Jay Fisher - World Class Knifemaker

Quality Without Compromise

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Knife Maker's Mark for Jay Fisher Knives

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"Random Access Three" obverse side view in CPM154CM powder metal technology high molybdenum stainless steel blade, vertical and horizontal sheaths in hand-stamped brown basketweave leather shoulder
"Random Access III"

The Finest, Best Made Tactical Combat Knife Sheaths in the World

I am committed to making completely and clearly the best knives in the world.

--Jay Fisher


Military, Tactical Grade Locking Combat Knife Sheaths, Hybrid Tension-Locking Combat Knife Sheaths

History, Materials, Use, Options, Care

Please Note: I make these sheaths only for my own knives. I can't make one for a factory knife or other makers' knife.

"Hooded Warror" obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Amboyna burl hardwood handle, locking kydex, anodized aluminum blackened stainless steel sheath

Howdy Jay,
Short version:
The attention paid to every detail during the creation of this package (piece of kit) is perfect. I am speechless. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
More comprehensive evaluation:
The sheet of paper included with use / care instructions written by Tom Clancy sums up your blending of old school craftsmanship with modern materials.
Hooded Warrior:
I am trying to break through "speechless" mode. Each work you craft takes on a unique character during the process. I have seen other examples of the Hooded Warrior pattern and they differ in subtle ways. The blade is so beautiful that I'm tempted to never use it. At 61.5 HRC it should perform extremely well, yep, I can sharpen that. I've been sharpening most of my life, I now follow the recommendations of John Juranitch, I cheat a bit with a 1" X 30" grinder when I can.
The leather sheath is perfect for display or dress wear. I have no idea where I would don that tool in a more formal setting, I think you get my drift. Set aside the fact that I avoid "formal" stuff. Not my cup of tea.
The field sheath speaks differently to me. That sheath is for me, a working man. The blade and sheath are a team. I do not know of any other craftsman that marries the blade and sheath this well. I wish to thank you for allowing me to purchase this package. This is a most suitable piece of kit for my future needs.
This is my Hooded Warrior.
There are others like it.
This one is mine.
I sincerely thank you.
That is all.

B. S.

Hi Jay,
I came home yesterday, the knife was waiting for me since it arrived in Monday.
The knife and the sheath look great! The knife fits perfectly in my hand and the handle is very comfortable. The blade is sharp and looks very aggressive. The sheath looks strong and very durable. The locking mechanism is awesome! This is by far the best sheath I have ever had.
Jay, thank you for this great knife, it's definitely a knife that I can depend my life on.

--D. B. (Israeli Defense Force)

"Arabah" tactical, combat, survival knife in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, red/black G10 composite handle, desert digital camouflage kydex, aluminum, stainless steel locking sheath
The very best tactical combat knife sheath made; more about this Arabah

...the locking sheath is brilliant, and I can't imagine a blade without one!

-J. S.

The Locking Knife Sheath History
These are, quite simply and clearly, the best tactical combat knife sheaths made in the world today.

Many years ago (1995), some of my military clients (USAF Pararescue, our nation's top military rescue service) asked me if I could make a true combat grade positively locking sheath, one that would hold up to the rigors of real combat, something that they could trust to have their knife ready at the instant, yet secure the knife and protect the wearer during the high energy activity of combat, tactical, and rescue operations. They requested that the sheath be bulletproof, that is, as tough as I could make it without extra weight.

The knife sheath is the most neglected component of all modern knives!

The knife sheath has always been the most neglected part of this modern tradecraft and art, yet in the fully functional combat knife the sheath is the most important part. No matter how the knife is designed, crafted, and suited to tactical or combat use, if it can't be reliably carried in a functional, dependable, and durable knife sheath, it is useless. I've always believed that a tactical knife sheath is not merely something that looks stylishly tactical, in camo print nylon, or kydex secured with weak eyelets, but this is all that is available from factories, manufacturers, and sadly, modern knife makers. Simply put, there is a critical, modern need for a good knife sheath commensurate with the quality and intended purpose of the knife.

So I worked and experimented, tried various options, with the input of military professionals, and created what is clearly the most durable, reliable, and best tactical combat positively locking knife sheath made. It's suitable for combat and rescue operations in the desert, on the open ocean, and anywhere the need arises.

This sheath was not some simple adjunct, it  has proven itself to be the most reliable sheath available; in the hundreds of these I've made over the decades, in the hundreds of them that are in service in some of the most demanding, dirty, wet, and torturous environments, I've not had a failure of a single one. Not one has been returned for adjustment, alignment, or service, not one has ever failed. How many other sources can claim a sheath that will last as long as the knife, a sheath of any kind, much less a waterproof positively locking sheath?

You can see more of these sheaths on the various tactical knife pages of my site available through Military and Tactical Knives Portal Page.

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There is only one way to make a knife safe, and that is to sheath it in a positively locking knife sheath made as strong as possible.

"Creature" tactical CSAR, combat knife with locking sheath in kydex, aluminum, and stainless steel "The Creature" locking sheath rear view. Note horizontal-vertical belt loop plate in vertical position. Plate is reversible from front to back of sheath body "The Creature" shown with locking sheath belt loop plate in horizontal wear position. The locking sheath allows the knife to be worn in numerable positions on a variety of tactical or combat gear "The Creature" combat CSAR knife in locking sheath. Knife is secure yet easily accessible
The Creature CSAR Knife

Hey Jay!
Just got the knife today. WOW!!! The pics you sent me did NO justice to the knife at all. This is BY FAR the nicest knife I have ever owned! I was also pleasantly surprised by how nice the sheath came out. For the last few months I have been second guessing my decision for the locking sheath. Now I am glad I went in that direction. The pics I have seen of that sheath do not show how sturdy and well built that thing really is. I think you may need to show a side profile of that in one of the pics. That large slab of aluminum will show people its more than just kydex bolted together. I think your description says how it is built – but I didn’t understand till I actually saw it in person!
Anyways, thank you for a GREAT knife! I will look forward to enjoying it for many years! Also, I'm already planning my next one. You can be sure that I will be showing it off to all my friends and letting them know about you and the quality of your work! (most already know as I've been talking about these knives for quite a while – but I think they will be astonished when they see they experience your work first hand).
Thanks again,

Adam Vuksich

Sheath mouth view of positively locking tactical combat knife sheath in stainless steel, aluminum, and kydex
"Hooded Warrior EL" obverse side view in ATS-34 high molybenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, ebony exotic hardwood handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel tactical sheath
The best tactical combat locking knife sheath made, on this Hooded Warrior

The History of my Hybrid Tension-Locking Knife Sheath

The knife is part of the sheath; the sheath is part of the knife, in every way.

