Good fixed blade knife options from Buck, Boker, K-Bar, Ontario and more.

Great Horizontal Side and Scout Carry Knife and Sheath Options For Tactical, Survival and Bushcraft Knives

Most people equate the horizontal carry style to some kind of tactical life decision when really it’s just a comfy life decision. The horizontal belt carry has only ever been optimally useful to me when I’m sitting down at the dinner table. 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. And of course the scout carry is great for hiking if you have intrusively fat legs that rub against vertical fixed-blades any time you attempt a maneuver more complicated than heaving yourself straight forward and praying to God that the heart attack holds off long enough for you to eat one more jalapeno bacon burger in your life.

Barring that, mainly what you’re looking for in a horizontal carry knife, regardless of intended use, is a well-designed but modestly-sized handle, and a sturdy sheath with good grip.

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.

Here is our current list of the best horizontal and scout carry knives:

Survival / Bushcraft Fixed-Blades:

  • Bradford Guardian 3 – 3.5″ Blade | M390 or N690 Steel | Spear Point Blade | G-10 Handle | Read More…
  • Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter – 2.67” Blade | CPM-S30V Steel | Drop Point | G10 or Dymonwood Handle | Read More…
  • Boker Arbolito El Heroe – 3.0 ” Blade | Bohler N695 Steel | Clip Point | Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • Condor SBK – 5.25″ Blade | 1075 Steel | Standard Blade | Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • Esee 4 with MOLLE add-on – 4.5″ Blade | 1095 Steel | Drop Point Blade | Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • Kizer Little River Bowie Knife – 4.48″ Blade | 1095HC Steel | Flat Grind | G-10 Handle | Read More…
  • Buck Selkirk – 4 5/8″ Blade | 420HC Steel | Drop Point Blade | Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • Gerber Principle  – 3.1″ Blade | 420HC Steel | Drop Point Blade | Rubber Handle | Read More…
  • Ontario Rat 3 – 3.75″ Blade | 1095 Steel | Drop Point Blade| Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • Esee Izula – 2.8″ Blade | 1095 Steel | Drop Point Blade Blade | Steel Handle | Read More...
  • Ka-Bar ESEE Becker Eskabar BK14 – 3.25″ Blade | 1095 Steel | Drop Point Blade | Steel Handle | Read More…
  • Ka Bar TDI Hinderance – 3.56″ Blade | 1095 Cro-Van Steel | Wharncliffe Style | Zytel Handle | Read More…
  • TOPS Pasayten Lite Traveller – 5.25″ Blade | 154CM Steel | Clip Point | Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • TOPS Frog Market Special Standard – 4.88″  Blade| 1095 Steel | Clip Point | Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • Outdoor Edge Le Duck – 2.5” Blade | 8Cr14MoV Steel | Drop Point | TPR Handle | Read More…
  • Spyderco Waterway – 4.4″ Blade | LC200N Steel | Drop Point | G-10 handle | Read More…
  • Spyderco Bill Moran Bowie – 3.875″ Blade | VG-10 Streel |Trailing Point or Drop Point | FRN w/ Kraton Inlay Handle | Read More…
  • Off Grid Knives Tracker X – 4.75″ Blade | D-2 Steel | Drop Point Blade | Micarta Handle | Read More…

Tactical Fixed-Blades:

  • CRKT S.P.E.W. –  3.” Blade | 5Cr15MoV Steel | Wharncliffe Blade | G-10 Handle | Read More…
  • Spyderco Ronin 2 – 4.125″ Blade | CTS-BD1 Steel | Wharnecliffe Blade | G-10 Handle | Read More…
  • Buck 245 Matt Will Go Navy Seal Knife – 4.0″ Blade | 5160 Carbon Steel | Drop Point | Micarta Handle | Read More…
  • Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement – 2.3″ Blade | Aus-8  Steel | Drop Point Blade | Zytel Handle | Read More…
  • Gerber StrongArm – 4.9″ Blade | 420 HC Steel | Drop Point Blade | Rubber Handle | Read More…
  • Gerber Ghoststrike – 3.25″  Blade | 420 HC Steel | Drop Point Blade | Rubber Handle | Read More…

 

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

Excellent horizontal carry knife from Bradford.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 6.75”
  • Blade Length: 3.5”
  • Steel: M390 or N690
  • Style: Spear point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: 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. 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 Guardian 3 sheath pictured above is really easy to change between side horizontal 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.

 

 

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Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunter

  • Overall Length: 6.32”
  • Blade Length: 2.67”
  • Steel: CPM-S30V
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: G10 or Dymondwood
  • Sheath: Kydex or leather
  • Made in: USA

NOTE: This knife is recently discontinued, so you might still be able to snatch one up from a reputable dealer, but not for long.

