Kershaw Knives is known for making affordable knives for everyday use. In 2006, the company moved into the serious duty, hard-use knife market in collaboration with Strider Knives, creating a new division and line of knives, Zero Tolerance.
Zero Tolerance Knives incorporate all the features Kershaw owners have come to expect: sharp blades, cool styling, and innovative designs, all for a reasonable price. ZT Knives are designed to perform in the harshest environments and worst weather conditions for a good many years.
Zero Tolerance's flagship folder is the 0301. Visually, the knife is bold, with deep scallops machined into the G10 and titanium grips, and a tiger-striped blade. This knife truly says, "Here I am."
The 0301 was designed by the Strider Knife team and Ken Onion in conjunction with Kershaw. With this kind of design and R&D team, I am certain the knife will survive law enforcement and EMS use.
The 0301 is a big honking knife, and it's meant to be. Because you sacrifice durability and toughness when you decrease knife size, Zero Tolerance tends to make its knives larger than many slim-line clip-it knives. So what if the 0301 isn't as small and lightweight as your penknife? It's made to last.
ZT Knives use serious screws and bolts to secure the grips, frame, and blade of the knife. Using a bolt to secure the frame and grips at the pivot point helps eliminate flexing at the blade axis. ZT's use of a bolt with washers instead of a screw makes the 0301 especially sturdy and durable-almost as tough as a fixed-blade knife.
Thumb studs on the 0301 are large enough to be found and easily operated in heavy winter gloves. And the clip is made of heavy-gauge spring steel. It dares you to try and break it; that's how substantial the clip is.
ZT's 0301 incorporates Ken Onion's SpeedSafe, which is essentially an assisted-opening system. The Onion design uses a spring system and a small flipper on the blade. When pushed, the blade opens quickly. If the SpeedSafe fails, the blade can still be operated like any other folding knife. When the knife is opened, the SpeedSafe flipper becomes a blade guard that prevents your hand from sliding onto the blade when cutting.
Measuring 4.25 inches and made of S30V stainless steel, the blade is itself impressive. S30V stainless is fairly corrosion resistant, and it can hold and take a sharp edge. A drop point hollow grind further strengthens the blade. This style has a strong point and is well suited for a wide variety of uses. In keeping with the 0301's roots from Strider, the blade is tiger striped with Tungsten DLC. This enhances the blade's corrosion resistance and gives it a cool look, to boot.
To bring all these good parts together into a usable knife, Zero Tolerance uses titanium and G10 for the frame and grips. The titanium frame and liner lock help reduce the knife's weight and increase its durability. G10 is used for one grip panel to give the knife a pleasing look and to help reduce the knife's cost. Both grip panels are drilled and tapped at both ends so the user can choose where to put the clip. The scallop effect on both the titanium and G10 panels gives the operator a solid purchase on the knife and cool aesthetics.
To further enhance the user's purchase on the knife, the frame has two sets of horizontal serrations. One set is at the rear of the blade where your thumb would rest, while the other is positioned at the rear curve of the knife. Both serve their purpose in dry or the wettest of conditions.
My first impression of the Zero Tolerance 0301 was that it was just too big. But after carrying it and using it, I realized that size is part of this knife's functionality. I wouldn't wear it with lightweight pants, but most uniform and BDU pants are not lightweight, and the 0301 carries well clipped to a pocket.
Kershaw's Zero Tolerance knives are designed to endure a career on the job and still be around for many years after. The 0301 is no exception.
Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active-duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman.
Kershaw Knives - ZT 0301
Blade Steel: S30V with Tungsten DLC coating
Blade Length: 4.25 inches
Blade Thickness: 0.156 inches
Overall Length: 8.5 inches
Weight: 8.6 ounces
Grips: Machined G10 & Titanium
Lock: Titanium Frame Lock