Is 3G a Good Knife Steel? Is It Actually Worth It?

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At A Glance
3G steel, primarily associated with Fallkniven, is considered a high-quality knife steel thanks to its wear and corrosion resistance, durability, and impressive performance characteristics. This high-carbon, high-chromium steel is created using a powder-metallurgy process and laminated with layers of VG2 steel, resulting in a product with exceptional strength. 3G steel is especially suitable for the production of survival knives and is praised for its edge retention. Despite potential drawbacks such as difficulty in sharpening, it remains a popular choice among knife enthusiasts for its longevity and performance. Compared to common materials like VG-10 steel, 3G steel is a higher-tier and often more expensive option but is valued for its low maintenance needs and strong corrosion resistance.

3G steel is a high-quality knife steel primarily associated with the renowned knife making company, Fallkniven. Outstanding properties of this steel, such as wear resistance and corrosion resistance, set it apart and make it suitable for the manufacturing of survival knives, as well as other types of blades. The steel is created using a powder-metallurgy process, resulting in a strong and durable product that has nevertheless generated various questions among knife enthusiasts.

As a laminated steel, 3G features a core of SGPS steel, sourced from Tekefu, and layers of VG2 steel on either side. This lamination process gives the steel its exclusive strength and corrosion resistance, making it an exceptional choice for high-performance knives. Despite these advantages, some potential drawbacks have been mentioned, such as the possibility that it can be difficult to sharpen. Nonetheless, 3G steel remains a popular choice for those in search of high-quality blades that offer longevity and excellent performance.

In the world of knife steels, 3G has carved out a niche for itself as a reliable and durable option that boasts impressive wear resistance and ability to withstand harsh conditions. Its application in survival and culinary knives is a testament to its versatile and high-performance nature. As with all knife steels, it is essential to weigh the advantages and drawbacks of 3G steel before making a decision, but it certainly remains a formidable contender among its counterparts in the market.

3G Steel Overview

3G steel is a high-carbon, high-chromium powdered steel grade known for its exceptional strength and corrosion resistance. Developed by the renowned knife manufacturer Fallkniven, 3G steel is laminated, adding to its durability and performance. This composition is a result of Fallkniven’s collaboration with Tekefu, a Japanese steel manufacturer. The core of the 3G steel, called SGPS (Super Gold Powder Steel), is sourced from Tekefu and then laminated with VG2 steel to create the advanced 3G steel variant.

This powder-metallurgy stainless steel not only offers wear and corrosion resistance, but it is also widely used in the production of survival knives, as its unique characteristics make it an ideal material for this purpose. However, one potential downside to 3G steel is that it can sometimes be difficult to sharpen, which can be a drawback for some knife owners.

The performance of 3G steel has been reported to be relatively impressive, with users generally praising its edge retention and durability. Its applications are ideally suited to situations where a knife needs to be both strong and resistant to the elements, as these are the core strengths of 3G steel.

In terms of comparison, 3G steel sits at a higher tier than more common materials such as VG-10 steel. This premium quality comes at a higher price point, but for those seeking a knife that requires little maintenance and exhibits strong corrosion resistance, it may prove to be worth the investment.

To sum up, 3G steel’s composition makes it an excellent choice for knife enthusiasts seeking a material that offers both strength and corrosion resistance. Its performance in various applications, particularly survival knives, highlights the potential benefits of choosing a 3G steel knife.

Characteristics Of 3G Steel

Edge Retention and Wear Resistance

The 3G steel owes its remarkable edge retention and wear resistance to its high carbon and chromium content. It can sustain a sharp edge despite frequent use, thanks to its fine carbide structures. Additionally, its hardness ensures it can resist abrasive forces, maintaining a long-lasting cutting edge. Its laminated structure enhances its strength, protecting it against deformation and chipping during use. Furthermore, carbides in the steel alloy create a dense, hard matrix that amplifies the material’s overall durability, making it a popular choice for heavy-duty tasks.

Corrosion Resistance and Toughness

The steel’s high chromium and molybdenum content contributes to its outstanding corrosion resistance and toughness. High levels of chromium help to resist rust, staining, and patina, while molybdenum further enhances this resistance. It is reportedly tougher than steel types like AISI 440C steel, BD1N steel, and 154CM steel.

The combination of corrosion resistance and toughness in 3G steel makes it ideal for creating knives intended for outdoor and survival purposes. The balance of these properties ensures that knives made from 3G steel perform well under harsh conditions. Moreover, 3G steel maintains a great edge retention, which is essential in maintaining the knife’s performance over prolonged use.

