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Measuring S30V VS 420HC Knife Blades Potency & Longevity

Last Updated: June 10th, 2022

When it comes to knife blades, how do you know which one is right for you? Though various stainless steel blades are on the market, selecting the best one is tricky. 

Today we discuss S30V VS 420HC stainless steel knife blades with their specific characteristics.

The main differences between S30V and 420HC are that the 420HC’s sharpening ease, hardness, and corrosion resistance are better than the S30V stainless steel, but the S30V’s edge retention is better than 420HC. The 420HC blade steel offers better ease of sharpening. On the other hand, the S30V knife steel offers better edge retention.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the differences between these two types of steel and see how they stack up against each other.

Comparison Table: S30V VS 420HC

              Category                   S30V                     420HC
Nature Martensitic Powder-Made Wear Martensitic Standard 420C
Chemical Components Chromium, Vanadium, Molybdenum, Carbon Chromium, Manganese, Silicon, Nickel, Carbon
Toughness                       Low                         High
Ease Of Sharpening                     Good                       Better
Edge Retention                     Better                       Good
Wear & Corrosion Resistance                     Less                       More
Common Brands Hogue, Mercworx, Benchmade, Buck Gerber, Kershaw, Leatherman, Victorinox, Buck

What Is S30V?

The S30V stainless steel is a Martensitic Powder-Made Wear. The Dick Barber of Crucible Industries Knifemaker and Chris Reeve developed these stainless steel knife blades with powder metallurgy technology. S30V has become more famous for its high wear resistance and better corrosion resistance with extreme hardness.

Generally, this knife blade is perfect for its better edge retention. So CPM S30V stainless steel bears high accountability and is helpful for daily uses. 

This steel is also considered super steel and is used mainly as custom knives. Let’s check some specific points to know its advantages and disadvantages also.


  • Better Hardness
  • High Edge Retention
  • Extreme Corrosion & Wear Resistance
  • Powder-made Wear Martensitic Stainless Steel
  • Durable Structure


  • Tough to Sharpen
  • Little Exclusive

What Is 420HC?

The 420HC is martensitic stainless steel and a modified version of the 420 series developed by US bases Latrobe Company. The 420 series contained Carbon naturally, but the 420HC had a high carbon volume. 

That is responsible for increasing this knife blade’s durability and flexibility with high wear resistance, extreme toughness, and better sharpening ease.

The most important term is its affordable price to practice this knife blade in regular use and easily changeable. Its sharpening ease is better than the other series of stainless steel. 

So, you don’t need a specific stone to sharpen it. The 420HC steel blade is more popular steel for its high volume of Carbon. Let’s check its points.


  • Better Sharpening Ease
  • Extreme Toughness
  • High Corrosion Resistance
  • Durable & Flexible
  • Affordable & Easy Replacing


  • Lower Edge Retention
  • Not Rich in Quality

Distinguish The key Characteristics Of S30V & 420HC

After seeing the comparison table and detailed discussion on S30V and 420HC knife blades, we get an overview of these two stainless steel sheets. Now we distinguish their specific characteristics in detail.


The S30V stainless steel is furnished with Powder-Made Wear and is considered martensitic steel. Dick Barber of Crucible Industries with Knifemaker Chris Reeve Company developed this stainless steel knife blade.

On the other hand, the 420HC stainless steel blade is also considered martensitic steel and is developed by a US-based Latrobe Company. It’s a modified version of the 420 series and contains high-volume Carbon.

Chemical Components

The 420HC tool steel uses some specific and exclusive chemical ingredients. Those are responsible for making it premium steel and more durable with better edge retention. Let’s check some crucial chemical elements.

  • 14% Chromium
  • 4% Vanadium
  • 2% Molybdenum
  • 1.45% Carbon

The 420HC uses some unique and effective chemical ingredients. Those are responsible for making this stainless steel more flexible with better sharpening ease. Let’s check some crucial elements.

