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What is VG-10 Steel? Learn If This Knife Blade Material Is Right For You

Survival Knives

What is VG-10 Steel? Learn If This Knife Blade Material Is Right For You

If you are someone who reads survival knife reviews, then you have likely done a lot of additional research on knife specifications, components and typical verbiage used during the reviews. If you are a knife seasoned knife connoisseur, then you probably have a firm understanding of every term and spec. But for many survival knife shoppers, there are too many terms to even count. Knives are complicated items, much more complicated than they appear to the initial optics. Our best fixed blade survival knife list often leads many consumers down the Google rabbit hole, attempting to learn more about what each specification means and how much it matters to the overall knife quality. One of the big questions we get asked is what is VG10 steel? And because of that, I present you with a VG10 Steel review.

The questions were really ramped up after my recent Fallkniven A1 survival knife review, which put on display one of the best survival knives on the market. And as you guess, the Fallkniven A1 uses VG10 steel. And seeing the Fallkniven A1 cost a pretty penny, that led many to wonder if VG10 steel is really that great.

VG10 Review | Some Simple Facts

vg10 steel review

Photo by brian.ch

Let’s start simple: VG10 is a high-end steel often used in knife blades. It is most often associated with kitchen knife steel, however, as shown above with the Fallkniven A1, it is also used to enhance the steel blade of a survival knife. AG10 steel is made in Japan. So often, Japanese chef knives use it to improve the quality of their cutting experience. In cutlery, AG10 is a huge selling point and rightfully so, this type of steel is some of the best you can source. Hunting and tactical and survival knives have also opted to use this steel for similar quality experience purposes. The core issue with AG10 is that it ramps up the manufacturer’s production costs and of course, that cost is passed on to you. That said if you can afford it, or, if this is a knife you truly want to possess only one of, or, it’s a prestigious gift for someone special, VG10 steel is the way to go.

There are two main factors that drive this VG10 Steel review. The first is that VG10 holds an edge like a champ. Clearly, when it comes to the survival knife market, your blade of choice needs to hold a superior edge. VG10 steel does exactly that. The second most pronounced factor for VG10 steel’s amazing reputation is that it doesn’t rust. This is some of the finest steel on planet earth. Another cool facet to VG10 steel is that it allows for design work to penetrate the steel easier. In terms of survival knife function, this doesn’t mean a ton, but for those looking to make a more refined purchase and enjoy that sort of thing, VG10 steel wins.

What Is VG10 Steel?

VG10 steel is considered a high-carbon steel. The carbon aspect is minuscule in the blade’s makeup, however. However, because VG10 has this minute amount of carbon, as well as minuscule amounts of chromium, molybednum, and cobalt, it contributes a chemical makeup that allows the knife to hold a superior edge.

Here’s some exact components via Wikipedia.

1% Carbon, 15% Chromium, 1% Molybdenum, 0.2% Vanadium, 1.5% Cobalt, and 0.5% Manganese

VG10 Is Better Than VG1

Some people get these two steels confused, however, VG10 is the higher quality version. So if you are looking at two survival knives that each have one of these distinct metals making up the blade, the VG10 version is better.

Is VG10 Worth It?

Here’s the thing, my favorite survival knife is a Bear Grylls. You can check out my Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro Survival Knife review for more information, but the takeaway here is that I don’t prefer the VG10 version knives in every case. Yes, the Fallkniven A1 has a better quality blade than the Bear Grylls Ultimate Pro, but it cost 2.5 times more.

VG10 is better steel. The blade will hold a better edge. The blade will resist rusting. I love the Fallkniven, you absolutely can’t go wrong with any knife that uses such high-quality steel. The key might well be what you feel comfortable paying price-wise and what other attributes you’d love to see in a knife. The Fallkniven A1 I believe to be the best survival knife on the market if you don’t account for price and the blade’s AG10 steel is a big part of why that is. Remember, when you buy a survival knife, it all begins and ends with the blade’s quality.

Now, for the bad…

VG10 steel might not be great for survival knife scenarios because it is known to chip easier. For example, many chefs have complained that using VG10 knives have amounted to chips in their blade’s steel when they’ve encountered inadvertent bones. Survival knives are intended to be used for hacking away at trees and stumps as well as even pummelling hard soil or stones. I can’t prove that your VG10 steel knife would chip under such duress, I can only say this might well be why VG10 has commonly been reserved for sophisticated and high-quality culinary experiences rather than survival ones. But it also could be the price as I’ve never heard of a Fallkniven blade chipping.

In conclusion, your survival knife blade quality matters. It is the driving factor that will affect your knife’s overall quality, usability, how long it last and the price. It is up to you, the consumer, to negotiate which factors matter the most and then decide if AG10 steel is the right blade steel for you.

Photo by brian.ch

Author: Jim Satney

PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.

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