Best Horizontal Carry Knives

Most people equate the fixed blade horizontal carry style to some kind of tactical life decision when really it’s just a comfy life decision. Fashion statements aside, it’s a lot less awkward to take out a knife strapped to my left hip than it is to do the rocking butt dance to get at the folder in my right pocket.

There are a variety of of horizontal carry options available depending on the type of sheath a knife ships with. There are six variations shown in this image.
We have tested dozens of horizontal carry fixed blade knives, and we update this article regularly as great new knives are released or discontinued.

There are more sensible sounding reasons to scout carry a knife, or to put it in the cross-draw position. For us, it makes hiking a lot more pleasant because drop-carry knives tend to bounce and grate against our weirdly proportioned legs. But there are also tactical and plain, old EDC reasons for a horizontal carry fixed blade, so we’ve tried to keep this article separated by bushcraft/survival and tactical purposes.

You can also find an explanation of the various positions and solutions for carrying knives like MOLLE and Tek Loks at the end of this article.

Survival / Bushcraft Fixed-Blades

Hiking and climbing is where carrying a knife horizontally shines for me. I don’t climb trees, rocks, and cliff sides like I used to, but I know that a knife in the pocket or hanging from your belt onto your leg is annoying as hell, and sometimes dangerous when you’re doing that. It’s really important to have knives with stiff sheath retention and a sturdy build in those situations.

Bradford Guardian 3

The Bradford Guardian 3 is a great horizontal and scout carry knife that is available in a variety of handle and blade steel options.
The Bradford Guardian 3 is our most recommend horizontal carry knife.
Overall Length:6.75″
Blade Length:3.5″
Blade Steel:M390, N690, AEB-L, or D2
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta or G-10
Sheath:Leather
Made in:USA

This is easily one of the most popular knives, not just for horizontal carry, but for survival and fixed-blade EDC in general. If you breathe you probably know about Bradford Knives by now. I’m mostly including it here out of obligation.

The Bradford Guardian 3 fixed blade knife shown worn in the horizontal scout carry position on a belt around a women's waist.
The Braford Guardian 3 is one of the best fixed blade knives we have reviewed here at Nothing But Knives.

It’s starting to feel like no list of fixed-blade knives will be complete without the Guardian 3, no matter how specific it is. But let’s do the review dance anyway: The Guardian 3 is a pretty simple survival knife (the best ones usually are), but there’s an odd number of straight lines to it.

A spear point and a flat grind make for some straightforward sharpening, and certainly make it a nice hunting knife. It really shines with its leather sheath, though. The leather looks nice, of course, but best of all is it holds, and the belt loop is good and snug.

The Bradford Guardian 3 is extremely easy to switch between scout carry and front horizontal carry.
The Bradford Guardian sheath is ambidextrous for both front horizontal carry or scout (back) horizontal carry.

About the Sheath

The Guardian 3 sheath pictured above is really easy to change between cross-draw carry or scout carry. The knife can just be flipped around in its sheath and you are good to go. You can’t wear the sheath in the vertical carry position since the belt loop is a stitched-in leather strap, but Bradford makes some great Kydex sheaths for this knife that are little more versatile.

Click here to read our in depth hands on review of the Bradford Guardian.

Boker Plus The Brook

The Boker Plus The Brook fixed blade knife in water to illustrate the corrosion resistance of the steel blade.
Overall Length:6.75″
Blade Length:2.75″
Blade Steel:VG-10
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Hollow
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:China

The Brook is a unique looking fixed blade. It was designed to resemble a Brook Trout, and I think Boker nailed it. Thankfully it’s not as slippery as a trout.

It’s a lightweight and comfy little things that makes a handy backpacking, fishing or camping knife. Boker chose VG-10 steel for the Brook which you don’t see on outdoor knives much anymore. It can bee a little chippy on thinner blades but it offers great corrosion resistance and decent edge retention. I just wouldn’t recommend batoning with it.

About the Sheath

It ships with versatile sheath that can be configured for right or left vertical or horizontal carry. However it is fairly difficult to change the sheath configuration in the field. I highly recommend configuring the sheath for your desired use prior to leaving the house.

The Boker Plus makes a great backing knife, because it is lightweight, and the sheath can be configured for vertical or horizontal carry on a belt or backpack.

The kydex sheath holds the knife snugly with no rattle, and it’s easy to draw and re-insert the knife one handed with a little practice.

My only complaint about it is the difficulty I had configuring the sheath for different types of carry in low light. Other than that, the Brook is a great all-around outdoor tool that I expect to recommend to a lot of campers and fishing enthusiasts this year.

Bonds Creek Badger

The Bonds Creek Badger is a great option for everyday carry, and it ships with a sheath that can be configured for all multiple carry configurations.
The Bonds Creek Badger was one of our favorite discoveries at Blade Show 2023.
Overall Length:6.25”
Blade Length:2.5”
Blade Steel:AEB-L
Blade Style:Drop point (in a very clip-pointy way)
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G10
Sheath:Kydex w/ reversible clip
Made in:USA

This little guy has a lot of bite, appropriately enough. It’s pretty nifty for carving wood. The edge is easy to work into wood gently and the overall shape is great for getting a lot of leverage into a cut. The way the overall shape angles also makes it comfortable to rest the index finger along the spine for detailed skinning work. You can get a lot of control over the tip of this blade. It feels like it was designed as a hunting knife for small game, but it’s a great knife for whittling by the fire.

About the Sheath

The Bonds Creek Badger can be set up for ambidextrous horizontal or scout carry.
The Badger has one of the most versatile sheaths we have ever used.

I love this sheath system. It sits on a clip that can mount to either side of the sheath and it pivots, so this is a fully ambidextrous horizontal or vertical carry sheath. Plus it’s so small and lightweight, that it sits comfortably pretty much everywhere.

The Bonds Creek Badger can be carried on a belt or in a pocket.

The retention on ours doesn’t feel all that tight, so I was worried about it slipping out in a scout carry situation, but I’ve shaken this thing and bounced around with it and the knife still didn’t come out. I wouldn’t wear it upside down, but it’s plenty good enough for most other positions. I’ve taken to packing in the appendix position inside the waistband, and that’s been working pretty well so far.

Boker Arbolito El Heroe

This is a sturdy little blade with a thick spine, and more than a few things that make it feel similar to the Bradford Guardian 3. For example the shweath that ships with this knife is also horizontal carry only.
Overall Length:6.75″
Blade Length:3.0″
Blade Steel:N695
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Hollow
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Leather
Made in:Argentina

This is a sturdy little blade with a thick spine, and more than a few things that make it feel similar to the Guardian 3. It’s not so similar that it doesn’t make a good case for itself, though. It has a thicker blade stock, a recurve edge, and a stout tip, so it comes off as a tougher alternative to the Guardian 3.

I doesn’t perform as well as the Guardian 3, mostly because it doesn’t seem to ship with a good of a factory edge. And while N695 steel can be easier to sharpen than other premium steels, it is still a hard steel with rigid edge retention that will probably take a bit to tighten up.

The sheath on this is what really drew my eye to this knife, though. It’s pretty different from most leather sheaths you’ll see, and Boker clearly put some thought and pains into making it work for the knife.

