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What makes zero tolerance so tough?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by crimsonfalcon07, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. philwar


    Mar 27, 2009
    Yep, I am Cold Steel fan. This forum is for knife enthousiasts and fans, like me in other words.
    People who like bashing knife brands and manufacturers should join (or start) a knifeBASHING forum. :rolleyes:
  2. philwar


    Mar 27, 2009
    Your responses reflect your personal likes and dislikes. There's nothing wrong with that, but they are irrelevant to the current debate. To wit:

    S30V is (usually) more brittle than AUS8A. For a person who wants a tough knife, the cheaper steel actually makes more sense. That's just objective, and coming from a person who does NOT like AUS8A (me).

    The wave was invented by someone other than Cold Steel, and many brands make use of it, including such a universally-loved brand as Spyderco.
    The Recon 1 and the American Lawman don't have the feature, by the way.

    Who exactly? The few people who didn't care that for the most irrational of reasons, Cold Steel was the designated 'brand you love to hate?'
    Lately, the hate has been abating by the way.

    See 2 for examples, as well as the new Voyager line and the new Espada line.

    I'll never argue with that, to each his own, and I love my ZT0300 and I think it's a superreliable tank of a knife.

    Google is your friend, but Jim Ankerson has videos with hard use tests, I think the results are pretty conclusive. Nutnfancy (youtube) also has a clip on the new Recon 1 where he raves about its toughness. A $65 knife that is subjected to use that should be reserved for fixed blades.
    Even the hardcore CS haters mostly admit that the Tri-Ad lock is the toughest lock in the industry.
  3. Ankerson

    Ankerson Knife and Computer Geek Gold Member

    Nov 2, 2002

    Oh, I wasn't comparing the 2, just talking in general terms really. :)
  4. Pilot1

    Pilot1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 24, 2005
    I have recently acquired a ZT 0301 and carry it often. Yes it is a heavy folder, but I forget I have it on me. Its a weekend knife when wearing jeans and I'm not that large of a guy being 6' and 170 lbs. It really does not feel heavy to me.

    It seems like an ultra strong folder from a company that stands behind its products. Its my first ZT, but not my last as I have an 0551 on the way.
  5. Buffalohump


    Sep 7, 2006
    Tough schmuff... pick the right tool for the job. :rolleyes:

    A knife is all about the steel and the edge. So choose your knife based on the steel, not how much it weighs or how strong you think the lock is. For 99% of tasks, most locks will be perfectly adequate. Yes you can walk around all day fantasizing about ending up in the middle of some Die Hard scenario where just you and your folder stand between hardened terrorists and a gaggle of terrified hostages, but the reality is you will most likely be using your folder to cut apples and sandwiches and to open packages. Possibly even slicing up a cardboard box every once in a while to really put it to the test. So really, how 'tough' does your pocket knife need to be? For years and years people made do with nothing but slip joints and Buck 110s and somehow, miraculously, they survived. They even managed to live through a World War....

    These threads come up again and again. Its a pissing contest between manufacturers to gain leverage in the marketplace and to sell you more products at higher price points, nothing more.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  6. U.C.O.K.


    Dec 6, 2004
    Well said Sir:thumbup:
  7. Thomas W

    Thomas W Banned by Moderators Banned

    Oct 11, 2005
    While the steel and the edge are important, there are many other considerations that are equally important. Build quality and design being 2 of them. One's confidence can grow with a solid, burly lock and top notch precision materials. Let's face it, if the knife doesn't have personal eye appeal, and doesn't fit your hands and specific lifestyle, then despite the steel/edge, the piece is not for you.

    I'd also step out and say Brand is additionally quite important. There are many choices when it comes to brands, but it's no strange occurrence that fanboys post with such vigor, and that there is consistent praise from enthusiasts.

