ZT Knives 0357 Work, Camp, Outdoor, Hunting Pocketknife Review
The right-sized pocket folder for any job.
"That's not a knife .that's a knife." If you go by the 1980s cinematic definition of what is and isn't a knife, you'd think we'd all be packing broadswords as our everyday carry blades to cut our cheese and open packages. But today's standards are thankfully grounded in a more realistic approach of what does and does not constitute a "real" knife. Nowadays, real-world knives tout quality steel, smooth operation, and long life above flash, bravado, and gimmicky showmanship.
One such offering in the world of high-quality, everyday-carry blades is the Zero Tolerance 0357. If you're unfamiliar with ZT Knives, it's a premium division of Kai USA, which makes Kershaw knives. Since 2006, ZT Knives has offered top-shelf, USA-made knives built from the best materials and available in a huge variety of styles for many applications. And ZT's new 0357 is a "right-sized" assisted-opening pocket folder that holds to the high ZT Knives standards of material and build quality yet doesn't break the bank compared with other offerings of comparable quality. The ZT Knives 0357 is an option that will no doubt make sense for many.
Zero Tolerance 0357 Construction
The ZT Knives 0357 is an everyday workhorse that uses great-quality materials to construct a no-nonsense tool for any occasion. The 3.25-inch blade is ZT's familiar USA-made CMP 20CV steel with high levels of vanadium carbides and very high levels of chromium for excellent corrosion resistance. The blade has a Rockwell hardness of 57-59 for a great blend of strength and edge retention without being brittle. The "working" finish helps scratches blend into the finish and go unnoticed, and the G10 composite handles on both sides are a simple black finish that will look great for years. Inside, the frame and liner are stainless steel for long life. Like all ZT Knives we've tested, the 0357 comes drilled for the pocket clip on both sides, which we promptly swapped to accommodate our left-handed draw.
Zero Tolerance 0357 Carry, Operation, and Impressions
The ZT Knives 0357 is one of those "Goldilocks" sizes that's not too big and not too small. With a closed length of only 4.4 inches and an overall thickness (minus the pocket clip) of 0.47 inch, it easily disappears in your pocket. The handle and blade are wide enough so that you feel you're working with a real tool, not a toy, but not so large that you notice it jabbing your thigh with every step and movement. The flipper features rounded serrations for a secure purchase when opening. It's large enough to easily get your index finger on it, but not so large it snags on your pocket when drawing. The ZT SpeedSafe assisted opening system requires a moderate amount of pressure to overcome the spring fulcrum, then the blade sails open briskly and snaps into place with the liner lock securing it with a sweet mechanical "click." The opening action is buttery smooth, but the liner lock disengagement requires some pressure to overcome. This is by no means a criticism. On the contrary, a stiff liner lock is essential in creating a knife that's safe to work with, as a weak lock can be overcome when working with the knife, allowing it to close on your fingers as they grip the handle.
Sliding the liner lock over to the side, the blade can be folded back into the closed position. From a blade angle of about 90 degrees almost all the way to closed, you're preloading the assisted-opening spring so it takes just slightly more closing force than a non-assisted opening knife; but with the spring not engaging until the knife is already halfway closed, it's a very natural movement that feels as fluid as the opening.
The drop point blade features almost a penknife profile for a good compromise between working edge for skinning or carving and piercing. The edge is razor-sharp out of the box, which makes the grated gripping texture cut into both sides of the G10 composite handle all the more appreciated, especially when using the knife in the cold or wet.
Zero Tolerance 0357: Bottom Line
As one of the higher-end knife makers on the scene, the words "affordable" and ZT Knives don't always go hand in hand. But with a street price commonly found just under $150, the 0357 is an exception to the pricier variants you may find on ZT's website. Yes, there are those who balk at paying more than $50 for any knife, probably because they're the type who either lose or destroy them. But for those of us who look at a good knife as a tool to take care of for a lifetime and then pass down, we think the ZT 0357 is a can't-miss option that won't disappoint on any level.
Zero Tolerance 0357 Specs
Blade Steel - CPM- 20CV (57-59 HRC)
Blade Shape - Drop Point/Pen
Blade Length - 3.25 inch
Blade Thickness - 0.121 inch
Open - 7.625 inch
Handle Thickness - 0.47 inch