons mentioned above. Hope this helps..