Is 1095 CRO Van steel good for knives

Is 1095 CRO Van Steel Good for Knives?

If you've come across a 1095 CRO Van steel knife that you have really like but unsure whether this steel will satisfy your personal needs and requirements, this guide is for you.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about 1095 CRO Van steel to help you decide if it's a good steel for your new knife.

You'll discover crucial info regarding this steel, including its chemical composition, toughness, how easy it is to sharpen, ability to hold a sharp edge, rust resistance, and more.

What is 1095 CRO Van steel?

1095 CRO Van is a high carbon steel used for making knives. This steel grade is based on the 1095 steel—another high carbon steel for knives—but with the addition of elements Vanadium, molybdenum, nitrogen, and chromium. These additional elements set the two steels apart and give the Cro-Van steel better toughness and wear resistance than 1095 steel.

What is 1095 CRO Van steel?

1095 CRO Van is a high carbon steel used for making knives. This steel grade is based on the 1095 steel—another high carbon steel for knives—but with the addition of elements Vanadium, molybdenum, nitrogen, and chromium. These additional elements set the two steels apart and give the Cro-Van steel better toughness and wear resistance than 1095 steel.

What is 1095 CRO Van steel

It's worth noting that this steel is also referenced by a couple of other names like Sharon Steel 50110B, Sharon Steel Carbon V, Sharon Steel 0170-6, Sharon Steel 1095CV, and Sharon Steel 50100B.

1095 CRO Van steel Composition

The 1095 CRO Van steel has the same chemical composition as the 1095 steel. The only difference is the addition of Chromium, Nitrogen, Vanadium, and Molybdenum elements.

This is what the steel composition looks like:


Composition (%)



















1095 CRO Van Steel

Carbon has a 1.1%   composition in this steel, which goes a long way in increasing the steel's wear and corrosion resistance.

Up to 0.6% increases tensile strength and edge retention for this steel. It also enhances corrosion and wears resistance. But keep in mind that this chromium amount is less than 10%, meaning the steel is stainless.

Molybdenum has a 0.06% composition to increase the Cro van steel strength and machinability.

Silicone and phosphorous elements increase strength.

Nitrogen adds to the steel's strength and edge retention.

Manganese increases its hardness and brittleness.

Vanadium gives the steel improved hardness and wear resistance.

1095 CRO Van Steel Properties

The following list outlines the top properties offered by 1095 Cro van steel as it's made possible by the elements in its composition.

1095 CRO Van Steel Properties

1095 CRO Van steel hardness

The Cro Van steel has a hardness of 56-60HRC. This fits it in the category of hard steels. It's the reason why blade smiths prefer this type of steel when designing knives for use in abusive conditions.

Edge retention

1095CV also holds an edge pretty well. This is attributed to the high hardness the steel comes with, thanks to the presence of these elements: chromium, Vanadium, manganese, and carbon in its composition, which give it a high degree of hardness. For tough outdoor tasks, this knife will work fine and hold up pretty well.


Overall, this steel has great toughness. But you need to keep in mind that toughness is inversely proportional to hardness. And given that this steel has a hardness range, the higher the hardness goes, the less tough the metal gets.


This steel is one of the easiest to sharpen. Although the steel has a high hardness, you can easily sharpen it using the standard sharpening methods. This ease of sharpness means even absolute beginners will have a smooth time sharpening the knife and achieving a super-sharp edge.

Does 1095 CRO Van rust?

1095 Cro Van steel can rust easily. The low amounts of chromium in its composition (0.6% only) make it non-stainless steel. This compromises its corrosion resistance power and makes it highly susceptible to corrosion and rusting.

1095 CRO Van Steel

With this in mind, you'd want to offer regular maintenance—which is keeping your knife clean and dry—to your cro van steel knife if you often use it in wet conditions such as the kitchen environment.

1095 CRO Van steel vs other steels:

Wouldn't you be interested to know how steel compares to other types of steels out there? We gained some test results for our cro van steel compared to other similar steels, which we'll outline below.

1095 CRO-van steel for knives

1095 CRO Van steel vs 420hc

The 1095 cro van steel has a better edge holding capability than 420hc steel. The latter also features high chromium content (13%), which gives it high anti-corrosion resistance than cro van steel. However, you'll have a bit harder time sharpening 420hc.

1095 CRO Van steel vs d2

The higher carbide content in D2 gives it better wear/abrasion resistance. It also has high chromium content and will resist rusting better than 1095 cro van steel. However, D2 is harder to sharpen than 1095CV steel.

1095 CRO Van Steel

1095 CRO Van steel vs s30v

If you're more worried about staining and rusting, then you'd want to pick S30V and not 1095 cro-van steel. The s30v also performs slightly better in terms of edge retention and resistance to wear. But the high toughness of cro van steel minimizes its chipping likelihood compared to s30v.

How good is 1095 CRO-van steel for knives?

1095 Cro van steel is a great choice for making knives. This is especially true when you consider that Ka-Bar, one of the top knife manufacturers in the U.S., is famous for using Cro van steel to make most of their blades. The 1095 Cro van steel blades are suitable for handling indoor tasks like cutting open boxes. Since it has a good punch of hardness, you can also trust it to do tougher jobs like tackling the tough cords.

1095 CRO-van steel for knives

However, this steel might not be an excellent choice for outdoor tasks like fishing due to the high vulnerability to rusting. But if you commit yourself to give timely care to your knife (which is keeping it clean and dry at all times), it will perform well for outdoor tasks.

