...has been razor sharp and earned my respect. This is either out of the box, or after sharpening with my basic tools. I base this on paper slicing and feather stick carving. I own 4 blades in this "cheap" steel: PMII, PMIII, ProLite, Kudu. All of them glided through paper out of the box. I reprofiled a good section of the ProLite Tanto with a file, coarse/fine stone, pocket diamond hone, and ceramic rod. I was able to get it razor sharp again. Edge retention is nice, but I'd rather have a blade I can sharpen easily in the field. I don't mind touching up a blade as long it is no fuss. To carve a feather stick, the blade has to be sharp enough to give you control. The blade should make a curl with consistent thickness, not skip along or gouge. The two Peace Makers make this task effortless with their Scandi grind. I tried out the Kudu tonight. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised, because it carved like a carpenter's plane. It's common to lose a few of your curls, but the Kudu lost nary a one. Considering the sub $10 price tag, the blade length, lock strength, and yes, the steel, the Kudu might be the all time best value in a folder. Even though people literally call 4116 "crap," I think it is an awesome budget steel. If you gave it to an 18th century frontiersman, they would have thought it a marvel beyond imagination. I've watched edge retention tests on Youtube. 4116 exceeds most expectations and performs on par with 8Cr18MoV. Literally millions of Swiss Army knives have been made with 4116, and Victorinox sells a $200 bushcraft knife with this same steel! It seems like CS maybe slowly moving on from 4116, so I'm glad I got these knives while I still could.