Scintillating Steel!

The Zero Tolerance 0055 Folder:Cutting Past The Conventional

By Pat Covert

The ZT 0055, a collaboration between Zero Tolerance and custom knifemaker
Gus Cecchini of GTC Knives, raises the bar on production tactical folders.

The world of cutlery is laden with knives of every description, but few are what you’d call “transcendent.” The Zero Tolerance 0055 model is just such a knife. Zero Tolerance — a division of Kai USA also manufacturing Kershaw Knives — has a reputation for pushing the design envelope. The ZT 0055 licks the stamp and forwards it to parts unknown.

The ZT 0055 flipper folder has all the angles of a stealth fighter — and then some. A collaboration with custom knifemaker Gus T. Cecchini of GTC Knives, this striking folder is patterned after his Airborne model. Known for his futuristic designs, the Cecchini-styled ZT 0055 has angles all over — from its multi-ground, stonewashed 3.75″ S35VN stainless steel blade to its dramatically sculpted, bead-blasted 5″ titanium handle. Everything about the ZT 0055 works in unison. On the backside you’ll find an integral lock — still the gold standard among most custom folder makers — and a hardened steel lockbar insert making for a vault-like lock-up. Also out back is a titanium tip-up pocket clip, reversible for right or left pocket carry.

Innovation

Two very cool features we’ll take a closer look at here are the unique blade and innovative flipper design. Cecchini’s blade design falls into what’s referred to as a modified Tanto — a highly reconfigured version of the traditional Japanese style. There are three grinds to the blade, two on the lead edge and one on the spine. Unlike a typical Tanto, the abrupt clip on the end is relegated to the backside of the blade so there’s no drop-off in slicing capability along the main edge, yet it still retains penetrability. The coup de grace is the ZT 0055’s top shelf S35VN stainless blade, a proprietary powder-based steel developed specifically for the cutlery market by Crucible Industries LLC.

The blade opens by way of a flipper, but this is no ordinary flipper. Cecchini’s “hidden” SLT flipper tab is in a vertical position when the blade is tucked away in the frame, but is hinged and rotates downward to employ the business end of the knife — similar to a two-stage trigger. The main gripe with many flippers is they protrude horizontally out from the back of the frame, which can cause them to hang up on the lip of the pocket when drawn. This is a bad situation if you’re in self-defense mode. The flipper tab eliminates that possibility. Granted, you’d want to practice locating the flipper tab in this different position for speed of deployment, but once done, you’re good to go. As with anything, practice makes perfect! The blade rollout is lightning quick and smooth as a whistle thanks to ZT’s patented KVT ball-bearing system.

First Class Work

Scads of fresh folder designs hit the cutlery market every year, but very few share the innovative design the 5-oz. ZT 0055 exhibits. Cecchini’s design ticks all the major boxes, and kudos to Zero Tolerance for producing an Airborne version affordable for those who can’t afford the custom fare. MSRP for the ZT 0055 is $275. Given all the high quality materials, first class fabrication and forward thinking going into the production iteration, it’s worth every penny.

Kai USA
Ph: (800) 325-2891

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