Finally! A Zero Tolerance 0560 review. It feels like forever ago since the 560 was first announced at the 2011 BLADE Show. Since then I have heard the rumors, ogled the pre-production photos, and even caught a glimpse or two of the knife in some 2012 SHOT Show coverage. But that wasn’t going to do it. I needed this knife. What is it about Hinderer’s designs that have us fiending like depraved characters on a rerun of The Wire? Needless to say, I pre-ordered this bad boy a long time ago, and didn’t think twice about plunking down over $250 for the chance to check out this knife. After all, compared to a real Hinderer it seemed like a steal.
And for me, that really was part of the allure. If you spend any amount of time in knife circles, Rick Hinderer is a name that constantly resurfaces. Known for making highly sought after custom and semi-production folding tactical knives, his pieces easily command prices of $600 and up. So his recent relatively inexpensive collaboration with Zero Tolerance really caught my eye. Much like the ZT 0550, the 0560 allows you to get your hands on a Hinderer design without paying the Hinderer price tag. And I will tell you, as someone who owns both the 0550 and 0560, the praise for Rick’s designs is well deserved. This is a phenomenal knife, and it’s not going to make resisting a XM-18 any easier!
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The 0560 has an overall length of 8.8″, a 3.75″ blade, and a weight of 5.8 ounces. So yes, this is a big knife. For me it isn’t the most practical size for EDC, although that certainly didn’t prevent me from cramming the 560 into my pocket the moment it arrived. I have to say that one thing you will not hear me complain about is the weight. The 0560 is an incredibly light and balanced knife for its size. For example, the 0560 is substantially larger than the 0550, but weighs the exact same. It’s wonderful. And next to something like a ZT 0300 there is no comparison at all. For such a large knife I had no problem carrying it as my primary blade.
The blade is a sturdy modified drop point design. It shares a number of similarities to the blade on the 0550, having a similar swedge, and being made from 4mm thick blade stock. Both designs have high flat grinds, neatly applied edges, and feature a stone washed finish. This is a highly functional blade shape. The tip is extremely sturdy, there is a lot of belly for utility work, and the knife arrived exceptionally sharp. Considering the thick blade stock this is actually a very decent slicer, and zipped through cardboard without issue. In my experience this well rounded blade shape works great for most of daily tasks.
Kershaw and Rick went with ELMAX for the blade steel. This is a high end powdered steel made by the Austrian manufacturer Bohler-Uddeholm. I don’t have a ton of experience with ELMAX yet, but my initial research revealed that this is very interesting steel. According to Bohler, this is a high Chromium formulation that is extremely wear and corrosion resistant, while also being quite tough. It does best heat treated to between 58-60 HRC, and is often used as a high speed tool steel in both the electronics and food processing industries, where wear and corrosion resistance are both extremely important. These same properties are also important for cutlery, making ELMAX a natural choice for high end knives. This is exotic stuff, and my initial impressions are very good. ZT heat treated the blades to around 60 HRC, which is right in the sweet spot. As far as edge retention is concerned, I expect this to perform better than S30V, but not quite as well as as M390 or S90V.
Handle, Ergonomics and Pocket Clip
Handle construction on the 0560 is truly next level stuff. I have always been impressed by the extreme levels of fit and finish found in ZT knives, but the 0560 has really been kicked up a notch. What we have here is a black G10 scale over a stainless steel liner on one side, and a titanium framelock on the other. Zero Tolerance also makes the 0561, which is the same knife with a brown G10 scale. What I found especially impressive about the 0560 is how they have 3d machined these handles. The surface of the handles are slightly radiused and everything has been precision cut. The stainless steel liner has been thoroughly milled to reduce weight, and even the titanium side has been milled out. These “weight relief pockets” really lighten the knife up. It’s an ingenious detail that I haven’t seen before, and it really sets the 560 apart.
In hand the 0560 feels extremely secure. There is aggressive jimping on the thumb ramp and choil, and it really locks your hand in place. The ergonomics are aggressive, and some might find the jimping too sharp. Personally I found that they were not aggressive to the point where the knife was uncomfortable to use. This knife was designed to get work done in all conditions so I can’t fault the knife for providing all this traction. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The pocket clip is a brand new design for the 0560. This was especially interesting to me because with a big knife like this, the pocket clip will be the difference between making the knife a daily carry item, or a sock-drawer novelty. The clip ZT previously used was actually pretty good, so I approached this new design cautiously.
So I am very pleased to say that I like the new clip a lot. It’s functional, discrete and a little more refined than the old style of clip found on many Zero Tolerance offerings. It is an attractive deep carry clip that can be mounted on all 4 corners. I am also happy to say that retention is excellent. Additionally, I found the 0560 to carry very well. Living in Florida, I often wear lightweight shorts. The clip on the 0560 performed flawlessly, holding the knife exactly where I wanted it. This great clip combined with the thin and lightweight design made the 0560 a joy to carry.
Deployment and Lockup
Deployment on the 0560 is absolutely effortless thanks to a nice flipper design and Kershaw Velocity Technology (KVT). KVT is a bearing system that replaces a more traditional phosphor bronze or teflon washer with a series of small ball bearings. In this case, the bearings are pressed into a nylon race so when you take the knife apart, the bearings don’t go everywhere (contrast that with IKBS, where the bearings sit loose in a groove, and they can go everywhere if you disassemble they knife). In practice, KVT makes for exceptionally smooth deployment. The design gives you the option of a flipper or ambidextrous thumb studs, and either method results in smooth, near-effortless deployment.
I will say that I have noticed that some people have had issues deploying the 0560 with the right hand thumb stud. What can happen is if you try to deploy the knife with your right hand, you can you end up putting pressure on the lock bar. This makes it more difficult to overcome the ball detent with this particular design. The thumb studs actually double as a stop pin, so some argue that this knife was designed to only used as a flipper (like say, the Kershaw Skyline). As a lefty I had no problem with using the thumb studs, and found that I could even use them with my right hand if I was careful not to put a lot of pressure on the lock bar. I don’t think this is a huge deal at all, but since there are (very) few gripes with this knife I thought it was worth mentioning.
Like Hinderer’s in-house knives, the 0560 makes use of a beefy titanium framelock. The knife world knows Rick can design a frame lock, and Zero Tolerance has proven time and time again that they know how to make production framelocks right. My knife locks up early, there is no blade play at all. Also there is also no stickiness when you go to disengage the lock bar. This is pure framelock bliss, and is exactly what I expect from a high end titanium framelock knife.
Zero Tolerance 0560 – Final Thoughts
As far as I am concerned, the ZT 0560 is a marvel of a folding knife, and a technological masterpiece. The folks at ZT absolutely loaded this one to the gills with the latest and greatest features and manufacturing – and the resulting knife is absolutely wild.
The 0560 is impossibly light, the blade opens effortlessly, the machining and overall level of fit and finish is astounding, and the materials are absolutely top notch. I also think the design is quite attractive – that never hurts. The lightening pockets in the titanium handle slab is nothing short of revolutionary, and I don’t doubt that this will be a game changer for other manufacturers. This is easily another home run for Zero Tolerance and is without a doubt their most exciting offering to date.
I recommend purchasing the 0560 at Amazon or BladeHQ. Purchasing anything through any of the links on this site helps support BladeReviews, and keeps this review train running. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated!