Zero Tolerance is a sub brand of Kai USA, Ltd. Kai has been the leading producer of premier knives in Japan for over 100 years now. Kai is a major manufacturer and distributor of disposable razors, surgical tools, personal care products, and housewares—all in Japan. Kai USA, Ltd. has been committed to innovation since they began.
Zero Tolerance first made its public appearance in 2006. Zero Tolerance jumped in the game then because they saw a place in the market for a Made-in-the-USA line of hard-use knives that would meet the needs of professionals in the military and law enforcement as well as other first responders, such as firefighters and emergency medical personnel. When they first hit the market, they introduced combat knives and only combat knives. Since then, Zero Tolerance has expanded their line to include a variety of general use and premium knives. Whether you purchase one of the larger and heavier outdoor knives or the slimmer and lighter every day carrying knives, they are all built to a high performance standard.
Zero Tolerance calls their knives, “proudly overbuilt”. They use only the premium materials for their knives. They manufacturer them smoothly and the final fit and finish is second to none. These knives are true works of art and the brand new 0055 knife is no exception.
The blade on this knife is made out of S35VN steel. Years ago, Crucible released a steel (S30V) that had been specifically manufactured to be used on knife blades. This steel became known as one of the best options on the market for your blade. The first steel gained the reputation of having the perfect balance of edge retention, hardness, and toughness. This first steel was used for high end premium pocket knives and expensive kitchen cutlery. It also avoided rusting or corroding with ease. However, there was a drawback: It was pretty tough to sharpen. So in 2009, Crucible and Chris Reeve introduced a superior steel. They upgraded the original steel and added niobium, which is where they got the N in the name from. Along with the added niobium, they used a much finer grain structure in the steel. With these two qualities, you get increased toughness and it is a breeze to sharpen. Because of the finer grain structure, the finished steel looks much more polished. Something that is interesting about S35VN steel is that it has the perfect balance between hardness and toughness. Many times, when the steel becomes harder, it loses much of its toughness because of how brittle it is. But with this steel, Crucible has added vanadium carbides into the steel which brings out the hardness in the steel without making it brittle. If the original S30V steel was regarded with so much praise, just imagine how great the new upgraded version is.
The steel is finished with a stonewash finish. This finish is created by tumbling the steel around with an abrasive material, normally small pebbles. After it has been tumbled for an adequate length of time, the steel is smoothed out and polished. The finishing look with the stonewash is a textured, rugged look. The stonewash finish helps to cut down on glares and reflections. But the best feature of this finish is that the textured appearance helps to hide scratches and fingerprints. This significantly cuts down on maintenance time and the finish preserves the blades look overtime.
The steel has been carved into a modified reverse tanto style. A reversed tanto style is a Tanto blade that has basically been turned upside down, so the angular side is on the top. This makes it look like it has a very angled drop point. The modified, reverse tanto blade shape gives you many of the same benefits that a tanto blade shape does, so let’s go over those. For starters, this blade shape has been designed to be tough and to pierce tough things, but that’s really it. The tanto or reverse tanto blade shape is mainly used if you want a knife to do one thing and to do it really well. Because there is such a thick point on this blade shape and because the tip contains a lot of metal close to it, the tip is able to absorb the impact from repeated piercing that would cause most other knives to break. This blade shape is able to stab through some of the hardest and the toughest materials. With a normal tanto, the sharpened edge is almost completely straight, but because it is reversed and modified, the sharpened edge actually does provide you with a slight belly. Now, this isn’t your traditional belly that has a large curved portion, because it is more angled than curved. So this style of tanto blade will be able to hold its own and slice a little bit.
The handle on the 0055 is made out of titanium handle scales. Titanium offers the best corrosion resistance out of any metal. While this metal is a little bit heavier than aluminum, it is much stronger. So with the extra weight, you get a lot of extra strength and it is worth the extra weight. One of the most unique characteristics of titanium is that it actually feels warm to the touch. This is the perfect handle material if you are working in a colder environment, because the metal won’t bite into your hand. This is a very sturdy material.
Titanium is very slippery though, so Zero Tolerance finished the handle with a bead blast finish to add texture. A bead blasted finish is created by blasting the steel with small glass or ceramic beads at a high pressure. This results in an even gray finish. Because the finish is even and matte, the bead blast finish reduces reflections and glares efficiently. However, because the ceramic beads create micro abrasions in the surface, your handle will be much more prone to rusting or corroding. In fact, if left in the worst environment, the handle has the potential to rust overnight. This just means that you have to keep up on your maintenance and oiling.
