What is 5160 Steel?

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If you’ve researched knives in the past, perhaps you have realized that many types of steel are utilized in the making of knives and blades. There are different kinds of stainless steel range from a soft one that is so simple to hone but have an issue in holding its edge to a superb hard and tough stainless steel that holds its edge perfectly and beautifully, but difficult and complex to hone.

Choosing the best steel plays a very vital role. Therefore, is 5160 good steel for a knife? Even if this steel is ideal for knife making, you will not find this steel in many. This is initially utilized in big knives and swords, including survival knives. One reason for this is that this steel is tough, durable, and highly flexible, vital for long knives or blades.

What is 5160 Steel?

5160 steel, also called 5160 AISI, is high chromium and carbon spring steel that provides remarkable toughness, superb fatigue resistance, and an utmost level of ductility. 5160 alloy steel is applied in the car industry in diverse heavy spring uses, particularly for leaf springs. It’s vital to keep in mind that this steel can be hard to machine and weld and might need special procedures.

Recap of Steel 5160

  • It is extremely flexible
  • It is tough and durable
  • Less of edge retention opposed to different types of steel out there
  • Considered as spring steel
  • Commonly found in big knives and swords

Components of 5160 Steel

  • Carbon 0.64%: It enhances hardness as well as rust corrosion resistance; however, a high level of it lessens strength.
  • Chromium 0.9%: This is responsible for the edge retention and tensile strength of the steel and improves corrosion resistance as well as rust resistance.
  • Manganese 1%: Improves brittleness and hardness.
  • Silicon 0.3%: This metal is responsible for the amazing strength of this steel
  • Phosphorus 0.035%: This also increases the strength of the steel
  • Sulfur 0.04%: This enhances the machinability of the steel.

From the composition above, you will see that the steel 5160 has a combination of chromium, carbon, and manganese that makes it a tough and durable spring alloy.

Benefits of 5160 Steel 

Steel 5160 offers many benefits such as: 

Edge Retention

The best thing about this steel that makes it apart from the rest is the capability in keeping a decent cutting edge even if you have used it for many years. That is precisely what you obtain with this steel blade. The chromium, carbon, molybdenum, and cobalt components combine to provide knife imposing edge retention. There is no need to hone the blade after every use.

Resistant to Rust and Deterioration

This spring steel provides decent resistance to rust and abrasion. This was made possible as low carbon provides a good hardness of between 57 and 58 HRC. The decent rust-resistant feature means this steel has fantastic durability as well as will hold up standard wear and tear easily with a daily application as opposed to softer steels available out there.


This steel also stands out when it comes to durability and toughness. 5160 alloy steel provides unmatched durability. The low chromium fraction presents this alloy steel allows it to obtain a high toughness as opposed to a lot of steel out there. A fast scan in outdoor forums, you will see hobbyists giving positive reviews on this steel due to its fantastic performance at doing hard and complex tasks like chopping wood, batoning, and many others, chipping as well as breaking into two without cracking. 

Weakening Resistance 

This type of steel is susceptible to weakening and can deteriorate immediately if you are not careful. Carbide determines resistance to rust, and a low level in this allows steel are accountable for this issue. However, there is a tip to make your knife free from rust and weakening; make sure to store it in dry and clean storage every after use. And when possible, a dry lubricant layer or light oil to improve its capability to resist rust is highly advisable. 

Easy to Hone and Sharpen 

What makes this allow steel apart from the rest is that it is easy to hone. A high amount of carbides in this steel make it relatively hard to hone. This is why super steels that have a high level of carbides are the hardest and complicated to hone. On the other hand, 5160 alloy steel features a low amount of carbide that makes it easy and simple to hone and sharpen using easy-to-access sharpening tools

Best Knives with Steel 5160

If you are searching for the best knives with steel 5160, you are in the right place. Below is a list of the best knives available made with steel 5160. So, without further a due, here are the top products. 

Buck Knives 104 Compadre Camp Knife

Buck Knives are 100 percent American-made knife that features state-of-the-art design and innovation. This specific knife from Buck Knives is made with outdoor fanatics in mind. It comes with a full tang style for the additional strength required to tackle hard and complex outdoor jobs. The 4.5 inches long blade is just the perfect side for use in different outdoor tasks.

The Compadre Camp Knife is made from steel 5160 for great durability and ultimate toughness. To compensate the poor corrosion resistance of this steel, this knife has been covered with corrosion-resistant cerate cobalt.

If you buy this kind of knife, you will also get a durable and compact black sheath made of leather to keep the knife secured after using it at the same time, providing a stress-free way of carrying it. The natural, ergonomic micarta handle has finger grooves that provide a comfy fit for two-handed and one-handed application and also make sure to have a safe grip even your hand is wet.

 Buck Knives 893 GCK Tactical Knife

Another entry from Buck Knives is the GCK Tactical Knife that is specially intended for tactical uses. It is equipped with versatile and razor-sharp 5.5 inches bladed made from steel 5160 for utmost toughness, amazing edge retention as well as excellent strengthen.

This is available in a tanto style that makes sure a versatile cutting performance. As it is covered with Ceratoke, it assists in improving the abrasion resistance, protection from corrosion and rust, as well as impact strength. As you must expect in this kind of knife, this comes with a full tang style, improving the strength when facing hard tasks.

This is also integrated with a tough G-10 handle to provide utmost gripabilty, even when in wet conditions. The blade, the handle, and the whole knife is coated in black to reduce reflections, thus making it a real tactical weapon. It also comes with a molle-compatible sheath with many carry options to assist you in securely protecting the knife after using it and carrying it with comfort to the next outdoor trip.

Buck Knives 108 Compadre Froe

This is included in the Buck Compadre series made to make the outdoor experience fun and easy. The Compadre Frow is made as tough, multi-purpose, as well as heavy duty woodworking equipment, which accomplishes an array of outdoor tasks.

Like the Compadre lines, this one is composed of steel 5160 for superb flexibility, durability as well as shatter resistance. The knife measures 9.50-inch long, which is just the ideal length for handling different outdoor tasks such as splitting, clearing, heavy chopping, and batoning wood.

In spite of the heavy duty uses, this knife is very lightweight and just weighs 2 pounds, so it will not be bulky equipment to bring around. 

You will also notice that this knife features the company’s exceptional Ceratoke coat. This not just makes this blade look stunning but also assists improve its corrosion and rust resistance. The natural micarta handle offers a comfortable and stress-free grip even if you are in a wet condition or even if your hand is wet. 

The company delivers this knife with authentic leather with an attachment ring made of stainless steel to assist secure the knife after using and at the same time provides a secure as well as a comfortable way of bringing this froe to anywhere you want to go. 

Conclusion: Is 5160 Steel Good or Not?

5160 steel is good steel as it features amazing toughness and is so ideal for making knives planed for hard use like camping, wilderness, bushcraft as well as survival knives. The flexibility and high durability of this knife make it perfect for creating big blades and swords alike.

Extra features which make it ideal for making swords and knives include great retention, wear resistance as well as good hardness. On the other hand, this one may not be an ideal option for creating fishing and kitchen knives because of its high corrosion vulnerability. It is not perfect for making a pocket knife or EDC knife because of the improved thickness. A lot of blade producers are also likely to keep away from it as of its high price to deal with. 


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