About the Sheath

The sheath on this is what really drew my eye to this knife. It’s pretty different from most leather sheaths you’ll see, and Boker clearly put some thought and pains into making it work for the knife. You’re not actually supposed to pull the knife out of the sheath; since the sheath is contoured so closely to the knife’s recurve shape, you have to unbutton the sheath, which opens up the whole back of it and lets you take the knife out that way. It is far from being a fast-draw blade.

This will be a tricky knife to carry scout style for right handed people, as the thing is pretty much fixed to make the handle ride to the left. Fortunately this is a small knife and should ride pretty comfortable on the side or front. All in all a pretty unique approach with an attractive design.

If you want to learn more about this knife or if you just want to see more photos of it check out our review of the Boker Arbolito El Heroe.

Condor SBK

Condor SBK
Overall Length:10.5″
Blade Length:5.25″
Blade Steel:1075
Blade Style:Standard
Blade Grind:Scandi
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:El Salvador
Designer:Julio Diez

There are a lot of details about the Condor SBK that make it a fantastic bushcraft and survival knife. It has soft, tough steel you can fix up in the field, a scandi grind that does wonders with chopping and feather sticking, and a big, comfy Micarta handle.

This is the kind of thing Condor excels at. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with big fixed-blades from them.

The sheath is kind of involved to wear horizontally, but it will sit secure once you get it on.
The SBK ships with one of the best production sheaths we have ever tested.

About the Sheath

The sheath is kind of involved to wear horizontally, but it will sit secure once you get it on. The two big leather straps have to snap on behind the belt if you want it set up for right-handed scout carry. It’s a trick to pull off but definitely worth the trouble. Those straps hold this big thing tight to belt incredibly well, and since the buttons sit under the belt, there’s a very low risk of them coming undone accidentally.

If you want to learn more about this knife check out our Condor SBK review.

Esee 4 with MOLLE add-on

The Esee 4 is a great horizontal carry knife when it is ordered with the molle sheath option.
Overall Length:9.0″
Blade Length:4.5″
Blade Steel:1095
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta or G-10
Sheath:Molded polymer w/ nylon MOLLE add-on
Made in:USA

This is an absolute beast of a blade. You could roll a tank over it and still use it to chop through a branch (probably; I haven’t had a chance to try that particular test). The 1095 steel on this (and all ESEE knives) is a rugged, do-your-own-edge kind of a situation. It didn’t come especially sharp for us out of the box, but the blade is easy to work with, both in the field and on the sharpening stone.

About the Sheath

ESEE finally started selling their knives with MOLLE compatible sheaths, so I get to add one of their Micarta-handled knives to the list. Be warned this isn’t the standard option. Most ESEE listings you see out there will just come with the standard vertical-carry Kydex sheath.

After some digging, I discovered if you start looking for ESEE knives with the letters “MB” thrown into the product name you can find their knives being sold with their Cordura MOLLE backs, which is supposed to be an addition to the Kydex sheath.

The Esee 4 has a pretty versatile sheath, so it is a good choice if you need options.

Supposedly they designed this thing to stay secure while jumping out of planes, so you can carry an ESEE anyway you like with it. You’ll just have to fiddle with it some first, although, probably a lot less than you’ll need to with the ESEE Izula farther down.

Check out our review of the Esee 4 if you want to learn more about this knife.

Boker Plus Madman

Boker Madman fixed blade knife outdoors on a piece of firewood to show the size and design.
Overall Length:6.18″
Blade Length:3.31″
Blade Steel:D2
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:USA
Designer:Frank Souville

This is a pretty incredible little camping knife, designed by French knifemaker Frank Souville, who has a thing for tall clip point blades.

The Madman is a super handy camping knife with a solid three-finger grip and a great edge. It’s really comfortable to cut aggressively with this thing because the edge curves so far forward that it almost gives you a little knuckle clearance if you were to cut something on a table. You also get a really generous amount of actual cutting edge for a 3-inch blade.

The Boker Plus Madman fixed blade knife set up for horizontal scout carry on a person's belt.
The Boker Madman is is the perfect size for scout carry.

About the Sheath

The big “but” with this knife is that all the great cutting and ergonomics of the knife itself only make it barely worth dealing with the stock clip that Boker sends with it. It comes vertical with a G-clip attachment that has a bar for adjusting to belt size. But the process of switching to horizontal carry and a smaller belt is massively complicated by the fact that there’s no back access through the clip to place the torx screws.

So you might need two different screwdrivers and a lot of patience to get this knife to sit exactly the way you want it. The name, I assume, is a reference to any of the users who attempt to do any of that. Once you get this situated, though, it’s an excellent compact knife to have on your belt.

Buck Selkirk

The Buck Knives Seljirk is a favorite of horizontal carry fans.
Overall Length:9.5″
Blade Length:4.625″
Blade Steel:420HC
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Plastic
Made in:China

The Buck Selkirk has been growing in popularity ever since it was first introduced in 2014 for good reason. It is a really practical bushcraft knife that feels like it was designed by someone who actually uses bushcraft style knives on a regular basis. The rounded handle makes for a great neutral shape that still has enough contours to give your grip some leverage, and the drop point blade in Buck’s 420HC works well for a hundred different outdoor tasks.

About the Sheath

The versatility of the Selkirk's sheath aallow it to be used in horizontal or scout carry positions for both right and left handed folks.
The Selkirk has an ambidextrous sheath, but the small black screws are hard to find if you drop them outdoors.

There is a little bit of a learning curve to figuring out how to reconfigure the sheath, but the overall versatility and ease of use make the initial slow-ish set up well worth it. This knife was initially met with some reservations, because it’s made at Buck’s factory in China, and it uses a softer steel than most bushcraft knives, but it is such a great design that it has been winning over doubters on a regular basis.

That being said, it would be great to see Buck move the manufacturing of this knife to their U.S. factory, and offer a higher carbon steel option even though that would result in a price increase.

Click here to see read our in depth Buck Selkirk Review.

Gerber Principle

This great bushcraft knife is capable of vertical or horizontal carry, and it is MOLLE compatible.
Overall Length:7.5″
Blade Length:3.1″
Blade Steel:420HC
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Rubber w/ polymer inserts
Sheath:Polymer
Made in:USA

It’s always nice when knife companies listen to their customers, and that’s what it looks like Gerber was doing. Lots of us have been wanting a bushcraft style knife with a sheath system as versatile as the Gerber Ghostrike, and the Principle definitely delivered.

From a bushcraft standpoint the Principle checks a lot of boxes. It has a zero edge scandi grind, a 90 degree spine for starting fires with a ferro rod, and a comfortable handle for hard use. Gerber released this around 2019 and it became popular very quickly. Enough that they followed it up with a larger version called the Terracraft, which has a blade that’s about an inch longer in S30V steel.

About the Sheath

From a bushcraft standpoint the Principle checks a lot of boxes. It would be nice if the sheath were a little more versatile though., so it could be carried in both left or right side horizontal carry positions.