Similar Alternatives: Bradford Guardian 3, CRKT S.P.E.W, Outdoor Edge Le Duck.

Leave it to Benchmade to make a fixed-blade hunting knife with a blade under 3 inches. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just exactly the kind of thing I would expect on hearing that Benchmade came out with an outdoor knife.

The Hidden Canyon Hunter is cool though. They made it primarily for skinning game, so it has a big belly and a nice tall grind. I’m a little confused by the flat grind. It seems like hollow would have been optimal for this design, and it’s not like you’ll be doing much sharpening in the bush with this S30V steel. Either way, this knife will get the job done without adding much weight or awkwardness to the belt.

The important part is the sheath of course, which is made to be exclusively worn horizontal. Just a couple things you should note, though: If you get the leather sheath, you’ll only be able to wear this right handed, since the loop is stitched in. The kydex sheath will let you switch back and forth, so that’s probably the choice for you left handers.

 

 

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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: Bohler N695
  • Blade Grind: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Clip point
  • 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 don’t know if it performs as well as the Guardian 3 (We are currently reviewing it), but one thing that gives me pause is that Arbolito does have a tendency to send knives off with less than perfect edges, and the Bohler steel is not easy 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.

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. 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.

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.

 

 

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Condor SBK

  • Overall Length: 10.5”
  • Blade Length: 5.25”
  • Blade Steel: 1075
  • Blade Grind: Scandi
  • Blade Style: Standard
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Made in: El Salvador

This is a new-ish knife, but it’s an old school design. There are a lot of details about it 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 shopping 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 two big leather straps snap on behind the belt, which is trick to pull off if you want to carry this scout style. It’s definitely worth the trouble, though.

 

 

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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”
  • Steel: 1095
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: Micarta
  • Sheath: Molded polymer w/ nylon MOLLE add-on
  • Made in: USA

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. 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.

 

 

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Kizer Little River Bowie Knife

The Kizer Little RIver Bowie Knife is a great horizontal or scout carry option.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 8.75”
  • Blade Length: 4.38”
  • Steel: 1095HC
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: G-10
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Made in: China
  • Designer: Dirk Pinkerton

 

Like a few others on this list, the Little River Bowie from Kizer needs some adjustment before you can scout carry it. The kydex sheath is snug though, even if it doesn’t exactly look stellar. In fact some people complain it’s a little too snug. For some reason they made the sheath lap over about a fifth of the handle when it’s inside, so there’s a chunk of plastic right where your thumb would normally go to grip and pull the thing out. The knife itself is pretty sweet though. I like the idea of a smaller sized bowie knife because walking around with a regular sized one has always felt excessive for a short person like me, even when I scout carry them. This would be a lot less awkward to pack when I’m hiking around.

The Kizer Little River Bowie can be horizontal or scout carried out of the box, but it works better with a Tek Lok .

The Kizer Little River Bowie with a Tek Lok attachment.

The Little River Bowie works well as a horizontal or scout carry option right out of the box, but the Tek Lok attachment is a cheap way to add versatility and durability. On most belts the Little River Bowie sags a bit due to the fact that it is not adjustable. This makes it harder to put it back in the sheath when it is behind your back. The Tek Lok is adjustable and provides a more snug fit.

Check here out our in depth review of the Kizer Little River Bowie Knife.

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Buck Selkirk

The Buck Knives Seljirk is a favorite of horizontal carry fans.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 9.5”
  • Blade Length: 4 5/8”
  • Steel: 420HC
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: 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 sturdy sheath is extremely versatile and can be set up for left or right handed horizontal or vertical carry.

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.

 

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 slowish 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.

 

 

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Gerber Principle

This great bushcraft knife is capable of vertical or horizontal carry, and it is MOLLE compatible.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 7.5”
  • Blade Length: 3.1”
  • Steel: 420HC
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Scandi
  • Handle: Rubber
  • 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. It’ MOLLE compatible and can be easily switched between horizontal and vertical carry.  It would be nice if Gerber had used a steel with better edge retention than their 420 HC, but I am sure that is part of the reason this USA-made knife is under $70.

From a bushcraft standpoint the Principle checks a lot of boxes. It would be nice if the sheath were a little more versatile though..

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. This is a new model from Gerber that has become popular very quickly. Hopefully we will see variations in the future that will include better steel, a sheath that can hold a ferro rod, and maybe a bigger version. As it stands, the Principle is a bargain at its current price point.

