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Knife on a plate carrier

Knife On a Plate Carrier – The Complete guide

The knife was one of the very first tools that the early men created, and it continues to be one of the most essential survival and utility tools today. Today knives are an essential part of any soldiers, hunters, or survivalists loadout! 

Knives are a great addition to your loadout for a lot of reasons. They can be used as tools, for self-defense, and in life or death combat situations.  

A knife, however, isn’t that useful if you can’t get to it swiftly, safely, and consistently. 

This has caused people to think of the best ways to carry a knife. One of those ways is to attach a knife to a plate carrier. 

In this article, we are going to take a closer look at why, where, and how to include a tactical knife in your plate carrier setup!

Table of Contents

Should you carry a knife on your plate carrier?

A knife on a plate carrier has become an essential piece of equipment for any soldier or law-enforcement officer working in hostile territory. 

Now should you carry a knife on your plate carrier? Well, the answer to that question depends heavily on what and how much gear you have to fit on your plate carrier, your personal needs, and preferences. 

If you need to fit a lot of equipment on your plate carrier then adding a tactical knife there as well might not be the wisest decision. Then the much better option would be to keep the knife on your waistline, either by mounting the knife on your battle belt setup or belt.

Overall having a knife on your plate carrier is great for fast deployment during combat situations. Much of today’s combat situations occur in urban areas, where there is a high probability of hand-to-hand combat. So having a knife nearby that you can rapidly draw might mean the difference between life and death. 

Tactical knife

Folding knife vs fixed blade knife for a plate carrier

Now before you start attaching a knife to your plate carrier, you should think through what kind of knife you will need: a folding or a fixed blade knife.

A folding knife and a fixed blade knife are completely different kinds of knives with different specific use. 

A folding knife is a compact foldable knife, that can be carried in specific cases, any kind of a pouch on your battle belt or in your pocket. 

A folding knife is better for everyday use, for survival purposes. There are a lot of multi-tool folding knives, which give you a wide range of tools to assist you during long marches, mobile camping, or training courses.  

The biggest downside to wearing a folding knife on your plate carrier is the fact that it really can’t be rapidly deployed and isn’t a viable option for self-defense in a quick life and death scenario. 

Now fixed blade knives are rugged knives that have their blade part fixed on the handle (as the name implies). They are a popular option for hunters, survivalists, and military personnel because of their strength and durability. Fixed blade knives are ideal for close-range combat and can be used as heavy tools. 

A fixed blade knife is a great idea for a plate carrier setup if you will need a strong knife that you can quickly use for self-defense. 

Ideally, you should include both a fixed blade and a folding knife in your gear! The fixed blade knife for life-threatening situations, and the folding knives for everyday tasks.

Benefits of a knife on a plate carrier

There are many options for carrying a knife. You can keep it on your plate carrier, tactical vest, chest rig, battle belt, combat belt, and so on. But let’s go over all the benefits of wearing a knife on a plate carrier.

The biggest benefits are:

  • Great for a combat situation. This is the most important benefit. A well-placed knife on a plate carrier can make a huge difference in a life and death situation. 
  • Accessibility. Mounting a knife on a plate carrier makes it available for deployment in every situation, whether you are standing up, confronting the enemy or you are on the ground. 
  • Quickdraw. With the knife well placed on a plate carrier, you should be able to deploy it with one swift hand movement. Nothing should be in the way when drawing the knife. 
  • Mounting the knife. Attaching a knife to a plate carrier is quite easy. In addition, most of the big names in the tactical knives industry make knives with cases, pouches, or sheaths that are in one way or another compatible with molle webbings. 
A good tactical knife for a plate carrier
Becker KA-BAR Harpoon Fixed Blade Knife

Best plate carrier knife placement

There are quite a few options for knife placements on a plate carrier. There is no absolute best place for a knife on a plate carrier. The actual placement depends on many factors such as:

  • In what environment you are working in
  • How bulky your plate carrier already is
  • What other gear do you have to keep on your plate carrier?
  • Are you left or right-handed?
  • Your personal preferences
  • How you wear your rifle
  • And so on. 

