The 440C Steel is mid-range stainless Steel with the highest carbon contents and wears resistance among other siblings of the 440 stainless steel series, including 440A, 440B, and 440F. The alloy is well-known for its hardness, wear resistance, rust, and corrosion resistance, which is beyond comparison with other alloys of the 440 series and is best suitable for cutlery tools.
Historically, it’s hard to say who invented the 440C alloy. But historians state that the 440C Steel was first named in 1944, and later in 1949, it was considered among the three strongest and hardest stainless steels. Since then, the alloy has been used for manufacturing bearings, rolling element bearings, valve seats, chisels, knife blades, and other cutlery tools. However, the alloy came to recognition and became very popular twenty years ago with its use in strong and high-quality knives called Buck 110.
Yes, the 440C Steel has been a big helping hand for knife makers for decades. And still, now this alloy is a popular choice for mid-range knives. Due to its extreme hardness and wear resistance properties that can withstand tough pressure and handle rust and corrosion like a pro, it’s a prime choice for knife crafting. If you are not convinced, allow me to explain briefly.
Properties of 440C Steel
The 440C Steel is the right choice for knife making; I made that statement because the properties that the alloy possesses are highly suitable for mid-range knives, which are:
The secret behind the extreme hardness, wear resistance, and other properties of 440C Steel are its chemical composition and components:
- Carbon: Over 1.1% carbon boosts the alloy’s hardness, wear resistance, and strength.
- Chromium: Over 17% chromium makes the alloy rust and corrosion-resistant, improving tensile strength.
- Molybdenum: 0.70% molybdenum increases the machinability of the alloy.
- Manganese: 0.80% manganese is responsible for brittleness and hardness too.
- Silicon: 0.50% silicon makes the alloy tough and durable.
- Phosphorus: 0.20% improves the strength of the alloy.
- Sulfur: 0.02% sulfur is for good machinability.
440C stainless Steel has achieved 58 to 60 HRC in the Rockwell scale for hardness measuring. The alloy is known for its hardness has no comparison with other 440 series steel alloys, and it’s even better than other steels when it comes to hardness. And this hardness is perfect for knife crating and other cutlery tools.
Another excellent property of 440C alloy is its wear resistance, which tops other metals. And all the glory goes to the high chromium contents that are more than 17% in the alloy. Chromium makes the 440C wear resistance that can withstand any pressure and can be used repeatably, thus, making it the right choice for kitchen knives and chefs.
Rust and Corrosion Resistance
Chromium provides any metal the rust and corrosion resistance properties. And 17% chromium on 440C alloy makes this Steel an ideal choice for knives. That’s because knives are designed to use in the kitchen and outside and come in direct contact with moisture and water. Therefore the high chromium content offers all-out protection from rust and corrosion.
440C stainless Steel is tough, not as much lower-carbon steel, but definitely more than other high-carbon steel alloys. And that makes this material suitable for knife blades that won’t break while cutting.
The 440C Stainless Steel is also good for a knife for its edge retention. The high carbon and chromium help the Steel to retain the edge no matter what. At the same time, nothing happens to its edge after repeated use, and this is ideal for a knife.
As I mentioned, the high carbon and chromium help the 440C alloy hold its edge for longer. Thus, the knife crafted with this alloy doesn’t need to be sharpened frequently.
My Favorite 440C Stainless Steel Knives: Best 3 Picks
While talking about 440C alloy and its application to knives, let’s take a look at the three best knives made out of 440C grade steel that I recommend for household and outdoor use:
Firebird Ganzo FB7651-GY
It is a 440C high carbon steel mid-range pocket knife that has attracted knife enthusiasts’ attention in recent years. Its popularity is due to its hardness, which is 58 HRC, and came from its 440C alloy.
At the same time, the knife is wear resistant too. That’s why the knife can withstand pressure and almost anything and still will be useable after several harsh uses. Because it has a material that won’t wear off anytime soon, it’s suitable for several uses, making it perfect for kitchen uses, and chefs will find it beneficial.