We just received this knife on July 2, 2020, we will spend a few weeks testing it before we post an in depth review.

 

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Ontario Rat 3

The Ontario Rat 3 has two different sheaths that both work for horizontal carry.

Specifications 

  • Overall Length: 7.75”
  • Blade Length: 3.75”
  • Steel: 1095
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex or nylon
  • Made in: Taiwan

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 great 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 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

 

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Esee Izula

The Esee Isula comes in a variety of colors.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 6.25”
  • Blade Length: 2.8”
  • Steel: 1095
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: Steel
  • Sheath: Molded Polymer
  • Made in: USA

 

There will probably be some unscrewing involved, but the Izula is one of the best horizontal carries if you’re in the market for a skeleton style knife. If you have a good cord you can run it through the sheath and turn it into an almost universal carry. It’s one of those conveniently small 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.

 

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Ka-Bar ESEE Becker Eskabar BK14

Great EDC horizontal carry knife from Ka-Bar

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 7.0”
  • Blade Length: 3.25”
  • Steel: 1095
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: Steel
  • Sheath: Molded Polymer
  • Made in: USA

 

This is an interesting, and kind of confusing, collaboration between ESEE and Ka-Bar. Apparently the Becker Eskabar BK14 is meant to be a combination of the Gerber Becker Necker (feel free to say that out loud as often as you like) and the Esee Izula, which looks to have resulted in a Becker Knife blade on an Izula handle. I’m not sure what the story is behind this collaboration, but I do prefer this to the Becker Necker. Of the three knives, this is the longest, which might be the main deciding factor between this and the Izula. That and the sheath. The Eskabar comes with a neat horizontal carry sheath that fits pretty easily onto the belt, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s kind of cheap, so wear will probably become an issue.

 

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TOPS Pasayten Lite Traveler

It is really easy to transition the TOPs Pasayten Lite Traveller from vertical to horizontal carry.

  • Overall Length: 10.0”
  • Blade Length: 5.25”
  • Steel: 154CM
  • Style: Clip point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Made in: USA

This is nice, simple bushcraft design with some thick workings and a practical flat grind. You couldn’t really ask for better, although the 154CM steel gives me pause. It’s a good dependable steel, I just get nervous about a steel that hard on a knife this big. But 154CM sits right on that edge of acceptability for me. I wouldn’t get S30V in a 5-inch blade, but this should be able to take a decent beating, especially since the spine is so thick. I like the design of the pocket clip, although something about a rotating clip also makes me a little nervous. At the very least, this is a lot easier to get into horizontal carry than most other knives.

It was designed by Steven Dick, who has some other interesting designs with TOPS (see just below). He’s an editor for Tactical Knives Magazine, of all things. You wouldn’t know it to look at his designs though. His stuff looks pretty strictly bush craft to me, but it’s nice work all the same.

 

 

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TOPS Frog Market Special Standard

The TOPs Frog Market Special is a fixed blae knife designed for horizontal or scout carry.

  • Overall Length: 9.5”
  • Blade Length: 4.88”
  • Steel: 1095
  • Style: Clip point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Made in: USA

I’m not sure how often I would actually use this design, but I love it anyway. It’s close to what I imagined a bushcraft kitchen knife would look like before seeing this knife. Apparently the inspiration came from butchers and fishmongers in Vietnam, so this is very much meant for food prep in the field, especially in combination with the Kydex sheath and adjustable clip.

This knife works for horizontal carry in the front, but only works for scout carry in the back for left handed folks.

There’s an XL version of this with a 7-inch blade, which would normally seem ridiculous to me, but if you’re actually going to use this for butchering or food prep it might be worth going bigger. Keep in mind, if you aren’t a practiced outdoorsman and/or chef that the thin tip does present a breaking risk even with a robust 1095 steel. Just don’t go batoning with this thing and it should keep doing wonders for you.

We are currently testing this knife out, and we will link from this article to the review once it is done.

 

 

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Outdoor Edge Le Duck

The Outdoor Edge Le Duck is a budget friendly scout or horizontal carry option.

  • Overall Length: 6.25”
  • Blade Length: 2.5”
  • Steel: 8Cr14MoV
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Handle: TPR
  • Sheath: Polypyrene
  • Made in: China

This is technically a drop point blade, but the slight angle on the back and the severe curve near the top on the edge make it border on a tanto, which is to say this knife is stabbier than most survival tools. It could almost be put under the tactical category since the sheath makes it a versatile carry, it’s small enough to conceal, and the handle is fairly grippy. But Outdoor Edge clearly had an outdoor survival use in mind with the design. They’ve outfitted it with paracord and a MOLLE compatible sheath, plus the blade has a rust resistant coating that should make it a handy blade to keep on your fishing vest. The other tip off is the orange-handle version, which is clearly for idiots like me who accidentally drop their knives in the woods all the time and can’t find them beneath the forest foliage.

