MOLLE knife sheaths?


July 29, 2008, 02:26 AM
Forgive me if I wasn't willing to sift through the achives in search of already existing answers to my inquiry, but I have a pressing question in mind.

Can anyone tell me why MOLLE knife sheaths -- similar to those that apparently existed during the Vietnam Era and which were worn such that the tool rode in a vertical fashion with the handle situated inferiorly -- have 'fallen out of vogue'? I mean, with the sudden popularity of tactical vest, chest-worn handgun holsters, I can't figure out why the shoulder-worn, tactical blade remains non-existent since our little Southeast Asia adventure.

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Jeff White
July 29, 2008, 02:43 AM
Probably because there is little need for a tactical blade in modern combat. A blade is a tool these days. I have a friend who is in a unit the Army doesn't talk much about who doesn't even carry a fixed blade, just a good multi tool.

A fixed blade is good for cutting foliage for camouflage, clearing fields of fire etc. Not much call for those tasks in Southwest Asia. If it will make you feel better, I'll see if I can find a picture of my son Mark when he was in Iraq, was an Infantryman with 4th ID and carried a Gerber Infantryman's Knife on his chest rig.

The multi tool has pretty much replaced the combat knife.

BTW, MOLLE didn't exist in the Vietnam era. Knives were attached to LBE harnesses with everything from 550 cord to 100 mph tape.


July 29, 2008, 05:59 AM
Thanks for the feedback! And you're absolutely right . . . our Vietnam-era vets did indeed improvise alot.

The thing is, I've seen a few pics of Spec-Ops/LRRP types from the Vietnam era who carried big-ass, fixed blades on the shoulders of their load-bearing vests, and it had occurred to me that this is a REALLY smart thing by virtue of the fact that it's a very light tool/weapon that won't only be extremely fast-into-play on the shoulder, but will be yet another lengthy, otherwise cumbersome tool off the waist/hips.

Seriously, the more 'essential gear' I find I need to have on me in various situations (e.g. SHTF/TEOTWAWKI), the more of it I want to be hanging/riding from my load-bearing vest! And it's NOT because I'm delusional and fancy myself some kinda bad-ass operator! It's simply a matter of the fact that I know what it's like to carry alot of **** on around/on your waist/hips versus carrying it on your back/shoulders!!!


Eleven Mike
July 29, 2008, 09:39 AM
I'm curious where one would carry a knife, if not on the chest/shoulder area? It has nothing to do with the knife being a weapon or tool. With LBE harness or vest, there's too much junk hanging around the stomach and hips for a knife to fit right on the belt, at least when I tried it. I would have used chest/shoulder carry when I was in the military, except that our First Sergeant was an idiot who didn't want anything at all on our LBE, unless it was issued. So, I carried a small fixed-blade in my right front pants pocket.

July 29, 2008, 10:24 AM
On my hunting vest I have a boot knife clipped to the MOLLE straps that run up along my left shoulder. Its on there solid and is in a very handy position to be accessed quickly without being uncomfortable.

July 29, 2008, 05:11 PM
My Kydex guy makes these for my fighters, and soldiers seem to like 'em so far:

July 29, 2008, 10:22 PM
Hot damn!!! Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!!! :D DLKnives, eh? Thanks Valkman!

July 29, 2008, 10:28 PM
Those are made by Red Hill Sheaths - I just make the knives! :)

July 29, 2008, 11:15 PM
Yeah, I just visited your website and saw that! Nice blades, Don! I really like the 'Fighters' and 'Camp Knife'. I tell ya, I was getting ready to pull the trigger on a MercWorx Vorax. But after seein' your product I'm gonna have to mull over it some more. I mean, your designs just make sense, guy!

July 31, 2008, 12:50 PM
What I see here in Iraq is that many soldiers have a sturdy folder clipped in the strongside front pocket. The PXs all sell CRKT M14s and M16s, and a few other folders (also occasionally see a few medium sized fixed blades for sale, but not many). Others use a Leatherman.

Very few fixed blade knives on the rank and file.

