M398 Makes its Debut in the Spyderco Lineup

Time for another Public Service Announcement from your friends here at KnifeNews: the latest Spyderco Mule Team release will be going up for sale this month. MT38P features M398 steel, Bohler-Uddeholm’s update/sequel to their proven M390 formulation.

These days, M390 (alongside its Crucible-produced identical twin, 20CV) is among the most well-known super steels. Once a bit of a rarity in the production knife scene, these days you could argue that it’s a more common sight than S35VN, making regular appearances on batches of knives from makers big and small. M390 seeks to be an all-purpose everyday carry steel, with edge retention befitting its (last-gen) super steel designation and high corrosion resistance. It isn’t the toughest steel around, but hard use isn’t really the sort of role a steel like this is meant for anyway. The stuff has a proven track record and is no stranger to the Spyderco lineup, appearing most recently on 2021’s Pattadese.

How did Bohler choose to improve upon M390? In a pretty straightforward way, actually. The biggest change in the formula is an increase in both Carbon and Vanadium, two elements which contribute to wear resistance – so it’s no surprise that a characteristically excellent write-up from Knife Steel Nerd’s Larrin Thomas found M398 to be quite the performer in that regard, coming out on top of S90V by a skoche, although still not quite reaching the heights of S125V. Corrosion resistance is also very good; the bad (but perhaps not unexpected) news Thomas reports is M398 turning in pretty low numbers when it comes to toughness – among the lowest in its class of tested steels on the site but, as he points out, not a deal breaker in the use category M398 is intended for.

This will be the first time a Spyderco knife is made from M398 – not surprising, since the Mule Team project exists as a way for both the company and its metallurgically-inclined customers to come to turns with steels exotic and new. Like all the Mule Team blades the M398 flavor will be available only for a limited time; it goes up for sale at Spyderco next Tuesday, November 15th, at 9am MST.

Knife in Featured Image: Spyderco M398 Mule

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