Re-Post from MDT
Over the years I have gone through a number of carriers for different tools. Chief among them are my knives. Although the sheaths some knives come with are acceptable, I usually have a problem with them because I am a southpaw, and most knife sheaths are designed for right handers. The durability of some sheath material is a sad joke, but generally speaking, if it is a quality knife, it has a quality sheath.
One of the newer materials used for sheath material is kydex. The first Knife I had come with a kydex sheath was a Cold Steel Recon Tanto (it was actually the second one I had purchased, the first came with a right handed cordura sheath). A feature that I really appreciated about this sheath was that it was reversible, and it was nice having a product designer that thought about 10% of the end users as well as the majority.
There are some really good sheaths out there these day, and they’re not all made out of kydex. Two brands that I’ve use for decades are Eagle and Blackhawk, and both have given me good service. I have use the Eagle sheath made out of heavy duty webbing for 27 years, and it works as well today for the knives I carry in it as it did when I first bought it.
I have used cordura sheaths from both Eagle and Blackhawk that are very similar in design, and they too have done very well in use, and are still being used today. One of the things I really like about that particular sheath design is the pocket in the front that I use to carry a diamond sharpener and a German Army folding knife. Having the ability to carry extra tools or maintenance equipment with the tool is an added bonus in my eyes.
Two recent purchases I’ve made in the “Aftermarket Carrier” category are for my Ontario Raider knife, and my Cold Steel Spetsnaz Shovel. The Ontario Raider came with a sheath that while probably durable, was not designed for getting the knife out quickly, and it was not ambidextrous. The Sheath Cold Steel designed for the Spetsnaz Shovel was well made, but very spartan, and I found a carrier that worked better for not only attaching it to a rucksack, but for carrying maintenance equipment as well.
The sheath I purchased for the Raider knife was from the Cleveland Kydex Company and is what they term the “traditional” style with eyelet rivets on both side of the blade. I also purchased the Molle Lok attachments to replace the standard belt loops that come with the sheath. I purchased mine in OD green because I planned on painting it myself. All in all, it is a quality sheath and I like that it is ambidextrous and quicker to get out than the original factory sheath.
It is retained by the fit of the kydex, but I have also put a piece of bungee on it, just to make sure. At $50 it might seem expensive for a $60 knife, but I can tell you that how you are able to carry your knife, your ability to deploy it rapidly if need be, the durability of the sheath, and the sheath’s ability to retain the knife under all kinds of activities makes it worth the cost.
The second tool sheath I recently acquired was a carrier for my Spetsnaz Shovel made by Marbles. I didn’t have a problem with the sheath originally manufactured for the shovel, but when I found the Marbles model, I decided to buy it because it had a better retention system and had the ability to carry a sharpening stone (included) as well as other small tools if need be. At $14 it was a pretty good deal, in my estimation. So far both sheath and carrier have worked out fine, and I’m sure time will prove they were a good investment.
I’m not saying you should go out and buy unnecessary gear, but if you have a need that something isn’t addressing, by all means address it. For instance, I have been carrying the CS Recon Tanto in the same position on my gear in the factory kydex sheath for at least 13 years. The pic at the top of the post was taken in 2005, and I still carry it that way today because the factory sheath gave me the options (the eyelet slots on the edge of the sheath) I needed to carry it effectively.