Is M390 A Good Knife Steel? – M390 Steel Review

Finding the anatomy of the knives which they own is very useful for knife users. There are many steel grades used to make knives; m390 steel is one of them. If you are a knife user you may already know about the m390 steel.

If you don’t know what is m390 steel, you don’t have to worry about it. We have thought to review the m390 steel just for your convenience. In this article, I’ll share all the information related to m390 steel, including m390 stainless steel chemical composition, steel’s Rockwell hardness, steel properties, and many more.

Let’s start with the m390 steel review

M390 Steel Review

M390 is one of the best steels available in the market. It is widely used for making knife blades because of its high hardness, excellent corrosion resistance, and wears resistance. Moreover, M390 steel is manufactured by Bohler-Uddeholm (A merger between Austrian Bohler and Swedish Uddeholm) using a 3rd generation powder metal technology.

If you want to know what 3rd generation technology is, see this article.

M390 Stainless Steel Composition

The elements in the M390 steel help the steel to reach a high level of hardness, toughness, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance. Before starting, let me make it clear that hardness and toughness are two different things.

M390 Stainless Steel Composition

So, what are hardness and toughness? Hardness is a measure of a material that resists wear, scratch, or abrasion. And Toughness is the ability of a material that it can handle before breaking. It is said that material with lower hardness typically has higher toughness and vice versa. However, there may also be some exceptions to this.

Moreover, the elements which are included in the M390 steel grade are as follows:

Elements  Percentage Features
Chromium 20
Chromium is the most important element in any steel. It increases the corrosion resistance and hardness of the steel. However, a high amount of chromium may reduce the steel’s toughness.
Vanadium 4
Vanadium is important in the powder metallurgy process. It increases the wear resistance of the steel. 
Carbon 1.9
Carbon increases the steel’s hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance.
Molybdenum 1
Molybdenum increases the steel’s strength and machinability.
Silicon 0.7
Silicon gives extra hardness to the steel.
Tungsten 0.6
Tungsten enhances the steel’s wear resistance. Moreover, it is usually added to cover the insufficiency of toughness caused by Chromium.
Manganese
0.3
Manganese increases the strength and brittleness of the steel. 

M390 is stainless steel because it has high Chromium (more than 12%). Any steel with more than 12% Chromium is considered stainless steel. Moreover, it has other amazing elements, too, which make M390 steel great in terms of toughness, corrosion resistance, and wear resistance.

Rockwell hardness of the M390 steel

As you know, M390 is stainless steel with high chromium, high vanadium, high molybdenum, and high carbon. It also has other elements, and because of these elements, M390 steel possesses great hardness. The Rockwell hardness of the M390 steel is between 60 to 62 HRC.

M390 Stainless Steel Properties

M390 steel has a great chemical composition and Rockwell hardness. According to the Rockwell hardness and chemical composition of the M390 steel, it offers some amazing properties, which are as follows:

M390 Stainless Steel Properties

Edge Retention

M390 steel offers great edge retention because of the high level of Chromium, Molybdenum, and Carbon. It also has a high Rockwell hardness between 60 to 62 HRC, which offers excellent edge retention to the steel.

Corrosion Resistance

M390 steel contains a high percentage of chromium (20% Chromium), which offers the M390 steel high corrosion resistance. Corrosion resistance is significant if you are using your knife in a humid environment.

Wear Resistance

M390 steel is resistant to wear because it is tough steel. It contains a high mixture of chromium, vanadium, and carbon, which offers the M390 stainless steel a great wear resistance.

Toughness

The M390 steel is very tough and durable because it has a high amount of chromium, carbon, and molybdenum. All these elements, along with other elements, offer M390 stainless steel high hardness and strength.

Sharpness

If you are a knife user, you may have heard that if the steel has high edge retention, it has high strength, and if it has high strength, it is hard to sharpen. As M390 is hard steel and it has high edge retention, that is why sharpening it with a sharpening stone or other tools would not be an easy task. However, if you sharpen it once, it will hold a good edge for a long time.

Is M390 steel good for Knives?

Yes, M390 steel is good for knives.

M390 steel offers excellent wear resistance, edge retention, corrosion resistance, and toughness, which makes it a good option for knives. M390 steel knives are a great choice for camping, hiking, hunting, or outdoor usage.

In short, m390 knives are perfect for all outdoor activities because their knives are good for a humid environment. If you are a hunter, fisherman, camper, hiker, or outdoor adventurer, m390 knives will be the perfect choice for you.

Best m390 steel Knives

There are many knives available in the market that are made with m390 stainless steel. Some of the best m390 steel knives are as follows:

1. LionSTEEL M4 Bushcraft Fixed Blade Knife

LionSTEEL M4 Bushcraft Fixed Blade Knife

Lion Steel is a well-known brand for bushcraft knives. Lion Steel knives are best for camping, hunting, hiking, wilderness survival, bushcraft, outdoor cooking, and many more. Their knives will always help you in outdoor activities.