Around 2011, I perfected my next edition of sheath, the hybrid tension-locking tactical knife sheath. This was mainly in response to a need for a lighter weight and smaller package in my skeletonized knives, and the growth of the dedicated counterterrorism knife necessity, which requires additional release functions and double edge applications. There was, just as with my locking knife sheaths, a distinct lack of extreme use and reliable knife sheaths in the real combat realm, and since I was in direct communication with counterterrorism professionals, I had their help and input to create, design, and perfect this critically essential sheath type.

The reason I designed this sheath was to offer a sheath that is more secure than simply hot-formed kydex around the knife (like most kydex sheaths made), and yet not as heavy and securely locking as my locking knife sheath, while offering a faster option for unsheathing in an emergency. Additionally, counterterrorism knives are often double-edged, and the positivley locking sheath mechanism would not work on the double edged knives. The Tension-Locking sheath is a hybrid of these two (the tension and the locking sheaths), and they have met with great feedback and success, particularly in the counterterrorism knife field.

The knife is retained in the sheath with a tension spring of 6AL4V titanium, which may be anodized for color matching, improved surface hardness, and subdued operations. The tension spring secures a component that matches exactly with the knife in a critical key area of the individual knife, usually near the ricasso. Every knife is different, just as with my locking sheath, and every individual knife must be matched to the sheath, and the sheath matched to the knife, necessitating building them together. Clearly, the knife is part of the sheath and the sheath is part of the knife in every way. This is one of the main reasons this design will not easily be copied, each one has to be constructed individually, and the sheaths are not interchangeable, even with the same knife model, design, and profile! The knife can be released quietly with a thumb, finger, or knuckle to release the tension of the spring, or, with this special design, the knife can be unsheathed instantly with a good, hard, firm pull on the handle. The pull varies with each knife, and I typically include several springs of varying tension so that the knife user can select his own preference, of light, medium, or heavy pull and retention. The pull varies between 15-25 pounds of force, so this is still a well-retained knife. This is also a retention method that can be used on critically double edged knives, with upper edges that would interfere with the locking mechanism of my positively locking sheath. Just as with my positively locking sheaths, all of the components are completely reversible for a huge variety of wear options and positions on military or tactical gear. Also, just as with my positively locking tactical sheaths, all have the same bolt hole pattern for the wide range of components I offer for critical applications, such as flashlights, sharpeners, firestarters, and positional mounting arrays. Some of my hybrid tension-locking sheaths offer a cam-lock release where the knife owner can not see the knife, to aid in re-sheathing as well. This is a clear advantage in my counterterrorism dive knives, for example.

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The "Synan" Counterterrorism Dive Knife with Hybrid Tension-Lock Sheath with Cam-Lock release in Stainless Steel
"Synan" counterterrorism knife knife in N360 nitrogen passivated tool steel blade, sheath of kydex, anodized 5052H32 aluminum welt frame, blackened and passivated 304 stainless steel hardware and fixtures, anodized 6AL4V titanium
More about this Synan

The Low Information Critics

All successful businesses have critics, and it's important to educate so that low information does not rest without challenge. I owe it to my clients and patrons and future clients and patrons to be very blunt, clear, and concise about these criticisms, so that they can make an educated decision in their own knife and sheath selections. It's important to not let misinformation stand, lest it root there and become belief.

There isn't too much criticism about my locking sheaths, or any of my sheaths, for that matter, but once in a while a person who does not have access to one of my sheaths will make some careless and irresponsible claim about them. This is humorous, because they don't even have a sheath to examine, inspect, or use, yet feel compelled to offer their evaluation!  The people who do have them are happy with them; in the hundreds of this type of sheath I've made since the 1990s, I've never had one returned for even an adjustment, much less a repair of any kind! I also receive continual requests for a locking or hybrid tension-locking sheath for every single tactical, combat, or counterterrorism knife I create; my clients demand them.

One anonymous poster on a forum claimed that "there is a reason no one else uses aluminum in their kydex sheaths," insinuating that I was somehow wrong for building a clearly superior sheath. This is quite funny, because this person saw fault in building what is the best, most sturdy, and most durable knife sheath in the world today. He thought that all sheaths were supposed to be weak, made of single thickness (.060") kydex, and with soft kydex welts, not the .250" thick high strength aluminum welts I use. Why wouldn't I build them weak, like everyone else does?

Then, a claim was made about the accessories; that they "looked weak and might break if the wearer took a tumble." This shows the absolute ignorance and contempt these uneducated types spew in hopes of casting some doubt on the most successful of us. The accessories, like the sheath, are the strongest made in the word today! In just one example (the tactical flashlight holder, the HULA), I'll make a simple comparison: Mine are built of all welded zero-care austenitic stainless steel and high strength aluminum alloy; theirs are built of flammable, weak, flexible, thin plastic, or nylon cloth! My accessorized units are used by some of the top military, law enforcement, and counterterrorism teams in the world, and there is a reason for that. By the way, I've never had one returned for even an adjustment, much less a repair, not one of any type in over 20 years and thousands of knives. NOT ONE.

Rather than simply explain who is using these sheaths and accessories, and for how long they have been using them, I'll commit to describe the exact components used so it's absolutely clear how durable these sheaths are. This is done lower on this very page, at the topic: Compare. You can read it yourself, and make an informed decision.

