Jay Fisher - World Class Knifemaker

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"Hooded Warrior" (Shadow Line) obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, black G10 fiberglass/epoxy composite handle, locking kydex, anodized aluminum, stainless steel sheath
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Accessory: Tactical Knife Sheath Ultimate Belt Loop Extender: UBLX

Also called "Drop Leg Sheath" or "Thigh Sheath"

“Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.”

--Franz Kafka
Writer, 1883-1924

Introduction and Description: The Ultimate Belt Loop Extender (UBLX)

My locking sheath and my hybrid-tension locking sheaths are the very best in the world. There is no one who has put as much thought, planning, testing, and refining into these sheaths, and no one who is even close to copying their design and function. This is because they are extremely hard to make, and no maker, manufacturer, or company is willing to make a sheath that may well cost more than their knives! This is why they are used by some of the top military and counterterrorism teams in the world.

One of my early locking sheath users was a United States Navy Seabee. He loved the sheath, but because he was onboard ship, he didn't like the position of the sheath on his belt. He wanted it to ride lower on the belt, with the handle below the belt line, like a lowered holster for a firearm. He devised his own crude idea of this with military MOLLE webbing and duct tape (yes, duct tape) to illustrate the idea for me, and I went to work. This was the birth of the very first belt loop extender.

Note: my earliest belt loop extenders are described on a special archival page on the website at this link.

In the firearms world, a belt loop extender arrangement is called a "drop holster," because it drops the firearm to a lower position. Even lower and it becomes a "leg holster," or a "drop leg holster." The holster itself is the lowering and positioning piece. This is why I titled this page with these terms.

No matter what you call it, a drop leg sheath, or a thigh sheath, it's not the sheath that lowers the knife to a location below the belt loop. Since I use a universal locking sheath or hybrid tension locking sheath, I design and offer an accessory to lower the position of the knife. This is my ultimate belt loop extender, or UBLX.

A simple belt loop extender only does that, lowers the sheath position a bit. Right away, I realized that simple belt loop extenders weren't enough, that the extender could offer other features, such as a place to nest a diamond pad sharpener and a web pocket for the LIMA flashlight. This was the beginning of my "Ultimate Belt Loop Extender," which comprises most of the extenders I make and is tagged: UBLX

I also offer even lower extenders, of greater length. These are not only for very large knives; I've learned from US Marines that lower on the leg is the most convenient place to wear smaller fixed blade knives. So I offer EXBLX, extended length ultimate belt loop extenders.

A new addition to this idea is my modular sheath frame system, which has a modular sheath frame and is quickly adapted to a variety of wear options, the UBLX being just one of them. I'll cover that on a different page of the site.

This page is all about the UBLX, and the EXBLX, accessories that lower my knife sheaths to a "below the belt" position.

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The Ultimate Belt Loop Extender
Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories, Ultimate Belt Loop Extender

Design, Materials, and Construction

Like all of my custom tactical knife gear, the entire belt loop extender is custom made to fit each individual knife. While some of the accessory gear (the sharpeners, the flashlights, the magnesium firestarters) are purchased separately, all of the physical working, mounting, hardware, and wearing components are carefully handmade. Like the sheaths, the UBLXs won't fit other knives, they are custom made to fit one individual knife and sheath combination. One of the main reasons for this is that because each knife is different, so is the size and shape of the sheath. This means that the bolt pattern, distance to the top of the knife butt (when sheathed) and widths are all different. So each UBLX must be made to fit a single knife/sheath combination.

I make the UBLX web frames in nylon or polypropylene, and stitch them with very heavy polyester thread. The hook and loop (Velcro®) retainer pad is adhesive and cross-stitched. There is a "drop" area, where the actual extension of the web between the loop for the belt and the top of the sheath is, and in older/earlier models, I heavily zigzag stitched this area to stiffen it. In the newer models, I insert a piece of acrylic stiffener to stop this area from collapsing or folding as the knife is pulled up and out of the sheath.

The UBLXs have a cross-strap design of two main parts:

