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Bradford Guardian 4 ...choice of blade steel and grind

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by JJ_Colt45, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I"ve been looking very hard at buying a Bradford Guardian 4 ... will mostly be used for hunting so field dressing game processing food and in a pinch maybe shaving a bit of wood to get fire tinder ... and general outdoor uses but nothing I would call "hard use" ... I have an axe and screwdrivers and prybars ... so no batoning or trying to beat it through a cinder block or repair my truck with it.

    #1. The knife is offered in 3 steels ... S30V - M390 - and 3V ... I know the basic differences in the steels but not much about the differences in sharpening them ... I"ve only ever sharpened the S30V ... I only have one knife in M390 a ZT but haven't had to sharpen it yet ... and I know different makers using the same steel can vary wildly ... so I'm looking for comparisions on how much more difficult is M390 and 3V to sharpen then the S30V on the Bradford Guardian knives?

    #2. the knife is offered in 3 grinds but I'm only interested in two ... either a Full Flat or a Saber grind ... I am familiar with both but hope to get reccomendations on how Bradfords Guardian 4s grinds are and which you feel would serve my requirements best.

    I know I want the Micarta handle already so wondering about the grind and blade steel ... and they offer a Nimbus finish or Stonewash ... Im not familiar with the Nimbus it looks similiar to a blackwash ....but wondered if it offered any stain or rust resistance to warrent the extra $10 over the stonewashed.

    Now I realise there are other knives that may be as good or better but for what I can find available currently and what I already own I think this is the knife I want to give a try.

    Thanks in advance for your help and opinions.
  2. K.O.D.

    K.O.D. Sanity Not Included Platinum Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    3v is very tough and very popular in fixed blades, though it is not stainless like the other two. It would be my pick.

    I would get the ffg for processing animals.

    I don't think the nimbus finish is going to help much with corrosion protection, I prefer stonewashed.
  3. Puleio


    Jun 2, 2014
    I have not used the S30V from Bradford, but I think you will be happy with whichever you pick.

    My Guardian3 is a wonderful knife I have been very happy with. I opted for the m390 FFG (which has been great for everything from food prep to feather sticks, but no real hard use) in the stonewash finish with the G-Wood scales (because I liked the look).

    Sharpening has not been an issue with a sharpmaker, though I did reprofile the edge using some coarser triangle rods from congress tools before working through the normal spyderco rods.

    Here it is at lunch yesterday (if the embedded pic works):

    BigKurtHaze likes this.
  4. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    If you don't expect to use it as a survival type knife(trying to chop through crazy thick hardwoods, ect.), I say M390 full flat ground for sure. As a hunting knife I don't think you could get any better than that combo.

    M390 is a breeze to sharpen(much easier than S30V in my experience), it stays sharp for a long, long time. Easily able to handle some whittling or light to medium woodwork(again, no chopping through hardwoods!). So far that steel has spoiled me to no end. It's a great all purpose slicer steel. You won't need any extra coating either, M390 is super stainless and should not rust under many occasions(just don't drop it in the ocean for a year or anything). That's preference though, too. If you like the nimbus finish you should get it, but the stonewash is more than suffice on M390 steel.

    A full flat ground blade is just preference for me, at least. For what you say you'll be using it for, field dressing and such, it'll be great for that. It turns anything into a great slicer. The grind won't affect any light woodworking that I could imagine, at least. So it's all goes toward the benefits of a FFG.
    steel standin' likes this.
  5. Deinos

    Deinos Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2016
    Have a Guardian 3, sabre grind in 3v with DLC and love it. For your purposes, I would go m390 for edge holding and corrosion resistance in FFG. You will need cutting ability and edge holding far more than the toughness of 3v given your tasks. Enjoy the new knife! :thumbsup:
  6. T.L.E. Sharp

    T.L.E. Sharp Freedom for @Fullflat!!! Platinum Member

    Jun 30, 2016
    Agreed. M390 is what I would go with as well.

    3v is a wonderful steel, but more at home on large choppers. Knives that need to survive impact.

    M390, depending on heat treat, should either be about the same as s30v for sharpening. It's not terrible though.
  7. PirateSeulb


    Jun 6, 2017
    I was at blade had a chance to talk to him about this knife and really he left me with the impression that the M390 was the best choice of steel and that you only want the FFG if you want a pure slicer. I didn't talk about corrosion resistance much but indication was 3V is really good for a non stainless but obviously M390 and S30V are better however I coat all my blades with mineral oil so it won't be a big issue for me. I love the looks of the Nimbus finish so yeah mine will be in that I just need to decide M390 or 3V for me as I do plan to take it in the woods and might do some light chopping with it not big enough to do a lot more.
  8. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Thanks for the replies ... I am leaning towards the M390 ... I like how it performs I just haven't had to sharpen it yet if its similiar to S30V to sharpen then it should work fine. I don't need the strength of the 3V and I do put a light coat of oil on my knives after use the finish shouldn't matter alot on S30V or the M390 ... sounds like Bradfords Full Flat is good so I'm leaning that way also ... its usually my preference ... but have found some brands make their Full Flat grinds almost too thin and I've had minor chipping.
    Thanks for the replies JJ
  9. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    3v for chopping so go with m390. Nothing wrong with s30v but m390 will be better and easier to sharpen.
  10. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000

    Full Flat Grind.

