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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 LIMA
"Lamp Independent Mount Assembly"

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

--Franz Kafka
Writer, 1883-1924

Introduction and Description: The LIMA

Many years ago, I was approached by a tactical officer that had an unusual and difficult job. He was charged with keeping watch over and confronting and eliminating the threat of grave robbers and pot hunters, thieves that were robbing ancient Central American sites of their treasure. The crimes against archaeology, against the history and anthropological wealth of a nation's ancestors, is an extremely dangerous and severe crime. His group, in an official capacity, watched over these ancient ruins to protect them from thieves and vandals. It's important to understand that the value of these treasures can be astronomical, and his was a tremendously hazardous and necessary occupation.

Since he did a lot of his surveillance at night, good flashlights were important, and he had the best he could carry for the situation and location. But, on more than one occasion, his main or "key" lamp had been damaged, had drained its battery, or had been made non-functional. He asked if I could include an additional, smaller "emergency" lamp on his knife kit, one that wouldn't be too much effort to carry around, one that would at the very least, allow him to make it safely back to base and camp. This was the birth of the LIMA.

The acronym LIMA stands for "Lamp Independent Mount Assembly," and, like all of my tactical sheath components, it's my own invention. It's an extremely lightweight adjunct that can be used when your key light fails, or in the daytime when you aren't carrying your main flashlight, and need to look into a dark hole or enter an unlighted place. It is so innocuous that it's often forgotten on the sheath, but in critical times is immediately available. It is so tremendously popular that it's been demanded on all of my counterterrorism knife kits, because of the saying, "two flashlights are one flashlight, and one flashlight is no flashlights." If you are an active, outdoor person, you know exactly what I'm writing about, since being a mechanical and electrical device, failure will, sooner or later, visit you in the wilderness, and at the very worst time.

For the reader, the reasons for a small lamp on the tactical sheath are numerous, but experience is the best reference. When have you been out in the middle of the day, and needed to peek into a downed log, a small cave, a ruin, well, or dark hole? Have you been caught far away from camp without a lamp and the daylight is fading fast? Have you needed just enough light to see your way over rocks and rough terrain, but not a blinding flood lamp that can alert others and mark you as a target? Maybe you just needed to see your way around an obstacle, through some brush, or needed to read a map or compass. Maybe you needed to catch someone's attention, see your way to reload or re-chamber a misfire, or clean and service your critical outdoor equipment in the middle of an excursion. Or maybe you want a small spotlight that can illuminate nearby eyes that may be looking back at you. This is the philosophy of this small light. It's not your main camp beacon, it's simply a lightweight, useful adjunct that can get you through difficulties. It can also act as a backup when your main light fails.

The LIMA is always there, on your sheath or on certain accessories (UBLX), ready, quietly waiting and hardly noticeable. I wouldn't consider a tactical knife sheath complete without one.

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Black and Coyote LIMA Accessories
LIMA in black and coyote
"Anzu" tactical knife sheath with LIMA
"Anzu" Sheath with LIMA
"Arcturus" with LIMA in coyote
"Arcturus" with LIMA in Coyote
"Shahal" with LIMA
"Shahal" with LIMA
"Kortath" counterterrorism knife with LIMA
"Korath" with coyote LIMA

Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories, the LIMA (Lamp Independent Mount Assembly)
The LIMA (Lamp Independent Mount Assembly) with the ThruNite Ti3 Programmable Flashlight

The Flashlight
History and Evolution of the LIMA's Lamp

At the time I made the first LIMA, the best flashlight (or torch for my friends across the pond) was the Maglite Solitaire®. The Solitaire was (and still is in some cases) a single AAA-battery powered xenon-lamp bulb anodized aluminum flashlight that was called a "keychain" light, and at the time was the best for the application. I came up with a mounting system that frankly, has not changed much in many, many years.

The Solitaire is called a Keychain/Backpack light, but it was tough and up to the job. I didn't want to add a heavy or bulky main beacon to the package, but an accessory that was light and small, yet durably built. Including the special fittings, this light accessory weighs about one ounce. It is about 3.25" long, and less than one half of an inch in diameter. On a knife sheath rig that may weigh several pounds (for a large tactical knife size), this is hardly noticeable.

I wanted a light that was tough, made of durable materials, and one that has a proven reputation of reliability. Maglite® makes their flashlights from machined aluminum, with O-ring seals and nickel plated conductors. There are no miniature switches in the Solitaire, and simply twisting the lens cap focuses the beam from spot to flood, just like the big Maglites. They included a spare bulb in the base of the xenon models, and the simple fluted knurling on the anodized black surface was fairly easy to grip when the lamp is wet or muddy.

Then, along came LED technology. LEDs are far and away better than all filament bulbs. They don't wear out, they are mechanically stronger, they are extremely efficient, and they are getting better all the time. In the early days of LEDs, I even upgraded individual Maglite Solitaires to LED bulbs, since Maglite didn't make them. Then, Maglite caught on and started making LED Solitaires. Most of my pre-2018 LIMAs have LED bulbs.

The Solitaire is a pretty good light. But all good things must come to an end, and be upgraded. This is why I'm moving on to the next level, and it's pretty surprising.

Flashlight technology is drastically improving. LEDs are intensifying, drawing less current, and readily accept programming and variable intensity and other options. This is why my newer LIMAs (starting in 2018) are now sporting ThruNIte Ti3 models. The comparison chart below will give you a clear idea of reason for the upgrade to the ThruNIte Ti3:

Feature, ANSI, NEMA FL-1 Standard Maglite LED Solitaire® ThruNite Ti3®
Battery 1-AAA 1-AAA
To Operate/Lumens Twist head to on/37 Lumens, non-adjustable Twist head once to Firefly Mode/0.04 Lumens
Twist head twice to Low Mode/ 12 Lumens
Twist head three times to High Mode/120 Lumens
Twist head through two cycles to Strobe Mode/120 Lumens
Run Time 1 hour, 45 minutes, non-adjustable Firefly Mode: 115 hours
Low Mode: 6.3 hours
High Mode: 0.5 hours
Strobe Mode (High): 1 hour
Peak Beam Intensity 748 Candelas 625 Candelas
Beam Distance 55 Meters 50 Meters
Impact Resistance 1 meter 1.2 Meters
Water Resistance Water resistant to 1 meter for 30 minutes, IPX-7 Water resistant to full and continual immersion, IPX-8
Aluminum Coating Anodized Type III, Hard-anodized
Lens material Polycarbonate Glass

From the table, you can see that there really is no comparison. The Maglite was and is a decent flashlight, but the ThruNite Ti3 is much, much better. It has more variability to set the custom light output, it is incredibly intense when needed, it's more waterproof, it has a glass lens that's less likely to scratch and fog than plastic, and it's just a tougher, better lamp. The only thing it lacks is a focusable lens which is not necessary on all but the larger lamps. A surprising feature is the strobe; in an emergency, at 120 lumens flashing, this little light my very well save your life!

Oh, and if I forgot to mention, the ThruNite Ti3 is physically smaller and about half the weight!

It's too bad that Maglite hasn't kept up with the market and features on these smaller, critical lamps. It would be nice if American companies could keep up; I certainly make it my goal to offer the most advanced knives money can buy. But when it comes to the accessories, I'm dedicated to offering adjuncts that work with the best option for my clients. It's about solving my client's problems, and offering the very best I can find for the individual application, since in combat, rescue, and survival, the flashlight could literally mean life or death.

One thing I will guarantee, and that is when you see the output of this little ThruNite Ti3, you will be very impressed!

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Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories, LIMA flashlight comparison
ThruNite Ti3 and Maglite Solitaire
"Kairos" counterterrorism knives with LIMA
"Kairos" with LIMA mount
"Arctica" with LIMA mounted, silver Solitaire
"Arctica" with Silver Solitaire in LIMA
"Kneph" with rear mounted LIMA
"Kneph" with back-mounted LIMA
Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessory LIMA with ThruNite Ti3 lamp
ThruNite Ti3 is a 120 Lumen Lamp

"Celeri" tactical counterterrorism knife with ThruNite Ti3 and LIMA
The "Celeri" counterterrorism knife with LIMA front face mount and ThruNite Ti3 flashlight

The LIMA Parts

I wanted a minimum of pieces to mount the LIMA, but I wanted it strong. I also wanted it to yield a bit when brushing against objects, and I wanted it to be able to be mounted just about anywhere on the tactical knife sheath.

  • Mounting: in order to mount the LIMA in a variety of places on the sheath, I use the mounting bar with the standard sheath 2.5" bolt spacing pattern. The bar is made of drilled and milled 304 high chromium, high nickel stainless steel, impervious to everything it's exposed to. In essence, it's zero-care. The mounting bar is a simple strap, and it accommodates the Chicago screw female (or tube) as well as all of the other fastener hardware on the sheath. The reason I didn't make the bar out of aluminum is that I want increased strength of this piece, not only for the lamp web assembly and what it may encounter, but because the mount bar has to support what is bolted to it on the other side. This is frequently the sheath belt loops or flat clamping straps themselves, which requires the higher strength of 304 stainless steel. The stainless is media-blasted for non-reflection, and is often darkened with my "ghost-slate" process or has an oxide patina to match the coyote camouflage gear. It's milled to reduce the weight.
  • Holder: To hold the flashlight to the mount frame, I use nylon, polyester, or polyethylene webbing, in loops that are heavily stitched. This allows a softer protection of the lamp and the knife user, and it allows some flexibility in case the LIMA catches on objects or brush. Since it's low-profile and softer, it can allow the LIMA to be mounted between the sheath and the body, and it's extremely lightweight.
  • Lamp Retention: All of these smaller flashlights have an eye for mounting to a small ring, usually machined into the butt of the flashlight. I mount a double ring of 304 stainless steel through the hole, and through it is strung a short bungee cord (or occy cord or elastic cord depending on your country of language). The other end of the cord is strung through a double-ringed eye that can be pulled over the bulb end of the lamp. Once the lamp is put into the webbing ring, the ring is pulled over the lens end of the lamp and it's there to stay. The stainless steel rings are blasted and/or matched in oxide or darkening finish to match the gear. It's simple, it's light, it is easy to replace the cord when it becomes worn. And the cord and ring can double for a finger-mount for the lamps to keep your hands free. This is my own invention as well.

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Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories: LIMA mounting bars of 304 stainless steel
Sheath LIMA mounting bars
Knife sheath accessories: LIMA mounting bars showing Chicago screw insertion
Chicago Screw placement
Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories: Parts of the LIMA
Parts of the LIMA
Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories: LIMA, complete
Complete LIMA

"PJLT" sheathed 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
"PJLT" Tactical Knife with Coyote LIMA

Mounting the LIMA to the Sheath

The LIMA can be mounted anywhere on the sheath that has the 2.5" bolt spacing pattern. It can be mounted in front of the sheath, or in the back of the sheath. It can be mounted with the web inward, (inboard) and the flashlight over the sheath (for a reduced footprint) or it can be mounted with the lamp protruding outward (outboard), away from the welts, in the front or back. Some clients find it easier to access the LIMA when it is outwardly (outboard) mounted, some like the more compact arrangement of the LIMA atop the sheath face or front (inboard). Some like it in back, out of sight, away from anything they might bump into with their sheath.

With the assortment of machine screws and fasteners I include with the kits, the client is assured of a large number of mounting options. The lamp can even be mounted with lens-up or lens-down. Some clients like the lens up because they can see if they have mistakenly left the flashlight turned on, and others like it lens-down so that debris will be less likely to cloud the lens. It's up to the client.

The LIMA can even be mounted on the back side, over the top of the belt loops, if the wearing allows it in the client's arrangement. This can allow wearing of web that traps the knife sheath (over the top of the sheath instead of the sheath on top of the web). If there is enough room, the LIMA can even be worn completely hidden in the back of the sheath. If mounted over the belt loops, the web presses down on the aluminum belt loop, holding it in place, and the included button head cap screws hold the entire assembly together. There is also the option of an offset mounting, where one end of the LIMA mount frame is on top of the belt loop and the other end is screwed through an open sheath hole. The only thing to remember is that there must be a 2.5" spacing between the sheath holes. If the spacing is not there, or is not 2.5", the screws can't be forced; they will cross-thread and be ruined! Every sheath is different, since every knife is a different size, but this photo set should give you a good idea of the mounting potential of the LIMA.

The only place that the LIMA absolutely can't be mounted, even if there is the 2.5" spacing, is over the dogleg spring of my hybrid tension-lock sheath, since it would interfere with the spring movement. On the locking sheath, there is no such limitation.

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"LIMA" flashlight accessory mounted to knife sheath face
Sheath Front Mounting
Tactical knife sheath LIMA mounted to side
Side Mounting, Front, Lens Up
"LIMA" tactical flashlight for knife sheath, side mount
Side Mounting, Front, Lens Down
Tactical knife sheath accessory LIMA, mounting option, sheath back
Sheath back, inline with belt loop
LIMA tactical flashlight sheath mounting back detail
Back mount detail over belt loop
LIMA tactical knife sheath accessory mounting option view
Back mount over belt loop detail
LIMA mounting detail, back mount, center alignment
Over belt loop, behind sheath
LIMA flashlight holder back mount detail over belt loop
Back mount over belt loop behind sheath
LIMA mounting on sheath back, offset in available 2.5" hole spacing
Back mount, offset
LIMA flashlight accessory, offset back mounting detail
Back side offset mounting details

Using the LIMA and Flashlight

The flashlight is removed from the web frame by simply pulling off the ring that is retained by the shock cord (bungee). Each lamp type operates differently, but generally, they work by twisting the head of the lamp, or twisting it multiple times.

The neat thing is the lamp can be turned on while in the web frame and still mounted on the knife sheath, so on hikes or working around camp, the low (Firefly) setting can give a little illumination while still on the sheath and body. Some clients also like this for night hikes and location identification.

Off the body, the LIMA on low can help to locate the knife and sheath if it's laying around camp. Since on the lowest setting the battery will last over 100 hours, leaving the lamp on for an hour or two on the Firefly setting won't cost too much juice.

Out of the web frame, the elastic bungee and ring retainer also has some use. Since the flashlight is so small, the bungee can be looped around the finger, and the lamp can illuminate tasks while mounted to the finger, in a "hand's-free" type of arrangement. The bungee can also be used to mount the small light to any small rod or tube shape, like a branch, a tent pole, or tactical gear.

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Jay Fisher's LIMA flashlight assembly complete
Flashlight mounted to web frame
Jay Fisher's LIMA accessory, removing retention ring
Removing retention ring
Jay Fisher's LIMA tactical sheath accessory LIMA
Flashlight removed from web ring
Tactical sheath accessories, LIMA flashlight
Flashlight retainer has multiple uses

Jay Fisher's tactical knife sheath accessories, the LIMA with ThruNite Ti3 Lamp

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