I’ve been practicing different carry methods for my fixed blades when I wear a gun on my strong side. I should also mention that when you carry a revolver, you usually keep your speed loaders on the strong side since that is the hand you use to reload. With a semi-auto, your spare magazine is on the opposite side, since you reload using your weak hand. When carrying a .357 revolver, as I have been doing upon occasion when we head into the woods, you may end up with a fairly heavy steel revolver, two speed loaders and a good sized knife all on one side. To me, this is less than ideal.
Here are the different methods of knife carry I’ve tried so far:
Knife in Front of Gun
Strong side carry is the method of carry for which most sheaths are designed. Having my knife in front of the gun works well as the knife goes straight down the side of the leg and doesn’t get in the way much when I work or sit, however it makes accessing my strong-side pants pocked difficult. This carry method works best with a holster where your firearm draw stroke is straight up and down. If the holster is canted forward, then the handle of the knife can get in the way and mess up your draw.
Knife Behind the Gun
This does not interfere with drawing your gun, but with a long sheath knife it can make sitting down awkward. This works better for me when the holster is an outside the pants holder. This is probably my favorite method with a small knife, say a blade under 4 inches
Having my gun on one side and my knife on the other is the most convenient for me, regardless of whether I am carrying a revolver or semi-auto. The problem is that all my sheaths are set up for right hand carry, which is my strong side. If I wear a knife on my left, the blade faces forward instead of back, meaning that you draw it upside down. Is this a huge inconvenience? No, just a minor one. Far more serious is the difficulty drawing a large blade on your weak side with your strong hand, especially if the knife is large enough to have two snaps holding it in place.
I am realizing that most of my knives have basic leather sheaths that feature a flap of leather that makes a loop, like your standard Ka-Bar fighting knife leather sheath. A couple small blades have leather sheaths with metal belt clips. Fewer knives have Kydex sheaths.
I cannot help but think that I need to learn to mold my own Kydex sheaths and holsters or I need to learn to do my own leather work so I can custom make my own gear.
Cross Draw Appendix Carry
I think this is probably the best method of carrying a fixed blade when you have a handgun on your strong side in that it allows speedy access to your knife and does not interfere with your use of the firearm. The problem I face is twofold: First, I only have one knife with a Kydex sheath that is adaptable to cross-draw carry, and second, it just isn’t comfortable. If I have it in front, it gets in the way of my belly when I sit down. If I slide it further to the left, it bangs on chairs and pokes against the car seat or sofa.
I am thinking horizontal carry with a cross draw might be the solution. I can keep it primarily in the front of me. I will have to see if I can convert any of my sheaths to this method. My guess is that it will work in the field, but is probably ideal in the house.
One option I have not considered is to carry either my knife or my gun in a shoulder holster. I have now way to do this with my knife, and my sold shoulder holster holds a Glock and not much else. I frequently carried this way 20 years ago, but haven’t done so for some time.
Another option is carrying my gun on my chest. I do have a holster of this sort that fits S&W K-frames. I may have to trot that out on my next excursion.
In any case, I have to take care in matching gun, holster, reload, knife and sheath into one smoothly functioning system. My hope is that I will be able to settle on a couple basic loadouts including one for in the woods, one for carrying concealed, and possibly one for carrying a revolver.
If you have a preferred method of carry, let me know in the comments below.