What is M390 Steel?

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M390 steel is considered one of the most rigid stainless steel on hand for today’s knife blades. This steel falls under the category of premium steel and is infamous as the most excellent all-around steel for producing high-end and high quality blades and knives. So, in this blog, we will find out if this fantastic steel is worth an investment or just a waste of time and money. 

What is M390 Steel?

M390 steel is termed as an ultra-premium or super stainless steel produced by Bohle-Uddeholm ( an arrangement of Udderholm, a Sweden-based company, and Bohler, an Austria-based firm). It is a kind of martensitic steel that consists of a high amount of chromium and vanadium. It is made utilizing the latest generation PM (Powder Metallurgy) technology to make sure additional resistance to rust, wear corrosion, and deterioration.

According to Bohler, M390 stainless steel is micro-clean as it has an ultra-fine structure of grain size and can have a mirror-like finish to provide an amazing and cool appearance. Technically speaking, M390 is tool steel, and like other types of super steels out there, it was particularly intended for hard application amidst the threat of tear and wear.

One reason it was created is to ensure high opposition to shocks and vibration, giving good reason for widely used in producing industrial tools like barrels, screws, and injection molding.

This is super stainless steel as it has 13 percent chromium. Other essential elements included in this steel are as follows:

  • Carbon 1.9%: For enhanced hardness as well as a higher capability to keep rust and wear at bay than anticipated.
  • Chromium 20%: For improved hardness, edge retention, tensile strength, toughness as well as resistance to wear and rust.
  • Vanadium 4%: For toughness, hardness as well as boosted resistance to shock loading.
  • Molybdenum 1%: For better strength as well as improved machinability.
  • Tungsten 6%: For better toughness and amazing strength.
  • Silicon 0.7%: For enhanced strength
  • Manganese 0.3%: For better tensile strength, hardenability, forgeability as well as resistance to wear.

Benefits of M390 Steel

There are a lot of benefits offered by M390 steel. This is also termed as the super stainless steel available on the market today. Some of the benefits provided by this steel are as follows.

Susceptible to Rust and Deterioration

One amazing benefit of this material is that it is susceptible to deterioration and rust. The combination of some elements like Chromium, MO, and Manganese makes this knife both extremely resistant to rust and enhances hardening during the process of heat treatment. M390 corrosion resistance feature makes it simple to care for steel. Not like other steel, you don’t have to oil it or care for it any particular way to avoid rust and deterioration. Just wipe it using a clean cloth and let it dry, and it will last for many years of use.

Unique Metallurgical Structure 

This metal has chromium and vanadium, and as chromium is lower, the vanadium carbide can add more to its wear resistance feature. The toughness and grindability enable the knife to be honed with ease at a low amount without worrying about harm and damage. With the addition of Manganese, its corrosion resistance feature was further improved, and the final solution provided enhanced hardness during the treating phase. 

Capability to Sharpen With Ease

It was formulated and developed with the input of knife manufacturers and companies and the heat treaters and steelworkers, which would influence the steel. It was particularly made to provide the most excellent compromise possible. The outcome was wear-resistant which can retain machinibility. This results in M390 having a good grindability; thus, it can be honed and sharpened with less tool wear as well as expense.

Amazing Capability to Hold Its Edge

Various testing has revealed that M390 has a remarkable capability to hold its edge for a long time in relation to other correspondingly made knife steels. This steel scores below the same formulation of steel; it does so just in the marginal way, with less than ten percent differences. This holds an edge very well because it is defiant to warping and chipping.

Fantastic Toughness

M390 steel is tough. The defiant to cracking, chipping, and breaking under pressure is higher than many other types of steel available on the market with a similar level of hardness. Some may argue that this steel isn’t the toughest, while true; it can’t be denied that it is hard enough for all forms of outdoor knives and blades.

Extreme Resistant to Weakening:  This super stainless steel exhibits high resistance to weakening under stress or impact. This is due to the high amount of chromium in the steel.

Top Knives with M390 Steel

Because it is called super stainless steel, a lot of knife producers decided to use this steel in the making of blades and knives. Below is the list of the top knives in the market with M390 steel. So, check this out!

LionSTEEL M4 Bushcraft Fixed Blade Knife

The company made this fixed knife to give you the best buddy for camping, Bushcraft and outdoor cooking, wilderness survival, as well as any other outdoor activities you may need to throw at this knife.

The superb performance of this knife in different conditions is due to the 3.74-inches M390 steel blade. M4 Bushcraft is infamous for keeping its raggedness for a long period with daily application. Also, it provides superb wear and deterioration resistance that makes it perfect for application in different conditions.  

The utmost toughness provided by this type of stainless steel allows this blade to handle different outdoor activities and tasks without breaking or chipping. It has a thick stitched sheath made of leather materials with a snap attachment to allow you to securely and safely accommodate the blade and contentedly bring it into your pocket or bag. The handle comes with a lanyard hole used for easy Paracord or addition of beads.

You will get to pick from wooden, micarta, or G-10 handles. All these handles are optimized for a superb and comfortable hold, and the ideal one will depend on personal choice and taste.

Off-Grid Knives Elite Series Black Mamba

Do you search for the best tactical or EDC blade or the ideal gift for your friends or loved ones who are knife fanatics? Off-Grid Knives might be the best option. This knife is already optimized with a super lightweight design, very compact, and integrated with a versatile clip for pocket, making a good EDC knife for daily use and carry.

This compact tactical blade provides a reverse clip point/tanto blade made from high-quality M390 steel for unparalleled corrosion resistance, sharpness retention, and amazing strength. The company made the knife size below three inches to make it easy and stress-free to carry in different jurisdictions.

When it comes to handling, the knife manufacturer utilizes durable and super lightweight 6AL4V titanium with extremely grippy hexagon texturing to provide a secure and comfortable grip regardless of the conditions. This comes with ceramic bearings in order to provide a quick and smooth clip at the same time, a secure lockup. The integrated flipper tab provides a 100 percent fast deployment of the blade. It also has a pocket clip that secures the knife below the pocket for comfortable and convenient carry.

In general, this knife has amazing corrosion and rust resistance feature. It is well made, useful, and very handy and comes with a solid lockup.

Summit Knife Half Dome 6

This knife was designed by renowned knife designer Tomaso Ruisi and handmade in Italy by FOX Knives. It is considered a superior knife made with high-quality M390 stainless steel. Every screw is made of anodized titanium with a Miracata handle and blade lock made of titanium, which has similar power as steel but is fifty percent higher.

It is a remarkable knife for all outdoor applications such as camping, hunting, climbing, etc., and it has amazing toughness, high rust resistance, and amazing edge retention. In general, this knife has great rust and wear-resistant capabilities, amazing design, fast one-hand opening, and is perfect for all outdoor applications. However, it is hard to sharpen. 


So, there you have it. Some of the best knives available in the market are made with M390 stainless steel. Maybe some of you are unaware that the M390 stainless steel is infamous and high-grade steel that fits ideally for knives. This steel also provides all the specifications to take pleasure in a superior and expensive knife, and which explains the costly part of the steel s with M390 steel. You will not regret purchasing a knife made with M390 for many good reasons such as:

  • Tough and durable compared to other steel materials 
  • It does well when the ground 
  • Very hardy and tough, so it will last for a very long time 
  • Extremely resistant to rust and corrosion materials 
  • Polished to a mirror shine and has superb finishes, which make it more appealing to many. 

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