However, the knife is extremely sharp, and the edge will hold the sharpness for a long time because the high carbon helps the blade to retain the sharp edge, and after years of use, it will hold the edge. Due to this property, you won’t have to sharpen the knife so soon.
The knife handle is crafted with G10 fiberglass attached to the blade with a stainless screw and an axis lock that can be easily removed and fixed. The handle is also comfortable to carry and offers a tight grip.
This knife is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. It can also be a great companion for camping trips, hiking, in nature, pocket-carrying, and self-defense.
Dimensions: 5.3 x 2.1 x 1.3 inches, Hardness: 58 HRC, Blade Material: 440C Stainless Steel, Handle Material: G10 fiberglass, Weight: 4.8 ounces, Blade Sharp: Clip-point, Brand: Firebird, Model: FB7651-GY.
- 58 HRC hardness makes the knife so tough and strong for use.
- Corrosion and rust resistance allows it to use in any weather and condition.
- Durable and strong 440C alloy steel is wear resistance.
- The Fiberglass handle provides a tight and comfortable grip.
What I Liked:
- Extreme hardness.
- Durability and strength.
- Corrosion and rust resistance.
- Wear resistance.
- Sharpe edge.
- Reasonable price.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Doesn’t lock while in the closed position.
The Ganzo G7392-CF knife deserves to be on the list because of its durability and the benefits that every knife should possess. The knife is most suitable for camping trips, household uses, and self-defense.
The knife is also crafted with 440C stainless alloy steel, making it extremely hard to measure 58 to 60 HRC. This hardness gives the knife the strength to cut through vegetation and other stuff.
At the same time, the alloy steel makes the knife wear resistance, so while using for many times, the knife can be used again since the sharpness of the knife won’t be compromised that soon. And the high carbon steel will ensure that the sharp edge will remain the same for a long time. So, you users won’t have to sharpen the knife for a long time.
This knife packs a great amount of chromium, making it rust and corrosion-resistant. So, no matter how the weather or how often the knife comes in contact with water or moisture, it won’t rust and corrode. Thus, it will be a great help on the outside, in nature, and even in the kitchen.
And ask for the handle that’s made out of carbon fiber. We all know carbon fiber is well-known for its durability and toughness. Besides, the comfort and grip you will feel while carrying the knife are beyond explanation. It’s also lightweight, which makes it easy to carry.
Dimension: 5.2 x 1.9 x 0.9 inches, Hardness: 58 – 60 HRC, Blade Material: 440C stainless steel, Handle Material: Carbon fiber, Weight: 4.9 ounces, Blade Sharp: Clip Point, Brand: Ganzo, Model: G7392-CF.
- High carbon stainless steel for durability, strength, and toughness.
- Ultra-sharp edge blades can chop vegetation and other stuff.
- The carbon fiber handle offers a tight grip and comfortable movements.
- Rust and corrosion free make it useable anywhere.
- Wear resistance makes it useful for a longer time.
- Suitable for camping, outside, and household use.
What I Liked:
- Durable material.
- Rust and corrosion free.
- Wear resistance.
- Easy to hold and carry.
- Low price.
- Tight grip handle.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Not recommended for heavy use.
Another excellent and top-grade knife is Poshland SL-369. It is a Damascus steel blade knife that is very beautiful to have and adored by all knife enthusiasts. The knife has an amazing design that makes it a fan favorite.
The best thing about this knife is the material, which is 440C stainless alloy steel. The blade material is responsible for the extreme hardness of the blade. The entire blade is super durable and strong that can chop vegetation and other things that need to be cut.
The knife is wear-resistant, making it useable for a long time without compromising the hardness and sharp edge blade. The carbon and other components of the blade ensure it can hold its sharp edge. And that’s why users won’t have to carry the burden of sharpening the blade frequently.