The M4 bushcraft knife is one of the best Lion Steel knives. It comes with a 3.74-inch blade that is made from M390 steel. The m390 steel is a great steel knife because it offers amazing edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. Moreover, the knife’s blade comes sharp and remains sharp for a long time. The knife’s super-sharp blade helps you in effortless cutting.

The thing which I like about this knife is its handle. The M4 knife comes with a comfortable ergonomic handle that offers amazing forward and reverses grip in right or left-handed use. In short, the knife’s handle easily fits in your hand (Whether your hand is big or small).

Another amazing feature of this knife is that it comes with a beautiful leather sheath. The sheath of the knife is double stitched with leather that is durable and also looks beautiful. Moreover, the sheath also has a snap closure that ensures safe and convenient carry. Overall, it is a perfect knife for outdoor activities.

Specifications

  • Brand: Lion Steel
  • Color: Black
  • Blade Length: 3.74 Inches
  • Blade Steel: M390 stainless steel
  • Blade Edge: Hollow Grind
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Item Weight: 1.4-pound
  • Item Dimensions: 7 (L) x 4 (W) x 4 (H) inches
Pros
  • The design of the knife is outstanding.
  • The knife comes with a beautiful sheath.
  • The M4 knife is best for outdoor activities.
  • It is easy to carry.
  • Good knife for the money.
  • The knife’s handle is very comfortable to grip.
Cons
  • The stitching inside the sheath is a little exposed to the blade, so you have to be careful when you insert it.

 

2. Spyderco SpyOpera Folding Knife

Spyderco SpyOpera Folding Knife

Spyderco is another well-known brand of knives. It was founded by Sal and Gail Glesser. They have been making knives since 1976. Furthermore, Spyderco knives are made in Italy with the finest materials.

The SpyOpera is one of the amazing Spyderco knives. This folding knife was originally produced by LionSTEEL and designed by Max (an Italian custom knifemaker) in Italy. Spyderco, in collaboration with LionSteel, takes the SpyOpera to the next level. The Spyderco adds a pocket clip and fully accessible Round Hole, which makes it more appealing.

The SpyOpera comes with a 2.90-inch blade, with an overall knife length of 6.90-inch. The knife features a full-flat-ground blade that is made from M390 stainless steel. Moreover, the knife’s blade is also supported by a durable back lock mechanism which is again the good side of this knife.

Moreover, the SpyOpera knife features a brown Micarta handle which I like the most in this knife. The knife’s handle is easy to grip. You can comfortably grip the knife’s handle for extended hours without any discomfort.

If you are an outdoor adventurer, I highly recommend this SpyOpera knife to you. This is the perfect knife for everyday carry (EDC).

Specifications

  • Brand: Spyderco
  • Blade Length: 2.90 Inches
  • Overall Length: 6.90-inch
  • Blade Steel: M390 stainless steel
  • Blade Edge: Flat
  • Blade Shape: Clip Point
  • Handle: Micarta Handle
  • Item Weight: 0.22-pound
  • Item Dimensions: 6.5 (L) x 2.5 (W) x 1 (H) inches
  • Made in: Italy
Pros
  • The SpyOpera knife is beautiful and well made.
  • This is a perfect EDC knife.
  • This knife comes with a pocket clip which can be used to carry the knife with you.
  • The SpyOpera knife is durable and safe to use.
  • This knife is perfect for outdoor activities.
Cons
  • The SpyOpera knife is a bit expensive, but you get what you pay for. This knife is amazing in all its aspects.

 

Conclusion

To conclude here, M390 is one of the best steels available in the market. It is widely used for making knife blades because of its edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. M390 steel knives are perfect for outdoor activities. Therefore, if you are a hiker, fisherman, hunter, camper, or outdoor adventurer, m390 knives will be the perfect choice for you.

FAQ’s

Is M390 hard to sharpen?
M390 steel is a bit hard to sharpen because it is hard steel. Sharpening M390 steel with a sharpening stone or other tools would not be an easy task. It is said that hard steel is difficult to sharpen. However, after some time, once you sharpen it, it will hold a good edge for a long time.
Is M390 steel expensive?
Yes, m390 steel is a bit expensive because it is pretty much one of the best stainless steel in terms of edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance. This is why a knife made with m390 steel is often more expensive than a knife made with other steel.
Is S90v better than S30V?
S30v steel is better in terms of ease of sharpness, while S30v steel is better in terms of edge retention. S30v steel is best for practical needs. However, if I would get a chance to choose between these two steel grades, I would choose S90v steel.
Is the M390 better than 20CV?
M390 and 20CV (CPM 20CV) both steel grades are almost the same. Both sheets of steel offer the same edge retention, same toughness, and corrosion resistance. Moreover, both steel grades are a bit hard to sharpen.
Which is the best, M390 vs. M4?
M390 stainless steel and M4 steel both are the same in terms of edge retention and toughness. However, in terms of corrosion resistance and toughness, M390 stainless steel is better than M4 steel.
Is the M390 better than the S110V?
Yes, M390 stainless steel is better than S30V steel. M390 is better in terms of corrosion resistance and toughness. However, in terms of edge retention and ease of sharpness, both steel grades are almost the same.

 

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