  1. There is a 2" wide vertical riser that has the loop that the belt is threaded through, and in the vertical riser is the anti-flop shock cord. This is a bungee-elastic strap that is secured around the knife handle. This pulls the handle toward the leg, otherwise the handle will "flop" around while active (think running or climbing). The anti-flop shock strap does not secure the knife in the sheath, the sheath itself does that, whether it's a locking sheath or a hybrid tension-locking sheath. I don't make simple tension sheaths anymore, but that is all you will find from other makers and factories. Also in the vertical component, at the bottom of the UBLX is a sharpener pocket. This houses a folding diamond pad sharpener, just right for small touch-ups.
  2. The 2" wide horizontal strap has several functions. It physically supports the mounting straps, which are 304 stainless steel, blasted, flat, and/or oxide blackened or matched to the gear. The horizontal strap is heavily wrapped and stitched on both sides by the vertical riser, so is surrounded by the vertical strap. It will not come off, ever. The horizontal strap usually has an included loop pocket for the LIMA flashlight, so if you're wearing the UBLX, you don't need the additional LIMA web frame and strap. The horizontal strap has cross-stitched hook and loop pads, 2" square that wrap around the straps after mounting. The hook and loop is not what secures the UBLX to the sheath, the stainless steel flat straps are. The hook and loop is a retainer for the diamond pad sharpener; it can't be removed unless the hook and loop are opened, and it serves as an accessory holder for items like my magnesium/firesteel fire block. It also creates a pad for the UBLX against the body to prevent injury. By having the horizontal strap with the extra length of the 2" hook and loop pads, the owner is certain to have enough length to secure the stainless steel straps.
  3. The cross strap design and the vertical/horizontal components are extremely strong. They will not come apart, and can easily support the weight of several men. Most of the 2" strap used has breaking strength in excess of 4000 lbs. The polyester thread is thick and heavy, tightly stitched and sunlight and mold/rot resistant.

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UBLX in Coyote
"PJLT" obverse side view in 440C high chromium stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, coyote/black G10 fiberglass/epoxy composite laminate handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath
More about this PJLT

Mounting and Using the UBLX

The UBLX is an extender for the belt loop position, effectively lowering the knife. The main reason for this is that when the die-formed aluminum belt loops are used, this can put the knife in an uncomfortably high position, depending on the use, wearer, preferences, or mission. Also, some clients find reaching high up under their ribcage to unsheathe the knife difficult. Sometimes, sitting, crouching, or movement is inhibited when the knife rides high on the belt. Because this can sometimes be a problem, and knifemaking is about solving my client's problems, I created the UBLX.

The UBLX mounts the knife sheath. It's not carried; it doesn't hold, embrace, or coddle the knife and sheath with rope, cord, weak eyelets or any of the inferior contrivances of most other knifemakers and all manufacturers. The sheath is firmly and solidly mounted to the UBLX. In rigidly mounting, the sheath is fixed to the web frame of the UBLX. The belt is threaded through the belt loop opening, and the sheath and knife are located to a lower position. In most UBLX accessories, this places the knife handle at or below the belt line. Even longer EXBLXs and leg straps are detailed later on this page.

Because the sheath alone is mounted to the UBLX, the knife handle can move about and this can cause problems, with the handle "flopping" around and away from the body. This is why all of the BLXs have anti-flop shock straps. These are wide elastic or bungee, or in some cases, webbing straps with buckles to prevent the knife handle from moving away from the body, keeping the assembly tight, close, and compact. When the knife is to be removed (unsheathed), the strap is either unsnapped, unbuckled, or just pulled up and over the butt of the knife handle, allowing the knife to be unlocked from the sheath.

As the knife is pulled up, the UBLX resists collapsing because it has stiffeners either stitched into the vertical riser (earlier models) or actual pieces of acrylic stiffener trapped in the webbing (later models). To sheath the knife, it's sheathed like any of my locking or hybrid tension-locking knife sheaths, and then the anti-flop strap is replaced around the knife handle. Some of the anti-flop shock straps are mounted at an angle, depending on the knife design (think tactical push/punch daggers).

The UBLX usually has a pocket for the LIMA accessory flashlight, and it's built right in, so the client does not have to wear the LIMA web frame and mounting strap. Most of the UBLXs also have the sharpener pocket built in. To remove the sharpener, the sheath must be off the body, and the hook and loop pads opened; the sharpener cannot fall out or come out without the hook and loop opened.

To mount the UBLX, please look over the instructional photos below. They are pretty simple. The only thing to be very careful of is cross-threading the screws. All of the tactical knife sheaths I make have all stainless steel fasteners, and if they are started crooked and forced, they will lock up and be ruined. The simple rule is start every screw by finger pressure first, before using a tool to tighten. Because they are stainless steel, they will never rust, corrode, or seize.

In tightening, these accessories don't need to be super tight like the head bolts on an engine. They aren't going to loosen and fall out; just a bit tighter than finger pressure is all that is needed. I always include a large variety and length of fasteners for each kit; there will be one long enough to do the job. If it bottoms out in the long female Chicago screw, just use a bit shorter machine screw.