However, the knife is full tang and extends to the end where it has worn a durable handle. But the blade has another beneficial quality: rust and corrosion resistance. Because of its high chromium contents, moisture can’t affect the blade; thus, no rust or corrode. That’s why it will greatly help outdoor trips and the kitchen.
The handle is green canva micarta, considered the toughest and cheapest knife option. It ensures the grip is tight, so there is no loss of grip while holding, and it provides the best comfort. And the lightweight is also an extra point for the knife.
Dimensions: 7.5 x 2.5 x 1.2 inches, Hardness: 58-60 HRC, Blade Material: 440C Stainless Steel, Handle Material: Canva Micarta, Weight: N/A, Blade Sharp: N/A, Brand: Poshland, Model: SK-396.
- Durable material that can easily use for chopping.
- No rust and corrode while outside use and in any condition.
- Wear resistance guarantees longer use.
- Blade edge won’t lose the sharpness sometime soon.
- The handle ensures a tight and comfortable grip.
What I Liked:
- Super strong high carbon stainless alloy steel 440C grade.
- Hardness and strength.
- Wear, rust, and corrosion resistant.
- Full tang.
- Comfortable handle.
- Sharp edge blade.
- Low price.
What I Didn’t Like:
- Many users state the knife is not suitable for skinning.
Advantages of 440C Steel for Knives
Knife makers use many materials for crafting knives, but among all the alloys, high-carbon stainless Steel is the most used. And 440C alloy is the best material considered by knife crafters. Let’s see why:
Hardness: Hardness is a very crucial factor that every knife should possess. And 440C stainless steel ally provides the most hardness among all the materials. That makes the knife so strong and can withstand a lot of pressure. The hardness makes the knife perfect for pocket and mild use.
Wear Resistance: What’s the point of having a knife if it can’t be used after a few times cutting? But, the 440C steel knife is wear-resistant, ensuring the knife can be used perfectly after repeated chopping. Besides, its wear resistance property allows the knife to withstand pressure.
Rust and Corrosion Resistance: If the knife rusts or corrodes quickly, it won’t be efficient. And no outside or kitchen use makes the knife pointless. However, the 440C alloy knife won’t be corroded because of its high chromium content. And knife enthusiasts can use it outdoors in any condition without any worry.
Blade Will Remain Sharp: 440C high carbon steel possesses the highest carbon content, so the knife crafted with this material will retain the sharp edge. That’s because high carbon steel helps the blade to have an edge and retain the edge. At the same time, the blade edge will remain the same for a longer time, so users won’t have to worry about sharpening the knife very often.
Disadvantages of 440C Steel for Knives
The 440C Stainless Steel may be an excellent choice for knife crafting, but the material still has a few drawbacks that make the material less suitable for knife making. Those drawbacks are:
Toughness: The 440C alloy offers the most hardness in the knife, but the material compromises the blade’s toughness. Those who don’t know 440C alloy packs high carbon contents, and high carbon steel aren’t that touch. That’s why a 440c alloy knife won’t be suitable for big knives but would be best for pocket and folding knives.
Less Corrosion Resistance than Other Steels: When it comes to the 440C Stainless Steel, it is undoubtedly corrosion-resistant. But compared with other steels like ferritic and austenitic steels, 440C is less corrosion resistance. Thus, many knife makers prefer those steels over the 440C.
Not Easy to Sharpen: 400C high carbon stainless steel may not require to be sharpened frequently because the high carbon contents can hold the sharp edge for a long. But no matter when you sharpen the knife, you will find it hard to sharpen the knife. The 440C is very hard and strong, so sharpening it won’t be as easy as soft steel alloys.
Which Steel is Better for Knife Blades: 5Cr15MoV or 440C Stainless Steel?
When comparing knife blade steel options, the choice between 5Cr15MoV Steel and 440C stainless steel is often debated. While both offer satisfactory performance, 5Cr15MoV steel boasts decent corrosion resistance and durability. On the other hand, 440C stainless steel excels in hardness and edge retention. Ultimately, the decision depends on the specific needs and preferences of the user.
