EDC For CCW (And Kershaw Factory Swag): Zero Tolerance 0350

Image: Chris Dumm

Kershaw parent company KAI USA sells three different brands of knives: Kershaw, Shun (kitchen cutlery) and Zero Tolerance. Some would say they’re four different brands, because many users make a distinction between US-made and imported Kershaws. I’ve got nothing but good things to say about my imported Kershaws, although I’ve got even better things to say about my US-made models.

The Zero Tolerance brand is all US-made, and it’s their top of the line in tactical knives, an S30V Lexus to Kershaw’s 14C28N Toyota. Many of the same design elements are common to Kershaw and Zero Tolerance knives, but the ZTs are bigger and stronger and made with fancier steels. They’re not cheaply made, and they’re not cheap.

I only got turned on to Zero Tolerance knives when I visited the Kershaw booth at last year’s SHOT Show. Each one I looked at had an exotic steel blade and was built like a brick shithouse, but I knew that ZT price points were basically out of my reach.

Imagine my lust when this ZT 0350TSST assisted opener called to me from among a box of its siblings at the Kershaw Factory Sale. When I saw the deeply-discounted price of this factory second (but couldn’t find a single blemish anywhere on it) I knew that my ZT drought was coming to an end.

Image: Chris DummThis knife is sick: a 3.25″ S30V combo blade with a tigerstripe tungsten DLC coating, G10 scales, the thickest liners I’ve ever seen, and a fully reversible 4-way pocket clip. It’s all made in the USA with a street price of $140, but I got this no-warranty second for just less than half of that. (I think I may have found the blemish, but I’ll have to find just the right photo of a standard 0350 to be sure because it doesn’t actually look like a defect. Stay tuned for the full review.)

I’m not usually a fan of combo edges, but I decided to give them a try this time because the deep belly of the plain section gives it a lot of usable slicing edge. And also because S30V is so monstrously tough that I probably can’t trash the serrations unless I try to saw through a roofing nail. I can’t wait to test this beast.

As always, stay tuned for the full review.



  1. Daniel says:

    Hubba Hubba

  2. Phydeaux says:

    I learned this year that attending the Kershaw knife factory sale is twice as expensive when your wife comes along. She got a Shun 10″ chef’s knife and a bread knife. My big purchase was a ZT 0560 Hinderer for a mere $115. Sweet!

    1. Tom in Oregon says:

      Isn’t their factory seconds sale about now?

      1. John F. MacMichael says:

        It was last weekend, December 5-7. They seem to do it Friday thru Sunday, the first weekend in December.

  3. Mike L says:

    If a ‘handful’ of a knife is your cup of tea, check out the Ontario XM-1. Had it for years and it still scares me.

  4. Thomas M. says:

    I own a ZT 0350, and tried using it as an EDC blade. It’s just too heavy. I have the non-serrated version. Mine is also a factory second, and the defect in mine is a small chip in the DLC blade coating near the beginning of the grind.

    I appreciate how stoutly it’s built, but it’s just too much knife to carry around. I’m a big guy and I wear jeans, and it just takes up too much room, and it’s too heavy.

    I currently carry a Kershaw Skyline, FDE with a black DLC coated blade. No assist, but it’s light, and it fits in my pocket. The skyline is not a hard use a knife, but I’m not in a warzone, nor do I depend on my EDC knife for self defense, or for survival.

    All that said, I wouldn’t trade my 0350.

  5. Jim Barrett says:

    I have one of these and have carried it for a while now. I love it. I disagree that it’s too big – I’m 5’11” and it fits fine in my pocket. I like the fact that the clip can be mounted in four different positions, which makes if very adaptable. My other knife only had two different mount points. Don’t know what the price was at the factory sale, but Amazon has these for about $120 or so. I don’t consider that a bad price at all for a quality folder.

  6. Tom S. says:

    Chris –

    I love a knife like this – but with all that blade curvature and that super hard steel – how do you sharpen a razor like that.

    Maybe you don’t….

    1. William Burke says:

      S35 whatever-the-suffix-is would be better, but this is still cool. Probably won’t buy one, though…

    2. Marcus Aurelius says:

      Water stones are good if you can stand the mess they make. You can work down one edge of the stone so it fits the recurve of the blade. But honestly a sharpmaker would be easy, the wooden block with the ceramic sticks that stick up.

      If you’re clever DMT stones can work well, it’s just kind of a pain using the edge of a stone to get into the concave portion of the blade. Alternatively get the serrated version of the knife and the concave portion is all serration and the straight portion of the blade is the part that’s more easily sharpened.

      1. William Burke says:

        WAY beyond my manual dexterity. It’s harder than threading a needle, right? Count me out…. if I need an edge like that, I’ll pay a professional. If I know how to find one.

    3. Chris Dumm says:

      The convex plain edge portion is easy to touch up, and a Sharpmaker can do it. I’ve got no confidence that I could put an edge back on it if it really got dull, though.

      1. Tom S. says:

        I’ve got plenty of ceramic sticks for touch up… can always use the bottom of ceramic coffee mug or a car window in a pinch.

  7. Marcus Aurelius says:

    There is also the SKD variant. 0360.skd with the different shaped blade and glass breaker in the base.

  8. Joe Bob says:

    I own a 300 series ZT and carried it for about a year until the spyderco resilence came out. Now thats a knife. Also got a chinese made Kasper for $25. Now thats a heavy handfull of a knife but with too short a blade just like this ZT. Love the flipper action on the ZT’s and my new kershaw cryo II.

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EDC For CCW (And Kershaw Factory Swag): Zero Tolerance 0350

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