Blade Steel

5160 - Blade Steel

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Steel Composition

carbon 0.60 %
chromium 0.80 %
vanadium 0.15 %
manganese 0.90 %
silicon 0.25 %

The 5160 steel is a low alloy carbon steel primarily used in swords and large knives. Some compare it to 5160 Spring Steel (with its amazing toughness), but it’s filled with a slight vanadium presences that really adds to what makes it such a durable and workable steel. Known for its incredible toughness and durability, it has surprisingly good edge retention properties too.

What are the Advantages of 5160?

The main benefits of the 5160 steel for EDC knives lies in its incredible toughness and durability. It's a knife steel that can withstand heavy use and still maintain a sharp edge. Even under severe conditions, the high carbon content helps it retain its sharpness.

The presence of vanadium in the 5160 steel also contributes to its toughness, making it a great choice for tactical, survival, or heavy-duty outdoor knives. This type of blade steel is known to take a lot of abuse without chipping or cracking.

Disadvantages of 5160 for Knives

One of the main disadvantages of the 5160 steel is its average corrosion resistance. This can be problematic for knives used in environments with high humidity or exposure to water, salt, or acidic substances.

In addition, because of its high toughness, it can be more difficult to sharpen compared to other knife steels. However, with the right sharpener and technique, you can regain its sharp edge without much hassle.

Steel Rating

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

Edge Retention

2/6 Points

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


4/6 Points

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

Corrosion Resistance

2/6 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


57 - 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 5160 Rust Resistant?

The rust resistance of the 5160 steel is not its strong point. While it's not the worst for rust resistance, it's not as strong as some other knife steels when it comes to resisting corrosion. However, proper maintenance and care can still prevent the blade from rusting.

How Hard is 5160?

The 5160 steel has a fairly high hardness rating, which explains its good edge retention abilities. A typical blade made of this steel will have a HRC range of 57 - 58, which gives the knife a good balance between hardness and toughness.

While harder blades are generally more brittle, the extra toughness provided by the vanadium content in 5160 steel helps to mitigate this, making it one of the harder, yet tougher and more durable knife steels on the market.

For What is 5160 Recognized for?

The reputation of the 5160 steel among knife enthusiasts and makers is generally positive. It's known for its impressive toughness, making it a popular choice for tactical, survival and other heavy-duty knives.

Regarded as a workhorse among knife steels, the versatility of this steel has earned it a solid reputation in the knife industry and with users who demand performance from their tools.

Similar blade steels


In conclusion, the 5160 steel performs exceptionally well in terms of toughness and durability. It may not be top tier in terms of corrosion resistance, but with proper maintenance this can be managed well. The slight learning curve in sharpening can be overshadowed by its exceptional performance under heavy use. All in all, 5160 steel is a reliable choice for high-performing knives that need to stand up to tough conditions.