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Knives are tools and a proper carry method improves your ability to use your knife for its intended purpose.
Hunting, self-defense, and even EDC knives can benefit from being carried horizontally, which is also called scout carry.
We scoured the internet and knife stores for the best horizontal carry knives you can buy today. Whether your budget is $20 or $200, you’ll find a knife here that’s comfortable to carry and effective at cutting what you need to cut.
If you don’t know how to choose the best scout carry knife then skip ahead and you’ll find a quick-yet-thorough buyer’s guide!
Best Scout Carry Knives with Horizontal Sheaths
Best Overall Scout Carry Knife – Gerber Principle
The best knife makers take user’s recommendations to improve their products. The Gerber Principle is an improved Ghoststrike, capable of a great many tasks.
The Principle took the Ghoststrike’s customizable sheath and filled it with a small blade designed for bushcrafting and capable of most EDC purposes.
You get a Scandinavian grind, a 90-degree spine for fire starting, and a rubber grip that won’t get slippery when wet in a great fixed blade knife.
However, you may want to heat the sheath and increase the friction on the blade, because the retention is a bit weak from the factory.
ESEE has a reputation for selling some of the best outdoor knives and the horizontal-capable ESEE-4P is no different
1095 is a great steel but it also rusts easily
The ESEE-P4 is a great all-around knife for most tasks outdoors and comes with a good horizontal sheath, though it does ride high when set up for vertical carry and you do need to take care of the blade’s edge so it doesn’t rust.
Best Scout Carry Knife with Kydex Sheath – Condor SBK
Most knife manufacturers are known for selling high-quality knives and including low-quality sheaths with them.
The Condor SBK (which stands for Straight Back Knife) is an exception to this rule. The sheath is a high-quality Kydex sheath (with leather loops) that comes set up as a dangler but can be adjusted to fit you however you want it to fit.
The edge has a Scandinavian grind and the point comes to what’s called a normal, standard, or straight back point. It’s like a drop point without the drop.
The steel is 1075 high carbon steel. It’s capable of withstanding tough abuse, but this capability does come at the expense of dulling relatively easily.
Comes with one of the most versatile sheaths on the market, made from weather-impermeable Kydex
The Condor SBK is on the large side for a horizontally carried knife so smaller people may find scout carry unwieldy
The Condor SBK is a large and very effective survival knife that can be carried in a multitude of ways. However, it’s too big to be a good EDC knife, making it a poor choice for use in the city.
Best Scout Carry Knife with Leather Sheath – Bradford Guardian 3.5
The Bradford Guardian is a good Everyday Carry and survival knife with a leather sheath you’ll either love or hate.
The sheath is good. Great, even. However, it is only good for scout carry, as you cannot convert the sheath to any other orientation.
There’s a plastic insert inside to improve retention. You can rotate the insert for left-handed carry. The sheath uses a sewn-in loop instead of a clip so you have to thread your belt through the sheath, which is very secure.
The blade itself has a well-designed edge and is made from Nitro-V stainless steel, which includes nitrogen to have superior edge retention.
You can get G-10 or Micarta scales. Richlite scales are also available but those are more for show than utility as they can be slippery.
Not intended as a heavy use knife and better as a backup self-defense knife than your primary weapon
The Gerber Ghoststrike is, as the name implies, good at hiding until you need to strike. It’s a better backup than primary knife, though!
Best Scout Carry Knife for Bushcraft – Buck Selkirk 863
The Buck Knife Selkirk 863 is a very utilitarian knife. It has a 420HC steel blade that’s good but not amazing, Micarta handles, and an injected nylon sheath you can set up for vertical or horizontal carry.
That sheath also holds onto a ferro rod with an integrated whistle, good for if you get caught without shelter and need to make a fire or whistle for help.
The handle doesn’t look like much but I found it comfortable and with good handling characteristics. The blade, too, is of a somewhat boring yet effective shape, like most Buck knives.
And that’s what you want in a bushcrafting knife.
Boring utility will keep you alive. And, at half the price of the ESEE-4P, the Buck Knife Selkirk won’t tear out your wallet if you lose it in the woods.