The Zero Tolerance 0301 Ranger Green has been the best folding knife we’ve reviewed to date, and has made us an instant fan of this elite branch of Kershaw knives. We’re also fond of “flipper” style knives like this one. A flipper folding knife is a knife with a tab on the back of the blade designed to be depressed with the index finger, thereby extending the blade in conjunction with a flipping motion of the wrist. There are many methods of opening a folding knife, what makes one better than the next is basically ease of use. In this situation what we’re looking for with ease of use is the least amount of training, dexterity, and fine motor control required to open the knife quickly and efficiently. This knife has the regular thumb stud you see on most folders as well as the flipper tab, either method can be used for opening the knife. We like the flipper because it’s very easy to index and depress, even when the hands are wet or an individual’s fight or flight nervous system response is in full effect. This particular model features their patented SpeedSafe opening system, a spring assist that makes it even easier to open. The heavy blade swings open violently and its strong lockup is both audible and palpable. The titanium side lock and large pivot shaft with 3/8” hex head nut are some of the most heavy duty components we’ve seen on a folder. This thing is overbuilt, just like we like it. The handle is large, fits very well in the hand, and has plenty of aggressive texturing making for a very secure grip. In fact, the handle scales are 3D machined. One out of titanium and the other out of G10. The blade is heavy and wide. Blade shape is not necessarily the design of a purpose built stabbing knife but it’s weight, sharpness from factory, clip point angle, and high quality steel (S30V) ensure it will serve this purpose well, The slight recurvature associated with many Ken Onion blade designs also allows this to be an excellent slasher when manipulated in both forward and reverse grip styles. Ken Onion (designer) is very well known and respected in the knife making community. The blade is coated with a Tungsten DLC coating in a tiger stripe pattern to reduce friction and increase blade HRC. It is also non-reflective. This blade will serve the user well, if necessary, in self-defense situations. The design of this blade also makes it an excellent bushcraft and field knife. It will easily carve, whittle, shave tinder, skin an animal, and even split wood if propelled by a heavy object. The pocket clip is well made, sturdy, durable, works well, and can be mounted in four different configurations. These include left and right handed tip up or tip down pocket carry.
Design, functionality, fit, and finish of this knife are outstanding.
Weight and cost are the only limiting factors of this knife. It’s quite heavy and can only be carried in the pocket of sturdy pants or shorts. It’s also quite expensive.
Rating: We give this knife our highest rating, 10 out of 10 bones.
· Made in the USA
· Assisted opening
· Titanium frame lock
· Quad-mount clip (tip-up/down; left/right)
· Steel: S30V, Tungsten DLC coating, tiger stripe
· Handle: 3D Machined G-10 front, titanium back
· Blade length: 3.75 in. (9.5 cm)
· Closed length: 5.1 in. (13 cm)
· Overall length: 8.6 in. (21.9 cm)
· Weight: 8 oz. (226.8 g)
The ZT 0561 is a knife that prior to Zero Tolerance selling, was only available for almost three times as much money. Although we can’t say for certain that Rick Hinderer XM-18 knives warrant the extremely high price tag, the beautiful functionality of this design is undeniable. We must start this review saying that we received this knife from the factory crucially flawed. There is a small retention post on the frame-lock that fits into a female hole in the blade to ensure the blade stays closed while not in use. This is necessary due to the very smooth operation of the KVT ball-bearing system of which this knife is equipped. Either our retention post was too long or the hole in the blade was too deep. The end result was that the blade could not be opened when the knife was clutched tightly in the hand. While this can easily be remedied by loosing ones grip during the opening process we still consider this a major issue. In a situation when an individual would need to use their pocket knife for self-defense that individuals stress response would not allow them to have to have the extra cognitive ability and fine motor skills needed to employ this knife quickly and effectively. The few extra seconds it could take to get the knife open in this situation could cost the user their life or the life of a loved one. That being said it was easy to recognize the flaw after manipulating the knife for only a few moments, and relatively easy to fix with a Dremel tool. We don’t believe you should have to do that kind of work on a knife that is this expensive. We have yet to contact the company on this issue and will update this review as to their response when we do so. To continue the review, the grip on this knife is secure and the materials used are light and effective. The handle is 3D machined G-10 on the front, and strong, lightweight 3D machined titanium on the back. The framelock is titanium with a steel lockbar insert and stabilizer. The opening mechanism is a flipper style with thumb studs on both sides of the blade. See our review on the ZT 0301 for more info on the flipper mechanism. The ball bearing action is very smooth and lightning quick when clean but can easily become gritty if not properly maintained (proper maintenance is important for all edged weapons). The design of the blade, sharpness from factory, and the ELMAX steel itself are irreproachable. The blade is proficient in slashing and stabbing, it can also handle a variety of bushcraft tasks with ease. It holds an edge very well and is not particularly prone to corrosion. The deep carry pocket clip was a good idea on paper but a horrible design in practice. It allows the knife to sit so low in the pocket that it is virtually undistinguishable as a knife. The problem is that the clip itself is very weak. It’s prone to getting caught on things, and when it does it gets bent out of shape very easily. It is also nearly impossible to bend it back, again because of the design. The good news is ZT’s customer service has been amazing in this regard and they send out extra clips no questions asked. We hope they design a new one for this knife soon. The clip getting bent bothers us so much we retired this blade to use in a bugout bag. We recommend this knife to anyone who wants a great blade they don’t mind tinkering with, performing regular maintenance on, and possibly replacing the pocket clip a few times a year.
Excellent blade design, high quality material, well designed handle with good grip.
The pocket clip is terrible, and it came from the factory needing work.
Seven out of Ten Bones.