Zero Tolerance 0560 Review

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.

Zero Tolerance 0560

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.

Zero Tolerance 0560 Blade

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.

Zero Tolerance 0560 Handle

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.

Zero Tolerance 0560 Pocket Clip

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.

Kershaw Velocity Technology

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.

Zero Tolerance 0560 Lockup

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!

Price Disclaimer
Prices are accurate as of less than 12 hours ago. Product prices and availability are subject to change. Any price and availablility information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of any products.
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This entry was posted in Hard Use Folding Knives, Made in the USA, Tactical Knives, Titanium Frame Lock Knives, Zero Tolerance and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Zero Tolerance 0560 Review

  1. Roadkill says:

    That knife has some very nice lines to it. I love how flippers make such great guards. Blade profile looks great. Knives like this make me wish I liked frame and liner locks again. Good one.

    • Dan says:

      RK, this knife is quite sexy. I can definitely see why Hinderer’s knives get their appeal from. And yes, that flipper makes a great guard. There is a lot to like about this one. Thanks so much for stopping by.

  2. Anon R.D. says:

    Whoa — Beautiful knife! Classic lines, what a functional look. And I speak as one who thinks the ZT 0300 and 0350 are aesthetically challenged blades that need to go on a diet.

    I take it the 0560 is a manual folder?

    Looks like an awesome package. 5.8 oz is not light but then again even a lightweight pistol weighs 3x as much — useful perspective.

    • Dan says:

      Hey Anon,

      Thanks for stoppin by – I totally agree. Yes, the 0560 is a manual folder. An extremely smooth one. I agree, 5.8 oz ain’t no feather, but considering what you are getting it’s not bad. And next to the 0300 it definitely feels light! :)

  3. Lew says:

    Now that is a beaut! Ever so slightly pricy but you can see right away where that money went. Smooth machining, great curves and an innovative design (especially in the pivot). As always, great review!

    • Dan says:

      Thank you Lew! And I totally agree. This isn’t an inexpensive knife, but I certainly feel like you get what you pay for. They crammed a ton of innovation into this one. It would be great to see it trickle down into some of their other (less expensive) models.

  4. Claude says:

    Hi Dan and others.

    I’m torn betweeb the ZT 0560 and the Spyderco Gayle Bradley (well, I’m not really torn… I’ll have to get them both) I can’t decide which knife to get first… you speak highly of both blades… all things considered except design. which knife would you say leaves you with the most ‘oomph’… I’m looking for the most ‘wow’ factor…

    I’ll probably have to get the vice versa real soon, just looking for that last bit of informed opinion to tip the scales for me :D

    Thanks in advance and thanks for a great site!
    Claude

    • Dan says:

      Hey Claude!

      The Gayle Bradley is a nice knife, but if you are looking for wow factor I would have to go with the ZT 0560 all day long. It’s an incredible knife. The GB is no slouch either, but based on your criteria, the 0560 would be my choice. It’s just over the top in every way.

      Thanks for reading my friend, and glad you have been enjoying the site – I really appreciate the kind words!

      Best,

      Dan

      • Claude says:

        Hi Dan

        So… the ZT got here (I got the 0561) and I want to thank you for pushing me towards it! it’s absolutely fantastic… the build quality is excellent, it does very good as an EDC (especially for its size) and it just looks and operates ‘wow’! it’s not quite as good a sliver as my Para Military 2 (I’m guessing this is simply because of the blade thickness) but if doing any hardcore/outdoor work, I’d take the ZT any day.

        I’m bit of a steel nut and I must say, the Elmax on this on takes most of my other knives to school. I have several VG10 based blased and they’re left in the dust, subjectively also S30V takes a back set… this ZT can take a wicked edge (I hone all my knives by hand) and once it gets to a working edge it will stay there for quite some time. I haven’t done any tests but it feels like it lasts longer than S30V. it cannot keep up with S90V.

        I’ve ordere up the Spyderco Gayle Bradley as well and it should arrive in a few days. I’m very keen on seeing how the M4 blade will do. as always I’m confident in Spyderco’s quality.

        Dan, I want to thank you again for doing this site. your reviews and the reasonings behind them are very much aligned to my own sentiments so I enjoy reading and watching all your stuff, even if it’s knives I normally would have no interest in.

        Best regards
        Claude

  5. Dylan says:

    Hey Dan,

    Really love the reviews. I had a question I was hoping you could help me out with. I really love this style of knife, titanium frame-lock with a flipper. But I really the largest knife I could need would be a 3 inch blade. The hinderer xm-18 3 inch is obviously the grail here, but aftermarket prices are a killer (a seriously used one went for $730 on bladeforums this morning!). Do you know if zt has a 3 inch equivalent with a flipper in the works, or is there another knife that would fit the bill for around $250?

    Dylan

    • Dan says:

      Dylan,

      Excellent question, I wish ZT made a smaller version myself – would make for an awesome EDC.

      I do not know if ZT has a smaller version in the works – I hope they do and think it would sell very well, but as of now I haven’t heard of anything.