  • 13% Chromium
  • 0.80% Manganese
  • 0.80% Silicon
  • 0.50% Nickel
  • 0.45% Carbon


The S30V folding knife blade toughness is good enough and perfect for Benchmade use. According to the knife maker motivation, the S30V pocket knife blade performs better heat-treating than its relevant series. So, you can keep trust in its toughness.

On the other hand, the 420HC custom knife blade toughness is better than the S30V stainless steel, according to heat treatment. If you compare these two steel plates with this parameter, you will realize which will perform better.

Ease Of Sharpening

The S30V stainless steel knife blade sharpening ease is lower, and it’s tough to sharpen without specific stones. So, the S30V knife blade can’t perform as well as other relevant blades in this parameter.

However, the 420HC knife has a better sharp edge. You can make it sharpen without any specific stones or material objects. That is essential to save your time and make your cutting journey reliable.

Edge Retention

The S30V stainless steel edge retention is better than the other relevant steel. This knife blade uses high-volume Chromium Carbide to increase its edge retention.

The 420 knife blade has lower edge retention than the S30V steel blade. Though it uses Chromium more, the Carbon volume is too low in this stainless steel. For that reason, edge retention wouldn’t be acceptable.

Wear & Corrosion Resistance

The S30V stainless steel knife blade is introduced with high volume Vanadium to increase its wear, corrosion, and rust resistance. It performs in this parameter as usual like other knives.

But the 420HC stainless steel carbon is responsible for making its high wear and excellent corrosion resistance. The Carbon protects air and water oxidation for a long time and stabilizes wear and corrosion resistance.

Common Brands

The S30V stainless steel is commonly used in Hogue, Mercworx, Benchmade, and Buck knives brands for better edge retention.

On the other hand, the 420HC is widely used in Gerber, Kershaw, Leatherman, Victorinox, and Buck knife brands for its better sharpening ease.

Which Will Be Better For You?

After an expanded description, we have known S30V and 420HC stainless steel specific characteristics and features with pros & cons. Both stainless steel sheets are martensitic Carbon steel and offer extreme wear resistance.

Though there are few differences in corrosion resistance, toughness, and nature, the critical difference is edge retention and sharpening ease.

In S30V stainless steel, you will get high edge retention but low sharpening ease. Also, at the same time, you get better sharpening ease but lower edge retention in 420HC stainless steel. But we suggest the S30V knife blade for its longevity and excellent quality.

People Often Ask

Is 420HC Better To Use In Knife Blade?

Yes, the 420HC stainless steel is better for knife blades for its easy sharpening character. You even get high wear resistance, extreme toughness, and durable structure. So this steel blade is perfect for using the first knife or day-to-day.

Is S30V Good Enough For Benchmade Use?

Indeed, the S30V stainless steel is perfect for use in Benchmade. The Bucks S30V blows out of the water in an almost single day with Benchmade. Therefore, extreme corrosion resistance with high edge retention needs and S30V can fulfill these criteria.

Have Any Differences Between S30V & CPM S30V?

The CPM S30V is the official name of S30V stainless steel, and the Crucible Industries developed this stainless steel. According to the Crucible Particle Metallurgy process, this steel is enriched with high volume Carbide. So there are no significant differences between them.

Does Kershaw 420HC Contain Specific Features?

The Kershaw 420HC is the latest modified steel version of the 420 series. This steel uses high-volume Carbon and Vanadium. These elements increase this steel’s durability, corrosion resistance, toughness, and sharpening ease.

Final Thoughts

In comparing the two blades, S30V vs 420HC are great knives but have different advantages. It is essential to know the difference to choose the best knife for your needs.

If you are looking for a blade that will last a long time and hold its edge, then the S30V is a good option.

However, if you are looking for a blade that is easier to sharpen and has more corrosion resistance, the 420HC may be better for you.

Whichever blade you choose, take care of it properly so that it will serve you well for many years to come.

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Steve Thampson

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