What is 420HC Steel?

Table of Contents

420High Carbon steel or 420HC is a versatile and budget-friendly stainless steel utilized in different knives. The high carbon content is what makes this steel harder. On the other hand, it is still regarded as soft steel if you compare it to some other steel available out there. When it comes to quality and superiority, 420 High Carbon is rated as lower-middle-range steel.

Even if this steel has low edge retention compared to high-end ones, it still got remarkable rust resistance, and honing it is easy. You can find this steel on the most reasonable and cheapest knives.

Amongst all the options of steel for knives available, 420 High Carbon is a firm option for people who like a dependable knife. This steel is most commonly used by hunters and fishermen who want something which will hold up the outdoor activities. Due to high rust resistance, it assists the steel in holding up in the elements and avoids rust. This steel is able to survive those rougher weather conditions and daily hard use.

Together, a lot of knife beginners out there also choose 420HC knives for the low rate. It is considered a budget option while providing a more first-class experience than the reasonable stuff you might find in below $10.

On the other hand, this kind of steel doesn’t have the same blade edge retention form as the high quality ones available. Instead, it is a softer type of steel compared to others. Sharpening this steel is a breeze, yet you might not be able to keep the edge sharp all the time.

Some of the common applications of this kind of steel are as follows:

  • Beginners
  • Budget knives
  • Hunting and fishing blades
  • Survival and outdoor knives

Chemical Composition of 420HC Steel

Some of the elements that composed this steel are as follows:

  • Carbon 0.46%: It enhances hardness, corrosion, and rust resistance; however, high carbon content lessens the strength of the steel.
  • Chromium 13%: For edge retention and tensile strength and improves rust resistance as well as wear and tear resistance.
  • Manganese 0.4%: This improves the brittleness and hardness of the steel.
  • Vanadium 0.3%: This enhances wear resistance as well as the hardenability of the steel.
  • Silicon 0.4%: This enhances the strength of the silicon.

The 420 high carbon steel is rich in chromium and has a sufficient amount of vanadium and carbon that make it relatively low-end steel.

Benefits of 420HC Steel

There are perks of using this kind of steel. 420HC hailed by many with fervor for outdoor living as easy to hone. This superb steel is utilized for fine swords, knives, or hatchets. On the other hand, sportsmen also chose this steel for many years to have Buck Knives and other appropriately crafted sporting utility equipment. Bladed tools and knives made of 420HC stand well under the vitality of work while hunting or fishing. On the path, dependable work equipment is vital, and fishermen and hunters have utilized this steel for decades. It is reliable and strong.

Other benefits offered by this steel are as follows:

Some of the benefits provided by this steel take account of the following:

Decent Blade Edge Retention

It’s a reality that a low of newer variants of steel available hold a razor-sharp edge for many years compared to this steel. Practically speaking, the capability in keeping a razor-sharp edge of this steel isn’t that worst. On the other hand, 420 high-carbon is able to keep a sharp razor edge for many years compared to different variants. So, even if you might need to hone the blade quite often, it wouldn’t be as often as other options.

Decent Rust Resistance

This steel is considered a pure kind of steel because it has the needed level of chromium. As a result, it keeps corrosion and rust at bay. You can use this steel even in wet conditions without any problems. What is more, if you wipe the blade every after use, you may not encounter the problem of discoloration even if you use it every day.

Easy to Sharpen

420HC is also considered one of the most straightforward variants of steel to hone or sharpen. Just a handful of variants are simple to hone. You can use a knife made of this steel without sharpening it from time to time.


420HC steel is hard, even if its toughness level can be more once heat treated characteristically. This will not crack, break quicker compared to other steels. This has the capability to endure your daily use.

Top Knives made with 420HC Steel

Amongst the broad selection of knives made with 420HC available, here is a shortlist of some knives we highly recommend. Each one fits a diverse type of design and use. The materials work for knives, fine swords, and hatchers, and without further a due, here are some of the popular knives made with this steel take account of the following:

  1. Kershaw Chive Pocket Knife

This is a very popular knife today and makes a good beginner knife for someone getting into a pocket knife. It is a tough and dependable tool that will hold up to daily applications without spending a lot of money.

State-of-the-art Kershaw Chive Pocket Knife comes with a high-performance blade with 420HC steel that does well in any outdoor activities because of the high rust resistance properties. The edge of this knife is not the hardest; however, it does keep its sharpness decently. The best thing about this blade, on the other hand, is that it is easy to hone, even if you are a new user.

The handle is also made of stainless steel materials with a secure frame lock, one-position pocket clip and has the company’s SpeedSafe supported opening for improved usage. In general, it is considered a versatile knife able to handle daily cutting tasks very well. It is portable and can be kept in your belt, pocket, etc.

  1. Kershaw Link Blue Black-wash Pocket Knife

The black wash pocket knife is considered one of the best knives made with 420HC steel. This is crafted in the US and an all-American product, so; you are assured of its quality and reliability. The knife blade tucks away to the other side and comes with a pocket clip integrated with spring so you can bring it with you with ease and comfort. 

It has a comfortable and slip-free handle. It got a firm area for the hand with remarkable ergonomic as well as a blade knife guard. In general, it is a good value 420HC knife with better ergonomics, good action as well as superiority and value. 

  1. BuckLite Max II

Knives from Buck are infamous from all over the world as solid and reliable knives for hunters and fishermen, and EDC carry as well. The company utilizes a high quality 420HC stainless steel in their knives and also has an amazing heat treatment process which brings out the most excellent feature of this steel.

Buckle Max II, like the Gerber StrongArm, is made in the US and has the Forever Warranty, which assures the knives to be 100 percent perfect and no defects in workmanship and material for the lifespan of the blade.

This knife is considered one of the most heavy-duty hunting blades available. It has an amazing ergonomic handle made of high-quality rubber with a textured finish to obtain a secure and firm grip. What is more, the tough sheath made of polyester has a belt loop for simple and easy portability.

The 420HC blade has a modest amount of carbon, which along with the company’s superior heat treatment, provides a good hardness as well as wear and rust resistance.

In general, this knife is reliable which combines superb performance with toughness and durability, which makes it a perfect option for hunting and camping, and other outdoor tasks and activities.

  1. Buck Knives 112 Ranger Automatic Lock-back Knife

Another entry from Buck Knives, you cannot go classic than this one. It is called an ol school gentlemen’s knife. It is also considered a timeless icon integrated with wood and brass grain finish. 

A lot of knife fanatics love the extremely refined feature of this knife and also the ergonomic feel when you hold it. This is a good EDC knife made of high-quality 420HC stainless steel. 


420HC or 420 high carbon steel serves many purposes. On the other hand, survival knives are the most common ones. The price of this steel is relatively low compared to other steels and does the task it is intended to carry out. This steel is easy to maintain, sharpen, and very tough as well. On the other hand, this steel is also regarded as one of the lower alloyed steels in the world.

A lot of knife manufacturers from all over the world have proven through client usage that this steel makes a superb and high-quality knife. Its scale can be shown in the concentration for outdoors journal. This product keeps the rate of swords, hunting knives, hatchets as well as machetes cheap and affordable. This is commonly utilized in balisong knives as well.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *