If Spyderco ever replaced S30V I would highly recommend ELMAX as the steel to replace it with.
That, or 390PM if it didn't kill Sal's grinders and cause a revolt on the line. S35VN could fit the bill too, though I admit I haven't really spent the hours getting to know it that I have Elmax.
One thing I found out was that Elmax was very versatile. It does everything pretty well. High polish. Regular working grinds. Thick strong blades, and very thin , low angle stuff. It really is a clean steel, reminding me of BG42 in that regard, perhaps cleaner. It made some of the nicest, straightest edges I've seen.
I don't think I'd retire S30V for it but if needed it could step in for S30V and not miss a beat. It does everything pretty well.
I do consider 390pm more agressive and those that like those biting edges would probably like it. I could live happily with either just like I have with VG10 and S30V.
Times are really very good for us knife knuts and steel junkies. We are very fortunate.
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