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I don’t know about you, but sometimes I lust after knives for months, or even years, before pulling the trigger. That was the case with this Zero Tolerance 0450CF. The original 0450 was cool, but the carbon fiber version put me over the top. It’s a little lighter and sleeker, and the choice of green anodized accents isn’t something you see on a lot of knives. I decided I wanted one, but could never find a decent deal on it.
Fast forward a couple years later, and I received a trade offer that included this 0450CF. Right on. I immediately responded back that I was interested, and a few days later the knife was at my doorstep.
By way of a more formal introduction, the 0450 series is a riff on the original Dimitry Sinkevich designed 0454CF that I reviewed back in 2014. Chad McBroom reviewed the mass marketed 0452CF and Ben reviewed the shrunken down full titanium 0450. I’ve got the ultra light 0450CF for your consideration today.
General Dimensions and Blade Details
The 0450CF has an over all length of 7.375″, a 3.25″ blade, and weighs a mere 2.45 ounces. Like all Zero Tolerance knives, the 0450CF is made in the USA.
The 0450 and the 0450CF are reactions to the knife market. Zero Tolerance is know for large overbuilt knives, but they received feedback that everyone didn’t want to carry around a big honking pocket knife. So the 0450 hit the scene, and then this 0450CF took that even further by replacing the titanium show side handle with carbon fiber. This shaved over almost half an ounce off the already lightweight 0450. This, my friends, makes for an ideal EDC knife in my book.
The 0450CF shares the same low slung blade that made us all fall in love with the 0454CF when it hit the scene. It’s a long, sleek, modified drop point blade, featuring a little belly and plenty of tip. The knife has a high flat grind and a decorative swedge. The blade has been given a semi-glossy black DLC coating. The edge has been uniformly applied, and there is a sharpening choil so you can easily sharpen this blade from tip to heel.
ZT opted for S35VN for the blade steel. Regulars to the site or high end knives need no introduction to S35VN. It’s a high performance stainless steel from Crucible designed specificaly for pocket knives with the help of Chris Reeve. It’s an excellent all round blade steel and a good choice for small pocket knives like this as it offers a good balance of edge retention, toughness, and ease of sharpening. I like S35VN generally, and they did a great job with the heat treat on this 0450CF. As always if you want to dive deeper into blade steel check out our steel section for all sorts of additional info.
Practically speaking this little 0450CF is a capable cutter. The blade shape is perfect for getting under envelopes, breaking down boxes, cutting fruit, and performing all the little odd ball chores I require of my EDC knives. That said, I must agree with Ben that this knife is not the best slicer. The partial flat grind binds up in material. While it cuts, it’s no Alox Cadet. This is probably my biggest gripe with the knife.
The S35VN blade has held up great, and so has the Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating. DLC coatings are among the best money can buy, and unless you scrape this knife on concrete or metal it will hold up well.
Handle, Ergonomics, and Pocket Clip
The handle of the 0450CF is a solid piece of carbon fiber on the show side, and a black DLC coated titantium framelock on the reverse. The knife is held together with two green aluminum standoffs and an oversized pivot. Construction is simple yet elegant. All the hardware is black save for the green anodized standoffs. The fit and finish is exceptional. The screws are all the right length, the parts line up perfectly, and the finish work is excellent. The carbon fiber is lightly textured, and shimmers slightly in the light. This handle has been beautifully done.
The 0450CF is a small knife, but it doesn’t compromise in the ergonomics department. Dimitry’s design is simple and it should work well for most people. I take an “XL” size glove and have no problem getting a full four finger grip on this knife.
There is a short row of jimping on the spine that provides you with a little traction and something to index your thumb on. Beyond that there is not much in the way of texture. That’s fine by me as I don’t think this knife needs aggressive texturing. It works well as is.
The pocket clip is a standard parkerized black spoon style pocket clip. It’s relatively discreet and unobtrusive. While it’s not a true deep carry clip, it buries the majority of the knife in your pocket and keeps the 0450CF tucked away. The clip is swappable for right or left side tip up carry. A deep carry clip would have been nice.
I have carried this knife quite a bit. The 0450CF is a knife that you forget you are carrying. At just under 2.5 ounces this is not going to pull your pants down. The clip has great retention and the knife stays where you want it to in your pocket.
