Zero Tolerance Knives is a relatively new brand that first debuted in 2006 with products that were specifically designed for tactical applications. They saw a need in the industry for American-made knives that were built for heavy-duty combat use and could meet the needs of military and law enforcement professionals, so they stepped up with beefy folders like the 0200 and award-winning models like the 0500. While ZT may not have as long of a history as its sister brand Kershaw, they’ve made up for lost time by racking up several awards for their collaborations with famous knifemakers like Rick Hinderer and Dmitry Sinkevich.
ZT is dedicated to the highest caliber manufacturing processes available, and they don’t shy away from taking risks with their designs. We’ve picked what we feel are some of the best knives from ZT’s lineup, starting with one of the best EDCs in their arsenal…
Zero Tolerance Hinderer 0562 Flipper
ZT is known to frequently collaborate with knifemaker Rick Hinderer to create some pretty incredible knives, including the 0562. This folder takes Rick’s exclusive “slicer” grind and adds all the best hallmarks of modern knife construction, easily making this one of the best titanium frame lock flippers on the market. The lockbar features a replaceable hardened steel insert that interfaces with the tang of the blade, and that steel-on-steel interaction is going to last longer than steel on titanium and help prevent lock stick as the knife is broken in. You also don’t have to worry about overextending the lockbar, as there’s a disc on the back that prevents it. The cherry on the cake is the S35VN steel, which can be sharpened to hair-popping levels.
Benchmade is one of the most widely recognized knife brands in the business – just one look at that distinctive butterfly logo tells you you’re holding a top notch blade. Benchmade has a unique origin story. Les De Asis, the owner and founder, originally wanted to create a high quality version of the cheap butterfly knife he played with as a kid. Once that design was created after working with gifted knife maker Victor Anselmo, he took his prototype to a local gun shop – whose owner immediately wanted 100 more. Thus, Bali-Song, Inc. was born, and that eventually led to the company we now know as Benchmade Knives.
Benchmade says that they have one ultimate goal: make the best knives in the world. We’ve always been wowed by their wide array of distinguished knife designs – I mean, have you ever held a Griptilian? It’s downright sexy. Choosing only five of their top knives is pretty tough, but luckily we did the work so you don’t have to. Buckle up and get ready to scroll through the best knives Benchmade has to offer. From the designs to the materials to the aesthetics, these five Benchmade knives easily reach the caliber expected of such a great knife company.
Benchmade Griptilian Folding Knife
What other knife can you kick off a Benchmade list with other than the famous Griptilian folder? Like many of Benchmade’s knives, the Griptilian features Benchmade’s patented AXIS lock, which is a 100% ambidextrous design that functions due to a riding, hardened steel bar that is machined into the steel liners. Not only is it strong, but it is also safe to use, as you can operate the blade without your fingers crossing into the path of the edge. The Grip’s designer, Mel Pardue, brought his passion for functionality to this design. The driving force behind Pardue’s collaborations with Benchmade is that less is more, and the focus has always been function over form. There are more iterations of the Griptilian than any other knife Benchmade offers. Our favorite is this upgraded design with G10 handles and premium CPM-20CV steel.
When you think of some of the best hunting knives and camping knives in the business, Buck Knives springs to mind faster than the action on one of their folders. The Buck name is synonymous with the outdoor knife world, mostly because of Buck Knives’ century-long endeavor to produce high-quality tools that give people what they need. Back in 1902, Hoyt Buck, a blacksmith apprentice at the time, started making knives by hand with worn-out file blades – a method still used today by many knifemakers and an appropriate beginning for a company that now offers one of the best-selling folding hunters on the market.
With such a long history of making great knives, weeding through their entire knife collection to find the top five best Buck Knives was no easy feat. Luckily, when it comes to knives there’s nothing we won’t do to make sure you have the best performing tools in your arsenal. Check out KnifeCenter’s picks for the top five best Buck Knives – you won’t be disappointed!
Buck 110 Folding Hunter
Let’s start off with Buck Knives’ most iconic knife, the Buck 110 Folding Hunter. It is so widely recognized that knife enthusiasts and non-knife users alike think of this particular model when they hear the words “Buck Knife”. Just like other proprietary eponyms such as Kleenex and Xerox, the phrase “Buck Knife” has been used to describe almost any lockback of this style.
This is undoubtedly one of the best-selling knives that Buck offers, and it remains one of the most recognizable and popular knives ever created. This knife design changed the game when it was first conceived in 1963 when Buck decided to develop the ultimate folding utility and hunting knife. The Buck 110’s sturdy design gives hunters a great tool without all the bulk of a fixed blade. It’s no shock that this knife is one of the most copied knife designs out there, but nothing can stand up to the real deal. With its strong lockback mechanism and refined aesthetics, the Buck 110 has been a top pick by knife enthusiasts for years.
Cold Steel is one of the most popular knife brands for tough, durable steel and heavy-duty cutting tools. Over the last three decades, Cold Steel’s innovations have put them at the forefront of the knife industry. From the introduction of their unique San Mai steel to the debut of the ultra-secure Tri-Ad lock, Cold Steel has mastered the art of creating some of the best combat and tactical weaponry in the knife business. Cold Steel’s employees aren’t just knife fanatics, they’re also weapons experts and martial artists with years of experience. What sets them apart from many other knife and tool brands is that they see the value in redefining an EDC. Cold Steel is the type of company who will try to make a pocketknife out of a machete – that’s just how they roll.
That being said, there are eight Cold Steel products that we put on a pedestal above the rest. We’ve chosen the best Cold Steel knives so that you can skip the research and get straight to performance. We can only watch Cold Steel’s Instagram for so long before we’re itching to demo their knives ourselves!
Cold Steel 20LT Tuff Lite Folding Knife
Cold Steel’s 20LT Tuff Lite is one of our favorite small utility knives on the market. This folding knife offers the strength and dependability that you’ll always find in a Cold Steel knife in a package that is compact and comfortable to carry. This American knife company knows that the best tactical EDCs have to offer an ergonomic grip for piercing cuts, so the integrated finger choil ensures a full grip that makes this knife feel like an extension of your hand. Not only is this folder the perfect size for everyday utility tasks, it’s also a great concealed carry self-defense knife. The Wharncliffe point is going to allow for deeper, more penetrating cuts without appearing overly tactical, so you’re not going to draw any attention to yourself when you have it on hand.
Check out the entire Minituff Series at KnifeCenter!