Sharpness or Edge Retention

Jul 9, 2005
With the new purchasing of a Masters of Defense Phoenix, I've become a bit puzzled. I never bought a MOD knife before so I'm not sure how sharp they will be but my question is for everyone out there. Are you more concerned with the sharpness of your knife or the edge retention. Would you rather have a better performance knife risking its edge lastability or a less sharper with stronger edge. Feedback appreciated
Jan 17, 2003
i have recently been fully convinced for a basic using knife, I would opt for steel that is not too narrowly focused on one specific field. What i meant by that is a knife is meant to be multi-tasking including: cutting, light prying, corrosion resistant, and light hammering without suffering severe edge damage.

To do this, the steel would most likely be stainless and not tempered too hard. With all the new technology out there, I still opt for traditional steel and the only two choices for me are 440c and 154cm. I like 440c tempered at 57-58Hrc for toughness and 154cm at 59-60Hrc for better edge holding. In one of my other posts, Cliff, has stated that in steel, 1Hrc difference could mean 50% in toughness differentiation. Cliff has made his point right on the money, since i have done some toughness testing that proves it.

As to answer your question, I am leaning toward softer steel tempering now, since I rather have the edge roll than the edge chip out. I believe 58Hrc is the best compromise for my uses.


May 12, 2004
I don't feel that I have to choose. Sure an ultra sharp edge is easy to get on an a tool steel with moderate retention but even S30V will get well above shaving sharp. And that argument is disregarding the hardness aspect. In many cases blunting is more a deformation than an abrasion in which case a low wear resistance-high hardness tool steel will outperform a softer more wear resistant SS.

But quite frankly will all higher end steels like ATS-34/154CM, ATS-55, A2 , S30V etc. I never have felt I had to choose they all offer good wearresistance, and sharpenability. Sure some do one thing better than others but all in all I wouldn't be disappointed with any of them if they are done right. I might have a personal preference for some but that is hard to quantify.

To me the question is more: Ultimate sharpness or durability (different from edge retention. More like resistance against breakage and chipping rather than dulling). A durable blade will have a completely different bladeprofile than one optimized for cutting ability. There I am the opposite of Nimravus: I'd rather have two knifes each optimized for a different task, than one "general purpose" blade. A matter of personal preference I guess.