As for me, I'll keep making the strongest, most durable, most reliable locking waterproof knife sheaths made in the world today. They will continue to be the very best.

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Incredibly stout, durable, and reliable counterterrorism locking combat knife sheath with accessories:
"Taranis" obverse side view in CPMS30V high vanadium stainless tool steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Olive/Black G10 fiberglass epoxy composite laminate handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath with ultimate belt loop extender and accessories
More about this Taranis

Tactical Locking and Hybrid Tension Locking Knife Sheath Materials

My military combat grade positively locking sheath is made of more than 40 components. The hybrid tension locking sheath is made of from 24 to 34 parts. All parts and fasteners are hand-fitted to the individual custom combat, tactical, or rescue knife. The sheath is matched to the knife and no other knives can be used in the sheath. The front and back of the sheaths are made of a single layer of .125" thick Kydex® thermoforming plastic (methylacrilate and polyvinylchloride), which may be hot-formed and molded to the knife bolsters and handle. This is double the thickness of every typical kydex sheath or pistol holster. The welts (or frame members) of the sheath are made of two layers of .125" thick (total thickness: .250") milled and dressed 5052H32 corrosion resistant high strength aluminum alloy. This is a high chromium aluminum alloy, and I offer anodization which imparts a near-ceramic hard surface to the aluminum, and can be dyed to match the knife, sheath body, and other components, as well as blend in camouflage and subdued operations. It also increases the corrosion resistance tremendously, so that dive applications in marine environments are applicable. The welts, front, and back are adhesively secured with waterproof cement, and bolted together with blued steel, nickel plated steel, or stainless steel Chicago screws with a .250" shank. The stainless steel Chicago screws can be blackened, oxide-toned for color, or passivated for complete corrosion resistance in salt water. Included may be one wide or several narrow belt loop pairs, in varying profiles for thick or thin belts, a pair of reversible horizontal-vertical belt loop plates, or flat straps of 5052H32 corrosion resistant high strength aluminum, anodized to match and secured with Chicago screws. The belt loops can be made variable, reversible from front to back or even adjustable for horizontal or vertical carry. See the thumbnail photos on this page. The positively locking mechanism is all stainless steel, the parts are 304, 316, and 302 stainless steel, even the spring is stainless steel and the fasteners are 18-8 (304) stainless steel which may be passivated, blackened, or oxide-colored to match. In the tension-lock sheaths, the components are 304 stainless steel, as are the fasteners, which may be passivated, blackened, or oxide-colored to match. The springs are anodized 6AL4V titanium, and several strengths are included for user preference of retention and release. The entire assembly is reversible for user choice, and all standardized fastener patterns allow high versatility of wear, mount, positions, and directions, as well as interfacing with all my standard options.

These are simply is the most durable, waterproof, and and advanced locking and tension-locking knife sheaths made in the world today; I challenge anyone to find better!

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"Hooded Warrior" sniper's combat knife in ATS-34 stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Kingwood hardwood handle, locking waterproof combat tactical knife sheath "Hooded Warrior" in locking knife sheath. The knife sheath is secure and durable, probably the best combat tacitical sheath made
Hooded Warrior
"Patriot-Boar" hybrid custom combat tactical knife in vermillion-blued O-1 tungsten-vanadium tool steel blade, nickel silver bolsters, Bloodwood exotic hardwood handle, locking combat knife sheath "Patriot-Boar" custom made hybrid combat knife with nickel silver bolsters, Bloodwood exotic hardwood handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel knife sheath
Patriot-Boar Hybrid
USAF Pararescue commemorative knife "PJLT" in etched, green gold 440C stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Sodalite gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel knife sheath with blue lacquered brass engraved flashplate Commemorative grade PJLT, United States Air Force Pararescue, in locking knife sheath with engraved flashplate
PJLT Commemorative
United States Army Special Forces "Patriot" in etched stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, cherry blossom jasper gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath with engraved red lacqured brass flashplate US Army Special Forces Patriot combat, tactical knife, with rear of sheath showing large die formed corrosion resistant high strength aluminum belt loop plate
Special Forces Patriot

"Ari B' Lilah" Custom Counterterrorism Tactical Combat Knife, obverse side view in ATS-34 high molybdenum-chromium martensitic stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, black G10 composite handle, hybrid tension-locking sheath in kydex, anodized black aluminum alloy, titanium, blackened stainless steel fasteners, anodized hardware and mounts, HULA with MagTac flashlight, LIMA with Maglite LED Solitaire, Ultimate belt loop extender with diamond pad sharpener

Every now and then, I get a letter that moves me. It is one of the reasons I'm so hard on factories and other knife makers about their work. It disturbs me greatly to know that our men and women are not carrying the best knives into battle that this country is capable of producing. Here's one of those letters and my response.

I'm currently deployed to Iraq and found that a back up is a must have. I work in closely with the local population and my weapon at time's cannot be used due to distance or situation. I have a Fainbrain-Applegate full size fighting knife now. I read your web page and you seem to know what's going on with knives and sheaths. The problem I have is I don’t have the proper sheath. I need a combat locking sheath like in your pictures, so I can access my knife in a split second. The best and most concealed place while in IBA is  the small of my back. Mounting the knife horizontal on my belt seems the best. If you have any ideas on what to do or a different path to take please let me know.
-TSgt H.L.
Ali AB, Iraq

My response:

