Best M390 Steel Folding Knives Under $150 in 2019 at

Hey, everyone. David C. Andersen here coming at you from
the KnifeCenter, and today we’re looking at the best EDC and tactical pocket knives
with M390 steel that you can get for less than $150 right now. Let’s check em out. Now, M390 steel is something of a gold standard
in the premium knife world these days. It adorns some of the finest production and
custom pieces in existence today. Now this is a particle steel that brings a
lot of desirable characteristics into one material. It has a very good cross section of stain
resistance, very high edge retention, and enough toughness for use in folding knives. Now, given all of these strong traits, M390
typically comes with a pretty high price, but there are some great knives with this
steel that can be had for less than $150. Certainly not cheap, but definitely an attainable
amount. Now, in the price point we’re looking at,
M390 is heavily associated with Italian-made knives, so that’s where we’re going to
start. The first is the Steel Will Cutjack, an upgraded
version of their popular chinese-made budget model. The drop point blade now rides on ball bearings
for even more consistent action. The blade is almost a full three and a half
inches long, although a three inch mini version can also be had. The blade is satin finished and it comes with
a flat grind, and that’s going to help it to slice well, and the long swedge along the
spine is gonna do its part to reduce drag as you move through the material you’re
cutting. The drop point shape is very versatile, so
you can tackle all kinds of different jobs, and we have a nice subtle thumb ramp here
with some jimping for traction and a finger choil for choking up. Safety is provided by a liner lock that’s
housed in bright green G10 scales, although black is also an option if you want a more
subdued look. The G10 itself has just enough texture for
a good amount of grip without tearing up your pockets too badly. As far as length, the handle is long enough
to fit all four of my fingers, even without using that finger choil. We’ve also got a reversible tip-up pocket
clip to keep it in place. Overall, the Steel Will Cutjack is a great
quality everyday pocket knife, and it’s a great place to start if you’re looking
to try out some M390. Now for another Italian option, this one a
little bit smaller, the Maserin AM3 Flipper. It’s got about two and three quarters of
an inch of M390 steel. It’s great for those times when you need
or are restricted to a smaller blade. It’s another versatile drop point shape
with a flat grind, and the handles have a little bit of chunk to them, not so much with
the weight, but the shape of them for sure. It gives a meaty enough grip if you really
need to power through a cut, and you still get the advantage of the flipper tab which
acts as a finger guard when it’s open. Made from G10, I’ve got the coyote tan option
here, but black and orange are both options as well, and it features a nested liner lock
on one side, and no liner on the opposite side. It helps it to keep the weight down overall. It also features a small G10 backspacer at
the end of the knife, and mostly open-backed through the rest of the handle. The pocket clip is titanium, and it’s single-position
only. It’s a right-side tip up pocket clip, and
it has a blue anodized color with hints of purple around the edges. Another nice bit of hardware we see is on
the pivot screws themselves, and it has a cool sunburst pattern milled in. This makes the Maserin AM3, even though it’s
utilitarian in nature, a bit more elevated than a simple work knife. Now, modern flippers aren’t the only recipients
of this wonder steel, but also modern traditionals, and case in point is the Italian-made LionSteel
Bestman slipjoint. The clip point blade has a fairly conventional
profile, it features a full flat grind, and fullers on each side of the blade which act
as the nail nick for opening the blade itself. In addition to this single bladed model, there’s
also a dual blade options that add a wharncliffe blade, and all of them are less than three
inches long when opened. Modern materials carry through into the handle
where we see titanium bolsters and a selection of manmade and natural options for the inlays. I’ve got natural Micarta here, but carbon
fiber is also an option as well as several different species of wood: olive wood, ebony
and santos mahogany. This is a nice luxury pocket knife. It’s got premium materials and great construction. Good walk and talk with that nice half stop
along the travel, and a crowned spine that continues onto the back spring is the cherry
on top of this really cool knife. Now, if you like the simplicity of a non-locking
blade, but you want something with more modern style, then you should check out the MKM Fara
designed by Lucas Burnley. Now, this knife was built by Mercury as part
of the Maniago Knife Makers MKM guild in Maniago Italy. It’s got a fluid dynamic handle shape, but
with the charm of a slipjoint. Now, it’s got some similarities to that
LionSteel we just looked at. It’s got similar wood options as well as
that nice crowned spine and backspring. It differs a little bit, though, in that we
also see the choice of black or grey aluminum handles, and unlike the wood covered models,
the aluminum handles are liner-less. All of them, though, get a nice blue anodized
pivot collar ring, which is a really nice touch. Now, at first glance this blade may look a
bit like a clip point, but it’s actually a drop point profile. We do have a little downward slope to that
clipped off section of the front; reminds me a little bit of, sort of old Viking patterns,
such as the seax. We’ve got a long fuller that extends out
of the spine of the knife, and it’s on the presentation side only. Despite that, it’s still easy to open with
either hand, and it’s got nice snappy movements, again with that nice half-stop. As far as modern traditionals go, the Lucas
Burnley MKM Fara is definitely a shining star. So, not content to let the Italians have all
