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420HC Steel Overview

420hc Knife Steel Guide

420HC Steel holds a higher carbon production rate than some stainless steels. The content is softer than the higher number steel count 440, yet it’s more rugged than other similar products. This steel material has a greater carbon base and is mixed to a harder finish than 420 stainless steels, but under normal processes, falls around 55 HRC.  Given the correct process of hardening, it can reach an HRC value of 56-59.

Buck Knives are just one of the many products that are made from this tough material. There are many different levels of steel, but products made from 420HC steel are definitely different from other types of steel in terms of performance and reliability.

Good Uses for 420HC

Tools made from 420HC Steel are easy to sharpen and are durable when in constant use and they’re pretty rust-resistant. This makes them great for some machetes. A knife made from this level of steel is one of the best products available when on any expedition. Any product made from 420HC steel is a smart purchase. Using old-fashioned sharpening tools works fine on this steel and it still takes the pressure of everyday use. Blades made from this material are less apt to corrode; the machete is a good example.  They are an excellent work tool. While rusting is always an issue for many steels, just remember to rinse, dry, and oil your knife after use if you’re concerned.


Nickel0.50% or less
Though 420HC falls around 55 HRC, it can be hardened to the range of 56-59 with the correct process.

Choice Steel by Enthusiasts

There are advantages in using 420HC Steel. It is hailed by people with a passion for outdoor living to be easy to sharpen. This excellent material is used for hatchets, knives or fine swords. Sportsmen have chosen this material for years to own in Buck Knives and other well-made sporting utility tools. Knives and other bladed tools made of this material stand up really well under the vigor of work while fishing or hunting. On the trail a reliable work tool is critical and hunters and fishermen have used 420HC Steel for years. It is strong and reliable.

Our Favorites Using 420HC

The Buck 112 Ranger Automatic Lockback knife (which is a mini version of the classic Buck 110) has a drop point blade that is forged with cryogenically treated 420HC steel and a Macassar Ebony Dymondwood handle with a brass bolster.  It nearly goes without saying that the Buck is an American icon (even more than the Spyderco Paramilitary 2).  The automatic deployment comes from a push-button and allows for one-handed engagement.  A full leather friction fit sheath is designed to prevent deployment while removing the knife from its sheath.  It’s fully USA-made, and has one of the very best warranties in the knife business!

The Buck 112 Ranger Automatic Lockback Knife is only one of many high-quality American knives made with 420HC Stainless steel.


This stainless serves a number or purposes but survival products are the ones more noted. The price is advantageous and the material does the job it is designed to do. 420HC is tough and easy to clean; however, it is considered one of the World’s lower alloyed steels. Manufacturers have proven through customer usage 420HC steel makes an excellent knife. The scale of 420HC Steel can be demonstrated through the focus of any outdoors magazine. This carbon-based product keeps the price of hunting knives, swords, machetes and hatchets affordable. 420HC is also used in some balisong knives.


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