Hello, TSgt L. Thanks for writing. And thank you for your service to our country.
Your letter hit me hard. It is truly sad that manufacturers and makers of knives do not carefully consider the sheath when making and selling their knives, and do not consider the lives that may be at stake because they do not supply an adequate or useful sheath. All I can do is not make that mistake on my own knives.
I’m sorry that I can not make a sheath for your knife. My locking and combat grade sheaths are constructed with the knife, in concert, so that components like thumb rises, ricasso ramps, edge clearances, and mounting variations must happen in the construction of the knife, so that a workable locking sheath can be designed around the knife, with the knife. Each individual sheath can only fit a specific knife. Unfortunately, I cannot build a sheath around a factory knife or other maker’s knife, as they don’t build the knife with the components and geometry that can allow a locking sheath to work. Beyond that, I get so many requests to correct inadequate sheath work that I would be out of the knife making business, and into the sheath making business only. Even if I did take on that type of work, it would require the knife in my hands while you would be left in the field unarmed.
I do make an extremely good combat knife, and can make it to your specifications, to fit a specifically designed locking combat sheath of my own construction. I know my work is not cheap, but I’ve got one of the best track records of useful and durable combat and tactical knives and sheaths in the business.
I know this does not help you at the moment. In the chance that they might be of help, I would contact the company or maker who made the knife and ask them to outfit their knife with a proper sheath. Please be brutally honest in their shortcomings of the sheath they supply for their knife, because it is your life and other lives at stake.
Barring that, you may have to do what I’ve heard of other soldiers doing in the field: using found parts, moleskin, leather bindings, bent metal, screws and other parts to make their sheaths work. I’m terribly sorry I could be of no further help.
Jay Fisher

"Arcturus" combat, tactical, survival knife obverse side view in CPM S30V high vanadiium stainless tool steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Green/Black/Pistacio G10 fiberglass epoxy laminate composite handle, woodland digital camouflage kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath
The finest and best tactical combat knife sheath made, in digi-camo kydex with belt loop extender and accessory package, all stainless steel fittings on this Arcturus.

Appearance of the Locking Knife Sheath

Most of my kydex military combat sheaths are black, with satin finished aluminum welts at the edges. Occasionally, I'll get requests for a different look. By custom order, I also use gray kydex, coyote brown, forest (traditional) camo, desert camo (traditional) and even modern forest, desert, and polar digital camo kydex are available on special request. An additional charge may be required.

My locking knife sheaths have a physically smaller footprint (profile) than my tension fit kydex sheaths, though they start with similar materials (kydex, aluminum, steel Chicago screws. The smaller footprint is due to the fact that only the blade and the front of the handle are covered by the locking sheath, not the full or deep coverage of the tension fit sheath which has the knife blade and most of the handle inside the kydex. The exposed handle of the locking sheath allows quicker, easier access, and in some cases, a lighter weight than the tension fit kydex sheath, even though it has all the stainless steel mechanism and fasteners.

Why choose a tension fit sheath or locking sheath? The comparisons and reasons are below:

  • Cost: the locking sheath is more expensive than the tension fit sheath, because it's made of more components and more materials, all meticulously hand-made and hand-fitted and tuned to the specific knife. The mechanism and the components of the locking sheath constitute about forty parts while the tension fit sheath has about half of those parts and no mechanism to machine, create, and tune to the knife.
  • Knife attributes: some knives are not designed for the locking sheath, which usually requires a thumb rise area to engage the lock. Knives that are straight at the spine can be used with the locking sheath, but it is rare. A knife with a double edge can not be used with the locking sheath, because the lock mechanism would contact the top side cutting edge, damaging both eventually.
  • User preference: some guys wear heavy gloves, or are active and quick, and don't want to have to worry about engaging and unlocking the knife from the sheath. In very heavy, muddy use, the locking mechanism could become fouled, and they never intend for the knife to be worn in any position other than point down on their belt. The locking mechanism must be worked and kept clean (not covered, clogged, or blocked with debris) and the tension fit sheath is more forgiving to dirt or fouling.
  • Knife size: since most very heavy large-bladed knives are always worn point-down because of the weight of the blade in the sheath, the locking mechanism is not necessary since the weight and mass of the blade keeps the knife in the sheath. 
  • Belt loop location: the more traditional high placement belt loops are available on the tension fit sheath, whereas the locking sheath requires a belt loop extender to place the belt behind the handle. Both of these sheaths will accommodate the belt loop extenders and accessory packages, since each knife and sheath are made in a matched pair.
  • Custom: You decide! What's great here is that this is all custom, and if you want both types of sheath, I can do that too! Some clients request three sheaths: tension, locking, and traditional leather or exotic inlay. What's neat is that I can make all of those, custom fit and designed for your Jay Fisher knife!

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"Argiope" combat tactical knife: hot blued O-1 high carbon tungsten vanadium tool steel blade, nickel silver bolsters, ebony hardwood handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath Locking combat, tactical knife sheath for "Argiope"
"Halius" obverse side view; tactical combat knife in 440c high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Tiger Stripe G10 fiberglass-reinforced epoxy handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel combat sheath "Halius" tactical, combat knife in locking knife sheath of kydex, aluminum, stainless steel for high corrosion resistance
"Patriot" Tactical knife, obverse side view: ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Australian Tiger Iron gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath "Patriot" tactical, combat knife in locking knife sheath of kydex, aluminum, stainless steel, nickel plated steel

"Arctica" tactical, combat, CSAR, survival knife, obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, gray/black G10 fiberglass/epoxy laminate handle, polar digital camo kydex, aluminum, stainless steel locking sheath
The best locking combat knife sheaths made; more about this Arctica in polar digi-camo kydex.

Use of the Combat and Tactical Grade Locking Knife Sheath

The knife with my locking sheath may be worn in any position, even upside down. The security is provided by the belt loops secured to a tactical belt (usually a 1.5" - 1.75" military grade nylon utility belt, .090" thick) which is secured to the body. Since 2015, I've also been including "high rise" belt loops (footman's loops) that will accommodate the tactical survival and suspension belts that are .250" thick. The knife is secured by the tang lock bar that engages on the spine of the knife. To release the knife from the locking sheath, a simple combination movement of the hand is all that is required. this means grippng the knife handle, and sliding the thumb forward to unlock it. To sheath the knife, make sure that the blade is aligned correctly and slide knife into sheath until it "clicks" into locked position.

