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Sheath materials for fixed knives

Each fixed knife needs a sheath. After all simply closing your knife and putting a sharp blade in your pocket is something we don’t recommend. So a sheath. But what should it be made of?  There are a lot of options so we will give you a couple of them.

Leather sheaths: the classic choice

Traditionally leather has been the most popular choice for sheaths for fixed knives. Leather won’t scratch the blade and it is slightly flexible. In addition, a knife will hardly move inside a leather sheath and it won’t affect the sharpness of the blade as much.

You do, however, need to maintain leather. If your leather sheath dries out it could crack. In addition, you always need to make sure that your razor-sharp blade won’t cut through the leather.

Plastic sheaths: nice and practical

Many knives with a more tactical or modern look come with a plastic sheath. We are talking about all plastic sheaths that are injection-molded. Take, for instance, the Zytel ESEE sheaths or the Cold Steel Secure-Ex-sheaths. These sheaths are solid, offers you various mounting options because of the mounting eyes and you can easily rinse them off underneath the tap.

Plastic sheaths, however, also have disadvantages. The knife will move a lot in the sheath and can start to rattle, which, for hunting purposes, could be tricky because of the noise. Depending on the hardness plastic can also crack, especially in the long run. Sometimes plastic sheaths can also scratch the blade. Especially when the knife has been enhanced with a coating or satin finish. In addition, plastic is a little harder on the sharpness of your knife.

Kydex sheaths: fit like a tailored suit

An incredibly decent option is kydex, thermoplastic plastic. Sounds expensive, but what it means is that a sheet of kydex is heated, folded around the knife and cooled. The cooling process ensures that the kydex becomes solid again. A good kydex sheath will fit like a glove. Also good to know, a kydex sheath can be re-shaped as it were by heating it. That is not possible with any other sheath material. Kydex sheaths are often also enhanced with a lot of mounting eyes to make sure you can attach Tek-Loks or MOLLE clips.

A disadvantage of kydex is that it is often relatively expensive because it has to be made to fit every model perfectly. In addition, kydex could sometimes cause small scratches and is not that great when it comes to the sharpness of your knife.

Other options

There are, of course, many other options. Think of a nylon sheath with a plastic insert. For this type of sheath the same advantages and disadvantages apply as when you use a normal plastic sheath. In addition, these types of sheaths are often also available with leather and plastic. Or with an injection molded plastic sheath or with Kydex, like the ESEE sheaths.