Titanium framelock flippers. Are we sick of them yet? No? Great, because I’ve got another titanium framelock flipper review for you today. Given the rapid influx of titanium framelock flippers on the market, I initially thought that I would pass on the Zero Tolerance 0801. The wide shape, chunky build, and monochromatic look of the knife all lead me to quickly dismiss the knife.
It wasn’t until I handled the 0801 in person that I decided to buy the it. Oddly enough, I became so intrigued that I ended up acquiring 2 of these at once – the standard version, as well as the 0801CF “Copperhead” limited release version of it. This review will focus on the 0801, as the 0801CF is a true collectible that I ended up selling off and never using.
Designed by acclaimed custom maker, Todd Rexford, this understated design is based off of his Singularity custom offering. The 801 is the second in a string of collaborations Todd has done with KAI (the previously reviewed Kershaw Injection being the first). This is his first high end collaboration with Zero Tolerance.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The 0801 has an overall length of 8.2″, a 3.5″ blade, and weighs 5.85 ounces. The 0801 is a substantial knife and you will feel it in your pocket. It isn’t quite as chunky as the 0550, but it’s pretty darn close. No doubt that is due in part to the thick full titanium handle. I can’t think of any other production full titanium flippers on the market at the moment, so that is something to keep in mind. I like the fact that ZT has introduced a full TI handle into their lineup. Just understand that the 0801 ain’t no feather.
The blade on the 0801 is a spearpoint shape with a high flat grind. There is also a swedge that terminates well before the point to support the tip. The blade shape, like the rest of the knife, is pretty sober looking. But it certainly functions well in normal cutting tasks like breaking down cardboard boxes, doing light wood processing, and other general utility tasks. The blade is pretty thin behind the edge and the knife comes very sharp. It’s nice to see a high performance grind on this kind of knife, as the ZT/Hinderer collabs seem to favor strength over slicing.
The 0801 comes in Elmax steel. Elmax has become a staple in Zero Tolerance’s higher end line up. I have come to enjoy Elmax for its combination of good edge retention and relative ease of sharpening. I have had zero issues with rust or corrosion. I think Elmax is a good choice in this higher end offering.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The 0801’s full titanium handle slabs are separated by three black standoffs. This knife has been well executed. There are no visible machining marks, all the parts line up well, and everything has been nicely finished. The oversized decorative pivot is a nice detail, and the black hardware serves as the only contrast on the knife. The handle slabs themselves have been milled out with grooves and has a sort of sweeping faux bolster look. I am not wild and crazy about the grooves or the “ZERO TOLERANCE” brand engraved into the handle, but I have to admit Jim Skelton’s customized version with blue two-tone anodizing job really pops.
The 0801 works fine from an ergonomic standpoint. I wear a large glove and there is just enough room for a 4 finger grip – those with freakishly large hands may run out of real estate. There is something of a forward choil, so you can choke up and get a little more out of the handle if you need to, or lay back for more powerful cuts. There isn’t any jimping on this one, so you don’t have to worry about hot spots for your thumb, but I readily acknowledge that the absence of jimping may be a turn off for some. The rest of the handle feels good. This isn’t a funky handle shape so it should work well for most people.
The pocket clip on the 0801 is straight out of the KAI parts bin. A slightly smaller version of the clip can be found on the Cryo. Visually it’s not the most amazing clip, but it is very practical, especially if you are into deep carry. The 0801 buries into the pocket, but even if your co-workers won’t notice it, you certainly will. At near 6 ounces this is not a lightweight pocket knife. That’s the trade off when you go for a thick full titanium handle. It would be cool to see ZT pocket out the inside to lighten things up, but I know that is probably cost prohibitive. If you are into bigger, heavier knives this obviously won’t be an issue, but weight weenies need not apply.
Deployment and Lockup
As far as titanium framelock flippers go, the 0801 is up there with the best on the market. I’m not saying it’s as good as the freakishly fast 0454… it’s definitely nothing near that, but fans of snappy flippers should still be satisfied with this knife. The Elmax blade rides on KAI’s KVT captured bearing system, and you can see the guts of it peeking out by the lock face. I thin it is somewhat unseemly to have the bearing cage poke out like that, but I guess that is what needed to be done to make the knife work right. All said, fans of flippers will find a lot to like with the action of the 0801.
ZT incorporated a stainless steel lockbar insert into their frame lock, and the steel on steel contact makes for a secure and stick free engagement. I couldn’t detect any sort of blade play. The lock geometry of this knife has definitely been dialed in, and the blade centering is perfect. These details are important to find in this higher end knife.
Zero Tolerance 801 – Final Thoughts
There isn’t anything else out there filling the full titanium framelock flipper niche, so off the bat that puts the 0801 into a league of its own, unless of course you are willing to venture into custom, midtech, or aftermarket territory. The full titanium handle does have its potential drawbacks, mainly the weight, but there are plenty of people willing to forgo an ounce or two for full TI goodness.
Despite not having any direct competition, the 0801 doesn’t rest on its laurels. It is a very solid and well made knife. Build quality and materials are both excellent. The flipping action and lock up are superb. The design is austere and based off of Todd’s coveted custom offering. There is a lot to like here for fans of high end production knives and frame lock flippers. If you are interested in the 0801 I can safely recommend it.
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