I have a man crush on Dmitry Sinkevich. There, I’ve said it. Ever since the Zero Tolerance 0454 came out in very limited quantity, I’ve been fascinated by Dmitry’s design vision. You can take a look at the 0454 here. They’re long gone, but you can still enjoy the eye candy. Now we can thank Mr. Sinkevich for teaming up with Kai USA once again to bring us the Zero Tolerance 0450 based on that award winning design. The new 0450 is more compact and made with different materials, but the design is intact and it’s still of a very fine quality.
Zero Tolerance 0450 Materials
Like the Zero Tolerance 0900 that Steve Villarete shared with us last week, the blade is made from S35VN steel. This proprietary USA manufactured steel by Crucible Industries introduces a material that I’m familiar with, but you may not be: niobium. Niobium was used in the construction of the race wheels for my bicycle. It’s an element that adds toughness to the material and what allowed my 195 pound self to still race on ultra light wheels. It does the same thing for knives. S30V was touted as one of the best, if not the best knife steel for a while, but the S35VN is heralded as being even better for edge retention, machinability, and resistance to breaking.
The Zero Tolerance 0450 handle is made from titanium. Stronger than steel, this material is also lighter. It also offers better corrosion resistance than steel or aluminum. It does suffer slightly as a handle material in that it will scratch easier than steel. However, the lighter weight makes it a top choice among premium knives.
Zero Tolerance 0450 Specifications
- Deployment System: Manual, KVT ball bearing
- Locking Mechanism: Frame lock
- Clip Positions: 2, tip up
- Clip Style: Deep carry
- Blade Material: S35VN, stonewash and satin finish
- Handle Material: Titanium, stonewash finish
- Blade Length: 3.25″
- Closed Length: 4.1″
- Overall Length: 7.4″
- Weight: 2.9 ounces
- Price: $200
Zero Tolerance 0450 Design and Function
There are two sides to the Zero Tolerance 0450. Opposite the frame lock, it has an appearance of elegance that is better suited to clip on to suit pants rather than jeans. It seems to have a better fit as a gentleman’s pocket knife in that regard. Flipping it around and deploying the blade causes me to reminisce about James Bond. The two sides are very much the difference between the “sipping on a vodka martini, shaken not stirred” Bond, and “I’m here to assassinate you” side. I absolutely love this split personality design. Since the clip is reversible, you can decide which personality you want people to see when it comes out of your pocket. On the back near the lanyard hole, you’ll find just a touch of red. Whether that’s a nod to Sinkevich’s Russian roots or just a splash of color to draw the eye, I love it.
I found just one flaw on the Zero Tolerance 0450 and it’s unfortunately an unavoidable part of the owner experience. The frame lock is oversize, taking up a little more than two inches of the handle. With the pin detent in the lock, many right handed users (myself included) will inadvertently push that detent against the blade, making it very difficult to deploy. However, you can overcome this by adjusting your middle finger down to the clip so the pressure is removed. It was a little awkward at first. After about 10 minutes of practice it became a very comfortable position to hold. I know many people will disagree with me feeling that I should bring down the rating some for that, but I don’t mind an adjustment that so easily became a natural hold for all my EDCs.
Now that we’ve overcome the detent, let’s talk deployment. The 0450 is a manual flipper that benefits from the KVT bearing system. The action of applying pressure to overcome the holding power of the detent then transfers into a wonderfully smooth and fast opening. I checked it against one of our favorite EDC’s ever – the Kershaw Blur that features SpeedSafe assisted opening. The KVT bearing system on this knife was consistently faster in deployment than the Blur. Did I mention that it’s smooth? Oh, so smooth!
With such a substantial frame lock, it’s no surprise that locking is extremely solid. Even deploying the blade as gently as I could, it fully locks into place without danger of failure.
Where some users may take exception is the clip. It’s a two position tip up carry that most people will find acceptable. The potential pitfall is when the clip is on the frame lock side. It rests on the border between the frame and the lock so it won’t be as strong a hold as it would if this were a liner lock design. Despite that, I feel that it has plenty of holding strength. It’s also very easy to slip onto your pocket seam. Some clips hang up slightly or force me to look down when clipping the knife on, but the Zero Tolerance 0450 does this as well as any knife I’ve used.
I am able to get a comfortable four finger grip on the handle in both forward and reverse positions. Jimping on the lower spine helps overcome the smooth titanium handle surface and secure the grip. The plain edge drop point design of the blade makes it useful for slicing and piercing duties. Combining the smooth handle with a thin, sleek design is going to lend the 0450 to more light duty applications, though it’s strong enough to handle much more than its appearance would make you think.
I love the Zero Tolerance 0450 by Dmitry Sinkevich. The combination of high quality materials and Made in the USA construction make this an easy choice as a favorite. The gorgeous design is fully comfortable in my jeans at work or dress pants at church. S35VN blade steel ensures that the edge should hold several times longer than mid grade steel while being even stronger. The titanium handle provides light weight and corrosion resistance that no other metal can offer in combination. The 0450 is built to last. Heck, they back it with a lifetime warranty and will even sharpen for you if you send it to them. You can bet that the Zero Tolerance 0450 is a knife that I’ll be proud to pass on to my son who can expect to enjoy a long service life from it.