Compare CTS-XHP to M390

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by maximus83, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. maximus83


    Nov 7, 2011
    For those who own, use, and sharpen knives in both CTS-XHP, and M390/20cv: How would you compare and contrast these two steels?

    Interested to hear experiences. Does one chip or roll easier? Does one sharpen easier? Does one hold its edge longer? I know the theoretical answers based on steel composition, but interested to hear firsthand experiences, which can differ depending on who made the knife.

    Mine: not extensive, only have a handful blades in each steel. Have confirmed one of the on-paper differences: CTS-XHP was noticeably easier to get a good edge--and quickly--on diamond stones. Have not yet experienced chipping with either, but I haven't done high stress work with these yet; except for my Bradford G4, these are all folders. Both steels have fantastic cutting performance thru a variety of materials, no difference I can tell.
    Pilsner likes this.
  2. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    Both are great steel. M390 will last longer edge retention wise and is maybe slightly more corrosion resistant. I've found xhp easier to sharpen but I have not sharpened xhp as much. I'd be happy with either but I'd I had to pick one it would be m390. But I would never avoid buying xhp as I like it alot. I have not had chipping or rolling yet as I don't use my models of these steel types for anything other than slicing. I'd choose 3v and other tougher for chopping.
  3. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    Agree with both of you guys. M390 holds an edge longer, while XHP is easier to put an edge on. I'd imagine just from specs that XHP is a bit tougher than M390, but I haven't chipped either steel as of yet.

    One thing I'll add is that XHP is much easier to bring to a polish too. It's almost like the steel is some sort of polishing magnet, haha. M390 takes more work to even get relatively close to how I can XHP. That could be skill related, though.
    Mo2 likes this.
  4. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    They are very close in composition. CTS-XHP is fairly similar to D2; M390 (virtually identical to CPM-20CV) has more chromium and vanadium. I haven't noticed much difference in sharpening the two on diamond hones, both seem quite fine-grained and will take a very fine, hair-topping edge that stands up for a long time. Two of the best available steels IMHO, others being S30V/S35Vn.
  5. Pilsner

    Pilsner Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 28, 2017
    I’m interested in this question too. I only recently acquired a knife in CTS-HXP, but did already have two folding knives in M390, which I have found to be absolutely excellent.

    The knife I have in CTS-HXP is a CS Recon-1, the only CS knife I have ever acquired. I bought it in order to examine a genuine Triad lock, which is a superb piece of design, in my view. Trouble is, until I get out in the country, I haven’t had a chance to put it through its paces. It eats up urban tasks, cardboard etc, but I would like to use it in woodland a bit to test it properly. The geometry isn’t exactly conducive to food prep. ;)
  6. ginaz


    Apr 19, 2001
    I have a couple of xhp blades and they have been fantastic. I had not expected that much from it after hearing about how it was like d2 etc but I have been very impressed. M390 might hold that razor edge a bit longer but they are pretty close in my experience. I've had no corrosion probs with either
  7. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    I think the claim has been XHP will perform similar to a stainless powder steel D2.

    M390 is just an amazing steel, imho one of the best for folders and just a great stainless. It somehow seems magically resistant to burr formation making sharpening surprisingly easier than expected.
    Pilsner likes this.
  8. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    I find xhp to be very very different than d2. It's close in composition but in reality they are different. At least to me. I've found xhp to be superior to d2 in alot of ways.
  9. Lapedog


    Dec 7, 2016
    Yes, I am just repeating descriptions of it I had often heard when it first came out. It is much more than just a stainless d2 though as it is a powder metal as well.
    Mo2 likes this.

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