Important: the wearer must visually check or tug on knife handle to make sure that the knife is locked into the sheath, every time it is used. Unlike a tension fit sheath where the knife is squeezed as it is inserted and has a wide range of depth that can secure the knife, my locking knife sheaths have an exact and specific point at which the mechanism clicks into locked position. Once locked, the knife cannot be removed until unlocked. So, while locking the knife in the sheath takes a momentary glimpse or a tug, and once you know it's locked, you can forget about it. This prevents concern, worry, or "touch-checking" to make sure your knife is where it's supposed to be. If you've carried a knife (or other necessary implement or weapon) this way, you will appreciate the elimination of that nagging need to make sure things are where they are supposed to be.

Details about the mechanism: I've removed the close-up pictures of the mechanism and the description, after I noticed that several foreign web sites were posting my pictures of how it worked. These guys can't come up with an original idea, so they're trying to steal mine. This also brings up an addition and curious benefit of my locking combat sheath. When I first pass a knife in lock-sheath combo to someone who is new to this device, they fumble, tug, press on the wrong area, and are confused by the mechanism and how it works. Because the mechanism is unique and original, the knife owner must familiarize himself with it. This takes a few minutes to understand just how it works. Several of my military clients reminded me that the moment of confusion in a combat situation may be exactly what prevents an enemy or attacker from grabbing your knife from your sheath, and using it against you! So I think its doubly responsible to remove the particulars of the mechanism and how it works in great detail from the public part of my web site. If you purchase one of my knives with this mechanism, you'll get complete instructions and details of its operation.

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"Sirara" tactical combat knife, obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 sculpted stainless steel bolsters, Tiger Stripe G10 fiberglass reinforced epoxy synthetic handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath "Sirara" trailing point tanto tactical, combat knife in locking knife sheath of kydex, aluminum, stainless steel
"The Kid" CSAR knife, double edged, with hookblade, 440C stainless steel, 304 stainless steel components, Black Petrified Palm wood gemstone handle, locking combat tactical waterproof knife sheath "The Kid" Combat Search and Rescue knife in locking waterproof knife sheath of stainless steel, kydex, aluminum, nickel plated steel components
The Kid CSAR, Hookblade Knife
"Horrocks" combat, tactical knife: 440c high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, canvas micarta phenolic handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stailess steel sheath "Horrocks" tactical, combat knife in locking sheath, fine handmade knife sheaths, locking, waterproof, tough and durable
United States Army Special Forces "Treatymaker LT" (LighT) in etched ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Verdite (budstone) gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel combat sheath with engraved black lacquered brass flasplate US Army Special Forces "Treatymaker LT" combat knife with locking sheath. Note large die formed high strength aluminum belt loop plate for sheath mounting on tactical gear
Special Forces Treatymaker LT

"Hooded Warrior" obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, cocobolo exotic hardwood handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath with ultimate belt loop extender
The best locking combat knife sheath made; more about this Hooded Warrior

Options Available on my Locking Combat and Tactical Knife Sheaths

Often, a client will ask for additional options for the locking combat sheath, most often in the way that the sheath is worn or how it attaches to the gear, belt, or body. I’ve done several different things with the sheath mounting methods, but I have stayed away from too many devices, because they create stand-offs. Stand-off devices make the knife sheath stick out from the body even more, and that can allow the knife and sheath to hang up, snag on objects, interfere with movement in close areas (like onboard aircraft, ship, or within structures during sweeps) and be an extra source of concern the wearer doesn’t need at a critical time.

  • Rotating Mechanisms (No): I try to make the sheaths as flat and with mountings that hold the knife and sheath as close to the body as possible. Occasionally, someone will suggest a rotating element or removable lock and detents like a cell phone holder, but if you’ve worn a cell phone, you realize that it gets in the way, hangs up on things, turns and flips open at the worst possible time. That’s why cell phones are more often carried in a pocket, to be closer to the body and more manageable. Also, additional devices and mechanisms are a large extra expense to make and incorporate into the sheath.
  • Horizontal/Vertical/Angular Loops (Yes): On some knives, I can incorporate a belt loop system that allows a horizontal or vertical orientation to the sheath on both tension fit and locking kydex sheaths. These are usually mounted on a solid plate that can be reattached in various ways to the locking sheath. They can be complicated, so expect to pay more for this option. Also, the knife style may not accommodate this type of arrangement. Example Example Example
  • Flat, Immoveable Retaining Straps (Yes): Some guys request additional flat straps, which are really belt clamps, to screw the sheath tightly to the belt or tactical vest webbing. These prevent sliding along the web or belt that may happen with belt loops (footman's loops). The clamp-straps may work on both my tension fit, hybrid tension-locking sheaths, and my locking kydex sheaths. These are made of the same high strength, corrosion resistant aluminum, and can be installed and removed at the Chicago screws. Example
  • Anodized aluminum welts, frame, mounts, and accessories (Yes): I'm now offering full anodization including custom dying and coloring of all the aluminum parts of all of my tactical sheaths. More about anodized aluminum at this link on my sheath accessories page. Example
  • All Stainless Steel Fasteners (Yes): The mechanism of my locking sheaths are always all stainless steel, but the Chicago screws can also be blued steel or nickel plated steel. In very demanding and marine (salt water ) environments, some clients request that the locking sheath be at the highest level of corrosion resistance. In these cases, I make the sheath with all stainless steel fasteners, including stainless steel Chicago screws. There is an additional cost for these very special and extremely corrosion resistant fasteners. Example
  • Darkening and/or passivation of all stainless steel sheath components (Yes): Darkening is done with special chemistry, and passivation further inhibits corrosion of stainless steel for marine (salt water) submersion and environments. Passivating leaves the darkened stainless steel mottled in appearance, but highly corrosion resistant.
  • Side Release Tabs (Yes): Another option is to omit the small side release tabs on the sheath lock mechanism. This is done if the client requests it and there is enough room for the thumb to operate the release. It is not a good idea to omit this component if the user frequently wears gloves.
  • Sheath Belt Loop Extender (Yes): In some cases, the client wants the option of a more traditional belt loop position, so I've created a very special extender to accomplish this, in very tough, water resistant materials. Read the details about the belt loop extender on a special page.
  • Ultimate Belt Loop Extender (Yes): Clients have also requested the ultimate belt loop extender, which includes a mounted and solid diamond pad sharpener and firesteel/magnesium block firestarter with stainless safety and mounting components. Details on a special page.
  • Sternum Harness (Yes): When the client wants to wear the knife in the locking sheath upside down across his sternum, it requires a special dedicated harness, built to the same super-tough and durable level as the sheath. Learn more about this useful accessory on a special page.
  • HULA Advanced Flashlight Holder Assembly (Yes): The HULA (Holder, Universal, Lamp, Articulating) is an extremely durable, articulating, direction adjustable, highly corrosion resistant holder for advanced programmable Maglite flashlights. It is made of extremely tough and corrosion resistant materials, designed to mount on the locking sheath. Read more about this accessory on a special section here.
  • More? I'm sure of it! Check back often!