One great feature of the Le Duck is the flip lock that holds it in place. It is incredibly secure, and with a little practice it is possible to flip the lock with your thumb and draw the knife quickly in one fluid motion.

Click here to read our in depth Outdoor Edge Le Duck review or to just see more pictures of this cool little knife.

 

 

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Spyderco Waterway

The Spyderco Waterway is a high end option designed for the water.

  • Overall Length: 9.47”
  • Blade Length: 4.4”
  • Steel: LC200N
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Flat
  • Handle: G-10
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Made in: USA

Aside from the high profile brand behind this knife, the steel makes this Waterway stand out. LC200N is a highly corrosion-resistant steel that was originally made for ball bearings, but was quickly adapted into other industries when knife designers got hold of it. You could think of it as the upgrade to H-1 steel which you’ll see in the rest of Spyderco’s Salt series and basically every diving knife ever made. It’s harder and somehow has a higher corrosion resistance and still manages to maintain enough toughness not to be a chipping danger. This is very much a reliable survival knife on and in the water.

The sheath might look a little under built for holding a 10-inch knife, but the profile of the knife is pretty slim. It weighs nearly half as much as other full-tang fixed blades of the same length. This was meant to ride easy on the belt or wherever you need to pack it on a boat, so don’t worry too much about how well the sheath holds the knife so much as where you plan on keeping the thing.

 

 

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Spyderco Bill Moran Bowie

Spyderco Bill Moran Upswept

  • Overall Length: 8.0”
  • Blade Length: 3.875
  • Blade Steel: VG-10
  • Blade Grind: Flat
  • Blade Style: Trailing point or drop point
  • Handle Material: FRN w/ Kraton inlay
  • Sheath: Boltaron
  • Made in: Japan

There’s a lot of history behind the name Bill Moran, but for the purposes of this knife,it’s just important that you know he’s done a lot for fixed-blade designs in the knife world over that last several decades.

This Spyderco design is meant for camping or hunting (as the product descriptions often “highly recommend”). It comes in a drop point and a trailing point design that both come in at the same size and price, and the handle is a good simple shape that just fits the hand with a lot of grippy material. The balance of the knife should also sit right in the center near where the index finger sits so the knife not only handles well, but it will ride easy on the belt.

The sheath and belt clip look to the be the same as the Ronin 2, and based on my experience with that I can say that it will be a little frustrating to convert to horizontal carry at first unless you have a magnetized torx screwdriver. Spyderco does exactly excel at sheaths for fixed blade knives, but they always work well enough.

 

 

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Off Grid Knives Tracker X

The D2 steel of the Tracker X has a thick blade stock and they’ve made a pretty comfortable and grippy micarta handle.

  • Blade Length: 4.75”
  • Blade Steel: D2
  • Blade Grind: Sabre
  • Blade Style: Drop point
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath: Kydex
  • Made in: Taiwan

This is a fairly new company and the Tracker X is an even newer knife that seems well in the competitive range with Esee knives.. Off Grid is primarily a folding knife company, but they have recently jumped into the fixed blade game with some great  knives including the Tracker X. The thick D2 steel blade holds it’s edge extremely well which says good things about Off Grid’s heat treatment. The micarta handle is pretty comfortable and grippy even in wet weather.

The Tracker X is a new horizontal carry knife that offers impressive performance at under $100.

The Kydex sheath has features that looks to be similar to a Tek Lok design, but with the ability to clip on, so it should be easy to slap onto your belt or MOLLE pack. The only thing that might hold you back is the size. Nine and a half inches long is more or less standard for survival fixed blades, but this is a wide knife. So depending on your body type it might sit heavy.

We did an in depth review of this knife, and we were really impressed with it’s toughness and performance at most outdoor and camping type tasks. Click here to read our Tracker X review.

 

 

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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 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 Grind: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Wharncliffe
  • Handle Material: G10
  • 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.

The Spew is a compact option for those will smaller waistlines who don’t want a big knife that might catch on stuff when hiking or hunting on narrow trails.

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

 

 

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Spyderco Ronin 2

The Spyderco Ronin shipps with an adjustable boltaron sheath.