    I'd say problem solved... but there's really no problem here, regardless of the choices you make.
  11. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    Thanks for all the input and guidance. I have one more question before I click the "completele purchase" button ... I'd like to hear from those who actually own or have used a Bradford Guardian ... I'm buying a Guardian 4 but I think even if it were a different length so long as it was a Bradford Guardian would be ok ... I almost have myself convinced I wanted the Canvas Micarta scales ...but I would like to hear from those that have used one and how the Micarta compares with their G10 scales? As far as grip comfort ... any hotspots ... and just overall feel andhow each holds up?
    Thanks in advance for any replies or pictures comparing the two and your thoughts on how they compare.
  12. Cereal_killer


    Apr 4, 2013
    Micarta > G10 in almosy every way!

    Biggest points each way:
    Micarta gets less slippery when wet or dirty but G10 is easier to clean and "holds" less grime and gunk than micarta.

    I know off the bat these two seem mutually exclusive to one another but think about it a minute longer- G10 holds a bit less grime so you can clean what's there off/out easier but micarta has deeper pores allowing it to remain grippy longer when covered in said grime.

    I use my knives, HARD, whenever I have the option I will NEVER choose G10 over micarta (nothing wrong with G10 at all but when I have the choice micarta WILL beat it out. Every. Time.)
  13. Razor

    Razor Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 8, 1999
    Is the handle short on the guardian 3? I read some reviews and they said it was. I hate short handles on a folder.
  14. JJ_Colt45

    JJ_Colt45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 11, 2014
    I think the Guardian 3 is short but I'm ordering a 4 so think the grip size is ok .... I've been leaning towards the Micarta I prefer it but someone told me they prefer the G10 on the Bradfords ... so I was hoping to hear from a few that have handled/used both to get their opinions
    I think it looks like the Micarta is textured ok not polished and it may have a bit more girth to fill a larger hand then the G10 ...
    So if I don't hear anything compelling about the G10 I''ll probably go ahead and order the Micarta ... I can always have them replaced by one of the craftsmen here on our forums if for some reason they aren't what I expect.
  15. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder

    Aug 12, 2005
    3V is good for toughness AND for fine edge stability, especially when done with the low tempering temps. M390 is supposedly great for abrasion and corrosion resistance. Elmax is supposed to be the tougher of the B-U "super" PM stainless steels.
  16. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    The handle on the 3 is especially short. I have small hands and I can't hold the 3 just by the handle comfortably or securely at all. The choil is a must for that model, though I have no experience with the 4.

    I like G10 and I like micarta, but I'd definitely go with the micarta on your knife. Bradford's G10 is super hard, almost brick-like(not complaining, it's just the way it is), so if I could change my 3 from G10 to micarta I would.
    steel standin' likes this.
  17. Hoze928


    Jul 18, 2016
    I have the Guardian 3 in M390 with G10 and it is one of the best edc knives I own. As to it being to short I have bad osteoarthritis in my hands with medium size hands and have no issues holding or using the knife thanks to the choil. I picked the 3 over the 4 to be legal for concealed carry in my state. As someone said above their reasons for the micarta but I have the exact opposite for the G10. I like micarta but much prefer G10 with the caveat on the Guardian it is a bit tough and pointy. Either way you will be very happy with the knife.
  18. sfrigon1


    Oct 2, 2016
    M390 ffg stonewash for sure and the 3d scales for sure . What an awesome knife ,you will be very pleased.
  19. hhmoore

    hhmoore Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 7, 2014
    You can - the scales are available on his website.

    G10 vs micarta - I like both...but, in the case of the Guardian series, it's micarta, hands down (for me). The 3D contoured micarta scales are far more comfortable than the patterned G10.

    I have the G4 in FFG 3V...I agree that much of the advantage of 3V is lost in this size range; but the option came available right when I was considering purchasing a G4, and I have no regrets about grabbing one.

    G3 vs G4
    steel standin' likes this.
  20. jdm61

    jdm61 itinerant metal pounder

    Aug 12, 2005
    To be fair, I probably wouldn't worry much about any knives coming out of the Larkin shop regard less of the steel used.

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