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"PJLT" tactical combat knife in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, stabilized laminate hardwood (Dymondwood) handle, locking kydex, aluminium, stainless steel sheath "PJLT" in locking knife sheath, combat, CQC, CQB, shown with vertical orientation of mounting hardware, reversible belt loop plate of die formed aluminum, nickel plated steel "PJLT" in locking combat knife sheath, belt loop plate shown in horizontal position for horizontal knife sheath wear
"Calisto" custom handmade knife, obverse side view, 440C stainless steel blade, nickel silver bolsters, Fossilized Cretaceous Algae gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath "Calisto" utility, working knife, reverse side, locking sheath showing reversible die formed aluminum belt loops for vertical wear option "Calisto" in locking waterproof knife sheath, shown with horizontal belt plate attachment
"Seabee" ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, canvas micarta phenolic handle, locking kydex, aluminum stainless steel, nickel plated steel sheath "SeaBee" in locking combat, service, tactical sheath of tan kydex, aluminum, stainless steel, nickel plated steel
"Mercury Magnum" obverse side view: 440c high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, blue/black G10 fiberglass epoxy laminate handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel combat tactical knife sheath Locking combat, tactical knife sheath for Mercury Magnum, SWAT, law enforcement, working and fine handmade knives
Mercury Magnum
Police SWAT knives in blued steel, engraved, gemstone handles, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel knife sheaths, commemorative, service

"PJLT" obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Black Palm Hardwood handle, locking waterproof kydex, aluminum, stainless steel, nickel plated steel sheath
The very best locking combat knife sheath made; more about this PJLT

Comparing My Locking Knife Sheaths to Other Available Knife Sheaths

My locking combat tactical sheaths are absolutely the best made in the world today. Even my tension fit kydex sheaths shown through the military and tactical knives portal of this site are superior to all other knife sheaths made. Many of the points listed here apply to both types of my knife sheaths, tension or locking. Here are a list of critical and specific points and counterpoints comparing other maker's and factory knife sheaths to my locking and tactical knife sheaths to consider. Remember, other sheath makers, knife makers, and manufacturers will not illustrate these points for you, and as you read, you can understand why you deserve to know what you are depending on (or not!):