    I don't see manufacturer's participating in these type threads, only enthusiasts sharing their opinions (albeit some louder than others). I don't see manufacturers in too many everyday pissing contests, at least not from where I sit.
  8. thegeek574


    Sep 3, 2010
    I think that i am going to back off the conversation based solely on the fact that you and i are going to never agree based on the difference of preference. I find cold steel impractical, you like them. i am not a fan of their opening systems, you are. this is going to come down to personal preference every time, and you might pick a American lawman while i pick a 0300 or 0200. it is going to be a back and forth that will only stop when we are moved to the W&C to continue our "discussion".
  9. Buffalohump


    Sep 7, 2006
    Sure, I dont have anything against build quality. Tight tolerances, superior materials, lifetime guarantees - I say bring 'em on! But this constant obsession with 'toughness' and 'strength' in folders wears the patience a bit.

    And I do think at the end of the day, the marketing departments play a big part in the perception of what the brand represents. Its no coincidence that Zero Tolerance chooses a military style stencil typeface for their logo. If people want to buy into all that mythology, they are free to do so... but let's not kid ourselves that manufacturers arent competing. And if people think knife A is tougher than knife B they will probably buy it. Even though they may be sacrificing cutting ability into the bargain.

    As to whether manufacturers started building them that way due to demand, or whether customers are now demanding them due to a perception created by manufacturers that anything else is compromise, I confess I don't know the answer to that.

  10. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Might take you up on that here. I wouldn't mind getting a chance to see one in person before I invest in one.

    To respond to the various points that have been raised here.

    1. Weight. a half pound is certainly a big, heavy knife. I'm a pretty fit guy, so it's not like I'm going to get tired carrying it or something. That being said, I EDC'ed a Benchmade 530 for quite some time, and let me tell you, that's a LIGHT knife. So it would be a shift for me.

    2. Locks/Cold Steel. I do not care about Cold Steel. I am sure they make some decent products, and they have a couple elegant designs that I do like. I will probably never buy one, because by and large, my experience with Cold Steel has been that they are way overpriced for what you get. I do like my CS shuriken and spear, but their knives aren't that great for what you're paying. Honestly, 300+ for a fixed blade production knife, when HI will give me a handcrafted work of art for half that? That being said, I think it's probably indisputable that the Triad lock is at least very strong; that's been tested pretty heavily.

    3. As has been astutely pointed out, the use to which you put a knife will define what kind of knife you'd want to go for. I can buy that, but, that being said, there's enough of a boy scout in me that I want the EDC I bring with me when I go on road trips, or get in any kind of a situation where, in the event of some crazy unforeseen occurrence, I get in a survival situation, to be up to the task. A survival knife, in my mind, isn't one of those Rambo knives. It's the knife you have on you when you have an emergency, and for me, that's going to be an EDC knife.

    Yes, I'm going to be cutting primarily cardboard, paper, food, etc, on a regular basis with my folders. I will probably never fight terrorists with it. In fact, in the unlikely event I am ever facing terrorists with nothing but a knife, I'm going to be smart enough not to play hero, because AK-47 and numbers trumps single guy with tiny knife any day.

    But, I drive nearly 36,000 miles a year, oftentimes in remote locations. If my car breaks down, I think I would prefer to have an EDC that will help keep me alive, and won't break on me.

    I've got a Ritter Grip inbound, which was designed for just that purpose. ZT seems to be the other option that's not 400+ dollars.
  11. Tsujigiri


    May 25, 2009
    Actually, people weren't really bashing Cold Steel. Thegeek574 posted about what distinguished ZT from other brands, mentioning Benchmade and Cold Steel in the process. He also said that Cold Steel has its purpose for some users. If he had mentioned any other brand other than Cold Steel, no one would have said anything. But for some reason some Cold Steel fans are particularly thin skinned and feel the need to white knight for their brand every time someone mentions a minor drawback to their products. Point is, he said that he'd probably get flamed for his post, and sure enough someone came along to deliver.
  12. Thomas W

    Thomas W Banned by Moderators Banned

    Oct 11, 2005
    You may be confusing the forum sentiments vs. the real world feelings. The tough/strength folders of the world are the tiniest portion of the overall market. The "mighty mouse with a megaphone" analogy may be fitting in this case. These forum threads make it sound "large", but in the big scheme of knives, it's a small portion of most manufacturers focus. Because of the limited availability with this genre of knives, they gain a ton of attention, especially on an enthusiast forum. It does get a tad like the "which steel is best" threads, but hey, if there is interest then the threads are valid.

