Blade Steel

420HC - Blade Steel

author image by -

Steel Composition

carbon 0.45 %
chromium 13.00 %
molybdenum 0.60 %
manganese 0.50 %
silicon 1.00 %

The 420HC steel is a budget-friendly knife steel, widely utilized by Buck Knives. It’s developed in the United States. Although it’s not the hardest or most durable steel, its merits include ease of sharpening and excellent corrosion resistance. Its relatively softer nature reduces the likelihood of breaking or snapping under pressure. As a more affordable option, it does not maintain a sharp edge as long as premium steels do.

Advantages of 420HC as Knife Steel

The primary benefit of 420HC is its cost-effectiveness. This steel is easy to sharpen, making it accessible even for novices in knife care. Moreover, its good corrosion resistance eliminates the need for extensive maintenance to prevent rust.

It's suitable for daily tasks or everyday carry (EDC), providing reasonable performance for light to medium applications, making it an ideal choice for casual users or those new to owning knives.

Disadvantages of 420HC for Knives

The most significant drawback of 420HC steel is its poor edge retention. Frequent sharpening may be required, which can be cumbersome for heavy users. As a softer steel, it lacks the durability found in higher-end steels.

In colder environments, its performance may decrease, a typical trait observed in budget steels. This factor could be crucial for outdoor activities in low temperatures.

Steel Rating

Steels with good edge retention will stay sharp longer, reducing the need for frequent sharpening

Edge Retention

1/6 Points

Toughness is the steel's ability to absorb energy and deform without breaking


3/6 Points

Corrosion Resistance measures how well the steel can resist rust and oxidation

Corrosion Resistance

4/6 Points

Sharpenability refers to how easily a knife blade can be sharpened to its desired edge


5/6 Points

This is a relative measure based on typical market values. The actual price can vary widel


6/6 Points

A higher HRC number typically indicates a harder steel, which can hold a sharper edge


56 - 58 HRC
Please be aware that this rating should be understood as a comparative measure. It's simply a rough estimation in relation to other knife steels.

Is 420HC Rust Resistant?

420HC is noted for its strong corrosion resistance, thanks greatly to its high chromium content. This trait makes it superior in rust resistance compared to other budget steels, as long as it's properly maintained. It is advised to clean and dry the knife after each use to preserve its condition.

How Durable is 420HC?

Ranked at an HRC of 56-58, 420HC is categorized as a 'soft' steel, which greatly aids in its ease of sharpening. While this may impact negatively on its edge retention, it makes the steel less likely to chip or snap, enhancing its longevity under normal use conditions.


420HC is highly regarded for being an economical choice in the Buck Knives lineup. It's praised for its balance of affordability, ease of maintenance, and adequate ability to handle light tasks. It is commonly used in the production of everyday knives, including hunting and camping knives.

Similar blade steels


Overall, 420HC is a practical selection for general-purpose and EDC knives, especially for budget-conscious buyers. While it may not compete with premium steels in hardness or durability, its good corrosion resistance and simple care requirements make it a compelling option for everyday use. Nevertheless, for intensive usage, investing in a more robust steel may prove more beneficial in the long term.