U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Oregon based Zero Tolerance Knives is at it again, adding to their already expansive catalog of American-made knives. New to the Fall 2019 lineup comes the Tim Galyean-designed ZT 0223, a full-size pocket folder with a definite military influence.
Let's run down the tech specs, as provided by ZT:
- Made in the USA
- Manual open, KVT ball-bearing system
- Frame lock, with steel lockbar insert
- Reversible clip (left/right, tip-up)
- Steel: CPM 20CV, DLC coating
- Handle: Titanium, DLC coating, earth brown G10
- Blade Length: 3.5 in. (8.9 cm)
- Blade Thickness: 0.156 in. (0.4 cm)
- Closed Length: 5 in. (12.8 cm)
- Overall Length: 8.6 in. (21.8 cm)
- Weight: 4.7 oz. (134 g)
One word that always stands out when I'm scanning products: “titanium”. I love the stuff, when used in appropriate applications. Here the handle, frame-lock and tube spacer are all Ti, keeping the weight down. Sub-5 ounces on an 8.6″ knife? That's pretty nice. The cut-out window along the spine, as well as the holes in the ricasso, also combine efforts to keep the mass to a minimum.
The KVT ball-bearing that the blade uses to rotate is a model of efficiency. It takes surprisingly little effort to whip the knife into “go” mode. Once unlocked, the blade would like to spin oh-so easily down onto your fingers, but the well-spaced flipper/lock ratio means the flipper stops the knife after it's gone ~30° towards locking. The frame lock which holds the blade back is well-balanced, being moderately easy to disengage, yet not too easy. Well done!
The handle itself is well-shaped. The sole finger groove near the handle's top is an excellent reference point both when cutting or when closing the knife. That same finger groove flares out at the top, acting as a solid finger-stop to prevent your hand from slipping upwards during heavy use. The ridges on the G10 scales offer a good grip surface, even when wet.
The G10 scales and DLC (diamond-like carbon) coatings used to give the 0223 some serious defense against corrosion, abrasion, and wear in general. Even the lowly pocket clip gets in on the action, wearing a Teflon jacket to reduce friction against your pocket.
All the nice features and coatings don't mean jack however if the blade's steel isn't up to the task. The ZT 0223 uses CPM 20CV for it's clip-point blade, with DLC coating. How good is 20CV? Knifeup.com calls it “one of the single most coveted stainless “super steels” for knife enthusiasts in the world”. CPM 20CV has a Rockwell Hardness Rating of 59-61 HRC, placing it exceedingly high among knives intended for individual use. This gives excellent toughness and edge retention, though it also takes a little longer to sharpen.
Not that sharpening is something you'll do often with the 0223, unless you spend your leisure time whittling Grizzly bones. After a long-range day, I spend a good while breaking the “rust” off of my (outdated) defensive knife training. My opponent, a standing dead cedar. After a couple rounds of slash-n-jab, the 0223 still looks and feels new. No, cedar isn't hard like oak. Yes, it'll still dull a blade fast enough as a practice dummy! Nothing else I've done with the ZT 0223 has had much of an effect either.
After a month of treating it like a $10 disposable junker at the range, in the woods and in the shop, it's still arm-shaving sharp.
It shouldn't come as a surprise that Zero Tolerance can craft one mighty fine knife when they pull out the stops. For many though, the first (and last) consideration is price. With a going rate of $300, the ZT 0223 will undoubtedly be out of consideration for many who need neither titanium nor premium steel. For those who choose to lay down serious coin for a serious knife, the 0223 is a worthy contender for your consideration.
This is exactly the kind of knife I would buy and use if I were still in the service and getting ready to deploy again. Check it out!
About Rex Nanorum
Rex Nanorum is an Alaskan Expatriate living in Oregon with his wife and kids. Growing up on commercial fishing vessels, he found his next adventure with the 2nd Bn, 75th Ranger Regt. After 5 tours to Afghanistan and Iraq, he adventured about the west coast becoming a commercial fisheries and salvage SCUBA diver, rated helicopter pilot instructor (CFII) and personal trainer, before becoming a gear reviewer and writer.”
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