Page Topics

Please click on thumbnails
Tactical knife sheath accessory UBLX, removing belt loops
Removing Belt Loops
Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories: UBLX assembly
Removing Second Loop
Tactical knife sheath accessory belt loop extender, drop sheath
Parts for Assembly
Tactical knives, tactical knife accessories belt loop extender
Align and mounting strap
Tactical knife sheath belt loop extender, mounting to sheath
Mounting second strap
Tactical knife sheath belt loop extender accessory, velcro closure
Hook closure over straps
Tactical knife sheath belt accessory UBLX
Final closure
Tactical belt loop extender for locking knife sheath
Securing anti-flop shock strap
Tactical knife sheath belt loop extender flashlight web mount
Mounting LIMA flashlight
Belt loop extender for tactical knife sheath details
Details, side view
UBLX tactical knife sheath belt loop extender, back view
Rear view

Side view of UBLX in Coyote
"Arcturus" obverse side view in ATS-34 high molybdenum stainless steel blade, 304 stainless steel bolsters, red/blue G10 fiberglass/epoxy composite handle, locking kydex, aluminum, stainless steel sheath with ultimate extender and HULA accessories
More about this "Arcturus"

The Extended Length Belt Loop Extender

When a United States Marine asks for a feature on a tactical combat knife, I listen carefully. The Marine carries a tremendous amount of gear, and these guys are strong, tough, and incredible warriors. However, the Corps has left them little room for a knife, and this requires some thinking for viable, worthwhile wearing options. This is why I now regularly make the EXBLX.

This is the same idea as the belt loop extender, but it moves the knife even lower, to a low thigh position on the side of the leg of the leading hand. I've made similar mounts before, but usually only for very long knives that have sheaths that are so long that they extend down the leg. With the EXBLX, even small knives are worn down, at the side of the leg, just above the knee. The are secured like any of my tactical combat knives, with a positively locking or hybrid tension-locking sheath, with the addition on the EXBLX of a wide leg strap.

Since the EXBLX is based on the design of thigh sheath mounts with leg straps, let's look over those to see what the issues are and how I've addressed them. The long sheath mount is very similar to the EXBLX.

Thigh Belt Mount for Long Knives
Ultimate belt loop extender on very long knife sheath with thigh belt.
Thigh Belt for Long Knives and Sheaths

For very long knife blades, I offer a reasonable, practical, and worthwhile solution for realistic wear. The problem with most of the long knife sheaths for this type of knife is that when the sheath is long, the bottom (tip) of the sheath can flop around. The solution to this is to anchor the sheath to the thigh. Other makers and suppliers of this type of sheath are woefully inadequate, using lace, cord, or other straps to accomplish this critical job. That is simply not good enough, and here are the reasons why:

Problems with long knife sheath mounts and ties
  • Lace is weak, thin, and short-lived. Leather is susceptible to rot, decay, moisture penetration.
  • Lace (particularly leather) can dry out, shrink, and crack in desert or dry locations.
  • Lace or cord will become soiled and most of it is not able to be cleaned. Leather will stain and stiffen, cord will stain and decay inside, since it can not breathe and quickly dry. Nylon (read Para cord) actually absorbs and holds water and everything in it, like salts, dirt, spores, fungus, mold, and chemicals!
  • Lace or cord will dig into the thigh and leg; it will chafe and burn.
  • Lace or cord has to be constantly adjusted to changes in pant thickness, motion, activity and environment.
  • Lace or cord attachment is only as strong as the lace or cord, specifically at the attachment point. If this is an eyelet, the eyelet is weak, thin, and seldom corrosion resistant. Know of any sheath that has stainless steel eyelets? No.
  • The attachment method is only as strong as the sheath body and welts. A thin sheath here could allow tugging by the lace or cord, causing the knife to eventually cut through the sheath. Your leg is not where you want the point of a razor sharp knife (or even a dull knife) to ride!
  • Lace or cord can slip around the attachment point, and that is where it will eventually rub in half.
  • Tying and retying lace or cord is a time consuming, hassle, as adjustment is frequent. The tie is typically on the inside of the leg, where chafing and rubbing of the bulky knot will bother both legs!
  • The lace or cord always has extra length (the tail) that extends past the knot. This tail can become trapped, snagged by objects, brush and obstacles, and can trip the wearer.
  • Lace or cord has the potential to choke the leg like a garrote when snagged, twisted, or trapped. This can cut off circulation and can actually cut the leg open.
  • Lace or cord can break, because it is narrow and weak.
  • Lace or cord is not quickly or easily removed in an emergency. If the knot happens to bind (as all knots eventually do) it may take quite a while to pick loose and remove. If you have wet, muddy, or soiled hands or (God forbid) gloves, forget untying quickly. I suppose the sharp knife will come in handy here!
  • Velcro® (hook and loop fastener) seems like a workable choice, but Velcro can easily come unhooked by brush, obstacles, and objects. Eventually, if exposed to dirt and debris, the Velcro hook and loop fastener can become soiled and will quit hooking. Add to that the issue of noise. Velcro is very loud, the ripping and tearing when unhooking can give away your position, a critical error in tactical combat use.
Solutions for thigh wear

How would the best leg and thigh strap work on a long-bladed knife sheath?