Deployment and Lockup
This is a Dimitry Sinkevich designed flipper made by Zero Tolerance, so the flipping action is outstanding. The detent is perfectly tuned for crisp, snappy flipping action each and every time. I’ve never “flubbed the flip” with this knife and I’d say the action is a solid “8” on the 0-10 scale. It’s good. Inside you have a caged bearing system. It is exceptionally smooth and you can shake the knife closed easily.
Please note I’m a lefty, so I don’t have any issues with putting my fingers on the lock bar when flipping the knife. I tried flipping this 0450CF with my right hand. Beside it being incredibly awkward for me, it works fine. No issues flipping open this knife. I think ZT fixed the issue that plagued their earlier knives.
Here is a shot of the 0450CF next to another excellent EDC knife, the Spyderco Sage 1:
For lockup we have a titanium frame lock with a stainless steel insert. Zero Tolerance does such a good job with these, that I almost feel that writing this section is unnecessary. The lock bar engages early and securely. The lockup is rock solid with zero blade play in any direction. The lock is smooth and easy to manipulate with no lock stick. This is titanium frame lock perfection and continues to be something of a gold standard in my world.
Blade centering is dead nuts center on my knife.
Zero Tolerance 0450CF Review – Final Thoughts
Ben was a little lukewarm on his 0450. He didn’t like the way the knife cut, the ergonomics, and he had issues with the action. Aside from that Mrs. Lincoln tells me the play was OK.
I think Ben raises valid points. A little knife like this should zip through stuff, but the combination of narrow blade and partial flat grind impacts the 450CF’s slicing performance. It still cuts, but it could be better. Personally, the ergonomics were spot on for my hand, and I found that the 0450CF flipped great. Ergonomics will vary from person to person, and I think ZT addressed the flipping action.
All in all, I am glad I picked up this little 0450CF. It’s as cool in person as I always hoped. I like the look of it over the standard 0450 and how it’s even lighter with this carbon fiber handle.
The 0450CF is an excellent little EDC knife in my book. With a retail price at close to $200 it’s not cheap, but I’m glad I went for it. The 0450 is probably ZT’s most practical EDC offering for the average person. This carbon fiber version takes things up a notch.
- 3.25-inch S35VN steel blade shows amazing toughness and resistance to edge chipping, with improved edge retention. Blade Thickness: 0.121 inches
- Handle features a carbon fiber front and sturdy titanium back for comfortable in-hand feel, increased strength and excellent size/weight proportion
- DLC-coating on the blade gives sleek matte-black look and enhanced performance characteristics
- Great companion for hunters, business professionals, wilderness guides, survival experts, first responders, military, law-enforcement and more
- Ideal gift for any special occasion such as birthdays, holidays, graduations, anniversaries, promotions, weddings and more
I recommend purchasing the Zero Tolerance 0450CF at Amazon or BladeHQ. Please consider that buying anything through any of the links on this website helps support BladeReviews.com, and keeps the site going. As always, any and all support is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.
Matt Kaplowitz says
I love mine! I emailed KAI’s customer service department and asked them for a Kershaw Al Mar AM 3 clip and I use that for deep carry. The end of the clip that contacts the scale falls right at the edge of the lockbar cutout, so it’s not perfect, but I’m a big fan of it.
Matt, Thanks for taking the time out to leave a comment! Glad you like yours as well. And good idea with the deep carry clip. That strikes me as a nice little upgrade!
This was an outstanding review. I do like the design very much. I also own ZT knives.
However, I fall into the category of the guy who wants a honker carry edc knife.
For size, I don’t own a Sage. I carry the discontinued Kershaw 1840 stainless because I want a Yawara stick or I carry the Spyderco Endura. I get around the Endura clip by buying confiscated units that some people took off the clip.
Yeah. I have a 0350 and others. I don’t carry the 350 because of the desire for a stick. The Buck 110 makes a good stick, but is too heavy to carry.
Thus, the knife manufacturers are very happy to have me as a customer because I come close to buying everything, just not this model.
Thank you very much. So glad to hear you enjoyed the review.