A deeply appreciate the mounting system on this knife because you don’t have to deal with any screws to adjust it. Basically there are slots in the back of the sheath, a separate mounting plate, and a long plastic tab that runs through both. When you want to change the position, you just pull the tab and shift the plate. It’s MOLLE-compatible and incredibly quick and simple.

If you want to know more about this knife check out our in depth review of the Gerber Principle.

Ontario Rat 3

The Ontario Rat 3 has two different sheaths that both work for horizontal carry.
Overall Length:7.75″
Blade Length:3.75″
Blade Steel:1095
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex or nylon
Made in:USA

This is kind of the cheaper, rougher older brother to the ESEE 3 (which isn’t on this list, but is worth mentioning here, at least). OKC doesn’t have quite the same level of fit and finish as ESEE with most of their knives, but the RAT 3 is a phenomenal beater knife for the price (and because of the price). I might even go so far as to sat that the flat Micarta scales on this is more comfortable than ESEE’s flat Micarta scales, but that’s as far as I’m willing to take this comparison.

About the Sheath

There are two sheath options for the Rat 3. The cheaper option is the basic nylon sheath pictured below. The other option is a kydex sheath with the Tek Lok. Both options allow you to carry the Rat 3 horizontally or vertically.

If you use the Tek Lok mechanism for the Rat 3’s kydex sheath you have near-infinite carry options. As good as the knife itself is, I think that’s probably one of my favorite features about the Rat 3. They’ve designed the kydex sheath so that the clips can be set in four different ways with screws, and the retention is so strong you could wear the knife upside down without it falling out.

The snaps of the included nylon sheath for the Rat 3 are difficult to snap in the scout carry position, so it is best to carry in the front.
The Ontario Knife Company RAT 3 can be worn in a variety of horizontal carry configurations.

The included nylon sheath is really versatile, and makes it easy to carry the Rat 3 in a variety of ways including on a backpack. However the snaps are somewhat difficult to manage when worn in the scout carry position pictured above, so front carry may be the best option for most people when wearing the rat horizontally.

Click here to read our in depth review of the Ontario Knife Company Rat 3.

Esee Izula

The Esee Izula II shown inside the sheath and outside the sheath.
Overall Length:6.75″
Blade Length:2.875″
Blade Steel:1095
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Steel
Sheath:Molded polymer
Made in:USA
The Esee Izula 2 shown in the scout horizontal carry position on a person's back to show scale.

At 6.75 inches the Esee Izula II is the perfect size for scout carry. It’s small enough to not get in the way, and light enough to be easily forgotten until you need it. The size and weight of the Izula II can been further minimized by removing the Micarta handle scales, but the handle is so comfy with the scales on that the little bit of extra weight and bulk is worth it (to us anyway).

About the Sheath

The Izula II sheath is ambidextrous, and it can be worn vertically horizontally or as a neck knife, but the clip itself also has an interesting double sided feature where one side is wide and fat to accommodate larger belts or straps, and the other side is tight so it holds snug to whatever it’s on. It takes some fiddling with to figure out, but it’s turned out to be one of the better belt solutions we’ve seen on a horizontal carry.

It’s one of those conveniently versatile but surprisingly hardy knives. Or maybe not so surprising, since ESEE has pretty firmly established themselves as a household name in the survival knife world. Generally speaking, I would recommend this knife even if you aren’t looking for a horizontal carry, because if you use knives regularly you’re bound to end up using this one a lot.

Civivi Elementum Fixed Blade

The Civivi Elementum Fixed Blade has versatile carry options.
Overall Length:8.48”
Blade Length:3.98”
Blade Steel:D2
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Hollow
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex with T-Clip
Made in:China

This doesn’t have quite the same tactile experience as the standard Elementum folder. It’s quite a bit better actually. Comfort is usually a big upside of fixed blades, but this feels especially good in hand. The slight curve on a neutral handle shape with soft Micarta scales makes the Elementum fixed blade practically melt into the hand.

The Civivi Elementum fixed blade ships stock with an ambidextrous horizontal carry sheath
The Elementum Fixed Blade is a good size for horizontal carry, and it ships with an ambidextrous sheath.

About the Sheath

More importantly, Civivi has gotten pretty darn good with their sheaths. It’s nothing too fancy, but they have the retention dialed in pretty well to have a good grip with easy deployment. The handle shape also has a slight lip at the top that makes a nice catching point for the sheath molding. It’ll take a lot of wear and tear to get this thing to loosen up.

The weight balances out just a little above the point the clip rests at, so you probably won’t feel it tugging at your belt much. But this design is still a little more handle than blade, so it leaves a bit sticking out from the sheath. Depending on where you place the thing you might get some handle poking out from your side.

For a little more detail, check out our full review of the Elementum Fixed Blade.

Kizer Harpoon

The Kizer Harpoon fixed blade knife is a horizontal carry only knife.  It is pictured here on a retro Army backpack.
Overall Length:7.75″
Blade Length:3.875″
Blade Steel:D2
Blade Style:Harpoon
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:China
Designer:Maverick Customs

This is an impressive sub $100 fixed blade knife. It is light, well balanced and it is just a great all around design. However, I do wish Kizer had charged a bit more for this knife, and upgraded the leather straps and added a tension screw to the kydex sheath. Even without those upgrades I consider the Kizer Harpoon to be one of the best knives of 2021.

The linen micarta handle of the Kizer Harpoon is extremely grippy in all kinds of weather. It is also really comfortable even when performing hard use tasks like feather sticking or branch cleaning. Hopefully Kizer will offer more color options in the future, but I personally like the looks of the current handle scales.

The D2 steel blade holds a good edge, and the black powder coating helps with corrosion resistance. I would still recommend using a food grade blade oil, because all coatings wear off eventually when a knife is used a lot.

The Kizer Harpoon ids shown here in the scout carry position, but it can be set up for right or left front horizontal carry.
The Kizer Harpoon ships with an ambidextrous sheath that can be worn in the front or back.

About the Sheath

The sheath that ships with the Kizer Harpoon is horizontal carry only. Fortunately the sheath can be easily changes from right or left scout carry to right or left front horizontal carry without making any adjustments or taking off the belt. Kudos to Kizer and and the designer (Maverick Customs) for making a carry system that can be easily transitioned in the field.

Hopefully if this knife is popular enough, Kizer will offer an upgraded version of the sheath with tension screws, because the current kydex sheath does tend to lose it’s retention after a few months of use. This can be fixed fairly easy, be reheating the kydex, but it would be nice to not have to do that on a regular basis.

Southern Grind Jackal Pup

The Southern Grind Jackal Pup is capable of ambidextrous horizontal carry.
Overall Length:5.75″
Blade Length:2.75″
Blade Steel:8670M
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G-10
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:USA

This knife has been on the market for a few years, but we somehow missed until 2021. The Southern Grind Jackal Pup is a well designed, practical knife with a sheath that is capable of both left and right horizontal carry on a belt. It can also be used as a neck knife with the addition of a bit of paracord.

The contoured G-10 handles are easy to grip even when the knife is wet. This is fortunate, because this knife is a great trout fishing buddy. It is the perfect size for cleaning trout and the versatile sheath allow it do be carried in whichever way is most comfortable for the type of fishing be done.