Todays combat soldier goes outside the wire with so much equipment that any extras are just that: extras. The intercepter body armor is 40 pounds of dead weight, add to that a basic ammo load, a weapon, helmet, water, radio, etc. and you'll bnegin to see why a big ass knife is not a common accessory.


July 31, 2008, 01:02 PM
Check my other posts. I'm in Iraq now and carry a Gerber 4.5" fixed blade on my IOTV.

The arguments I've heard against it is weight (we already carry a lot of weight), close quarters vehicles and snagging it on stuff (our ancestors didn't ride around in Humvees or similar much like we do - but they still flew in the UH1s), and mainly we don't 'fight' vicious close quarters fights where we are surrounded by countless enemies and close quarters combat.

I disagree with all of the reasons and feel that the extra 1 lb. weight is worth gold if you need it. I've only needed mine for trivial tasks, but if I ever do need it to save my life it's handy.

July 31, 2008, 01:27 PM
During my time in the Corps, which was very recent (just got out in December) you could always pick out the boot in any field op by the giant moto kabar he had strapped on somewhere. Eventually, with enough ridicule, he came to the understanding that it was completely unnecessary. We all had one of the old M7 bayonets issued to us (which were too dull to even cut string), and those were useless as well. In fact, each time we would go to the field, we would zip tie the bayonet to the sheath, then zip tie both to our flak, just so we couldn't lose them (or unsheathe them, for that matter). When those pieces of crap were replaced by the new USMC bayonets, we rejoiced at how sharp they were and delighted in the speed with which we could cut open MREs....because that's really all they were good for as well. BUT, there was one phrase that I heard at a minimum 3 times a week, every week, whether in the field or in garrison......"Does anyone have a Leatherman I can borrow?????" I never found a use for a large fixed blade, but I'm not sure I would have survived without my Leatherman, or Gerber, or SOG, etc.

Jeff White
July 31, 2008, 01:29 PM
(our ancestors didn't ride around in Humvees or similar much like we do - but they still flew in the UH1s),

You know before I retired in 2003 the guys used to tease me that my first issued weapon was a brown bess musket, but now flying in UH1s makes you ancient? I suppose I'll just check into the old soldiers home now.........

Jeff US Army 06 Dec 74 - 01 Nov 03....not feeling ancient or like a long lost ancestor just yet.....

August 1, 2008, 11:46 AM
Jeff, I certainly didn't mean to imply you're ancient... it was just a curt way of saying that mounted patrols are much more common now than in Vietnam - the last large drawn out armed conflict against an insurgent type enemy.

I rarely go on dismounted foot patrols, but am frequently riding in tight vehicles like Humvees, MRAPs and UH60s.

While I feel that the 1 lb knife is a value, I understand the argument that it is not necessary.

Then again, Soldiers carry a lot of unnecessary weight, like the tacticool stuff on their M4s for instance.

To each their own.

August 1, 2008, 03:18 PM
Because they didn't have Tek-loks? :neener:

August 1, 2008, 03:28 PM
Todays combat soldier goes outside the wire with so much equipment that any extras are just that: extras. The intercepter body armor is 40 pounds of dead weight, add to that a basic ammo load, a weapon, helmet, water, radio, etc. and you'll bnegin to see why a big ass knife is not a common accessory.

+1. My intercepter with soft and hard plates and 12 loaded 30 round mags of 556 is heavy enough. I do have a leatherman wave on my rig though.

August 1, 2008, 05:47 PM
Ochmude, that attitude was present in the early 90's when I was in the Marines, too. I carried a pocketknife, my pink handled Spyderco being my favorite, mostly because it was the first knife I owned with a pocketclip and a pair of Cee Tee slip-joint pliers in the standard farmer sheath. Had Leatherman products been available at the PX at the time, I would have converted to them much earlier than I did. In any event, that combination was pure gold in the field. It is fascinating how often a pair of pliers comes in handy in the day to day life of an infantryman.

August 1, 2008, 06:20 PM
I understand not wanting to carry the extra weight - I don't know how our guys carry what they do in that heat.