    Each manufacturer has opportunities through marketing to present themselves to the public how they see fit. Some are loud in their presentation, others clever and more artistic. In the end, the picture each presents to the public is how they want to be perceived. It's who they think they are.
    As to ZT, you would have to go back to the brands beginning, and the concept in it's creation. Originally, ZT output was going to be produced for Military, LE, and Public Safety personnel only. Over the years distribution has changed from it's origin, but you can see intent in why the logo was designed as it is.

    There may be a little competition, but not to the degree I believe you're thinking. Look most brands have a niche'. They’re good at something, but not everything. Unless you’re competing in that genre and price point, the customer will be quite different, thus little competition.
    For example, Kershaw Knives, despite the multitude of “compare” threads on this forum, does not consider BM, Spydie, CRK’s, Cold Steel, competition. In our overall business, we’re chasing different dollars. Buck, SOG, and Gerber would be more our rivals. Do we bite and pull hair for real estate? Meh…maybe a bit, but it’s all friendly in my book. In the end I've found we all get ours.

    There are leaders and followers when it comes to manufacturers in this business. I’ve always contended the leaders include actual knife people within their ranks, It allows them to think for themselves and not look around to see what others are doing. To date it is a real shortcoming in our industry, and it shows in the output with many manufacturers. In many cases the competition the leaders have is keeping one step ahead of the followers who do nothing more than regurgitate what the leaders have already produced.
  13. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Great post as usual Thomas, thanks for the insight. You make me curious though. What makes you say that Buck, SOG, Gerber are more akin to Kershaw's market than Benchmade or Spyderco?
  14. Thomas W

    Thomas W Banned by Moderators Banned

    Oct 11, 2005
    I'm speaking more from a sales standpoint. This is mostly due to price points and volume. We don't run into Spyderco or Benchmade often in our sales travels, yet see Buck and Gerber constantly. Spy & BM don't really dabble too much in the $20-70 range (large volume) which keeps us all chasing a different customer and different dollars. I do think our higher end production can take away from their market to a degree, but as I said, in the end there's enough for everyone.

    Now as to the products themselves, I think there can be really productive debates with concerns to evaluating specific models within each brand. I feel pretty good about these type of comparisons, as it shows we do well with our premium genre even though it's not our main focus.
  15. philwar


    Mar 27, 2009
    You have it exactly bass ackward. A few posters felt the need to mention Cold Steel in this thread, in a negative way as is almost always the case. There IS no other brand that gets this type of treatment, which you should know because you are part of the CS bashing crowd.
    I am a 'white knight' insofar as I do indeed feel the need to keep things factual, not just for CS but for any of the many brands I own. Unlike you and many others, I don't feel the need to bash any brand.
    As for him getting flamed, where and when did that occur? He made himself out to be a hero for 'daring to say something negative about CS' and I pointed out the irony in that, bashing CS is in fact the surest way to score cheap and easy points on this forum. You're about as likely to get flamed for bashing Cold Steel as you are for praising Spyderco or ESEE. ;) It's easy scoring either way.

    For the record, Cold Steel is 'my brand' in the same way that Spyderco or Benchmade are. If someone spouts nonsense about the Axis lock or the Spyderhole, I will probably respond and try to set them straight. There is nothing partisan or biased about that. When someone attributes the wave to CS, I will correct them. If someone criticizes their opening method, I will point out that waves and thumb studs really aren't all that unique to CS. If someone says AUS8A is inferior, I will point out that for the OP's stated purpose it may actually be better than S30V.
    If you think factual corrections like that are 'white knighting' that's entirely up to you. To me it looks like some people cannot stand to hear anything neutral let alone positive about Cold Steel. There's a word for that, it's called bias.
  16. thegeek574


    Sep 3, 2010
    Ever heard of these companies by the names of Gerber, SOG and Frost cutlery?