The Southern Grind Jackal Pup being drawn from it's horizontal belt sheath.

The blade of the Jackal Pup is made of 8670M steel which is a high carbon steel that holds it’s edge extremely well. It is important to remember to dry the knife when it gets wet and occasionally wipe it down with a food grade knife oil to ensure it doesn’t develop rust spots. That is always downside of high carbon steels.

About the Sheath

This is one of the few options on this list that comes stock at a canted angle, so it’s not full horizontal. That belt clip is easy to switch around, though. It just takes a couple phillips-head screws, and you can throw it on for left or right-handed carry anywhere on your belt and it’ll sit nice and tidy.

Overall I have found the size and design of this knife to be extremely practical in a variety of situations which explains it’s popularity. If I were going to be nitpicky, I would recommend Southern Grind sell a pocket clip sheath similar to the Boker Barlow Burnley BFF, so that this knife could be easily carried in a front pocket. It’s a good size for that style of carrying, but it works just fine as is.

LionSteel M2M

The LionSeel M2M is an excellent camping and hunting knife that is a MOLLE compatible horizontal carry knife.
Overall Length:7.99
Blade Length:3.54”
Blade Steel:Bohler M390
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:MOLLE compatible leather
Made in:Italy

We loved the LionSteel M2. That was one of the few knives we bought almost entirely because we just liked the way it looked, the fact that it actually makes a good camping and skinning knife is a big plus.

The LionSteel M2M is an excellent hunting and survival knife, but the sheath can only be worn in the left handed position when configured for scout carry.

About the Sheath

Then LionSteel updated it with big, comfy Micarta scales and a sturdier leather sheath that’s compatible with MOLLE systems. Basically all that means is they bolted two thick straps in the horizontal position. That top strap is surprisingly versatile for all its simplicity, though. It rotates easily, so you can use it in a vertical-carry position that was actually pretty comfortable for me.

One issue is that the straps are set up so you can only scout carry it in the left-handed position. But for all its size, it sits very comfortably in front of the left hip. That’s become my preference.

Check out our in-depth review of the LionSteel M2M to learn more about this impressive mid-size fixed blade and its versatile sheath.

Off-Grid Hoglet

The Off-Grid Hoglet cleaver style fixed blade knife on a white background.
Overall Length:6.5″
Blade Length:2.75″
Blade Steel:Cryo D2
Blade Style:Cleaver
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G-10
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:Taiwan
The Off-Grid Hoglet in it's kydex sheath set up for scout style horizontal carry.

I am generally not a big fan of cleaver style fixed blade knives. However, the Off-Grid Hoglet has made me reconsider. First off the G-10 handle is incredibly comfortable. I thought maybe it was just a good size for my hand, so I had several other people with various hand sizes try it out. They all wanted to steal it. It is just a great design.

The cleaver style blade of the Hoglet is made from Off-Grid’s very capable Cryo D2 steel. This steel offers good edge retention and toughness and a moderate price. I prefer it to S30V for survival or hard use knives, because it is easier to sharpen and less likely to chip when doing actual work. It is also less expensive.

About the Sheath

The kydex sheath of the Hoglet can be set up for both left and right horizontal or vertical carry. I wish more knife manufacturers would adopt this approach to sheath design, because it is super handy to have that kind of versatility. And the clip on this is pretty easy to move around. It only takes two screws, and I’ve never felt it sag or sit funny.

Spartan Blades Alala

The rugged Spartan Blades Alala is a great budget option for anyone looking for a small survival or camping knife.
Overall Length:7.875”
Blade Length:3.75”
Blade Steel:1095 Cro-Van
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Polymer w/ retention lever & straps
Made in:USA

This is kind of a pry bar of a knife, but we loved using it as a camping and buscrafting tool, in spite of the fact that it was very clearly designed with military use in mine. But it’s a small blade with thick blade stock, so you have to expect that edge to need a little but of work before it really sings. Edge geometry aside, the ergonomics of the Alala are beautifully thought out.

About the Sheath

If you’re looking for something to jump out of planes with, this is a pretty solid option. Curtis Lovito (the designer and co-owner of Spartan Blades) put a retention lever and a button strap on this to make it carry as securely as possible.

As for the horizontal carry aspect, there’s a little bit of nuance to discuss: You can use the straps it ships with to carry the Alala on your belt. There are a series of holes on the belt strap that let you tighten it, and it’s fairly easy to do since it’s fastened with a phillips-head screw.

The Spartan Blades Alala can be changed from vertical to horizontal carry easily with t Philips screwdriver.
The Alala sheath is a little different, but it is also Tek-Lok compatible if you like the knife, but not the horizontal carry system..

Once I got this tuned in to my nylon belt it became one of the best scout carries on my shelf. I know the picture shows me wearing it in front of the hip. At the time we shot the Alala for this blog that seemed like the best solution. But I’m wiser now. The small of the back is where it’s at for me with this thing.

But you should keep in mind that the retention strap can unbutton from both sides, and poses a higher-than-normal risk of coming undone if you’re hiking through dense terrain. That never happened to me as long as I wore it in the scout-carry position, and even if the retention strap fails, the other strap will keep it on your belt. Of course, the easy solution is to just slap a small Tek-Lok on the thing. In the meantime, you can check out our full review of the Alalal here.

White RIver Knives 3 & 4

The White River Knives Exodus 3 and 4 are great camping and small game hunting knives.
White River Knife & Tool is one of our favorite American knife manufacturers. Both the Exodus 3 & 4 are great camping, fishing or small game hunting knives.
Overall Length:7.2” / 8.5”
Blade Length:3.15” / 3.88”
Blade Steel:CPM S35VN
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex w/ button strap
Made in:USA

This is actually about two knives of the same design but different sizes. The Exodus 3 and 4 are both White River productions of Jacob Peterson’s Adventurecraft and Jackalope designs. The larger knife (Exodus 4 / Jackalope) is meant more for bushcraft and survival tasks where the smaller one (Exodus 3 / Adventurecraft) is meant to put the bushcraft-y design into a size that’s more EDC-friendly.

The White RIver Knives Exodus 4 is an ambidextrous horizontal carry fixed blade.

About the Sheath

Both knives come in a kydex sheath with a single button strap, which isn’t exactly ideal for the belt, but for knives this light, it works pretty well.

If you’re going to carry either of these knives horizontally, I highly recommend moving the leather strap up to the highest hole on the sheath (I’m pretty sure the Exodus 4 comes that way. That will help balance out the weight so the handle doesn’t sag so much, and it’ll make it feel a little nicer on the belt.

The White RIver Knives is a great horizontal carry option for anyone with a small waist.
The Exodus 3 is a great horizontal carry option for anyone with a small waist.

Overall I like the Exodus 3 better for horizontal carry. It’s lighter and better balanced for it, but this can become a debate of body types pretty quickly, so we figured it would be best to throw both in here.

You can read more about the Exodus 4 in our full review.

Kizer Smolt

The Kizer Smolt is a great size for horizontal carry, but it can also be
The Kizer Smolt is a great size for horizontal carry, but it can also be carried vertically.
Overall Length:6.5”
Blade Length:2.93”
Blade Steel:3V
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G10 w/ Micarta insert
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:China
Designer:Jonathan Styles

The Smolt falls comfortably into the compact-knife category. It has a slim, neutral handle, a drop point blade just under three inches with a full flat grind, and a sheath that you could slip into your back pocket.