      As for a comparable flipper, unfortunately nothing comes to mind. You have the 0350, which isn’t a TI framelock and has an assisted opening blade with a recurve. The yet to be released Kershaw Cryo will have a 2.75″ blade a Hinderer design, a flipper, and a price tag of around $30. Probably not what you are looking for either. Kershaw makes the Clash that comes w/ a 3″ blade and flipper, but it is an assisted opener with a plastic handle. Finally, I know Spyderco has that Brad Southard collab in the works (with a flipper and TI framelock, but I’m guessing the blade will be longer than 3″).

      So to my knowledge, nothing else exists in the world of production knives at the moment. You may be able to snag a custom of some sort around $250, might be closer to $350. Will Zermeno might be one maker to consider, I know he makes a lot of TI flippers and his prices seem very reasonable.

      I hope that some day soon the knife we are talking about will exist. Thanks again for the great question.

      Dan

  6. Peter says:

    I’m wondering how this knife compares to the Zero Tolerance 300 and the Chris Reeve Umnumzaan? What are the different strengths of each of these knives and which ones are your favorites?

    • Peter says:

      I mean basically, which would you choose the ZT 560 OR a CRK Umnumzaan.

      • Dan says:

        Peter if money was no object I’d take the Umnumzaan. It’s a more manageable knife and I really dig the look of it. Not to diminish the 0560, a great knife in it’s own right. They strike me as very different blades, but if I could only choose one I have to give it to the Umnum.

        • Peter says:

          ok so overall you’d pick the Umnum, but which one is tougher and which one would you suggest for a first responder?

          • Dan says:

            I’d say they are about as tough, but for a first responder I’d probably select the 0350 honestly.

            It has a very good grip, the assisted opening feature is always nice for something like a first responder, the partially serrated version could be a good choice, and it’s a knife that was meant to be beat up (if you check out my 0350. If you happen to break or lose it well, you can buy 3 more before approaching the cost of a Umnumzaan.

            I don’t like the 0560 for a first responder because it’s just big and unwieldy. I think you would be better off with a stouter knife honestly. Just my .02 of course, hope this helps.

            If I absolutely HAD to pick between an Umnumzaan and a 0560 for a first responder I’d probably still go with the Umnum. It’s just a better knife. It feels more solid, better blade shape for first responder stuff, slightly more manageable, and easy to carry.

  7. Aaron S says:

    So, would you recommend this over a Strider? I’ve been thinking seriously about picking up a Strider, of course I’d love a Hinderer, but since that’s way out of my price range do you think this is a good middle ground? Also, how would the DPx HEST 2.0 fit into this scenario??

    • Dan says:

      Hey Aaron,

      I have never owned a Strider so I’m not sure how much help I can be here… I’ve handled a few and they seem solid but it’s been a while. My understanding is that they have recently tweaked their lock geometry so they are supposed to be real solid. I have been wanting to add one to the collection for a while but they are pretty spendy – at least $100 more than the 0560 for say a Strider SNG. If you are between the two I would really just consider which one you like more. I think practically speaking they are both going to be pretty high quality. As for the Hest 2.0, I’d take a 0550 or a 0560 over a Hest 2.0 – it’s a cool knife but it could use a little refinement in my opinion and I just wasn’t as happy with it as the ZTs. That said, if you get one in good working order it’s a pretty sweet knife for $175 clams.

      So I’m guessing my response didn’t make this much easier! In my opinion the Strider and 0560 are such different knives that it’s a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. Sure they are both expensive TI framelock folders but there are big differences. I think if you want a 0560 you will be very pleased with it. Be advised it is a large knife however, may not be the most practical EDC. Not sure what model Strider you are looking at but they vary widely in size.

      Best,

      Dan

      • Aaron S says:

        Hey Dan,

        Thanks for the reply, I’m fairly new to knife collecting still figuring out what my tastes are, I’m attracted to the Strider’s because of the “premium” nature of the brand… Can’t find any where near me that has them on hand so I’d have to order blind.

        So with that said, have you looked at the HTM GunHammer? Just got one in the mail yesterday and it’s a fantastic knife from what I can tell. Knife center has them at a good price.

        • Dan says:

          Hey Aaron,

          I have not handled a HTM Gunhammer yet although I have always wanted to check one out. Love the look of them (with the regular drop point or “Torpedo” blade) and Darrel Ralph is a legend in the industry. Glad to hear you like yours – I am definitely interested in the knife and would love to review one some day soon. Enjoy the new blade. :)

          Best,

          Dan

  8. akula57 says:

    This is a very nice knife. But there are two issues (mentioned above). The gimping is too aggressive near the flipper. A real Hinderer is not as aggressively gimped here. Secondly, the knife detent was made stronger in the 550 and 560 ZTs than is typical (they admitted to this). Thus, the magic of the ball bearing sytem can be somewhat lost. Due to the detent some other quality knives are easier to open — especially if one is rushed.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks Akula, yeah those are two issues people have had with the knife. Personally, neither bothered me, and I would say they are pretty minor issues, but I have seen them crop up as common issues people have with the knife. They are definitely worth noting.

      Dan

  9. Bruce says:

    Maybe it was just my knife, but the edges on the G10 side were extremely sharp. I spent five minutes going over all the edges on the G10 side lightly with a fine file. So lightly that you can’t see that I did anything, but it made a world of difference as far as comfort in the hand. I recommend this to others who find the jimping “too sharp.” I did not take the knife apart to do this, but I was careful not to get any filing dust into the pivot area.

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