It’s always cool to get a different perspective, and I try to see both sides of the coin but must confess my bias for smaller knives.
That said, I still enjoy and appreciate bigger blades. And I’ve actually got a review coming up that will be right up your alley. I bought a Cold Steel 4 Max a few weeks ago and that sucker is BIG. I also want to pick up the SR1. Anyhow, I digress, but I appreciate the comment and promise to offer some big knives up for review in the not so distant future.
Steve Berman says
Thanks for the review!
I also recently received this knife (Ser. 11804). To me, the proportion of the knife is not quite right. Due to the light weight and narrow blade, I feel the blade length should be shorter. Maybe three inches or less.
The pocket clip is not ideal for me, so I replaced it with an aftermarket deep carry clip that also slides on and off a little more easily. Unfortunately, the clip extends a bit beyond the end of the knife, which detracts from the aesthetics IMO.
The screws are tapped into the titanium back-side scale, which some people do not like.
Even so, I really like this knife as a gentleman’s folder, primarily because of the reasons you discussed.
Thanks again for the great review
Thank you, Steve. Glad you liked this one too. Where did you review it?
Good point regarding the screws being tapped into the titanium. I’m not sure if the knife would fit into my hand if it was much smaller, but I’d be curious to see what that is like.
Matt Davidson says
Great review Dan. I know what you mean about lusting over knives for some time before finally hitting the buy button 🙂
Thank you, Matt!
Great review! I just purchased this little knife to be my EDC. I’m currently carrying a sebenza 21 carbon fiber and I love the knife it’s just a little big for office carry. I should receive my zt tomorrow and can’t wait thanks to your review.
Thank you, Rick! I hope you enjoy it. It’s a nice size for EDC. I’d be curious to get your thoughts after you had a chance to carry it.
Thanks for the thorough review, Dan. I’d be interested to see how you’d compare it to the newly released and similarly sized ZT 0609.
Jim, You are very welcome. Hmm, the 0609 wasn’t on my radar, but now that you mentioned it, the knife is a little smaller than I originally thought. I might just have to pick one up! Thank you for the suggestion. If one crosses my path I’ll buy it for review.
Colin P Smith says
Nice review, but then again I do enjoy your reviews anyway, written just the way I’d do it, if I could write.
I bought the 0450cf back in January and enjoy it immensely. Nice and light (almost too light) and fits my medium arthritic hands just fine. I do find the cutting action not nearly as good as some of my other knives, but after touching up the factory edge, it does the job.
The only concern I have is the carbon fiber. The stop pin sits between the two scales, but just how strong is CF? I use my knives to cut open meat boxes at work, beef boxes especially, that are very thick and strong. The 450cf struggles a little, requiring more force than my other knives, so I am a little worried about the strength of the stop pin. Sending it back to the States is not an option due to our border clowns.
I have only heard of one instance that the CF failed and the stop pin flew out, but that could have been due to an over zealous user. Anyway, I will save my 0450cf to lighter tasks and let the “big dogs” do the harder stuff.
I eagerly await your next review.
Thank you very much for the kind words. So glad to hear you have been enjoying the reviews.
You raise a very interesting point regarding the 0450CF. Carbon fiber is supposed to be pretty strong stuff, but under a hard use scenario I’m not sure this would be my first choice for the reason you suggested. I wouldn’t want to test to see if the stop pin would bust out of the carbon fiber scale.
I’ve been using my 450CF more like a gents folder, or a light duty EDC, and wouldn’t push it too far past that.
You may be intrigued to learn I’ll be reviewing the Cold Steel 4Max next – that thing is no stranger to punishment!
Thank for the review. ..I just ordered off Amazon for 140.00 bucks free one day shipping ( how can brick n mortar compete? ). I’ve been eyeing this knife for 6 months (since I bought 0804CF) and finally decided I “needed” one for my 50th birthday. It was between this knife and the Fox Tur carbon DLC (I’ll probably get both) and I went with this one because of the bearing pivot!
Thanks again for the great work!
James, Congrats on the new acquisition! Hard to beat the bearing action on a ZT folder. Enjoy yours in good health!
Scott McAlister says
Same combo i have, the 0450cf and my favorite knife ever the 0804cf