What is S30V Steel?

S30V Steel is a refined martensitic stainless steel composing a large amount of Carbon, Vanadium, and Molybdenum, making it with high wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and more rigid with hardness of hrc 60.


The S30V steel is made through the Crucible CPM process, ensuring that the steel produced is of high quality and with excellent dimensional stability and toughness than typically delivered steel.


In the SxxV family, S30V steel is found on the low end, meaning it has exceptional qualities for the manufacturing of high-end blades. Many elite knife manufacturers such as the Zero Tolerance Knives have continued to use the S30V steel in their manufacturing process as high-end steel.


It make a sharp knife, here are some example products:

  • Buck Knives 722 Spitfire Locking Folding Knife W/Clip, 3.25-Inch BOS Steel Blade

  • Spyderco Nightstick Fixed Blade Knife with 4.14″ CPM

  • Benchmade – Mini Griptilian 556-S30V Knife Made

  • Gerber Fixed Blade – image at top of page.



Composition of S30V steel


The S30V steel alloy constitutes elements such as Carbon, Molybdenum, Chromium, and Vanadium. This combination gives excellent steel properties that qualify it as one of the top-grade steel available today.


A detailed S30V steel chemical composition


Carbon (C) 1.45%

Chromium (Cr) 14.00%

Molybdenum (Mo) 2.00%

Vanadium (V) 4.00%

Manganese (Mn) 0.50%

Tungsten (W) 0.40%




What is the impact of each element on S30V steel?

1.45 % Carbon enhances the edge holding capacity, hardness, and resistance of the steel. Carbon is also known to improve the tensile strength of steel. However, too much Carbon can result in reduced steel ductility.

14.00% Chromium results in a 100% steel stainless since it over the minimum 12% chromium required to produce steel stainless. Besides, a higher chromium percentage improves the corrosion resistance, hardness, toughness, and tensile strength of S30V steel.

2.00% Molybdenum enhances the S30V steel strength, hardness, and toughness. Besides, it improves corrosion resistance and steel machinability.

4.00% Vanadium intensifies the steel hardness, abrasion resistance, wear and increasing the steel toughness.

0.50% Manganese improves the steel hardenability, tensile strength, and wears resistance.

0.20% Nitrogen serves the same purposes as carbon, although it has improved corrosion resistance in the S30V steel alloy.



S30V steel hardness.

Under the ideal heat treatment, S30V steel can attain the perfect hardness of 59 to 61 HRC, which is considered the perfect hardness for high-end steel blade production. This pronounced hardness of the low 60s and upper 50s ensures a strong blade, excellent edge retention, and high wear resistance ability than other ordinary steel knives.


S30V Edge retention.

S30V steel is considered the topmost ideal steel for manufacturing elite knives primarily due to its excellent edge retention. As mentioned earlier, the high hardness (61HRC) results from the various alloys such as Carbon, Tungsten, Manganese, and Vanadium.

This high hardness contributes to the edge stability, and that they can remain intact for an extended period. Poor heat treatment can adversely affect the blade edge performance.


Wear resistance.

Items made from S30V steel are popularly known due to their excellent wear resistance ability than most of their counterpart stainless steel items. For instance, the balanced chemistry of the S30V steel ensures the adequate formation of Vanadium carbides which in turn gives the blade the much-needed wear resistance and hardness.



This US-based steel offers a great deal of toughness, although other tougher steels are available in the market. Although the S30V steel isn’t the best in the toughness test, don’t expect it to break, crack or chip unless if you subject it to an excessive amount of abuse.


S30V steel corrosion resistance.

The 14% chromium gives this stainless steel a great deal of corrosion resistance, thus making it possible for you to use it in saltwater and wet condition without a trace of rust.

This can result in rust, just like in the majority of stainless steel items. Maintenance is simple; clean and dry your blade and store it in a dry clean place, and you’ll be assured of a rust-free blade.


S30V steel sharpenability.

The S30V steel’s high wear resistance can either be an advantage or a disadvantage. The high wear resistance makes the blade durable and robust. On the other side, it makes it challenging to sharpen the knife perfectly, and it may take a little more effort to achieve the desired blade sharpness.

However, the benefits of high wear resistance offset the demerits. Once you accomplish the razor-sharp edges, it can last highly long, thus eliminating the need to sharpen it regularly.



S30V steel vs. D2.

D2 steel is also a product from Crucible Industries, and it has its share in the knife manufacturing industries. However, a contrast between the D2 steel and S30V steel has reviewed that the former has relatively low corrosion resistance and lower edge retention.

Although sharpening D2 steel blades is somewhat less challenging than an S30V steel blade, the latter can retain the sharpness for an extended period, unlike the D2 steel blade. The fantastic thing about both of them is that they have a decent level of toughness and can support almost the same level of hard usage without breaking or cracking.

Indeed, many knife enthusiasts have overwhelmingly praised knives made from S30V steel due to their exceptional performance in terms of edge holding, hardness, durability, corrosion resistance, and its competitive nature besides other famous stainless steel knives.

The S30V steel was invented and produced in the USA by the US Crucible Industries and Chris Reeve. This stainless steel was mainly engineered for the manufacturing of premium kitchen cutlery and exclusive pocket knives.



Carbon Steel used for Knife making:
ATS 34

Stainless steels used for knives: