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Coye Knives Production Ridgeback Sheaths

Update 2/10/2014 – aftermarket sheaths are no longer available from the Coye custom shop, and will instead by sold by Armordillo Concealment.

Now available from Coye Knives are custom Kydex sheaths for the production Boker/Coye Ridgeback.

If you’ve purchased one of the Boker/Coye production Ridgebacks, chances are you think the sheath sucks. That’s because it does. The knife itself, however, is an amazing value. I picked one up from Blade HQ for $55 (currently out of stock), but at this price point, the sheath is garbage.

Bill Coye and his custom shop to the rescue.

Boker/Coye Production Ridgeback Sheath, photo by Coye Knives

Boker/Coye Production Ridgeback Sheath, photo by Coye Knives

You can now purchase the same quality sheath and belt attachments as the custom Coye Ridgeback, made by hand in the Coye custom shop, but for the production version of the knife. Right now the Coye shop has them listed for $30, and you can choose between soft loops (my preference) or a Blade-Tech Tek-Lok. Available in black, coyote or OD.


14 Responses to Coye Knives Production Ridgeback Sheaths

  1. Frank Sharpe November 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

    Good to know – the sheath does suck, and I didn’t want to say anything, lol.

  2. Morgan Atwood November 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    How is this sheath really better? It still interferes with establishing a full grip on the knife from the beginning of the draw.
    We wouldn’t accept this on a pistol holster, why do we so readily accept it on knife sheaths?

    • Brandon November 9, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

      Morgan – you probably shouldn’t buy one if you don’t like it. I like the Ridgeback sheath, and I don’t have any problems drawing my Ridgeback with either hand. To each their own.

      • Morgan Atwood November 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

        I probably won’t buy one of the Coye sheaths, though they do certainly look better than the Boker factory product. I may get one of the knives, it’s a solid design, but probably roll a new sheath for it at home.
        It’s more a curiosity than a “Merh, you shouldn’t buy this!” kind of comment. It’s not just the Coye, it’s a ton of sheaths on the market today. As a community, we seem to have much more lax standards for sheathing than we do holstering (popularity of the SERPA being taken into account, even), and it’s perplexing.

        • Jake November 10, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

          Morgan how do you establish a “full grip” on a three finger knife?

          • Morgan Atwood November 20, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

            Same way you establish a Full Fighting Grip on a short gripped pistol, Jake. The pinky hanging off the end has nothing to do with establishing a proper fighting grip, other than perhaps necessitating it even more.
            With a pistol, you want the web of your hand fully in the tang of the pistol, middle finger firmly against the underside of the trigger guard, etc.: Getting as much meat and bone in firm contact with the firearm as possible, especially if it’s short gripped and the lower part of your hand can’t contribute. And you want to establish that grip from the very outset of your drawstroke, to prevent fumbling and provide for faster completion of the draw and acquisition of the sights.
            It’s not that different with a knife. You want to establish a firm grip on the knife from the beginning of the draw, and not have to reposition it in the hand or otherwise fiddle it into the “sweet spot” in your grip after it’s cleared the sheath. This is especially true with a three-finger or other shorter gripped knife, where there is less handle material on which to get a grip.

            A full grip on the knife consists of the lead finger (that closest to the edge, be it Index Finger in a Forward Grip, or Little Finger in a Reverse Grip) being fully seated into the finger groove, or against the guard/forward “stop” of the grip, with the following fingers being rightly placed behind, and firmly curled around the grip. The thumb is a source of some debate, but most folks who’ve pressure tested it significantly seem to feel that it should be curled atop the index finger tightly, as when forming a fist. (Even for bushcraft, wood carving etc. I teach use of this grip for heavy cutting, as it keeps the thumb from being caught and injured. A fight involving a knife is going to be “heavy use”, providing high leverage against the hand, and thus requiring the firmest grip available). Even if you are of the school where the thumb is placed along the spine of the knife, it is done so firmly, with the fingers of the handle tightly gripping the tool and fully seated into/upon the grip.
            Sheath designs that cover up a significant portion of the handle require the leading fingers to be left open, and the knife to be drawn with only pressure from the remaining two or three fingers. I.E., drawing into a forward grip, having to leave the index finger open, perhaps even index and middle, and using the ring and pinky fingers to grip and draw the knife, only then curling down the index and middle fingers to form a full grip. With a short handled (three finger or less) knife, the number of fingers available to fully grip the tool are already compromised: A sheath which then covers a portion of the grip, demands further weakening of the grip from the outset of the draw.
            This less than full grip from the outset of the draw demands adjusting of the knife in the hand to seat a full grip, as the draw is being completed or once it has been. In a combative situation, this means the knife is being tenuously gripped by less than the full hand for a relatively long time in which is can be fouled, dislodged, or fumbled.
            Anyone who has pressure tested this, working drawstroke of training knives from sheaths in a sparring environment, should be able to attest to what I am saying.

            Can you make it work with part of the grip covered? Sure. But it is absolutely less than ideal and very much prone to failure. (Again, this is absolutely demonstrable in training evolutions).
            For the same reasons we should not accept holsters which cover a portion of the pistol grip (thus interfering with establishing a full fighting grip on the gun from the outset of the draw), we should not accept knife sheaths that do the very same thing, unless we’re carrying those knives strictly for utilitarian purposes with absolutely no mind (no portion of intent or thought) toward combative uses. Which is, broadly, not true of tactical knife customers: Even when carried as utility tools primarily, they are still usually considered available for defensive use. So, in short, we should not accept sheath designs that compromise the combative ability of the tool.
            And yet, such sheath designs are the baseline in the industry. The rule, rather than the exception.

  3. Brian December 5, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Mr. Atwood, the cut away on the bottom of the sheath allows for your fingers to rest there while you apply your thumb to the raised area on the back of the sheath. You use your thumb to pop the knife out of the sheath and the knife is drawn with the handle fully in the hand.

    • Morgan Atwood December 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

      Mr. Atwood is my dad. Mine’s Morgan. Thanks for being polite, but if Brian will do, Morgan will do too.

      “[…]the cut away on the bottom of the sheath allows for your fingers to rest there […]”
      That’s nice. They’re not resting on the knife though, are they?
      “[…]while you apply your thumb to the raised area on the back of the sheath.”
      So, you begin your drawstroke with your thumb out of contact with the knife, making an opposite motion to that of securely wrapping the handle (or pressing on the spine), and with your index and possibly middle fingers also out of contact with the knife. Fingers out of contact with the knife and, instead, pressing against the flexible part of the sheath (as in, pressing against the sheath and against the passage of the knife from retention within).
      This is not having the knife fully in hand. It may result in getting the knife fully in hand, but it does not begin that way.

      I am familiar with sheaths that work in that fashion. I even used to build sheaths that way, before I knew better.
      Several thousand drawstrokes, over a decade+ of combative knife training and pressure testing lead me to disregard such designs, for the reasons I’ve already stated both in this post and above. They do not allow for a proper initial grip (a full fighting grip from the very outset of the drawstroke), and as such they are more vulnerable to fouling the draw either purposefully or (the more often and more likely case:) accidentally in the throes of violent intercourse.

      Let me rephrase your post, changing the tool in question, and see if this sounds acceptable to you (or anyone else):
      “The cut away on the top of the holster beneath the trigger guard allows for your fingers to rest on the kydex while you apply your thumb to the raised area on the back of the holster. You use your thumb to pop the pistol out of the holster and then it is drawn fully in the hand.”
      Would you choose a holster that worked as described and prevented fully gripping the gun at the outset of the draw?

      • Jake December 6, 2013 at 8:47 am #

        Grandstand much Morgan?

        I don’t have any trouble drawing the knife with either hand, I don’t even use the thumb ramp. In fact, I might grind it off. No adjustment to your grip is needed if you know what you’re doing.

        No matter how you spin it, you’re not going to get all four fingers and your thumb on the handle draw the knife because it’s a three finger design.

        • Morgan Atwood December 6, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

          Grandstand “seek to attract applause or favorable attention from spectators or the media.”
          Nope. Not a bit. I don’t care what spectators or the media think of me, or what I’ve posted, and I am not seeking their applause or attention one way or the other.
          I care what end users put their faith in, and what people trust their lives to. I care that in this (a life preserving industry) there is a vast double standard, wherein what would be absolutely unacceptable for one tool, is broadly acceptable for another when the same dangers exist for both. I am seeking to encourage more people, particularly gear makers, to do the work to pressure test the designs they put out. I am seeking to question the design thinking, and what shapes that design thinking, of this area of the industry.
          Applaud or throw tomatoes, I don’t care.

          Now, where did I ever say anything about getting “all four fingers” on the handle of the knife? I didn’t. If you’d actually read what I wrote, you’d see that in fact, I clearly defined above that “Full” in the context of “full fighting grip” doesn’t mean all fingers, it means a complete grip (as complete as can be afforded on the handle given) as would be desired when applying the tool in the fight. That is a full fighting grip. If you have a two-finger knife, fully enclosing it within those two fingers with the thumb locked down as preferred is a full fighting grip.
          As for not getting the thumb on a three fingered knife… In forward grip, nothing in the grips length prevents the thumb from either being curled down hard atop the fingers (as when forming a fist) or locked down on the spine of the knife if you favor saber grip.
          But again… Full Fighting Grip has nothing to do with getting all fingers on the grip: A full fighting grip is a fully established grip, as wanted for fighting. I.E. the grip you want when you stick the pointy end into the other guy. Same as, with a pistol, the fully established grip you would want for firing the weapon (which is the same, regardless of it being a pistol that drops the pinky off, or allows all fingers to wrap the grip).

          I really didn’t get involved here to argue. I was seeking, as I said, to question some of the prevalent design thinking in a venue where it might get addressed meaningfully. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. This devolution into a “if you know what you’re doing” sort of argument is ridiculous. I’ve offered up clear, in depth, responses explaining the mechanics of what I am talking about, and the amount of time and energy I’ve put into this line of thought. And what you bring to the table is the disrespect to not read my original answer to your query re: three finger knives and full grip, and then snide put downs, implying a lack of ability or knowledge on my part without offering up any evidence of the same for yourself. Sad show.

          • Jake December 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

            So many words to say so little…if you’ve got better ideas, design and sell your own sheaths and let the market decide.

  4. Brian December 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Morgan, I see the problem. You are a highly trained knife fighter in the “throes of violent intercourse”. This is a utility knife not a violent intercourse knife. Judging it as such it is strange. If you want a knife and sheath for knife fighting that compliments your skill you should look elsewhere, this is not the knife / sheath for you.

    • Morgan Atwood February 3, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Funnily enough… I made my observations about this knife and it’s sheathing, because of the number of people I’ve seen carrying them as defensive knives, either as part of their CCW layering, or on their carriers/chest-rigs, etc.
      In fact, I would go so far as to say that most people who carry a knife give at least passing thought to using it as a weapon. Particularly those who also carry firearms.

      And of course, utility knives never get needed in a hurry… I’ve never known a cowboy being dragged by a horse who pulled out a utility knife and cut himself free of the riggings. Never heard of a climber in a jam who had to cut rope. Never heard of any situation in which accessibility, in a full and functional grip (with full grip strength and no repositioning or fiddling of the grip required), might be a very desirable feature of a utility knife.
      Nope. That has never, ever, been a thing.
      (Except that, my experience, research and work show’s a quite different picture. That experience being nearly 15 years as a knife-maker, half that time building complete systems and kits of equipment for various hard jobs and environments. This includes untold hundreds of hours researching and testing ergonomics of tools, carry, sheathing and access systems, and many long conversations and R&D sessions over months with clients, other professionals doing the same work, and professionals who depend on that work. This, everything I talk about here, is what I do. For a living. For a trade. What do you do?)

      Bill Coye is probably a hell of a knifemaker. I like his designs, and every custom piece I’ve seen from him is excellent. Also, people I know speak very highly of him and say he’s a hell of a human being. I have no doubt that he is in fact a great guy.
      I’d go so far as to say I like a lot of what I see in his sheath work: Just not the elements described above. And this is not Coye’s problem, at least not alone. It is an almost universal problem. Most knifemakers know less than nothing about building good sheaths. They might be able to do good kydex work (that looks to be), or good leather work, but their design for sheaths is usually terrible, or at least in some way less functional and efficient than could be.
      Knifemakers are typically specialists, focused on the knives themselves. A lot of science, engineering, good old fashioned know-how and personal experience from trial and error go into making good knives. It’s a consuming pursuit. Sheath making is just something that most knife makers have to do, to get the knife ready for sale. It is not a process to which a lot of thought is typically given, and many of them have no understanding of how a sheath system can actually, or should, function.
      My point, on whole, is not to attack anyone (and certainly not to tip anyone’s sacred cows or slander their small gods), but to make the point that as consumers we need to start expecting better from our makers. And as makers, we need to start doing better by our consumers.
      You don’t have to like my points, but ergonomics and human biomechanics don’t change, they are what they are and the state of sheath making is what it is.
      Have a lovely day.

  5. Wade February 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Hate to dig up bones here, but I understand what Morgan is trying to say here and I didn’t take it as “grandstanding” at all. I have often wondered the same thing myself. Just never got as far as putting it into words. Jake has the right idea. Design and make a better sheath. I just may do that myself. I think a good scout carry sheath for this knife and too many other great ones to name, are suffering from a poor sheath or no sheath at all. Just think how nice it would be to have a sheath for this knife that allowed the user to achieve a full and solid grid from the moment he/she grasps the handle. A sheath with good retention with a thumb button that releases a retention lock similar to the Serpa gun holster? A sheath that doesn’t require a compromise on grip for the true every day knife carriers out there.