But I also saw a show about a squad in Iraq that got into a prolonged battle, couldn't get help quickly enough and ran out of ammo. They all had combat knives and pulled them because now it was all they had, but luckily help got there before they got attacked again.

If there was ever a chance of that happening I'd have a combat knife on me. But like leadcounsel said, to each their own.

August 5, 2008, 12:43 AM
Guys! Guys!
While all of your feedback is greatly appreciated and of enormous incidental value, I must recapitulate that I am NOT a soldier/Marine who has been or will be deployed to any 'hot zones' abroad. I'm just a silly, somewhat-hippiesque registered nurse from Houston who has a penchant for backcountry backpacking in the Northern Rockies (specifically, the area where Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming all converge) and in my subject travels -- all of which have been and will be on foot -- my experiences have been made much safer and/or more comfortable by adapting various equipment/gear loadout philosophies and techniques from you, our fighting men. And for the purposes of this thread, I should add that one of the things my last outing impressed upon me was the need for a medium-sized (5 or 6 inch), fixed-blade knife that I can wear situated vertically along the shoulder strap of my Arc'Teryx pack. Because believer it or not, a Leatherman, folded up and holstered about the pack's hip straps, becomes INCREDIBLY inconvenient! I can't tell you how many times I've been in situations, for instance, where I had only one hand available and I needed a serious knife right then!!! Don Llewelyn's 'Fighter' and the sheath pictured above would have been PERFECT at those times, in fact.

August 5, 2008, 01:15 AM
You better get in on the group buy going on then! Fighters for $225 with sheath! I don't know how much longer I'm going to offer it.

August 5, 2008, 01:40 AM
hmm... so i guess now i'm somewhat confused as to what exactly you are asking and whether it's been answered already.

are you wondering why molle sheathes appear less popular/available or are you looking for recommendations on a knife system for your set up?

first of all, i seem to think there are a fair amount of good MOLLE knife/sheath combos out there. second, as my first "smart-aleck" post from a few days back said, the tek loks are pretty sweet and versatile. i've mounted them on a vertical shoulder strap with no problem.

as to what knife to get, if that's the question... well you're just not gonna be able to beat Valkman's group buy. not much else need be said.

Al Thompson
August 5, 2008, 02:14 AM
UH1s - huh, started riding in those in 1976. :D

SR, for your purposes, sounds like something on the chest would be perfect. The vogue bit is that (as mentioned), knives have limited utility here and "real estate" on the IBA tends to go to higher priority bits of equipment. I do keep a fixed blade on my left hip while NOT in IBA - due to my location in Iraq, stuff can happen when you don't have the gear available - like fires or rocket attacks.

August 5, 2008, 04:54 AM
Valkman makes a very good knife, so I understand. I'm looking forward to getting mine.... :)

The best solution, to me, is Blade-Tech's Tek-Lok, by far. That way, the sheath can be quickly moved. I love my holsters that use that system, but I don't know how many knives are offered with sheaths that would use this system.

Eleven Mike
August 5, 2008, 07:17 AM
Who is Molle, and why does she spell her name like that?

August 5, 2008, 04:16 PM
From Wikipedia

MOLLE (pronounced MOLE) is an acronym for MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to define the current generation of load-bearing equipment and rucksacks utilized by the United States Army. The system's modularity is derived from the use of PALS webbing, rows of heavy-duty nylon stitched onto the vest as to allow for attachment of various MOLLE-compatible pouches and accessories. This method of attachment has become a de facto standard for modular tactical gear, replacing the click and stick system used in the earliest modular vest systems (which is still in use with most Western police departments). It is produced for the United States Government under contract by several contractors, such as Specialty Defense, Armor Holdings as well as Michael Bianco Inc.[1][2][3] (Michael Bianco Inc. is probably no longer a government contractor)[4]

Eleven Mike
August 5, 2008, 05:12 PM
I make joke. No you take seriously. :p

August 5, 2008, 06:43 PM
I had no idea what it stood for, or how it was pronounced. I call it "Molly" gear and I like that better than MOLE. :)

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