The reversed tanto blade shape is full of sharp angles and straight lines. The handle is just the same, creating a very futuristic look. Even though the handle is full of sharp angles, it is still a comfortable knife to hold, even if you are using it for long periods of time.
There is also a lanyard hole carved into the handle. Keeping a lanyard on your knife can have so many different benefits. With a lanyard, you can easily tie the knife to your belt or pack strap to secure it against loss. You can add a touch of brightness or personal style depending on which lanyard you choose to strap on.
The handle has a titanium frame lock with a hardened steel lock bar insert. The titanium has a springy feel to it, yet it is steel very tough, so it is the perfect option for a frame lock or lock bar insert.
The Pocket Clip:
The pocket clip that is included with this knife is a reversible, bent titanium clip. The titanium matches the rest of the handle perfectly. This is a reversible pocket clip meaning that you can switch whether you carry the knife left or right handedly. However, you can only carry this knife tip up. The pocket clip is kept in place by two small screws.
All of the other hardware is black, to add a stark contrast.
The mechanism on this knife is a manual open knife with a KVT ball-bearing system. The ball-bearing system allows the manual opening system to be smooth. Another big benefit is that you can easily open your knife with just one hand, which helps to make this knife completely ambidextrous. You can even open one of the heavier knives open handed if you have the KVT ball-bearing opening system. And, this mechanism takes away the need to have a spring or torsion bar to assist the blade out of the handle. The ball bearings surround the pivot point of the knife. Then, the user pushes outward on the thumb stud, and the ball bearings rotate so that the blade glides out of the handle then locks into place, ready for use. This is an innovative, ground breaking mechanism that really ups the quality and effectiveness of your knife.
One of the most unique features of this knife is the SLT spring-loaded flipper tab function. This is a two stage operating system that uses a spring to flip a tab up in to the ready position followed by a traditional pullback motion on the tab for immediate deployment. The SLT tab is even hidden while in the open position to not detract from the elegance of this knife.
This knife was made in the United States of America. The blade on the 0055 is 3.75 inches long with a blade thickness of 0.156 inches. The overall length of this knife is 8.75 inches long, with a closed length of 5 inches. This knife weighs 5 ounces.
The Pros of the Zero Tolerance 0055:
- S35VN is one of the best steel options on the market today.
- The steel has been designed specifically for use on knife blades.
- It has the perfect balance between toughness, hardness, and edge retention.
- The steel resists rust perfectly.
- This steel has fine grain structure, so the finished product has a very polished look to it.
- The steel has niobium added which increases hardness and makes the steel easier to sharpen.
- The stonewash finish helps to hide scratches and fingerprints.
- The modified reverse tanto blade has a strong tip that is able to stab into the hardest and toughest materials.
- The modified reverse tanto blade also gives you slicing capabilities.
- Titanium is the most corrosion resistant steels out there.
- Titanium has a warm feel to it, so it won’t bite into your hands while in cold environments.
- The bead blast finish adds plenty of texture to give you a secure grip on this knife.
- The pocket clip can be carried on the left or right side.
- KVT ball-bearing system allows you to open this knife quickly and with only one hand.
- Sports the SLT spring loaded flipper tab function.
- Made in the USA.
- Zero Tolerance knives have been known to be “proudly overbuilt”.
The Cons of the Zero Tolerance 0055:
- Because of the blade shape, this knife excels at one thing and doesn’t perform well in other tasks.
- Titanium is a heavier material, so it will add some weight to the knife.
- The bead blast finish on the handle does make the knife more prone to rusting or corroding because of the micro abrasions.
- The pocket clip can only be carried tip up.
Zero Tolerance is a sub brand of Kai. Kai has a commitment to innovation, so you know that any of their sub brands will also be committed to innovation. Zero Tolerance has been proudly known to “overbuild” their knives, meaning that they use the highest quality materials that they can find. They also make sure that the process of manufacturing is seamless, with one of the best final fit and finishes that exists today. You know that when you are carrying a Zero Tolerance knife, you are going to be protected because your knife will be able to stand up to the tasks of everyday life. These knives are going to last a lifetime with you.
With their newest knife, the 0055, they started with a premium steel that has been known as one of the best knives on the market for knife blades. They finished it with a low maintenance finish so that you don’t have to worry about scratches and fingerprints. The titanium handle is durable, resistant to corrosion, and provides you with a warm touch. With the highest quality materials and some of their most innovative mechanisms, this knife will truly change your everyday carry standards.