The Kizer Smolt is a small fixed blade EDC capable of both vertical or horizontal carry.
The Kizer Smolt is a great size for horizontal carry, but it can also be carried vertically.

It was designed by Jonathan Styles of Newfoundland Knife Co. His other Kizer collaboration credits include the Militaw and Ti’an folders, and the Sou’Wes and Elgon fixed blades. This is definitely the smallest design he’s put out so far, though, but between the thin grind and the 3V steel, it’s a string little cutter.

About the Sheath

This features a thinner clip with a button mechanism that works in a similar way to a Tek-Lok or Civivi’s T-Clip. It handles the weight of the knife well, and it has two spacers inside so you can adjust the fit for different belt widths.

With both spacers in there’s about 1.5 inches of space. With both spacers removed there’s a little over 2.25 inches, so it can fit over a broad range of belts and systems.

It’s easy to switch since it only has two screws that you can get with a Phillips head screwdriver, but the hole spacing is a little awkward for horizontal carry. The clip won’t sit flush against the sheath the way it does in the vertical position, but it’ll still ride securely so long as you make sure you get both screws back in evenly.

Tactical Fixed Blades

There are a lot of knives made for horizontal carry under the “tactical” category, but most of the time it feels more like a gimmick than an actually functional design (either that or a copy). But when it’s done well, it’s hard to beat the comfort and adaptability of a tactical horizontal carry.

CRKT Ramadi

The CRKT Ramadi is a tactical, survival knife hybrid with a high carbon steel blade that holds it's edge really well.
Overall Length:8.5″
Blade Length:4.37″
Blade Steel:SK-5
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G-10
Sheath:Polymer
Made in:China

The Ramadi is part of CRKT’s Forged By War series of knives which were all designed by veterans with combat experience. A portion of the proceeds from this series of knives are donated to the veteran’s charity of the designer’s choice. This Ramadi was designed by Special Ops veteran, Darren William Sirois who also designed the CRKT Siwi which appears further down in this article.

This knife is obviously a tactical first tool, but it is also a capable camping or backpacking knife too thanks to it’s grippy G-10 scales, versatile sheath and tough SK-5 steel blade. At an overall length of 8.5 inches the Ramadi hits the sweet spot from a size standpoint for a survival or camping horizontal carry knife. It is just big enough to be useful for a variety of tasks, but not quite big enough to feel cumbersome or catch on branches along the trail.

The CRKT Ramadi is just about the right size for scout style horizontal carry. It is shown hear set up for right side draw, but it is ambidextrous and can easily be switched to the left side.
The CRKT Ramadi ships with an ambidextrous sheath that is easy to switch from one side to the other if you have a screwdriver with you.

About the Sheath

The sheath that ships with the Ramadi is extremely versatile. It can be used in left or right horizontal or vertical carry. Like many of the knives in this article, I wish the sheath sat lower in the vertical configuration, but that doesn’t seem to be something most knife companies are considering.

The CRKT Ramadi is a well designed knife with a surprisingly low price point. We have it on our short list of knives that deserve a dedicated in depth review at some point in the near future.

If you want to read a bit more about this knife or check out some action shots, jump over to our in-depth review of the CRKT Ramadi.

CRKT S.P.E.W.

The CRKT is a great compact option for horizontal or vertical carry.
Overall Length:6.19″
Blade Length:3.0″
Blade Steel:5Cr15MoV
Blade Style:Wharncliffe
Blade Grind:Hollow
Handle Material:G-10
Sheath:GRN
Made in:China

This is probably the most subtle knife on this list, and certainly the one I’ve carried the most. The name stands for “Small Pocket Everyday Wharncliffe”, and that pretty well summarizes its scope. You can use this little thing on all kinds of daily tasks around the house, and a few more out in the bush, although I’d rather not count on it for survival.

It makes a great fishing knife, and thanks to the size and weight you can carry it pretty much anywhere, including your pocket. It’s also surprisingly comfortable for being so small. The handle is a great shape for larger hands. So far my fat fingers haven’t had too much trouble keeping a grip on the thing.

The CRKT Spew is compact and versatile.

About the Sheath

A knife this small doesn’t need much for the belt loop to work well. This mounts up with a couple screws and you’re good to go. The handle does tend to stick out pretty far from the sheath, the overall length keeps that from becoming an issue most of the time.

Click here to read our in depth review of the CRKT Spew.

SOG Altair FX

The SOG Altair is a great fixed blade adaptation of a folder.
Overall Length:7.6”
Blade Length:3.63”
Blade Steel:154CM
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:GRN
Sheath:GRN w/ Universal Mounting System
Made in:Taiwan

The Altair FX is another fixed blade adaptation of a folder. In this case, though, SOG took a model that’s generally seen as tactical and geared the fixed design more toward hunting and backpacking. It has an aggressive, toothy edge, and the drop point blade is fantastically thin. The whole package is amazingly lightweight at about 4 oz total. The knife alone is around 2.8 oz, which is an impressive weight-to-blade ratio.

The smallish SOG Altair is an easy horizontal carry.
The Altair carry system is a little different, but it is nice to have the option to switch between horizontal and vertical carry without using any tools.

About the Sheath

SOG’s Universal Mounting System makes the Altair FX an especially attractive belt-carry knife. It’s basically a triangular piece with a hole at each end, and a Y-pattern cutout with a divot between each arm, allowing a full clock rotation of positions for the belt loop to be set into.

The whole thing can be adjusted and moved around with a T8 torx driver, and you don’t even need to remove any of the screws to switch the sides or adjust the angle. Just loosen a few things up and you’ll be able to move it around however you like.

Getting everything where you want it and fully tightened down can become a bit of a logic puzzle, but the versatility provided by the system is pretty phenomenal once you acclimate to the nuance of it.

Kizer Azo Baby

Kizer Anzo Baby
Overall Length:7.125″”
Blade Length:3.5″
Blade Steel:154CM
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G-10
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:China
Designer:Azo

There is a lot to like about the Azo Baby. It has excellent fit and finish, high end steel and a comfy handle. But the main reason it makes this list it’s versatile and easy to adjust kydex sheath.

When this knife was first released I was surprised to see it had a 154CM steel blade considering it was priced well below $100. Once I found out it was capable of horizontal carry I immediately bought it to test out in hopes that it would be good enough for this list. This knife immediately impressed us for all the reasons mentioned earlier and it’s practical design. It is just a super handy knife to have for work or camping.

The Kizer Azo Baby set up for left handed scout carry.

About the Sheath

The Azo Baby is a great size for scout carry even for those with smaller waists. It does not stick out too far and catch on stuff, and it sits low enough that it never digs into the wearers back. It is also pretty easy to draw and resheath the knife in the scout position with a little practice. We really loved that it can be set up for left or right hander in either the front or back.

A close-up of Kizer Azo Baby sheath that shows it is adjustable
The sheath of the Kizer Azo Baby impressed us with it’s versatility.