  • Sheath Body
    • Theirs: Most factory knife sheaths and many other maker's tactical knife sheaths are constructed of nylon or polyester, sometimes over a liner of thin (.030"-.060" thick) kydex. Though you will see terms like "ballistic nylon." please do not be fooled. Nylon is a weak, soft, flexible, and short-lived cloth. Even gear bags made of this nylon do not last. It easily abrades, tears, melts, and decays. Nylon absorbs water, and can hold it for long periods and rot. Moisture and contaminants can be trapped between the layers and threads of nylon, polyester, and the kydex liner, and accelerate corrosion of the knife blade and handle. Even when they do use kydex, it is always the thin stuff, .060". This allows the kydex to flex, bend, and deform, making it easier to construct the sheath but significantly weaker, less safe, less durable, and more short lived in the field than my sheaths.
    • Mine: My kydex sheaths are all made of double thickness kydex, in several colors and patterns including digital (or digi-camo) camouflage patterns. This kydex is .125" thick, and very durable and long-lived. All of the components of my locking combat tactical knife sheaths are waterproof and the knife sheath is assembled with waterproof cement and solid mechanical fasteners that do not allow the infiltration of moisture. There are no soft materials like cloth, nylon, coverings, or cord on my sheaths; nothing to hold debris, dirt, moisture, fluids, or any contaminants. This is a rigid, extremely durable knife sheath.
  • Fasteners
    • Theirs: Most other maker's sheaths are mechanically constructed with hammered rivets or punch-and-die set eyelets, rings, or small grommets. These are constructed of thin steel or worse, brass, made thin so they can be easily formed when punched and bent into position. Though the steel or brass versions may be coated or painted, that coating is easily cracked, scarred, and opened when the rivets or eyelets are set with a hammer and punch. You won't see the split in the coating on the surface; it happens underneath at the worst place, where moisture can be trapped, and corrosion can go on unhindered and hiding from view, until the rivet or eyelet fails.
    • Mine: My tactical combat sheaths are secured with steel Chicago screws (sometimes called sex bolts because of the male and female component), which are blued steel, nickel plated steel, or stainless steel. The blued steel works best with all black blades for a low-key, low reflective appearance. The nickel plated steel fasteners have a pure nickel plating which is hard, corrosion resistant, and durable, and because these are screws and sockets, the plating is also on the inside of the fastener and does not wear off. Since the screws are never deformed like a rivet or eyelet, the plating remains sealed, protecting the screws. For the ultimate in corrosion resistance of the Chicago screws, I use 304 stainless steel screws which are premium corrosion resistance for marine grade and highly corrosive exposures. These stainless steel Chicago screws can not fail from corrosion and may even be bead blasted for a flat, non-reflective appearance.
  • Tuning, Adjustment of the Sheath
    • Theirs: Once their sheath is assembled, it is fixed, and not adjustable, serviceable, or tunable. A rivet or an eyelet is a one time fastener, speedy to apply, yet weak and short lived.
    • Mine: My locking combat tactical knife sheaths are assembled with high strength machine screws, which can allow adjustment, tuning, and even replacement if necessary (though in the hundreds of these I've made, I've never had a failure of a single one). The locking mechanism machine screws are stainless steel and are set with thread locker, so they won't loosen, and the Chicago screws are removable so that various wear options can be used.
  • Sheath Face and Back Thickness
    • Theirs: They use single strength kydex for the body, which is .060" thick or less, and will flex and bend and can allow the breakage of the kydex at the weakest point, around the rivets, eyelets or fasteners. In extremely cold weather kydex becomes brittle and in thinner sections can easily crack. It can not be repaired. In hot exposures, this thin kydex can flex and loosen around the fasteners often cracking on the outboard side of the fastener.
    • Mine: I use double thick kydex or two layers for .125" thick kydex sheath faces and backs. This results in a thick, strong, durable and long-lived sheath. In colder climates, it will not snap and in warmer climates it does not flex.
  • Knife Sheath Welts
    • Theirs: They use kydex welts or no welts at all. This allows flexing of the sheath, high wear, rubbing, and a short life. There is no reinforcement around the fasteners, no stiffness to prevent movement and prevent adhesives from breaking bond (if they even use adhesives!).
    • Mine: I use 5053H32 corrosion resistant high strength aluminum alloy for the welts, which are typically 1/4" thick to create the non-bendable and super-tough sheath frame. Because the welt-frame does not flex, the waterproof adhesive bonds are permanent. This makes the entire sheath rigid and solid, protecting the wearer as well as the knife while giving extremely long and dependable wear.
  • Protecting the Cutting Edge
    • Theirs: They do nothing to protect the cutting edges from contacting and dulling against steel rivets as the knife's cutting edge slides in and out of the sheath, which can dull the blade.
    • Mine:  I line the aluminum welts with a durable epoxy-based bedding that seats and protects the cutting edge, preventing edge wear from the sheath.
  • Belt Loops
    • Theirs: They have kydex loops, bent or formed, secured with rivets or eyelets to mount the knife sheath to the belt. When bent at a severe angle (such as folded), kydex becomes very weak and brittle. Another common belt loop is folded nylon webbing riveted to the kydex sheath back. This is not only weak and short lived, it allows the knife sheath to flop around, move, get in the way, and pull away from the body, possibly trapping the knife and sheath in obstructions. Nylon absorbs water, rots, decays, frays, and melts.
    • Mine: I have 5052H32 corrosion resistant die-formed solid aluminum belt loops screwed to the welt frame of the sheath with nickel plated steel, blued steel, or stainless steel Chicago screws. They can not tear, corrode, rip, be cut, move, or loosen, ever. They hold the sheath tightly to the body, keeping the knife in position, and I offer bolt-on custom accessories to suit each individual wearer (see below).
  • Realistic Wear Options
    • Theirs: They typically have one wear position, and no options.
    • Mine: Most of the locking combat tactical knife sheaths I make have reversible die formed aluminum belt loops that can be placed on either side of the sheath by the knife owner, at any time. The knife wearer can also use the screwed welt frame for a variety of wear accessories, like horizontal-vertical belt loop plates, cinch straps of aluminum for tight bonding, and other sheath accessories like belt loop extenders and sternum harnesses I offer for the sheaths.
  • Knife Retention in the Sheath
    • Theirs: You'll read terms like jump ready to describe a lousy and cheap snap and flap or loop knife handle retention, which is soft, weak, easily broken, and frequently cut by a knife blade. This is an extremely poor way to secure the knife in the sheath, it is not jump ready (unless you're jumping off the couch for a beer). It can not last, and the knife will be lost or the wearer will be injured with this poor sheath retention method; more details on my Knife Sheaths page.
    • Mine: My locking knife sheaths allow absolute security of the knife in the sheath, and can easily support the entire weight of the wearer. The mechanism can not be torqued, defeated, or cut, as it is all stainless steel. This is, simply, the best locking knife sheath made!
  • Locking Components
    • Theirs: You might see some other makers or companies offering some other kind of knife-in-sheath retention method. These are usually made of plastic, with detents and catches in the kydex itself. Kydex is a great sheath body, but has no place in the high wear contact area of a lock, detent, or retention mechanism. Kydex will wear and rub and if in contact with metal, it will soon fail.
    • Mine: My locking components are all austenitic stainless steel. All parts, including the machine screws are high nickel, high chromium stainless steel which is extremely tough and extremely wear resistant. They can not corrode, they can not wear, the can not crack, snap, move, or flex.
  • Accessories
    • Theirs: there simply are none offered or made. Tough luck finding any.
    • Mine: I offer a wide range of useful, durable, corrosion resistant, and worthwhile accessories for my locking knife sheaths. They allow you  to tailor your sheath and accessory needs with the custom mounting and wear options you prefer. They also allow you to remove, replace, and swap out accessories depending on your mission or venture. Read about them on my Tactical Combat Locking Knife Sheath Accessory Page.