    Bashing people, on the other hand, is totally cool

    I have already covered this. I have friends who have cold steel products and i was not impressed, therefore i do not endorse them. As to being flamed, you are the type of person i was worried about.

    At which point did I attribute wave to cold steel?

    At what point did i say that thumbstuds or wave were unique to CS?

    I would say that when taken care of, a knife is S30V will last better than one in AUS 8. if you are going to pry fir trees with it, then it probably is not for you. For me, as long as i am not subjecting a folder to what a fixed blade or axe should be doing, i would prefer to have the S30V.

    I do not have a bias against cold steel. I was going to buy A Rajah 2 a while ago, but i did not have the capacity to pay 90 dollars for a knife i would not carry. i am not an expert, but having held a ZT, a factory second no less, and holding a cold steel, i was under no illusions which one was better built. as one forumite said, putting some pins in a lock back does not make it magical.
  17. crimsonfalcon07


    Dec 27, 2010
    Not really interested in Cold Steel. They have a very few products I am at all interested in, but they strike me as overpriced for what you get, and while I can see the physics of the pin in the Tri-ad lock helping, I much prefer the ease of use of the similarly strong Axis lock or Spydie ball-bearing lock. I'd prefer to hear less Cold Steel squabbling and more about ZT. If you want to bash or defend CS, please do it somewhere else.

    As for the comment about AUS8A being better for my stated purpose, let me just say I will likely never buy another knife with AUS8. It's okay, but I'd rather get 154CM or CPM154, S30V, Vanax 35, or any number of other premium steels. The AUS8 blades that I own are just...not as good. I have an S30V blade coming soon, and I'll give it a fair trial. I do like 154CM and CPM154 a lot.


    Benchmade has a number of lower priced knives; in fact, they're how I got into knives in the first place. Monochrome is less than $30, and is a fine framelock. HK 14650 is one of my favorite small linerlocks. With the ball bearing built into the liner lock, it flies open like it's assisted, and holds a wicked edge. Those were a couple of my first loves, although I've moved on to bigger and better things. I have to say, after the RAM I got from Kershawguy, I'm pretty sold on Kershaw being quality. I will never buy another Gerber though.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  18. stabman

    stabman Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 17, 2007

    I've handled a couple of Manix 2's, and I wasn't impressed enough to be interested in getting one...the ORIGINAL Manix, on the other hand, kicks some major ass.:thumbup: Get one if you can.
    I have a ZT 0551, and it is just a nicer knife than the Manix 2, and it cuts things very well to boot.:) Feels more solid and higher quality in all senses.
    For a Spyderco comparison, the Chinook 3 is closer to ZT territory.
  19. thegeek574


    Sep 3, 2010
    OK with me. I'm done. Have you looked at the 0200 yet?
  20. Überich


    Feb 20, 2011
    maybe the marketing departments play a big part in your perception of a knife brand, maybe as well in the perception of some mall ninjas running by a knifeshop drooling over some really fancy military deco. i'm not a longtime member here, but from what i saw until now there are a lot of people here with their very own opinion about knives.
    marketing really loses momentum fast if you pick up interest and look beyond the packaging. at least i can say so for myself - i must admit i found the packaging of the zt0302 ridiculous. glorified war-romantics are a thing of the past over here in the parts of EU where i live. i'm also sure no one on this forum went out and bought this knife thinking "oh cool thats the knife they kill taliban with".
    but all that apart - why does the talk about toughness of a knife wear your patience? and why do you think anyone should care? it's your patience so it's up to you to steer clear of anything nerve-wrecking dear fellow knife-enthusiast.

    and i also want to thank Thomas W for contributing his very rational and obviously insightful point of view - makes for an interesting read.

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