Is 440c steel good for a knife? [Complete Steel Guide]

440C steel

I often read or hear about the 440 series, especially the 440C that gained popularity in the last 20 years thanks to the famous knife Buck 110, so I wanted to know how come this steel is so popular? And how did it survive the competition against the new technology steels ?!, therefore I decided to make a 440c Steel Review.

So if you’re reading, it means you’re too looking for more Infos about the 440C Steel, well! You came to the right place! I did some researches and answered some common questions (like What is it? What is its chemical composition? What is its hardness? How hard is it? Is it good or no ? and other questions) That you can find in his blog post! So let’s dive in.

440C is a mid-range Stainless Steel from the 440 Series (440 A, 440B and 440C) high in carbon (Has more than 1%, which makes the highest carbon steel of the 440 series), it offers excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance, used for budget and mid-range knives.

440C Steel Review

440c steel composition

  • 1,1% of Carbon: It improves hardness and wear/corrosion resistance, but a high amount of it decreases strength.
  • 17,00% of Chromium: For tensile strength and Edge retention, and enhances corrosion resistance and wear resistance.
  • 0,70% of Molybdenum: Increase Machinability and strength.
  • 0,80% of Manganese: Increases hardness and brittleness.
  • 0,02% of Sulfur: Increases machinability.

The chemical composition of 440C steel is a mixture of high Chromium (17%) and high Carbon (more than 1%), which makes stainless steel with great wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

440c Steel hardness (Rockwell Hardness)

440c Steel has a hardness of 57HRC.

If you find trouble understanding the terms “HRC” or “Rockwell Hardness”, read this blog post for more Infos.

440c steel properties

According to the chemical composition and the HRC of the steel, the 440c Steel has the following features:

440c Edge Retention: 440c offers great edge retention due to the high level of both Chromium and Carbon.

440c Corrosion Resistance: 440c has excellent corrosion resistance thanks to the 17% of Chromium.

440c Wear Resistance: Excellent Wear Resistance, the fine grain, and Carbide of the AEB L steel make it very hard steel.

440c Sharpness: 440c is hard steel, so sharpening it wouldn’t be a simple task, but once sharpened, it will hold the edge for a long time.

440c Toughness: 440c offers high wear resistance and corrosion resistance, in the cost of toughness (you can’t have the three in one steel), 440c is brittle steel with a decent toughness.

IS 440c steel good for a knife?

440c is mid-range (that used to be a high-end) stainless steel that offers great corrosion resistance and great wear resistance, and will take a great mirror polish so the answer is YES, It’s a good steel for knives, but It has low toughness. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend it for hard usage (A boning knife, for example), it would be a great knife for the wet environment (Fishing knife or kitchen knife), and it holds an edge for long, which is great for an EDC knife carry.

1. ESEE Izula Best 440C Knives

1. iField 150

Now let’s see the first knife in my list, the iField150, this is the type of knives that aren’t famous for some reason. Still, honestly, it’s a great value compared to it price, let’s see why it’s hunting/survival/camping knife (you pick it!), with 7” of blade and 5mm of thickness that’s a lag beefy knife!, the fit and finish of the knife is just perfect, the grind is on point, and it has the 440c stainless steel, all of this for a small price, and on top of this a Multiposition black leather sheath, I’m still confused is the company lowering the price to attract more clients, or we’re lucky enough to enjoy some good value for a little price!.

2. ESEE Izula

We all know the famous Izula, it comes on both the 1095 Carbon steel and the 440c stainless steel, the Bullet Ant or Izula is one of the greatest knives you can get with the 440C steel, this knife is more than outdoor knife it can serve you in many situations, it’s lightweight, easy to sharpen and has a great edge retention, if you’re looking for a hunting knife, camping knife or just any outdoor activities just pick the Izula, you’ll be satisfied, and let’s not forget the design, a simple design always offers great ergonomics, the knife comes with its own sheath, so if you’re interested check it out.

440C VS Steel

In this section, we’re going to compare our steel with other steels, and for this, I use four criteria; Edge Retention, Corrosion resistance, Ease of Sharpness, and Toughness, and I use a scale or note from 1 to 10.

440C VS D2

440CD2
EDGE RETENTION2.5/103.5/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS7/104/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/104/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

D2 Offers better edge retention, better toughness and lower corrosion resistance compared to the 440C Steel.

440C VS 1095

440C1095
EDGE RETENTION2.5/103/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS7/107/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/103/10
TOUGHNESS5/108/10

1095 Offers close edge retention, better toughness and lower corrosion resistance compared to the 440C Steel.

440C VS S30V

440CS30V
EDGE RETENTION2.5/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS7/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/107/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

S30V Offers lower edge retention, better toughness and same corrosion resistance compared to the 440C Steel.

440C VS AUS8

440CAUS 8
EDGE RETENTION2.5/102/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS7/109/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/107/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

AUS8 Offers close edge retention, better toughness and lower corrosion resistance compared to the 440C Steel.

440C VS VG10

440CVG 10
EDGE RETENTION2.5/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS7/106/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/107/10
TOUGHNESS5/104/10

VG10 Offers better edge retention, close toughness and same corrosion resistance compared to the 440C Steel.

440C VS 154CM

440C154CM
EDGE RETENTION2.5/105/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS7/105/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/105/10
TOUGHNESS5/104/10

154CM Offers better edge retention, close toughness and lower corrosion resistance compared to the 440C Steel.

440C VS 420HC

440C420HC
EDGE RETENTION2.5/102/10
EASE OF SHARPNESS7/107/10
CORROSION RESISTANCE7/106/10
TOUGHNESS5/106/10

420HC Offers close edge retention, close toughness and the same level of corrosion resistance compared to the 440C Steel.

Conclusion

After more than 20 years the 440C Steel kept hit place a well-trusted steel for knives, today many new steels have made it to the knife industry, bringing their new technology leaving behind old steels like our 440C, but old never meant bad, in fact, old means Gold for the 440C steel, many knife users still carry their 440C, and they never complained about it, so If you never owned one, give it a try, who knows you might end up enjoying it!

As usual, if you have another opinion about the 440C Steel, feel free to leave a comment below.

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