Best Fixed Blade Knives with Horizontal Sheaths for Scout Carry

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Best Scout Carry Knives: Winners

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

Gerber Principle best overall scout carry knife horizontal sheath

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.

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.

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 7.5″
  • Blade Length: 3.1″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Material: 420HC
  • Handle Material: Rubber
  • Sheath Material: Polymer
Pros
  • Good for scout carry, vertical carry, or attached to MOLLE webbing
  • Well-designed blade and handle can be used for a large variety of tasks with whichever grip works best for you
Cons
  • 420HC steel is a little on the soft side, though it’s not a bad steel
  • Weak retention
Verdict

The Gerber Principle is a great knife with an adaptable sheath and isn’t too expensive. Spend a few minutes with a hairdryer to tighten up the sheath and you’ll have a great survival tool!

Schrade SCHF57 best budget horizontal sheath carry knife

Budget Pick – Schrade SCHF57

The Schrade SCH57 is a lot more knife than I expected from the price point. I had to keep checking the price to make sure it really was this low!

For less than $20 you get a camping knife with a high carbon steel blade, G-10 scales, and a thermoplastic sheath.

“Thermoplastic” basically means “generic Kydex1.” It comes set up for vertical carry but can be swapped to scout carry by moving around some screws.

The jimping and handle design give you great control when cutting.

The blade steel isn’t super tough. It’s easy to sharpen but also dulls easily, so be sure you know how to sharpen a knife in the wild!

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 6.3″
  • Blade Length: 2.6″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Material: 65Mn Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: G10
  • Sheath Material: Thermoplastic
Pros
  • Impressive quality for such an inexpensive knife
  • Well designed control surfaces
Cons
  • The blade will require more maintenance than other outdoor knives
Verdict

The Schrade SCHF57 is a great horizontally-carried outdoor knife for survivalists and campers on a budget if you are up to maintaining the blade.

ESEE 4P upgrade better choice for EDC scout carry knife

Upgrade Pick – ESEE 4P

ESEE is one of the best survival knife brands. Naturally, you can find their ESEE-4P knife available with a molded polymer sheath capable of horizontal carry.

The clip section has 4 holes, one in each corner, so you can rotate this knife to the orientation which best fits you.

The 4 is smaller than some ESEE offerings, but this just helps it fit onto your waist more easily. It’s also well balanced in your hand.

The Micarta scales are comfortable and grippy. Plus, they’re easily replaced if you want to customize your ESEE.

ESEE also has an unconditional, worldwide, lifetime guarantee2!

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 9″
  • Blade Length: 4.1″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Material: 1095 High Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath Material: Polymer
Pros
  • ESEE has a reputation for selling some of the best outdoor knives and the horizontal-capable ESEE-4P is no different
Cons
  • 1095 is a great steel but it also rusts easily
Verdict

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.

Condor SBK best large scout carry knife with Kydex sheath

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.

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 10.5″
  • Blade Length: 5.28″
  • Blade Shape: Straight Back
  • Blade Material: 1075 Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath Material: Kydex
Pros
  • Can handle the most abusive knife tasks
  • Comes with one of the most versatile sheaths on the market, made from weather-impermeable Kydex
Cons
  • The Condor SBK is on the large side for a horizontally carried knife so smaller people may find scout carry unwieldy
Verdict

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.

Bradford Guardian best EDC survival knife with horizontal leather sheath

Best Scout Carry Knife with Leather Sheath – Bradford Guardian 3.5

The Bradford Guardian is a good EDC 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.

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 7.25″
  • Blade Length: 3.5″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Material: Nitro-V Stainless Steel
  • Handle Material: G-10 or Micarta
  • Sheath Material: Leather
Pros
  • Blends classy looks with a utilitarian design
  • Well-fitted leather sheath that won’t fall off your belt
Cons
  • The sheath lacks features and requires undoing your belt to remove
Verdict

The Bradford Guardian 3.5 is an excellent EDC and survival knife and comes with a leather sheath that’s great for horizontal scout carry. However, that sheath is not good for other carrying methods.

ESEE Izula best small lightweight EDC scout knife

Best Scout Carry Knife for EDC – ESEE Izula

The ESEE Izula is a no-frills lightweight EDC knife that barely hits the scale at 2 ounces.

It has a 1095 high carbon steel drop point blade with good edge retention and cutting properties, though you won’t want to use it for heavy bushcrafting tasks.

The handle is skeletal steel, which is partially why the weight is so low. No rubber or Micarta here, only the powder coating.

The sheath is molded polymer with a separate clip plate that can be attached in four different directions using the included Chicago screws. The sheath does add 2 more ounces to the weight, though.

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 6.25″
  • Blade Length: 2.625″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Material: 1095 High Carbon Steel
  • Handle Material: Steel
  • Sheath Material: Polymer
Pros
  • Small and lightweight so you’ll be able to wear it all day and not remember it’s on you until you need it or you take off your clothes
Cons
  • The Izula is a very small knife, so it’s unsuitable for large hands and large tasks
Verdict

The ESEE Izula is a great EDC scout carry knife so long as you want a small, lightweight knife.

Gerber Ghoststrike most concealable scout carry knife self defense hidden

Most Concealable Scout Carry Knife – Gerber Ghoststrike

The Gerber Ghoststrike has made it onto Know Prepare Survive several times because it’s small, effective, and easy to conceal.