Comparison with Other Steels
Although 440C alloy is an excellent stainless steel and a popular choice for knife crafting, let’s see what outperforms in compassion to other steels:
440C Steel vs. D2 Steel
As I mentioned countless times, 440C alloy has extreme hardness. But compared with the D2 Steel, 440C wins the hardness criteria. But the D2 Steel is way tougher than the 440C alloy. At the same time, the D2 Steel can retain the sharp edge better than the 440C alloy. I mean to say the D2 Steel can hold the edge longer.
On the other hand, the 440C Steel is more corrosion-resistant than the D2 Steel, which means it won’t rust soon as the D2 alloy. Besides, sharpening the 440C is way easier and hassle-free.
440C Steel vs. S30V Steel
The S30V is premium quality top-of-the-line powder-made steel that possesses great qualities to be used in knives. The material is harder than the 440C alloy steel, which makes the material suitable for heavy-duty knives. At the same time, the S30V Steel is also tougher and can be a great material for big knives and other tools. The material can also retain the sharp edge better than 440C alloy.
However, the S30V Steel is easy to sharpen when it comes to sharpening, but compared to the 440C Steel, it’s pretty hard to sharpen the material. On the other hand, both 440C and S30V contain the same amount of chromium. Thus, those are the same level of corrosion resistance.
440C Steel vs. 420HC Steel
In the race to be the best, 440C Steel wins against 420HC Steel. The 440C alloy contains more chromium and carbon than the 420HC Steel. Thus, the 440C grade is tougher and corrosion-resistant. And the 440C alloy contains some molybdenum. Otherwise, other components are similar, and properties are almost the same.
What Is 440C Steel?
The 440C is high carbon stainless steel with the highest carbon contents measuring 1.1% and contains around 17% chromium and other components that give the super alloy hardness and wear resistance properties.
What Is the Hardness of 440C Steel?
The hardness of the 440C alloy is between 58 to 60 HRC on the Rockwell scale.
What Is the Toughness of 440C Steel?
Due to the high carbon contents and other components, 440C is tough Steel, and the toughness can be rated 5 out of 10.
What Is the Corrosion Resistance of 440C Steel?
Corrosion resistance depends on how much chromium a metal has. However, 440C grade steel contains 17% chromium, which makes the 440C a highly corrosion-resistant alloy.
What Are the Applications of 440C Steel?
The 440C grade steel has a range of applications, such as:
- Rolling element bearings.
- Valve seats.
- Knife blades.
- Various cutlery tools.
How Does 440C Steel Compare to Other Types of Steel?
Compared to other steels, 440C stainless Steel has more hardness, wear resistance, and rust and corrosion resistance properties.
Is 440C Steel Good for Making Knives?
YES, 440C is a great choice for making knives because of its hardness and wear resistance properties. Besides, it can retain the sharp edge for a longer time.
How Do You Sharpen 440C Steel?
The 440C alloy steel is a super hard metal, thus, making it very hard to sharpen. But it can be done with a good knife sharpener.
How Do You Heat Treat 440C Steel?
Just hold the Steel towards the heat. It would be better to hold the 440C alloy steel in front of 760°C or 1400°F for 10 minutes.
What Is the Recommended Annealing Temperature for 440C Steel?
The annealing temperature for 440C stainless is 1650°F.
Can 440C Steel Be Welded?
NO. The 440C grade steel can’t be welded because it can easily be air hardened.
Is 440C Steel Considered High-End Steel?
YES. The 440C is considered the higher-end carbon steel since it contains 1.1% carbon.
Conclusion: The 440C high carbon stainless steel is the right choice for crafting knives. Since the alloy has high carbon (1.1%) and chromium (17%) contents, such beneficial properties as super-hardness, wear resistance, and corrosion and rust resistance exist. And it can retain the edge longer. Thus, it is a better choice for crafting knives than other materials.