Ka-Bar, the respected U.S. knife company, coat their Cro van steel blades with a powder finish to enable them to resist rust and corrosion, making them suitable for use in various outdoor conditions.

Best 1095 CRO-van steel knives on the market today

1. KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

KA-BAR Full Size US Marine Corps Fighting Knife

This Ka-Bar USMC fighting knife right here is a real legend! It was 1st designed for use by the U.S. troops during the first world war. Now, over 50 years later, the knife still reigns as the top option for men and women of the service who like carrying it as a personal knife.

The top-rated knife features a 7-inch fixed blade made from the tough 1095 Cro Van steel to withstand any form of abuse. Unlike the harder blades, this knife won't easily chip, break, or crack when used for abusive, tough work.

Right out of the box, the blade is sharp enough to shave the hair off your arm. The clip point blade works wonders when it comes to piercing any non-solid object.

We also like that this knife comes packed with a durable, rugged, and ultra-strong leather sheath to allow for comfortable carry. This nice-looking sheath won't break like its plastic counterparts. It features a nice large leather loop for attaching to your belt and will comfortably accommodate your knife and keep the blade sharp and protected at all times.

The handle features compress washers of quality leather with recessed spacers. This translates to a rugged handle that offers you a good grip in both wet and dry conditions. The solid metal pommel is great for bashing and pounding. With the metal finger guard included in this knife, you can stay assured your hands won't slip off the handle and onto the blade.

Overall, we believe this knife will make a great option for any serviceman/woman in your life celebrating a military anniversary, retiring. It's also great if you want to showcase your pride in serving the USA. The USMC stamp and embossing on the knife blade is a plus.

Highlighted Features:

  • 7-inch straight-edge blade
  • 11.875 inches overall length
  • Tough 1095 Cro-van steel blade
  • High-quality leather handle
  • Durable leather sheath included

2. KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility

KA-BAR BKR7-BRK Combat Utility

This fairly priced knife was designed for soldiers and adventurers who require a sturdy but lightweight knife that holds up to hard use and abuse. Like its sibling above, this knife features a 7-inch long fixed 1095 Cro van steel blade, which is tough and easy to sharpen, and holds its edge pretty well. Isn't this just what you need for a utility or tactical knife?

The full-sized knife comes factory razor-sharp; the edge is so sharp it can shave the hair off your arm. It also holds a good cutting edge. Moreover, the blade features a 20-degree blade angle optimized with a classic flat grind and clip point—allowing you to make longer cuts effortlessly compared to the drop point style blades.

At only ¾ of a pound weight, this is one of the lightest knives you can find today! You just can't go wrong with this feather-light knife for your combat or camping needs…or in a zombie apocalypse scenario.

The solid plastic handle will fit your hands nicely and its scales and offer a firmer grip. The knife also comes with a MOLLE compatible heavy-duty Kydex sheath with a retention loop to give you an easy and comfortable way to carry your knife.

Overall, the Ka-Bar BKR7-BRK delivers a perfect blend of durability, utility, and affordability. This is a top-quality, top-rated, and made in the USA kind of knife you want to carry with you on your next camping trip. It's the ultimate choice for combat and survival situations.

Highlighted Features:

  • Sturdy, lightweight design
  • Easy to sharpen Cro van steel blade
  • Measures 12-7/8 inches overall
  • Durable glass fiber filled nylon handle
  • Includes a heavy-duty polyester sheath

3. KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

KA-BAR Becker BK2 Campanion Fixed Blade Knife

If you're looking for the perfect companion for your camping, hunting, or surviving days, this Campanion from Ka-Bar is hard to beat! Like the previously discussed models, this knife is also proudly made in Olean, New York, USA, by the Ka-Bar manufacturers.

The toughness of this Campanion is what makes it your ideal knife for tough outdoor use. It works flawlessly for splitting out kindling, prying apart joints, skinning game, chopping onions for your campfire, and other outdoor tasks you can think of!

Its secret to incredible performance lies in the 5.5-inch long fixed blade made from durable 1095 Cro Van steel for high toughness and good edge retention. This blade has a great thickness of 0.25 inches for added strength. It features powder coating for increased durability and resistance to corrosion.

The blade also features a drop point shape and a versatile 20-degree angle to ensure you get more performance from your knife.

The knife handle is made from Grivory and offers you a pretty good grip in all conditions and for different outdoor activities. When you purchase this knife, you'll also get a glass-filled nylon sheath that securely holds your knife so that it doesn't fall out accidentally.

For all the campers, hunters, survivalists, and other types of outdoorsmen, the BK2 is one knife you'd want to buy. The durability and performance of this knife are top-notch. And the price is just fair for the sharpness, thickness, and coating that comes with the knife.

Highlighted Features:

  • Made in the USA
  • 5.5-inch Cro Van steel handle with powder coating
  • 10.5-inch overall knife length
  • Full-tang heavy-duty knife
  • Hardshell black nylon sheath

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The Bottom Line

1095 Cro Van steel has good toughness and edge holding capabilities, which make it a good choice for making utility and outdoor knives. The steel also lies within an affordable range, and even the budget-minded knife users can own a knife made from this steel. The major drawback is poor rust resistance properties. But powder coating the blade helps keep off the rust and corrosion. Maintenance practices such as wiping your knife dry and keeping it clean at all times will also a long way in curbing rust/corrosion.

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