The sturdy kydex sheath that ships with the Azo Baby feels well built, but it is the versatility that really set it apart. It can be carried at an angle vertically or totally horizontal by simply loosening a screw. It is also knife that the adjustments can be made with a phillips screwdriver rather that a hex screwdriver.

TOPS Frog Market Special

The TOPS 3-Pointer small survival knife without it's sheath.
Overall Length:6.63″
Blade Length:3.13″
Blade Steel:1095
Blade Style:Drop Point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Micarta
Sheath:Kydex
Made in:USA

This Leo Espinoza designed fixed blade from TOPS is one of our favorite horizontal carry knives due to it’s practical size and the fact that it can also be carried as a neck knife. When worn horizontally the 3 Pointer can be carried behind the back in the left facing position or on the front in the right facing position.

We wish it was capable of ambidextrous carry in in both front and back, but the fact that it can be carried as a neck knife helps make it one of the most versatile knives in this article.

A man's hand drawing the TOPS 3 Pointer from it's sheath which is worn in the front horizontal carry position.

About the Sheath

The relatively large thumb ramp makes it easy to draw the 3 Pointer from it’s sheath with one hand. The straps that allow this knife to be worn on a belt or a backpack can be easily removed with a phillips screwdriver if you decide you want to carry it as a neck knife or in a pocket with a lanyard attached.

The easily concealable size of the 3 Pointer combined with it’s super grippy micarta handles and tough 1095 steel  blade make it a good tactical option.  It also makes great work knife or small hunting knife. After several weeks of use the 3 Pointer has become one of our favorite small fixed blades for a variety of uses.

Gerber StrongArm

The Gerber Strong Arm has a well designed sheath that make it one of the best horizontal carry knives on the market.
Overall Length:9.75″
Blade Length:4.9″
Blade Steel:420HC
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:Rubber
Sheath:Molded polymer
Made in:USA

It might take some fiddling, but the StrongArm is pretty solid as a horizontal knife. Gerber has done their best to make it adaptable. While as a rule I consider most tactical knives to be stupid, I do like the big rubber handle and plain edge on this knife. I feel like there aren’t enough survival and tactical designs out there that use rubber or rubber-like materials.

It adds miles of grip to a knife even in wet or dirty conditions, and reduces a lot of risk of slipping, which is especially great if you plan on needing to pull it out fast. I make it a point to never be somewhere I would need fast deployment, but I appreciate the option.

The Gerber StrongArm sheath is ambidextrous, so the knife can be carried in front horizontal or scout carry facing either the left or right side.

About the Sheath

The StrongArm sheath is ambidextrous and MOLLE compatible, so it is incredibly versatile. It can be carried in the scout or front horizontal positions regardless of whether you are left or right handed. I wish Gerber would use similar setups on more of their fixed blade knives. I did discover that if you have a smaller waist the the StrongArm  tends to bump into things.

The person pictured above has a 29-inch waist, and scout carry was a little problematic. A 32-inch waist and seems to be less of an issue. I think the StrongArm is definitely one of the best knives on the market for attaching to a backpack, so if you are looking for a MOLLE compatible pack knife this one is tough to beat.

We are currently writing an in depth review of this knife, and we will post a link in this article when we are finished.

Civivi Tamashii

The Civivi Tamashii is a good tactical or camping fixed blade.
Overall Length:8.8”
Blade Length:4.73”
Blade Steel:D2
Blade Style:Trailing point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G10
Sheath:Kydex w/ T-Clip
Made in:China

This Terzuola-designed knife can pack a big punch for being so light. It’s a great slicer with decent edge retention, and it performs all around exceedingly well for the price it usually goes for. It won Best Factory Tactical Knife and Best in Show Factory Knife at Blade Show West 2021, but we had a fine time using it as a camping knife.

The Civivi Tamashii is one of the best horizontal carry  tactical fixed blades we have tested.

About the Sheath

The belt-carry experience with this is much the same as any other Civivi fixed blade, though. The retention is on point, and the T-Clip (also designed by Bob Terzuola) makes it easy to switch between vertical and horizontal positions, and carry on just about any kind of belt or strap.

The shape of this knife and the way it seats does leave about five-and-a-half inches to one side of the clip, so the balance can feel a little weird. But you can adjust the clip inside to hold tighter to the belt, and the Tamashii is light enough that you won’t feel that handle-heavy balance after a while. Check out our full review of the Tamashii here.

CRKT SiWi

The CRKT fixed blade knife with G10 handle scales on a white background.
Overall Length:7.25″
Blade Length:3.34″
Blade Steel:SK5
Blade Style:Drop point
Blade Grind:Flat
Handle Material:G-10
Sheath:Polymer
Made in:Taiwan
The CRKT Siwi in the front horizontal carry position on a belt.

The SRKT Siwi is a result of a collaboration between knife maker Chris Williams and retired Army vet, Darrin Sirois. The end product is a small, tactical fixed blade that is a practical camping, fishing or bushcraft knife.

The overall aesthetic of the SiWi is undeniable tactical, but this knife surprised us in the field where we found it excelled as a camp knife or a backup bushcraft knife. The thick spine, tall flat grind and super grippy handle make it an ideal outdoor tool.

About the Sheath

The SiWi ships with a Tek-Lok attachment for it’s GFN sheath. This is something I wish more knife companies would do. The Tek-Lok can be attached to either side of the sheath which means the sheath can be worn right or left facing in the front or the back of the waist. However, the impressive retention of the sheath makes it an ideal option to be carried upside down on a backpack. This above average retention does mean the SiWi requires for than a little force to remove and re insert the knife, so it takes a little practice to get the hang of it.

The CRKT SIWI on a military backpack.

The blade of the SiWi is high carbon, so it will need to be oiled occasionally and dried anytime it gets wet to prevent corrosion. We found the edge retention of this steel to be decent, but knot great. The handle is one of the grippiest G-10 handles I have felt thanks to it’s texturing, deep choil and finger indents. This handle is easy to grip even when wet.

At it’s current price point of around $70 the SiWi offers excellent value and versatility, and it is a great compact tactical/survival knife hybrid.

Horizontal Carry Knife FAQ

What is Scout Carry?

Scout carry refers to the knife being carried horizontally in the small of the back.

The scout carry position is when the knife sits horizontally at the small of your back.
I’ve been corrected before that a “proper” scout carry is when the knife is sitting with the handle angled slightly upward, but I’ve never found it useful to make that distinction.

What are the Benefits of the Scout Carry Position?

More than anything, the scout carry keeps the knife out of your way when you have to move through dense or rough terrain. If you’re going to be doing any kind of crawling around or even climbing, having your knife tucked at your back will keep the knife dragging along the ground or ending up underneath your body if you have to move into a prone position.

What is Cross Draw?

Cross draw is when the knife is sitting on the front of the hip with the handle pointing toward your center line.

What are the Benefits of the Cross Draw Position?

This is probably the best position for drawing the knife quickly. The body mechanics are a lot more natural than reaching behind your back and hiking your shoulder up to draw from a vertical sheath. It’s also the easiest position for re-sheathing your knife, which not many people seem to think about, but it really improves the workflow of whatever you’re doing outdoors.