the fun, the Chinese competition has been getting into this genre too with some really
good results. The first one we’ll look at is from Factor
Equipment, and it’s a model called the Absolute One. This is a titanium frame lock flipper with
ceramic bearings and M390 steel at a great price. We’ve got two sizes as well. This large one comes with about three and
three eighths of an inch of blade, and we’ve also got a sub three inch mini model. We’ve got a cool stonewashed drop point
shape with both a flipper and a thumb cutout for easy opening action, either with the flipper
finger or your thumb for more deliberate action, and we’ve got a flat grind and very acute
point. The titanium frame itself is bead blasted
and it has a single milled diagonal line on either side. Now, the knife is not super slim, it’s not
super thick either, but there’s still plenty to grab ahold of. On this back side, the lock is nice and secure,
and it comes with a steel lock bar insert that doubles as an overtravel arrestor. Now, this eliminates any kind of lock stick
and ensures years of solid lockup. We’ve also got a single position pocket
clip that’s made from milled titanium and a lanyard hole that has a hexagonal shape,
but it’s just for looks. It doesn’t actually fit a standard sized
screwdriver bit. Overall, I’m very impressed with both the
build quality and the action of the Absolute One, especially when you factor in the price,
and I think this knife would make a great EDC with a good bit of style, and maybe even
a backup tactical knife. Although, this next knife might fill that
role even better, and this is the WE Knife Company 818 Streak. Now, WE Knife has made a name for themselves
by making some really high end stuff. Now, the Streak trades out materials like
carbon fiber or titanium and makes do with simpler G10 instead. But they kept the M390 steel and their phenomenal
build quality. Coming in just under our $150 price point,
this is a great affordable option in the WE Knife Company range. In fact, you have to jump up almost another
hundred bucks higher until you get to their next M390-equipped knife. It makes the Streak a really good bargain. Green, black or tan G10 are all options, and
each one of those has a matching G10 backspacer that incorporates a lanyard hole. We’ve also got an anodized and stonewashed
milled titanium pocket clip set up for right side tip up carry, and we’ve got a cool
blue color that matches the pivot hardware. This knife has dual liners that are inset
for a nice clean look, and they’re skeletonized so they don’t add a ton of weight either. We’ve also got a liner lock with broad jimping
for very easy operation. Now, the blades themselves are two-tone finish,
they can be had with either a stonewash or a black stonewashed swedge and flat grinds,
along with satin flats with a nice horizontal grain. Like just about every WE Knife out there,
the Streak comes with ceramic bearings and a really nice detent that gives it excellent
action, and the shape is ready for nearly anything. Now the American-made knives come into play
thanks to Kershaw, and surprisingly, these two are actually some of the best deals going
now on this fantastic M390 steel. We have the Dividend and the Link, both available
between $75 and $80 right now. Both knives are flipper openers and they feature
Kershaw’s time-proven SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism. It helps them fire out quickly and consistently
every single time. They also feature both black aluminum handles,
a liner lock, and flat-ground and stonewashed blades, each with a nice swedge. They also both sit at the top of their respective
model ranges. Even though they come in at a great price
point, if you don’t want to stretch that high, you can still get this same great design
with entry level models that feature different steels and some cheaper materials. Now, even though the feature set of these
two knives are very similar, their personalities are very different. The Kershaw Dividend is slim and narrow, almost
an executive knife. Some out there have said that the Dividend
is the spiritual successor to the Kershaw Leek, which is one of the greatest enduring
modern EDC designs on the market. The three inch blade features a modified wharncliffe
profile, they’ve kept the stock nice and thin, and they have a very deep swedge to
the blade that gives it a very efficient cross section for precise cutting. The handles are nice and slim, too, so that
it’s going to carry nice and thin in your pocket with plenty of options, considering
we have a four position pocket clip that lets you hang this knife however you wish. Now, the Kershaw Link feels a bit more rugged. The blade is a touch thicker overall, and
the handles are definitely a touch thicker with a bit more to hold on to. Now, it’s not an overbuilt bruiser like
some of the knives from Kershaw’s sister company, Zero Tolerance, but it still feels
strong enough to put through some really heavy work. We’ve got a little more length to the blade,
about three and a quarter inches, and a nice continuous sweep to the edge that I really
appreciate. The knife features a two position pocket clip,
tip up on the left or the right, but with all the other awesome stuff going on, with
this knife, especially at this price, I don’t think you’re going to miss those other two
positions. Now, given the high performance of M390, being
able to get it in a knife for less than $150, far less in the case of those Kershaw models,
it’s a thing of beauty. So what did you think of our list? Be sure to let us know in the comments what
your favorite M390 knife is, and to get your hands on any of these, you can click the link
to head over to, and be sure to sign up for our KnifeRewards program while
you’re there, too. If you’re going to buy a knife anyway, you
might as well earn some free money towards your next one. I’m David C. Andersen from the KnifeCenter,
signing off. See you next time.

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