Wow...what a lucky guy!
Here's my advice...go to the nearest gas station and buy a $1.99 knife from the Big Ole Jar of Blades that's always on the counter between the dill pickles and the lighters...when he breaks up with you for getting him a rotten blade, PM me.
But seriously, both steels will be a quantum <for steel enthusiasts> upgrade from the Tenacious, but the difference between the m390 v. s110v not being as noticeable as the step up from the Ten. You've gotten good advice so far...s110v is gonna be easier to find and a better value as the m390 is quite expensive. Also consider the color of the handles if you think it's important to him..."blurple" vs. a more "smurf blue."
Just to be clear, I was joking about deliberately sabotaging your relationship.
Actually, I wasn't.
Ok, PM me.
LOL!!! I'm dying! worst case scenario, he takes the gas station knife and loves it to death anyways!
Both CPM-S110V and M390 will work well for your requirements, although the S110V PM2 will be an easier model to replace if lost or damaged. Kudos to you for doing the research. Your boyfriend is very a fortunate fellow!
Btw, have you considered the new PM3? It's a bit smaller than the PM2 and is only available in S30V stainless steel at this time, but perhaps he would be interested in this model?
I just looked at the PM3 on your recommendation! Do you know where it's in stock? I can't seem to find it right this moment...
Just a question for you guys, how easy is it to 'chip' or break the tip of these knives with these steels? Ive read a lot about s110v also have consistency issues... is that still a thing? and is chipping a real concern? I dont quite understand this idea just yet... especially between two steels
ACTUALLY, which knife would you guys love as gift? I think that would be a more down to earth question to ask. If not s110v or m390, another available..? I just want to get him something that lasts!
No problem. In fact, it looks like the PM3 is currently in stock at Blade HQ (http://www.bladehq.com/item--Spyderco-P ... y-3--50648
), Knife Center (https://www.knifecenter.com/item/SP223G ... 10-handles
) and Knife Works ( http://www.knifeworks.com/spydercoparam ... L4vwYWcGmQ
). All three are offering this knife at around the same price ($119.97 plus S/H). Its still pretty new, but folks seem to like the PM3.
Regarding your question about chipping or breaking tips, this is fairly easy to do on any knife blade (regardless of steel type). Like SpyderSense mentioned, as long as the knife is used for "normal" cutting applications, there should be minimal risk for chipping or tip breaking for S110V or M390. The PM2 and PM3 were designed for fairly robust use--including use by active duty military and law enforcement. As long as your BF avoids cutting through hard items such as metal staples, concrete, or the like, he should be fine. FWIW, I've found steels like CPM-440V (S60V) and VG-10 to be fairly decent at light prying (although I do not advocate prying with any knife blade). Also, FWIW, my father-in-law uses his little VG-10 bladed Manbug to pry on everything and he has yet to harm the blade.
If it were me, I would be personally very pleased with either the PM2's or the PM3. The Jade G-10 PM2 (in M4 carbon steel) would also be on my list, but the M4 may not be a good option since rust/corrosion resistance is a factor for where you live. To make it easy, I'd lean towards getting him the M390 PM2. This is a cherished knife and steel with many knife afi's and will be a knife that he will use and enjoy for many, many years to come.