Zero Tolerance 0350SW Knife Review
You’ve seen the movie Crocodile Dundee, right? If you haven’t, check it out sometime. It’s an 80s classic. What makes this movie so special for all knife lovers is the following scene, a scene that made me a knife fanatic: Flash back to 1986. Mick Dundee and his “Sheila” (That’s Australian for girlfriend.) walk outside after a lovely dinner. Out of nowhere, a mugger armed with a fairly impressive switchblade demands Dundee’s wallet. Nervous and scared, Mick’s girlfriend says, “Mick give him your wallet.” With utter disrespect in his eyes and mockery in his tone, the out-of-place Australian replies, “What for?” “He’s got a knife!” she cries. But with a swagger and nonchalant disdain for the wimpy switchblade, he says, “That’s not a knife (quickly unveiling his monstrous sword of a knife)…that’s a knife!” Then Mick proceeds in awesome form to carve up the dude’s sweet 80s red leather jacket, causing the thug and his friends to sheepishly run away.
So what does Crocodile Dundee have to do with the Zero Tolerance (ZT) 0350SW? Simple, Mick Dundee himself would take one look at the ZT 0350SW and say, “That’s a knife!” The Zero Tolerance line is a product of KAI USA Ltd., which also produces the widely popular Kershaw brand based out of Tualatin, Oregon. Zero Tolerance knives were initially geared towards military, law enforcement and other first responders who need “hard use” and tactical knives. In recent years, however, the ZT blades have become a must-have for all knife enthusiasts. With first responders always in mind, the folks at Zero Tolerance tend to put out high-end, beefy knives. You can always bank on top grade steel and great ergonomics. This gives Zero Tolerance knives a tactical style but with the everyday carrier in mind. In a sentence, Zero Tolerance produces no-nonsense knives that are big, powerful, quick and reliable.
Zero Tolerance 0350SW Features That Matter
The Zero Tolerance 0350SW is a true work of art. The Ken Onion design features a drop point blade that swaps out the DLC coating of the 0350 with a nice stonewashed finish. The blade’s graceful lines remind me of a great white shark in terms of both the color and the appearance. The belly of the blade is huge because of its sheer size and deep hollow grind. The spine of the blade features a modified swedge. This feature is only for eye candy, but it adds to that great white shark veneer. When it comes to design, though, aesthetics is just the tip of the iceberg. The Zero Tolerance 0350SW is made of S30v steel, which is one of the finest steels on the market. It’s incredibly hard, retains an edge well and is perfect for everyday carry performance. In my opinion, S30v steel is more difficult to sharpen than other steels—but this challenge should by no means be a deterrent. In fact, once this steel is sharpened, it’s easy to see just how serious this knife is.
From the blade, it’s a logical move to look next at the fast-action flipper. The flipper is ambidextrous and simple to use. One press, and the SpeedSafe assisted-opening mechanism takes over. In my opinion, this is one of the easiest and quickest assisted-open systems available today. Zero Tolerance also markets the 0350 series as having ambidextrous thumb studs—but the left-hand stud is nestled a bit too close to the handle to be useful (lacking the extra clearance of the side providing access to the liner lock). The right-hand stud also needs considerably more force applied to it in order to get the blade to swing open, but I kind of like that. For the easiest open, you’ll want to stick with the flipper. Similar to most modern knives, the flipper doubles as a finger guard—another useful feature that ensures additional safety by giving the user better control over the knife.
Seeing that there is no way to feel or handle this knife across the pages of the magazine, let me tell you about the G-10 handles of the ZT 0350SW. It’s extremely comfortable in the hand. There are virtually no hot-spots where your hand meets an uncomfortable curve or angle. The handle is also noticeably large which lets you maintain a firm grip—handy for those work-intensive days. The pocket clip can also be stationed in four different places on the handle for tip-up or tip-down carry. (Tip-down is the default.) The most impressive thing I noticed, however, was that in each of the four areas, the pocket clip didn’t affect the comfort of the handle. This is actually quite impressive. Another feature of the handle that I like is the nice, fat liner lock. I dislike liner locks that are paper thin and weak. That usually translates into a sharp edge that bites into your thumb over time. Plus, when I see a liner lock that thin, I get nervous about the possibility of failure and what that would mean for the fate of my fingers. The Zero Tolerance 0350SW offers a strong, thick liner lock that is sure to protect your phalanges.
Zero Tolerance 0350SW Knife Final Thoughts
This knife is just so comfortable to carry—and that has to be stated over and over because the size of the knife could, at first glance, suggest otherwise. When I first saw it, I thought there was no way that I could recommend this as a legitimate every day carry (EDC) knife. After a month of daily carry, though, I didn’t find it to be bulky at all. I now believe I know why. If you carry an iPhone (or a phone like it), you know that it isn’t cumbersome because of the way it fits in the pocket. I find this to also be true with the ZT 0350SW. The wide body just doesn’t bother me when I carry it, and so I often forget that I’ve even got it in my pocket. To me, that is the sign of a good EDC knife. In fact, I carry my iPhone and 0350SW in the same pocket, and it works fine. While you may initially think the ZT 0350SW is too big and clunky to carry conveniently, I would encourage you to consider all of these other features. Don’t let the size scare you off like it did Dundee’s would-be muggers.
Next, the S30v steel on this blade is fantastic. I love how the knife keeps an edge. I mentioned earlier that it’s tough to sharpen, but once you do achieve the desired edge, the blade melts everything in its path. For everyday carry purposes this is more than desirable, it’s necessary, unless you need to use a knife for more detailed cuts. Overall, I think the blade on the 0350SW is worth the price of the entire knife.
On such a brilliantly-made knife, I hate to nitpick, but in order to be true to my thoughts on this knife, I will. Really, my only critique is with regard to the gimping located on the spine of the G-10 handles. At the risk of having to turn in my Man Card, I found the gimping to be so pronounced, it actually hurts a bit. When I used the flipper, my fingertip would drag across the top. And, well, it’s really rough. I thought that if I maneuvered my finger in a way that enabled me to hit the gimping differently it might help, but alas I have not found a way around it. Bottom line: Your finger will receive a bite when you press the flipper. Of course, that effect will be minimized if you already have rough or calloused hands. Is this a deal breaker on such a marvelous creation? I think not—not by a long shot.
Who Should Buy This Knife? (or, Final, Final Thoughts)
The Zero Tolerance 0350SW is a top-of-the-line knife for those who want a tough blade for hard use and everyday needs. If you’re in the military or law enforcement, this is the one to own when you’re off-duty. If you love a nice, big EDC that sports a beautiful blade and a comfortable feel, add this one to your collection. If you happen to work in a fairly conservative office environment, you may want to leave this one at home. But on the weekend, when it’s time to play hard, prepare for battle with this great white shark of a knife. You won’t be sorry. So whether you’re Mick Dundee or just another average Joe, give this knife a go and enjoy the power of the Zero Tolerance 0350SW.
- Overall Length: 7.75 in
- Blade Length: 3.25 in.
- Blade Thickness: 0.12 in.
- Blade Steel: S30V Stainless
- Handle Material: Textured Black G-10
- Closed Length: 4.50 in.
- Handle Thickness: 0.494 in.
- Weight: 5.8 oz.
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
- Price: $140