Sharpening and Grindability

3G steel is known for being a hard, high-carbon, high-chromium powdered steel grade, which can make sharpening challenging, especially for knife users without good sharpening skills.

If you end up purchasing a Fallkniven knife, you’ll quickly learn that sharpening 3G steel requires skill and patience due to its hard nature. A flat grind is beneficial as it ensures even pressure distribution across the blade, preventing excessive wear and chipping during the sharpening process.

Price and Availability

Knives made with 3G steel often command a premium price compared to those manufactured using lower-tier steel types. For instance, a 3G steel knife can be significantly more costly than a similar knife made using VG-10 steel. This price difference can be attributed to the unique properties and performance of 3G steel.

In terms of availability, knives made with 3G steel are relatively rare compared to those made of more common steel types. The reason behind this limited availability is the niche market for high-end survival knives, which makes the demand for such knives comparatively lower. Additionally, Fallkniven, being the main producer of 3G steel, maintains exclusivity for this steel type, adding to its scarcity.

Best 3G Alternative – CPM 4V

If you’re looking for a more “affordable” alternative to 3G steel there are some options, just know that comparable performance won’t come cheap. We’re well past the point of diminishing returns at this point and are after the best. So, along that vein, let’s take a look at CPM 4V.

Crucible Particle Metallurgy (CPM) 4V is another notable type of steel that is often used for high-end cutlery. Developed by Crucible Industries, CPM 4V is a high-performance tool steel that is known for its exceptional balance of toughness, wear resistance, and edge retention. These characteristics make it a suitable, more affordable alternative to 3G steel.

CPM 4V is produced through Crucible’s proprietary particle metallurgy process, which results in a steel with very even distribution of carbides. This uniformity enhances the steel’s properties and ensures its consistent performance across the blade. This feature sets CPM 4V apart and contributes to its reputation as a high-quality knife steel.

In terms of toughness, CPM 4V significantly outperforms many other knife steels, including 3G. This means that knives made from CPM 4V are less likely to chip or crack under heavy use, making them reliable for demanding tasks and rugged conditions.

When it comes to wear resistance, CPM 4V also holds up well. It can maintain a sharp edge for a long time, even with continuous use. While its edge retention may not quite match the performance of 3G steel, the difference is minimal and often negligible in everyday use.

One area where CPM 4V falls a bit short compared to 3G steel is corrosion resistance. 3G’s stainless steel laminate layers give it a distinct advantage in resisting rust and staining. However, with proper care and maintenance, CPM 4V can still offer satisfactory rust resistance, suitable for most applications.

In terms of cost, CPM 4V is generally less expensive than 3G steel, making it a more accessible option for many knife enthusiasts. The price difference is primarily due to the more complex manufacturing process and materials used for 3G steel.

Moreover, the availability of CPM 4V is also typically better than 3G steel. Many major knife brands, including Spyderco and Benchmade, offer knife models made with CPM 4V steel.

Lamination and Laminate Steels

Lamination is a process that involves bonding layers of different materials together, and it is used in the production of various items, including knife steels. When it comes to knives, laminate steels combine the best properties of multiple steel types to achieve higher performance and durability. One notable laminate steel is the 3G steel produced by Fallkniven, a Swedish knife manufacturer.

In the creation of 3G steel, the central layer is SGPS, a high-carbon, high-chromium powdered steel. This core is laminated between two layers of stainless VG2 steel, which provides additional strength and corrosion resistance. The lamination process capitalizes on the qualities of both SGPS and VG2 steel, resulting in a robust and durable material ideal for knife construction.

Compared to other steels, laminated steels like 3G can offer excellent edge retention due to their specialized composition, which incorporates the right balance of hardness and toughness. The core material’s properties contribute to razor-sharp edges, while the outer layers provide support and protection against corrosion. This strategic combination allows a knife made with 3G steel to function well in various tasks, including survival situations.

It is essential to understand that laminated steels are not always superior to their monolithic counterparts; rather, their performance depends on the specific materials and bonding process used during manufacture. As such, one should not solely rely on the lamination aspect when evaluating knife steels. However, when done correctly, high-quality laminate steels like Fallkniven’s 3G can undoubtedly provide top-notch performance and longevity.


In summary, 3G steel is an appealing choice for knife makers and enthusiasts due to its corrosion resistance, durability, and commendable edge retention. Its combination of elements such as Molybdenum and VG2 steel in its laminations contributes to its higher rust and stain resistance than some of its counterparts. While the price may be higher, the excellent performance and durability of 3G steel knives can justify the investment for many seeking a top-quality knife.

When you visit a merchant by clicking a link on this site we may make a commission on anything you buy (at no additional cost to you).   Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to Amazon Associates and the eBay Partner Network.”