What is MOLLE?

What is MOLLE

MOLLE stands for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment. Basically it’s a bunch of straps and pockets stitched to the outside of backpacks, vests, pants, and whatever other piece of clothing can take the weight.

A lot of knives that are made for horizontal carry tend to be MOLLE compatible. Usually this means you can fix the knife to a shoulder strap in an upside down vertical position, to the side of your backpack, and even horizontally over the stomach area in some cases. Not all of those positions are horizontal, but if you’re here, it’s probably because you’re looking for a way out from under the awkward tyranny of the vertical hip-carry position. You need options. MOLLE bags and vests are nothing but options.

What are the Benefits of Carrying Inside the Waistband?

It’s common for law enforcement officers to carry fixed blades this way, usually in the cross draw position, although I’ve met a few people who claim they prefer the small of the back for waistband carrying. That seems like it would add to the fuss of drawing it, but to each their own.

Our Personal Testing Method for Horizontal Carry Knives

up here, but basically any knife that feels comfortable on the belt and is easy to draw makes it on this list.

Our methods tend to change depending on what season of the year it is, but the testing process generally involves the following:

  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Climbing trees
  • Swimming up a creek
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Tripping over rocks
  • Shaking our fists at the neighbor kids
  • Sitting on couches
  • Eating BBQ
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Tying our shoes
  • And generally existing in a way that doesn’t involve the handle of our belt-carry knife jabbing us in the ribs every other step.

This article is updated regularly as we discover and test more fixed blade knives that can be worn in the horizontal and scout carry positions. We also remove knives once they have been discontinued and are out of stock at most major retailers. If you know of any great knives that you think should be included, please leave a comment below. Horizontal carry seems to be increasing popularity, so we expect a lot of new options from knife companies in 2024.

A Note on Tek Loks

A Tek Lok can make any MOLLE compatible sheath into a horizontal carry sheath.

While every knife I’ve put on this list should come out of the box with the ability to be carried horizontally, they are not all equal in that capacity.

It’s hard to overstate the usefulness of a Tek Lok in converting a knife to scout carry or just trying to improve the way it carries. Knives like the Kizer Little River Bowie really benefit from this kind of accessory because the manufacturer just didn’t quite put in the thought to perfect the sheath and belt clip. So a couple things about Tek Loks:

  1. They should be compatible with most Kydex sheaths,
  2. They can be adjusted to belt size with the spacers inside the clip,
  3. They are cheap and tough as hell.

Frankly, it’s worth getting a few Tek Loks just in case you want to play around with a new knife. If nothing else, they’re fun to play with, but at their best they completely change the way you carry your favorite knife for the better.


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Andrew has been a commercial writer for about a decade. He escaped from a life of writing mundane product descriptions by running away to the woods and teaching himself how to bake and chop stuff up in the kitchen. He has a background in landscaping, Filipino martial arts, and drinking whiskey.

59 thoughts on “Best Horizontal Carry Knives”

  1. Do you guys make a horizontal sheath for an elk ridge Fixed Blade Knife •9.5″ Overall •440 Stainless Steel Blade With Double Blood Groove

    Reply
    • We don’t actually make anything (yet); we just provide colorful commentary. I know there are a lot of shops that do custom-made kydex sheaths, but I’m hesitant to recommend a site since I’ve never ordered a custom sheath from someone online.

      Reply
  2. About 15 yrs ago I screwed up and lent a matched pair of knives to a friend’s kid who was going on a backpacking trip in Patagonia…I am still waiting for their return.

    They weren’t fancy and I paid around $10-$15 dollars for them in a pawn shop in Colorado Springs when I was stationed at Fort Carson in the early eighties.

    They were made out of piece of steel about a quarter of inch thick, eight inches long, the blade was 4 1/2 inches long w/the center ridge down the center of the blade to where the point starts to form(about three inches from the hilt). They were dual edge with a hole about a half inch from the back of the handle and the blade looked kinda stubby.
    They came with nylon horizontal sheath made so about an inch of each knife would stick out of each side so that you could pull a knife out of either side while either of your hands were otherwise occupied.

    You wouldn’t believe how many times I have reached back to grab one of them only to end up digging my pocket knife out to cut, pull or pry and otherwise abuse.

    If anyone knows where I can get a couple of replacement knives, please drop me a line.

    Thanks Bill

    Reply
    • I’m not sure what knives those were, Bill. They sound like they daggers, and I’m pretty curious to find out who makes daggers in nylon horizontal carry sheaths.
      As far as replacing, it’s tough to find a good fixed blade near the $10 – 15 range, but in terms of style your best bet might be the Buck 245 or the Esee 4. If you want another scout carry in a similar price range there’s the Camillus Les Stroud. But Schrade makes a lot of decent fixed blades on the cheaper side as well. The SCHF31 is pretty good and it comes in a kydex sheath you can convert to horizontal with a Tek Lok.
      I can’t think of anything closer to what you described, though. I’ll have to keep an eye out.

      Reply
  3. Take a look at the Southern Grind Jackal Pup for an addition to your list….It is small and has a rather different blade shape. Around $130 at BHQ

    Reply
  4. Check out CRKT’s “HUNT’NFISCH” a great little EDC come with a fine leather cross carry sheath…wearable anywhere. Had mine now for four years. love it

    Reply
    • Thanks for the heads up on that knife, Tom. It looks really cool. So cool that it is out of stock everywhere. We will buy it and test it out as soon as we can get our hands on it.

      Reply
    • I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Bushcrafter, and I’ve definitely had my eye on it with the Armatus sheath for a bit. We try to only add knives that we’ve handled personally, though, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to check it out soon.

      Reply
  5. Also, can you comment on the best way to resheath a scout carry knife? I’ve searched high and low and this is a topic that nobody covers. Thanks!

    Reply
    • It’s a little different with every sheath, but when I’m having trouble (which is most of the time) I place either the spine or the side of the blade against the outside of the mouth of the sheath, then pull the knife along it and find the right spot by feel. In order to get really smooth with it, though, you basically just need to wear the same knife in the same set up for a long time until the angles for deploying and sheathing become part of your muscle memory.

      Reply
  6. Another question for the horizontal carry brain trust. I am trying to decide between large and small Tek-Lok, G-Clip, and soft loops. There’s a tradeoff for using each of those, but I was wondering if you guys had any comments beyond the blanket recommendation to buy a large Tek-Lok. From what I’ve seen they are significantly bulkier than all three other options, although they are secure and allow for a lot of carry options. The small Tek-Lok is less bulky, with easier on/off function but inherently less security because it lacks the locking redundancy of the large. The G-Clip is very secure, slim, but has poor on/off function. Soft loops seem to be another good option being used by default by Armatus. Not sure what the negative is here. Maybe looks? I’d like to personally try them all but would also love to hear your thoughts as well. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Depends on what you’re putting it on. For smaller fixed blades, the small Tek Loks should be just fine even though the lock is much simpler. We’re always switching knives around on belts, so those are usually my favorite to deal with.
      I like G-clips well enough, but they come in so many different sizes it’s hard to do a blanket recommendation. The really small ones are irritating because there’s usually at least one bolt tucked away under the belt loop.
      Soft loops are on the whole the easiest to put on. The main downside to me is that they don’t really hold a knife tight to you. You’ll probably get more movement if you’re doing a lot of strenuous activity, but I’ve really liked the way knives like the Tops 3 Pointer and Condor SBK carry.