So while we can’t give you a certain best place for a knife on a plate carrier, what we can tell you are the most common places where knives should be placed on a plate carrier, according to professional experience. 

  • Center of chest
  • On a shoulder strap with the edge up. 
  • Behind the mag pouch. 
  • Above mag pouch horizontal placement. 
  • Next to mag pouches.
  • On a mag pouch. 
  • On the back of the plate carrier. 

As we mentioned before, knife placement on a plate carrier is mostly an individual thing. When making the decision you should conduct an unbiased analysis of your abilities. Don’t try to look good in your plate carrier, make it combat-ready.

The most important things to keep in mind when choosing the ideal place for your tactical knife are:

  1. Make sure you could access it with both hands because you never know when and where you might need it. 
  2. Make sure it is quickly accessible and you could draw it fast!
  3. Make sure nothing (like other pouches on your plate carrier) get’s in the way of drawing it.
  4. Make sure the knife won’t interfere with using other gear.
  5. Make sure it could be secured tightly!
Knife On a Plate Carrier

How to attach a knife to a plate carrier?

In the previous section, we covered the most common places on plate carriers where knives are mounted. Now we will give more detailed instructions on how to do it.

  • In the pocket of the trauma plate in the center of the chest. Not every plate carrier has this trauma plate. It is positioned on the bottom of the plate carrier, there is a place for a protective plate and one more pouch for a medic kit. The knife is placed next to the trauma plate on a piece of Velcro. Knives are usually not placed next to the trauma plate, so placing them there will take some improvisation.
  • On a shoulder strap with the tip-up. Note that the tip of the blade is always up, and the handle down. This is the most common way to place the knife on a plate carrier since it provides swift deployment, with only one hand movement. It can be on the left or right side, depending if you are left or right-handed, where your radio is and which shoulder you primarily use for shooting. Placing it is easy because a combat knife always comes with a case that can be mounted on a plate carrier with MOLLE or some other system. We do note that this is in no way an ideal position for the knife because it can interfere with your shooting and with carrying a backpack. 
  • Behind the mag pouches. This position can be central or more to the left or the right, depending on your dominant hand. You should mount the blade on the plate carrier, and not just slide it behind the mag pouches. 
  • Above mag pouch horizontal placement. The blade can be oriented to the left or to the right, which depends on your dominant hand. Since not many blades come with a mounting system for horizontal placement, you will have to improvise and find a way to secure it there. We don’t recommend horizontal placement because you can reach it only with one hand.
  • Next to mag pouches, on the side of the plate carrier with the tip down. Again, you will choose the side per your dominant hand, but we don’t recommend it because you can draw it only with one hand and it is questionable if you will be able to draw it at all if the knife is longer and the handle reaches your armpit. 
  • On a mag pouch. The position can be central, more to the left or right, and diagonal. It is easier to place central, to the left or right, then diagonally because you will have to improvise on diagonal placement. Only shorter knives can be mounted on a mag pouch because you won’t be able to reach ammo magazines. 
  • On the back of the plate carrier. You will place it on the side of your dominant hand. To mount a blade like this you will need a horizontal mounting system. There is an option to do this with MOLLE, Velcro, or some button-based mounting option. 

Pro tip- You can use paracord rope (or any other rope) to easily attach a knife to any kind of MOLLE webbing, by just weaving it onto the molle straps!

Key takeaways

A knife on a plate carrier has become somewhat of a necessity in modern-day combat situations. Combat in an urban environment doesn’t often give you enough time to change your mag, aim and shoot, or even use long barrel weapons, so a combatant needs to be able to swiftly draw a blade and engage. 

The type of knife you chose is a purely individual decision made taking into account many factors like the type of combat assignment, combat environment, and many distinctive personal preferences. 

Where to place it on a plate carrier is as individual as it gets. But, when placing a knife onto a plate carrier, then the first thing you should pay attention to is that you can get to it and deploy it as fast as possible without any equipment standing in the way. 

John-Caspar Jaanus

Written by John-Caspar

John-Caspar Jaanus is an Estonian military, tactical gear, and survival expert and author. He has an extensive military background and has been involved with the Estonian defense structure for over 10 years. Read bio!

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