  • Overall Length: 7.875”
  • Blade Length: 4.125”
  • Steel: CTS-BD1
  • Style: Wharnecliffe
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Handle: G10
  • Sheath: Boltaron
  • Made in: USA

This is a design by Michael Janich who has spent much of his career studying knife combat and experimenting with carious combat-oriented knives. He holds to the philosophy that one should hold a knife with the thumb resting along the spine. Supposedly this helps to make slashing strikes easier and more precise.

The Ronin's belt clip makes it easy to move the knife from fronthorizontal carry to scout carry pictured here..

I won’t speak to the functionality of that view, but I will say that his knives are pretty sweet, and Spyderco takes them to a very functional level. It sports a highly corrosion-resistant steel with a thin stock and G10 scales so it rides incredibly light. And the combination of the interchangeable G-clip makes it easy to adapt to your carry style.

Click here to look at more photos and read our in depth review of the Spyderco Ronin 2.

 

 

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Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement

Horizontal carry tactical knife from Ka-Bar

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 5.6”
  • Blade Length: 2.3”
  • Steel: Aus-8
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Handle: Zytel
  • Sheath: Molded polymer
  • Made in: Taiwan
  • Designer: John Benner

It’s in the name. A lot of law enforcement actually do carry this knife. So if tactical is high on your list of requirements the TDI is well worth considering. I don’t like the shape, personally. There’s only so much I would actually use it for, but Ka-Bar does make a pretty trusty AUS-8 steel, and I have to respect the uniqueness of design.

The sheath definitely makes this knife fun, though. It’s sturdy polymer with a stiff clip that’s tight enough to hold to your waistband.

The sheath definitely makes this knife fun, though. It’s sturdy polymer with a stiff clip that’s tight enough to hold to your waistband. The idea behind it is to be easy to conceal and take out, and it covers that pretty well. It’s only technically a horizontal carry because of the angle of the tang. Generally when you’re wearing it, the blade with still be mostly up and down, but the handle should ride horizontal.

 

 

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Ka Bar TDI Hinderance

The carry options are similarly limitless to the base TDI design. It has a strong reversible belt clip

  • Overall Length: 7.25”
  • Blade Length: 3.56”
  • Blade Steel: 1095 Cro-Van
  • Blade Grind: Hollow
  • Blade Style: Wharncliffe
  • Handle Material: Zytel
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Made in: USA

The TDI was a good design until Rick Hinderer and John Benner got a hold of it. Now it’s a great knife. The changes to the shape and materials almost make it a completely different design with some really good ergonomic considerations.

The dip with heavy jimping on the thumb combined with the increased angle of the blade to the handle make slicing motions a lot more comfortable. There’s also a little more handle and blade to work with overall, which is nice for actually using the knife, but could create some legal trouble depending on how and where you carry the knife.

The carry options are similarly limitless to the base TDI design, though. It has a strong reversible belt clip that can fit the knife as easily on the belt as on the inside of your waistband.

 

 

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Gerber StrongArm

The Gerber Strong Arm has a well designed sheath that make it one of the best horizontal carry knives on the market.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 9.75”
  • Blade Length: 4.9”
  • Steel: 420HC
  • Style: Drop point
  • Handle: 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.

 

 

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Gerber Ghostrike

The Gerber Ghoststrik hollow handle with black blade.

Specifications

  • Overall Length: 6.86”
  • Blade Length: 3.25”
  • Steel: 420HC
  • Style: Drop point
  • Grind: Hollow
  • Handle: Rubber
  • Sheath: Polymer
  • Made in: USA

To me, the Ghostrike looks like bunched up hemorrhoids with a pointy end, but people seem to love this knife anyway. On some level I understand. It’s compact and has a pretty quick deployment with grippy rubber handles. It uses belt loops instead of clips that you can unscrew and move to be horizontal or vertical carry. They’ve also made an ankle wrap for it, so there’s a huge range of carry options. It’s also very thin, so it makes for a great concealed carry, assuming you want that for some reason.

The small size and versatility of the sheath of the Gerber Ghostrike make it a great option for scout or horizontal carry.

The Gerber Ghoststrike has a really versatile sheath.

I think I’ve made it pretty clear what I think about the term “tactical”, though. Any talk of “the best tactical knife” is a good way to tell people you bought a katana from the mall when you were 15 and it’s still hanging up in your bedroom right above a pristine copy of The Art of War. Even I have to admit the Ghostrike is a pretty good knife, though, because this is exactly the kind of knife Gerber does really well. The Ghostrike is made to be abused, and you could do worse than to have this thing on your ankle or belt when you head into the woods.

Click here to read our in depth review of the Gerber Ghostrike.

 

 

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A Note on Tek Loks

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 pretty much every Kydex sheath,
  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.