  • The sheath is not secured with a thin strap or lace, but with a wide belt. The belt is made of polypropylene or nylon, which is extremely long-lived and resistant to moisture, decay, or rot. All of the fittings are also impervious to moisture, rot, and decay.
  • The belt material does not absorb water, and can breathe and dry out. It is impervious to most chemicals, salts, and exposures in a wide variety of locations. It is not affected by dryness or marine (salt spray) exposures.
  • The webbing can be washed, dried, and regularly cleaned if needed.
  • The 2" wide belt prevents point contact chafing and burning, and distributes the forces over a wide area, minimizing chafing and burning.
  • The thigh belt has a tough, acetyl adjustment buckle that doesn't slip or change when you don't want it to. Once it's set for the pants you're wearing, it stays at that adjustment no matter how many times you don and doff (put on and take off) the knife.
  • My thigh belt has a strong, permanent mounting with all corrosion resistant, heavy bearing mounts. It is all stainless steel, specifically 304 high nickel, high chromium stainless steel straps, Chicago screws (sex bolts) and machine screws. They are much stronger than carbon steel, they are completely corrosion resistant, and waterproof, and require no care, ever. They are easily removable, but will not come off, loosen, or fall off.
  • The mountings are secured through the 5052H32 high strength, corrosion resistant aluminum alloy welt frame and through both layers of double-thickness kydex thermoformed plastic sheath sides. The sheath is the strongest made in the world for tactical combat and professional use, and has earned a well-deserved reputation. The sheath will protect the wearer.
  • Since the mounting of the thigh belt is with machine screws and straps of stainless steel, it does not move or slide. There is no rubbing against mounts, no weak eyelets, no narrow contact points for wear or failure.
  • Doffing should be easy! Attaching and releasing of my thigh belts is done with acetyl buckles. It is quick, easy, and the belt length does not change unless you want it to. You can hike, remove the rig during a rest, and remount assured the belt is in the same position, location, and length as when you took it off.
  • There is a buckle strap slide (triglide) made of super tough acetyl that retains the loose end of the belt and keeps the end of the extra belt length clean, tidy, neat, and out of the way.
  • The wide belt can not cut through pants or the leg. Pressure or force from the sheath movement is distributed over a wide, comfortable area.
  • The thigh belt will not break; it will support about 4000 pounds of pressure
  • In an emergency, a quick squeeze of the buckle will release the entire thigh belt. It's markedly faster than untying and can be done with wet, muddy, or soiled hands, even with gloves on!
  • Because the buckle takes two fingers to squeeze, and because it is located at the front of the leg, brush or obstacles can not accidentally open the buckle or release the thigh belt. It is extremely secure.

To learn more, please look at the group of thumbnail photos of my thigh belt and wear demonstration below.

Back to Topics

Please click on thumbnail photos below:

From the thigh belt to the EXBLX

From the development of the thigh strap, it wasn't hard to realize that to lower a smaller knife to a comfortable area on the leg, simply lengthening my UBLX was the answer. It's mounted just like the UBLX, and has the same pocket for the LIMA flashlight accessory. Once the 2" wide and comfortable leg strap is adjusted and set, it can buckle on and off easily and be fixed at the same size. No tying and untying. No narrow, dangerous, and painful lines, cord, or thongs.

The EXBLX fits anyone with an inseam from 32" on up. For special sizes and lengths I'm happy to build these, since they are custom to the knife.

Page Topics

Please click on thumbnails
Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories, extra length belt loop extender
Front View EXBLX
Tactical knife sheath accessories, belt loop extender for thigh wear
Back side details
Tactical knife sheath belt loop leg wear, 2" thigh strap
Leg Strap Buckle
Tactical knife sheath accessories, belt loop extender for thigh wear
LIMA Accessory
Custom fitting for EXBLX for US Marine
Custom EXBLX
Custom fitting, EXBLX on "Tanker" pattern of skeletonized knife in coyote
Coyote EXBLX
Custom fitting for a US Marine, front view showing low profile
EXBLX Front View
Custom EXBLX, rear view, low profile, low position, thigh belt security
EXBLX, Back View
Custom EXBLX, coyote rig, "Tanker" skeletonized knife
Compact, Accessible


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