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"Hooded Warrior" sniper's combat knife in bead blasted 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, nickel silver bolsters, canvas micarta phenolic handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel combat waterproof knife sheath "Hooded Warrior" sniper's combat knife in locking knife sheath of kydex, aluminum, and stainless steel components, durable and long lasting
Hooded Warrior
"Patriot" combat, Special Forces design knife in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, hand-engraved 304 stainless steel bolsters, Chrysocolla gemstone handle, with locking, waterproof combat grade tactical knife sheath, best sheath made "Patriot" combat knife with engraved stainless steel bolsters, Chrysocolla gemstone handle, in locking knife sheath of kydex, aluminum, nickel plated steel, staineless steel, waterproof, combat, tactical, best knife sheath
"Shank" knife in 440C skeletonized, milled bead blasted 440C stainless steel blade, gray locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel knife sheath "Shank" skeletonized knife in locking knife sheath, waterproof, durable, best knife sheath made
"Hooded Warrior" obverse side view: fine custom tactical, combat knife in ATS-34 stainless steel, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Black Palm Wood hardwood handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath Hooded Warrior sniper's combat knife in locking sheath, worthwhile security in fine combat knife sheaths
Hooded Warrior

"Imamu" reverse side view in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, green, black, pistachio G10 fiberglass epoxy composite handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath with full accessories
The best tactical combat knife sheaths made; more about this Imamu

Locking Combat, Tactical Knife Sheath Care

Some minor care can allow my tactical combat locking knife sheaths to last as long as the knife.

  • If used in dirty or salt water environments, clean by rinsing in mild soapy water, followed by a rinse in clear water. My Pararescue clients will often drop the knife and sheath in the rinse tank for a few minutes, then blow them dry with compressed air.
  • Work the locking mechanism by hand to make sure there is no debris that would interfere with a smooth hinge and spring operation.
  • After cleaning and when dry, spray the mechanism with silicone spray lubricant only. Do not use oils, they will attract dirt and soften the waterproof cement.
  • If you've relocated the belt loops or remounted any accessories, check the Chicago screws for tightness.
  • If the kydex is patterned (Polar, Woodland, or Desert digital camouflage), the surface is dye printed and will show abrasions as white scratches. Do not clean this kydex with any solvents like alcohol, spirits, oils, or heavy degreasing agents. You can touch up scratches with matching colors of permanent markers like Bic® Mark-it, which come in a wide variety of colors.

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"PJLT" Combat, Tactical, Utility, Investment grade knife: 440C high chromium stainless tool steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Black Palm wood hardwood handle, Ostrich skin inlaid in hand-carved leather sheath "PJLT" tactical, combat, CSAR knife with locking sheath option in stainless steel, kydex, nickel plated steel, aluminum frame and belt loops, high strength, corrosion resistant "PJLT" with Black Palm Wood hardwood handle in locking knife sheath with die formed high strength corrosion resistant aluminum belt loops. Optional sheath is leather inlaid with Ostrich leg skin

"Last Chance" in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, Australian Black Jade gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath
With the best tactical combat knife sheath made: "Last Chance"

New to the Locking Knife Sheath?

When you first acquire the locking sheath and matched knife, you may notice a few white or black flakes on the blade and in the mouth of the sheath. This is normal; it is the epoxy-based bedding along the edge run on the inside of the edge welt that is being cut away while the knife edge is seating in the new sheath. This is a normal. After a few dozen insertions and removals, it will seat and you won't see any more flakes. The coating beds the cutting edge, and protects the edge from the aluminum welt. You can see it when you look down the throat of the sheath. Some cutting and light chipping of this material is normal, particularly if you have serrations on the blade.

When first acquired, the new knife owner is often too gentle with the insertion of the knife in the sheath. Once the blade is lined up, it's fine to shove the knife in solidly in order to bed the mechanism and positively lock the tang. You're not going to hurt the knife by shoving it hard in these sheaths; they are very stout. Just be sure that you have the correct orientation, as shoving it in backwards will cause the stainless locking mechanism to ride on the cutting edge, and that won't help the edge... and it also won't work! Learn to use the sheath, get comfortable with it, and know that you are using what is probably the best locking combat and tactical knife sheath made!

Most of my locking combat tactical sheaths are reversible. This means that the belt loops can be mounted on either side of the knife. To move the belt loops, unscrew the associated Chicago screws, and remove the entire screw post. You must reverse the posts too; the belt loops are not designed to accommodate the the posts pushed through the holes in the belt loops or straps. Made sure that when you screw the belt loop Chicago screws, the male screw goes through the loop holes, not the female post.

If you have a problem with the locking mechanism of the sheath, please do not attempt a field repair. The mechanism is assembled under tension and once removed, the machine screws can not be reinserted in correct alignment. Just send the sheath (with knife) back to me, and I’ll tune it up for you for free! Incidentally, since I've started making these sheaths (1995) I have had not a single one returned with a single problem. Wow.

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"Minuteman" combat knife in bead blasted and hot blued O-1 high carbon tungsten vanadium tool steel blade, blued steel bolsters, Zebra Marble gemstone handle, locking knife sheath, combat grade, tactical "Minuteman" tactical combat knife with blued steel fittings, Zebra Marble gemstone handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel combat, tactical grade waterproof knife sheath
"Anzu" obverse side view; Tactical knife in bead blasted 440c stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, G10 epoxy-fiberglass laminate handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel combat sheath "Anzu" tactical, combat knife in locking sheath of kydex, aluminum, stainless steel, nickel plated steel

"Kneph" obverse side view in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainles steel bolsters, Black and gray G10 fiberglass epoxy composite handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainles steel sheath with full accessory package
The best, finest, waterproof locking combat tactical knife sheath with Kneph

Please Note: I make these sheaths only for my own knives. I can't make one for a factory knife or other makers' knife.

The Competition?

My military grade tactical locking combat sheath is difficult to make. Other knifemakers soon find this out in their own attempts, and usually just discard the whole idea. I've seen posts on knife forums where other makers are looking for the "locking mechanism that Jay Fisher uses on his combat sheaths". There is no place you can buy the components, each are hand-made, and each sheath fits only one individual knife. This is probably why you don't see these kind of sheaths more often.

The sheath adds usually $350 or more to the base cost of the knife. Why? Click on these thumbnail pictures, they are my typical bench set up for some of the construction, set up, and assembly of one locking sheath. Not shown: Bridgeport Knee Milling machine, mini-milling machine, two belt grinders with six set-up arrangements, disc grinder, three drill press set-ups, metal cutting band saws with 4 set-ups, and a dozen other jigs and machines necessary to create just one of these sheaths!

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