When choosing a knife, it helps a lot to know what some of the features are, and what different materials and specs mean – in plain English.
One of the most important materials in a knife is what steel the blade is made of.
One popular steel used in knives is 420HC . This is a stainless steel with good abrasion resistance and it holds an edge well.
1095 Carbon Steel is another knife steel, often used with larger knives, as it is relatively economical. This steel performs well, as long as corrosion is not an issue.
440A, 440B, & 440C are all steels with excellent corrosion resistance. 440C is general considered the best steel, and 440A the lesser of the three. That doesn’t always hold true, though. With excellent heat treating, knives of 440A can be excellent knives (take the SOG Navy Seal knife, for example).
The AUS-6 – AUS-8 – AUS-10 steels are roughly equivalent to the 440 family of steels.
Another important consideration in choosing a knife is the handle type.
Handles materials can be broken down into three categories: Natural materials, Synthetic materials, and Non-slip materials. Natural materials generally have good looks, but they are generally not well suited to harsh conditions. If you plan to use your knife in wet conditions, you’ll probably want a synthetic non-slip handle.
The carry system is another feature to consider. Most fixed blade knives come with a sheath to carry the knife on your belt. Folding blade knives may come with a belt clip, sheath, both, or no carry system. Some knives also come with specialty sheaths that allow you to carry the knife on your leg, ankle, arm, etc.
All in all, there are many different factors that you should consider when buying a knife. Be sure that you carefully consider exactly what you need in a knife, so that you can find a knife that perfectly meets your needs!
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