The knife has a drop point tip and a skeletal handle coated in rubber. It’s not designed to be a bushcrafting knife but more to be a low-profile self-defense weapon.

To this end, the sheath is one of the most versatile I’ve seen.

You can carry the Ghoststrike as a neck knife, on your belt outside or inside and in multiple directions, or even as a boot knife.

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 6.9″
  • Blade Length: 3.3″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Material: 420HC
  • Handle Material: Rubber
  • Sheath Material: Nylon
Pros
  • Small, light, and very easy to conceal
  • Very versatile sheath system
Cons
  • Not intended as a heavy use knife and better as a backup self-defense knife than your primary weapon
Verdict

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!

Buck Selkirk 863 best bushcraft scout carry knife for woods survival use

Best Scout Carry Knife for Bushcraft – Buck Selkirk 863

The Buck Knife Selkirk 863 is a very utilitarian knife. It has 420HC steel 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.

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.

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Specs

  • Overall Length: 9.5″
  • Blade Length: 4.625″
  • Blade Shape: Drop Point
  • Blade Material: 420HC
  • Handle Material: Micarta
  • Sheath Material: Nylon
Pros
  • Effective at most practical tasks
  • The sheath is versatile and includes a fire starting rod and an emergency whistle
Cons
  • Made in China, so there are potential QC concerns
Verdict

The Buck Selkirk 863 is a great bushcrafting knife that’s durable, capable, and comfortable to use and carry, even in a horizontal position.

What to Look for When Choosing a Horizontal Carry Knife

A good knife for vertical carry may not be a good knife for sticking in your boot or for carrying horizontally on your belt.

Scout carry knives tend to be smaller than vertical knives and often more utilitarian. These are knives to be used, not shown off.

Still, there are many different types of knifes which are good for horizontal carry.

So, let’s help you narrow down your choices!

Style

The style of knife is the first thing you should keep in mind when looking at knives you can scout carry.

To determine the style you’re looking for, answer this question:

How are you going to use this knife?

Is it going to be a small knife you’ll carry every day? Then a small blade like the Gerber Principle or the ESEE Izula will be best.

Are you going to use this when hunting and you don’t care if anybody sees that you’re carrying a knife? Then a large one like the Condor SBK will be better.

If this is a backup for your self-defense knife then get the Gerber Ghoststrike. If you’re using this knife as your primary survival knife then you’ll want the ESEE-4P.

Materials and Durability

What the knife is made from can also affect your choice.

High carbon steels are great for cutting. However, they tend to rust more easily than a lower-carbon steel and can even be brittle and unsuitable for harsh tasks.

If you tend to leave off sharpening and maintaining your knives then a stainless steel like the Nitro-V blade of the Bradford Guardian will work better than the 1095 steel ESEE likes to use.

Even among high carbon steels there are choices. For example, 1075 handles abuse better than 1095 but also dulls more quickly3.

Don’t forget the handle material as well!

G-10 and Micarta are both grippy surfaces that can handle lots of abuse. Rubber is effective but can get damaged in the field.

And smoother surfaces, such as on the Izula, save on weight but render the knife a poor choice when it starts to rain.

Save those for EDC blades, which are most often used indoors.

Blade Shape

Your knife’s shape will affect how effective it is at certain cutting tasks.

Drop points are the most common nowadays. They have good cutting characteristics and are also good at stabbing.

However, a straight back blade will have a stronger tip if you need to hack through tougher materials.

Size

Smaller knives are easier to conceal and are less likely to snag on plants or cords.

Larger knives are easier to control and can deliver more force when you’re batoning through a log.

Medium knives will have a good balance and will be capable of performing many tasks, though they may be harder to use than a more specialized knife.

A 3.5″ blade is a good medium size for a scout carry knife. Consider how you’ll use the knife when looking at bigger or smaller blades.

Cost

Finally, if you cannot afford a knife, you cannot afford that knife!

It’s worth spending money on a knife that won’t break on you. Thankfully, every knife on this list is good enough to function as a survival knife.

Honestly, unless you need the knife right now, I’d recommend saving up money until you can afford the knife you want.

Buying a cheap knife and deciding you want a better knife later doesn’t save you any money in the long run.

Final Verdict

All of the knives above are great scout carry knives.

There are a few bests of the best, though. And ESEE has two of the three.

The ESEE-4P is an excellent hunting, survival, and bushcrafting knife. I’d trust my life to the ESEE-4P in the field before any of the other knives.

The ESEE Izula, on the other hand, is great for more urban tasks. It’s small, light, concealable, and still effective for EDC cutting.

The Gerber Principle is my favorite all-around horizontal carry knife because it is a great blend of size, utility, and price. You can wear and use it in the woods or in the city.

Which knife is your favorite scout carry knife?

Is Scout Carry Dangerous?

Carrying a knife horizontally on your belt is not inherently dangerous.

However, if you scout carry a knife behind your back, you cannot see the sheath when you’re resheathing your blade. Take extra care when doing so!

It’s safer to wear the sheath at 11 o’clock, which also has the advantage of keeping the knife out of the way when you’re wearing a backpack.

Resources

  1. https://kydex.com/our-products/about-thermoplastics/
  2. https://www.eseeknives.com/warranty
  3. https://www.meadmetals.com/blog/types-of-metal-compared-infographic

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