9Cr18MoV Steel For Knives
Do you have a knife made with 9Cr18MoV or are thinking of buying one? Do you want to know how this blade steel stacks up compared to other knife steel?
Over the last 40 years of carrying knives I have learned a lot about knife steel and want to make sure you get the right steel for your next knife.
Spending a bit of time to learn if a steel is right for you can help you avoid the costly mistake of getting a knife that won't hold up to the tasks you need it for.
In this article, we are going to review 9Cr18MoV steel; its chemical composition, properties, and how they impact its performance as a knife blade.
Read on to find out whether 9Cr18MoV steel is the right choice for you.
What is 9Cr18MoV Steel?
9Cr18MoV is a high-end stainless steel that’s popular among blade manufacturers globally. It’s a 440B modified steel that contains 0.9% Carbon and 18% Chromium.
The steel a knife blade is made of determines its strength, durability and functionality. 9Cr18MoV steel has special properties that make it durable with great edge retention compared to other high-range steels. It is used widely to make knife blades, scissors, surgical blades, cutlery, among other items.
Its popularity is largely due to the chemical composition of the metal used to make the alloy. Ample amounts of Chromium, Carbon, Vanadium and Molybdenum are used, giving it extra hardness and high corrosion resistance. This makes it a choice steel among blade makers.
The astute combination of premium elements give the steel great edge retention thanks to its hardness, while still being very corrosion resistant.
9Cr18MoV steel contains 0.9% Carbon, 18% Chromium, and extra Molybdenum and Vanadium elements. The full chemical composition is as follows;
- 0.9% Carbon
- 18% Chromium
- 0.8% Manganese
- 0.03% Sulfur
- 1-1.3% Molybdenum
- 0.8% Silicon
- 0.6% Nickel
- 0.04% Phosphorus
- 0.07-0.12% Vanadium
Properties of 9Cr18MoV
Edge retention in steels is due to combining elements that help in hardening the steel while keeping its brittleness in check.
The high content of Carbon in 9Cr18MoV steel gives it a solid build, which helps in withstanding friction. This is enhanced by the intense heat treatment which results in a Rockwell hardness of up to 60 HRC. As a result, 9Cr18MoV steel holds its edge pretty well.
The small addition of Vanadium helps create Vanadium Carbide which is an extremely hard substance that also helps contribute to this steels edge retention.
There are a wide array of different heat treatments used on every steel. These specific heat treatments can drastically effect the properties of the steel in question.
During this process, Carbon content is one of the main factors that helps in hardening the steel. This means that a high Carbon content results to steel becoming harder upon heat treatment.
9Cr18MoV steel can be heat-treated to reach a Rockwell hardness of 58-60 HRC. The presence of Vanadium also boosts its Vanadium Carbide content which helps with the overall hardness and wear resistance.
The harder the steel gets, the more brittle it usually becomes thereby reducing its toughness. With a Rockell hardness of 58-60 HRC, one would expect 9Cr18MoV to perform poorly in terms of toughness.
However, the incorporation of Nickel and Manganese in the steel increases increases the overall tensile strength of the 9Cr18MoV, making it decently tough.
It is often a bit of a trade off between hardness and toughness. With that said, many of the new, higher quality knife steels coming out are pushing the limits of what can be acheived with modern metalurgy.
Stainless steel is a preferred knife material due to its corrosion resistance. This is due to the presence of elements (Nickel, Molybdenum, Chromium, etc.) which combine to prevent oxidative damage.
9Cr18MoV steel features Chromium (18%), Nickel (0.6%), and Molybdenum (1-1.3%) - relatively ample quantities that give it excellent corrosion resistance.
9Cr18MoV is a solid steel that’s hailed for its hard finish and excellent edge retention. However, this compromises its ease of sharpening. Compared to other steels within it's price range, some users who are not as experienced in sharpening, can find it relatively difficult to sharpen.
With that said, modern sharpening tools and techniques are improving and many of the high quality sharpening systems available today can really help all users achieve and maintain a razor sharp edge on almost any good quality knife steel.
9Cr18MoV Equivalent Steels
9Cr18MoV and 440B are close equivalent steels which bear almost similar chemical composition. In fact, 9Cr18MoV is modified from 440B by adding Vanadium and increasing Molybdenum from 0.75% to 1-1.3%. However, there are slight variations in quantities of Manganese and Silicon which are reduced from 1% to 0.8%.
Another 400 series close equivalent of 9Cr18MoV is the 440C steel. They both have high Carbon and Chromium content. In addition, they’re heat-treated to a Rockwell hardness of 58-60 HRC. Other than the slightly higher amounts of Molybdenum in 9Cr18MoV, the two steels are quite comparable in terms of hardness and wear resistance.
Is 9Cr18MoV Steel a Good Knife Steel?
9Cr18MoV is a popular knife steel the world over. This is mostly due to its great edge retention and corrosion resistance. So, yes, it’s a good blade steel that features in many knives used by fishermen, hunters, hikers, and campers.
It’s also a popular blade steel for kitchen knives, thanks to its great edge retention, wear resistance, and resistance to corrosion and staining.
Best 9Cr18MoV Knives
Civivi Praxis Folding Knife
Civivi is a newer offshoot of WE Knives which was brough about to offer affordable yet high quality functional EDC style knives. WE has been known to offer good quality knives at a decent price and the new offereing from Civivi have been nothing but impressive.
The Praxis is a linerlock knife with a solid G10 handle that is very comfotable in the hand. The flipper tab and silky smooth ball bearning action make it a great fidget blade that is hard to put down.
The handle comes in a wide variety of colors and has a reversible pocket clip for versatile carry options.
Schrade SCH305 Knife
This is one of Schrade’s trustworthy designs that feature beautiful ergonomics and offers great performance. The handle is designed with great precision incorporating dual thumb studs and finger guard for easy and safe use.
The blade of Schrade SCH305 knife is made of 9Cr18MoV stainless steel, which combines qualities of hardness and wear resistance, to give the knife maximum edge retention.
As mentioned above, 9Cr18MoV makes a great quality knife blade steel and is sure to hold up to the cutting tasks you will need it for.
KUNSON High Hardness Survival Folding Pocket Knife
Kunson is a relatively unknown knife brand that has recently been bringing out some innovative and solid knives. Recent reactions from blades released on Drop have been very favorable and this is definitely a new knife company that deserves to be watched closely.
This is a versatile knife that’s ideal for outdoor, kitchen and EDC use. It’s 9Cr18MoV steel blade rocks a hardness of 59-60 HRC giving it excellent wear resistance.
The knife comes with a high-quality G10 handle with an ergonomic design for a comfortable grip. The handle’s pocket clip is a great addition for portability during outdoor activities.
With its great edge retention, the knife’s blade is quite reliable for all your kitchen, camping, fishing and hiking activities.
9Cr18MoV is a great steel that features all the qualities of a good knife blade. although some users may find it a little difficult to sharpen, it offers convenient benefits for outdoor, EDC, and kitchen use.
Unless you intend to subject the blade to substantial abuse where its tensile strength is likely to fail, 9Cr18MoV steel is a great pick for your blade. For what it's worth; the high corrosion and wear resistance, and its superb edge retention,make this is a versatile blade steel that you would love to own.
Though 9Cr18MoV is a relatively high-end steel, the knives vary in price depending on various factors such as the brand making it, the quality of handle and sheath used.
The examples mentioned in this article represent a sea of many others that vary in size, price, and design. But generally, a 9Cr18MoV steel blade has similar features despite the packaging.