If you’re looking for more info on 440C to help you decide it’s good blade steel for your knife, you’ve come to the right place. The 440C stainless steel has been used for a long time to make knives by popular brands like Benchmade and Böker. Knife smiths also use this steel for their knife work. But how good a reputation has this steel build over the years? Does it have what it takes to be an expectable steel blade for your new knife? Let’s find out below.
What is 440C steel?
440C is a high carbon martensitic stainless steel that belongs to the 440 steel series. Other steels in the series include 440A and 440B. 440C is the highest Carbon steel in this series and has the highest strength, hardness, and wear-resistance than its siblings.
This steel is loved by both knife makers and knife users due to its really high corrosion resistance. It also takes and holds a great mirror-like finish longer and requires very minimal care. The steel is pretty tough, highly wear-resistant, and dependable.
What is 440C steel used for? With its long history of reliability, this steel has found use in many industrial applications and fine handmade custom knives.
Due to its high-end properties, this steel is considered high-end, and most knives made out of it are usually pricey.
440c steel composition
The major components in 440C steel alloy include Carbon, chromium, Molybdenum, Manganese, and Silicon, as shown in its full chemical composition table below.
1.1% Carbon makes the material harder and more wear-resistant. But high amounts can decrease the toughness.
17% Chromium improves hardenability, wear resistance, toughness, and corrosion and rust resistance.
0.50% Molybdenum improves the steel deep hardening and toughness. It also enhances wear resistance.
0.30% Silicon acts as a deoxidizer and improves the hot-forming properties.
0.45% Manganese reduces brittleness and deformation and improves forgeability and hardenability.
0.04% Phosphorous increases strength.
0.03 Sulfur increases the machinability of this steel.
440c steel properties
As we mentioned earlier, 440C is a proven performer, and it’s the same reason it’s still in use to make knives. It’s also the same reason nearly all knife enthusiasts own a knife or two made from this steel.
In this section, we’ll look at some of the distinct features that propel this steel to high performance and win it a spot in the realm of top-rated knife blade steels.
How hard is 440C steel? 440C has a Rockwell hardness ranging from 58-60HRC. This is considered quite hard for blade steel. This steel is the hardest in the 440 steel series. The high hardness is due to increased Carbon and chromium content used in its composition. This enables it to perform excellently in terms of wear and abrasion resistance and will not easily give in to surface demolition.
Hardness and edge retention always go hand in hand. Thanks to the high hardness, this stele has great edge retention. Also, high carbon steel grades are usually associated with excellent edge retention. You can use your 440C steel knife for long periods without getting dull compared to other Chinese steel knives. This is a good attribute to have in an outdoor knife.
440C is hard steel, meaning it cannot be highly tough at the same time. Nevertheless, it has proven to be decently tough blade steel. The use of high content of Molybdenum plays a crucial role in increasing its overall toughness. This enables it to resist shock and lateral forces and withstand tough outdoor use.
This steel also delivers great anti-corrosion properties. The high chromium content makes it stainless steel that keeps off stains, corrosion, and rust. High corrosion resistance is a good thing because your knife would require minimal care to protect it from rust.
IS 440C steel easy to sharpen? Keeping in mind that this is hard steel, sharpening it might not be a simple task for you. But with more advanced sharpening methods available, you will still be able to give your 440C knife a super-sharp edge. But the process will take longer. Luckily, the steel retains its sharpness for a long time, saving you from sharpening it before every use.
440C vs other steel
How does 440C compare with other steels in terms of edge retention, toughness, corrosion resistance, and ease of sharpness? Let’s find out below.
440C vs 420HC
The two steels offer similar levels of corrosion resistance and ease of sharpness. But 440x has slightly higher better edge retention but lower toughness than 420HC.
440C vs D2
You get better retention and toughness with D2 than 440C. But if you want better corrosion resistance and easy sharpening, 440C is way better than D2.
440C vs AUS8
440C offers slightly better edge retention and toughness than AUS8. 440C is also easier to sharpen. But the two steels have the same level of corrosion resistance.
440C vs 1095
1095 steel has better toughness. 440C outshines the steel with higher corrosion resistance. Both steels are extremely easy to sharpen.
440C vs S30V
440C has better edge retention and toughness than S30V. But both steels deliver the same corrosion resistance levels.