      Reply
  7. What is your favorite overall horizontal carry knife? The security, tightness, and design of the sheath are very important boy just the knife

    Reply
  8. Picked up a KA-BAR Hinderance and it definitely isn’t a horizontal carry out the box. The clip is not able to be turned sideways. Unfortunately the tek lok doesn’t align with the kydex sheath either. (Reading this article post purchase, was surprised to see this knife on the list as reason for comment)

    Reply
    • Yep, you’re right. We put the Hinderer on here a while back before we’d gotten around to reviewing every knife on the list. We’d assumed it had the same sheath set up as the regular TDI.
      It’s a shame. That knife would be a really cool horizontal carry.

      Reply
  9. Great review of scout carry knives. Still looking at the right one for me and my oversized keg.
    Wanted to update you that I recently bought the Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement and they’ve got a drastically different kydex sheath now that doesn’t appear to modulate into a scout carry. Was disappointed, but still didn’t return the knive…. who does that anyway? 🙂

    Again… awesome page!

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot, Casey. Much appreciated.
      Yea we had two versions of the TDI in this article. We removed the one that was no longer horizontal carry, but we will double check on the other to make sure we are linked to the right version.

      Reply
  10. My newest fixed blade is the Shrade SCHF15, Horizontal sheath. Tactical tanto, love the grip. I’ve been a Shrade fan since I was 12 n bought my first uncle Henry Folder from Kittery Trading post in ME. I have Gerber, Boker, I have a flick Buck 110 I sent out but I don’t use it. I have a spring assisted Kershaw n several SOG knifes, Buck Skinner, but I gotta say this Shrade fixed Blade is as good a knife as I’ve owned. Sits tight in the sheath grip is really impressive, the blade finish is nice it doesn’t show scratches it goes from my back to the down tube on my Harley in 5 seconds. Hope I never use it in that way but it’s there.

    Reply
    • That sounds pretty sweet, and it looks pretty much like a tanto version of the SCHF57. Schrade definitely has something figured when it comes to these small, cost efficient fixed blades.

      Reply
  11. Check out White River Knife and Tool, their Firecraft 3.5, Knucklehead II and M1. All are fantastic knives, albeit a bit expensive and they come with kydex sheaths that can be mounted horizontal, vertical, angled, etc. Amazing quality, USA made. They have plenty of other blades but these are the ones I own and really enjoy carrying.
    BTW, your article is hilarious! I enjoyed it.

    Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed it, Ed.
      That M1 has come across my radar a couple times, but it seems like White River knives go out of stock every time I blink. I definitely like the look the of the sheath, though. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to check it out soon.

      Reply
    • Andrew Arrabito seems like a good designer, and that scene from The Terminal List with the Karambito was pretty cool, but holy damn Half Face Blades is expensive. I’m sure they’re worth putting on this list, but we haven’t had the opportunity to test any of Arrabito’s work ourselves. Maybe some day.

      Reply
  12. Thanks for sharing this list! I love how you went into details for each horizontal carry knife. Just a question, which of these works well for Benchmade knives?

    Reply
    • I’m not sure what you mean, especially with you linking your name to a Benchmade folder on your store’s site.
      Either way, I don’t know what works well with Benchmade knives. I don’t really use them because my mother loved me.

      Reply
  13. Hey man! Great pieces good article! Been carrying back draw since I was 16! You definitely gotta include TKell knives in the next one you make. SUPER good blades made from 1085 steel. Was rockin the gerber ghost strike for about 5 years and switched to one of his blades about a year ago and have zero regrets. Lifetime warranty, great designs and really nice guy. Check ‘‘em out! Won’t be disappointed.

    Reply
    • T.Kell Knives definitely look like they make some pretty sweet stuff.
      It’s funny you mentioned the Ghostrike. We were just talking about good replacements for it now that Gerber discontinued it.
      Thanks for the suggestion, Kolby.

      Reply
  14. Just noticed the OFF GRID KNIVES TRACKER X is in the reviews but not the top list. I was working on scraping this page to do some excel analysis and this error is throwing things for a loop. I’m manually skipping it for now.

    Reply
  15. Check out the Magnate by Les George. Pricey, but you could bet your life on it in a survival situation. Nice set up for scout carry.

    Reply
  16. Excellent article about horizontal carry.In 50+ years of carrying knives I always carry anything under a 5” blade in a crossdraw sheath.I did a lot of testing both using tactical and bushcraft knives in combat and every day use including camping and crossdraw works best for me.

    Reply
  17. i just picked up the kizer begleiter myself as my first fixed blade. i was looking between it and the elementum because im a fan of both companies. so far i love it d2 steel, great feeling blade geometry, super comfortable handle. great choke up points with jimping on the blade, and a lanyard loop lol. the only thing i am not in love with is the sheath its basically the same as the harpoons sheath and i cant scout carry with my favorite deluth trading jeans rear middle belt loop is way too wide. other than that im happy with it and think it would be a great addition to this list.

    https://www.bladehq.com/item–Kizer-Begleiter-Fixed-Blade-Knife–176955

    Reply
    • The Kizer Begleiter is a great knife. Probably one of the more comfortable fixed blades on our shelf, and we’ve actually gone back and forth about putting it on this list. I can’t remember if we decided the handle feels to long to be as comfortable on the belt, or if we said we should put it on this list and just forgot, but it’s definitely worth consideration.

      Reply
  18. I’m sold ol the Outdoor Edge Le Duck. Too bad it isn’t available anywhere. It’s not even the manufacturer website. Retailers don’t even offer back order because it’s no longer available.

    Reply
  19. I’m happy to see people still writing good stuff on the web. I have a SIWI, which I like, but the only knife I’ve scout carried is a Cudeman MT-5. They have a great multi-position leather sheath that carries well in the small of the back.

    Reply
    • Cudeman knives look pretty sweet. Kind of like Boker’s Arbolito line, but with the kinds of sheaths you get with LionSteel knives.

      Reply
      • I would recommend checking out a smaller knife manufacturer named Shelby Knives. It’s a small US based operation who does every step of the manufacturing in house.
        SelbyKnives.com
        I’ve been carrying the Severance 4 for about a year now and it’s an absolutely phenomenal knife. I love it for the scout carry, but it comes with a BladeTech Tec-loc on the kydex sheith so you can switch it around for a number of different carries. It snaps into the kydex firmly enough you could carry however you want without worry of the knife coming loose.
        The Folsom Necker is a solid model for scout carry too, but for my edc I wanted something a little larger.
        The price was reasonable for the quality but it’s a pretty small company, so more popular models seem to sell out for a month or two at a time.
        I was turned on to the brand when a couple Lineman friends were raving about the Selby Lineman Knife.

        Reply
        • I think someone recommended the Selby Folsom knife to me once. That guy is definitely making some cool looking stuff, though. We’ll look into it.

          Reply

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