440C vs VG10
VG10 and 440C have the same level of toughness and corrosion resistance. But Vg10 has better edge retention 440C.
440C vs 154CM
440C offers you better edge retention than 154CM, same toughness, but lower corrosion resistance than 440C steel.
440C vs 8Cr13MoV
440C offers better edge retention, toughness, and corrosion resistance than 8Cr13MoV. However, 8Cr13MoV is slightly easier to sharpen than 440c.
IS 440C good knife steel?
440C scores highly in corrosion resistance, good edge retention, and extremely easy to sharpen. It’s amazing how the steel strikes a terrific balance between good toughness and wear resistance.
Not to forget, it has that amazing mirror-like finish that it can keep for decades. The polish makes the 440c stainless steel knives easy to clean and maintain. These great attributes indicate that 440C is indeed good knife steel.
Since it appears in the mid-range category of steels, this knife will not cost you an arm and a leg.
Best 440C Knives:
1. ESEE Izula Fixed Blade Knife
This is one of the best EDC knives featuring a 440C fixed blade you can get today. The knife is incredibly light but highly sturdy. And without any handle scales, you can carry this knife every day without it sticking out as a scary knife to the public.
The Izula is hand-sharpened before shipping and comes super-sharp out of the box. Because it’s made from 440C stainless steel, it will hold an edge perfectly well. IT also has high corrosion resistance and will not easily rust when exposed to wet conditions. Above all, the steel is tough and will enable the blade to hold up to various forms of abuse.
Keep in mind that this Izula comes with a molded sheath for carrying your knife comfortably. This sheath locks up sturdily to keep your knife in there and stays concealed. A clip on the sheath lets you easily hook it to your belt for comfortable carry. You can attach it to your belt in vertical scout carry or horizontal carry.
The hole on the handle is large enough to easily fit your index finger. Users complain that the handle might get slick in wet conditions, so we suggest that you wrap it with a paracord to ensure smooth usage of your knife.
2. Gerber Randy Newberg DTS Hunting Knife
If you’re looking for the perfect knife for deer or big game hunting that won’t disappoint you, get this Gerber. Randy Newberg, the mind behind this hunting knife, has spent decades harvesting animals. He has learned lots of priceless info on how to get the job done better along the way.
The hunting knife comes equipped with a primary blade made of 440C stainless steel, which is highly rust-resistant and holds its edge well for excellent meat processing.
It also offers you an additional serrated tendon tool to enable you to effortlessly cut through tough tendons and joints. This way, you won’t have to subject your primary blade to cut the tough-to-get-to tendons or wedging the joints, which end up being the end of your knife.
The knife easily fits in your hand and is easy to open with just one hand. It feels incredibly light and durable. The fact that it’s ambidextrous means even lefties can comfortably use it.
A retro-reflective material on the handle of this folding hunting knife helps you easily locate your knife in the dark with a flashlight or headlamp if you misplace it in the woods.
3. iField 150 Survival Camping Fixed Blade Knife
This is a solid knife you can trust on your next camping, hiking, or survival tour. It features a 7uinch long with a full-tang survival knife design. It feels quite robust, an assurance that it’s ready to face the tough world of the outdoors. The knife comes packed in a nice bamboo box, which makes it a giftable item.
We feature this knife because its 7 Inch long, 5mm thick blade is made from 440C stainless steel. This material boasts a high hardness of 58-60HRC, making it extremely solid and robust and ready to tackle the worst of the wild life. It is better than most steel types.
The complete package includes a well-made black, high-quality leather sheath, which safely accommodates your knife and lets you carry it safely and access it easily. Since this sheath is multi-position, you can carry it in horizontal or vertical positions.
A red micarta handle comes with this knife to offer you a tough and comfortable grip. A lanyard hole on this handle enables you to attach a safety cord to keep your knife from dropping.
Overall, this is a well-made knife with fantastic quality. It’s a beast of a knife ready to meet all your needs and expectations when our there. For the cost, it’s hard to beat this knife.
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440C stainless steel is beautiful and durable blade steel that excels in corrosion resistance, high toughness, and edge retention. But it also excels in superb high finish value, which is rarely mentioned, but quite important. If you’re looking for an affordable EDC carry or utility knife with these characteristics, 440C high carbon steel knives will not disappoint you.