First Kydex Project: P-38 Sheath

If you’ve ever been in the Service, or are a prepper/survivalist, you’ve not only heard of a P-38, but you’ve probably carried them.  I saw my first p-38 as a young kid, my grandfather had one.  I saw him use it a time or two camping when we were very young.  I don’t know what happened to it.  I used my first P-38 as a 17 year old kid at Basic Training.  And have carried one on my keychain since I snagged my first one in Germany a year or two later.

The one problem with a well-used, older p-38 is the swing-gate can start getting loose and opens in the pocket.  This causes holes in the pockets (And occasionally holes in your leg).  I have tried many of the little tricks, wrapping a rubber band around it (never seemed to stay long and rubber bands seem to dissolve in the pocket), duct tape (Pain in the ass, to take off or put back on etc.).

Slight twist to enter, very secure.

Slight twist to enter, very secure.

I tried making a leather sheath for it, but it was just too bulky at the stitches, etc. (And I’m NOT a skilled leatherworker so aesthetically it was horrible LOL) and it kept sliding off.  Just didn’t have a good way of locking it onto the p-38.    The best thing I found so far was a piece of small tire inner tube (I don’t have a clue what tire it came out of)  That wrapped around pretty well, but rubber is hard to get out of your pocket sometimes and it eventually cracked and split and broke off.

So, I decided to give Kydex a try.  Not being much of an artisan, I didn’t expect much.  But Kydex turns out to be incredibly easy to manipulate.  On this small project, I didn’t bother with the oven or

Finished Sheath

Finished Sheath

a heat gun, just used a high pressure butane lighter, my fingers and my Leatherman Multi-tool pliers.

I figured I’d mess up so I cut the piece a bit larger than I needed and figured I’d cut off the excess.  Turned out I hadn’t accounted well for the bulk used in the turns, so it was almost perfect.  I only had to cut a tiny 1/8 piece off the end.

Gave it a little heat and then folded it over, took about 10 seconds to harden up to lock in the curve.  Then I put the P-38 in to find the next bend line.  The fit was almost perfect to start with.  I then trimmed off the 1/8 excess, heated up the next joint and folded it over.  Pinched this together in my fingers and in another 10 or 15 seconds it was finished hardening.

Base after being pinched closed.

Base after being pinched closed.

To keep the p-38 from pushing out the bottom, I heated it and pinched it with the pliers.  That worked but I didn’t like the results, so I heated it back up and pinched a little higher with a tad bit of lift.  This sealed the bottom better.

The opening.  Perfect fit.

The opening. Perfect fit.

Once I had the P-38 in the sheath, I warmed it up a bit and just put a tiny bit of pressure over the center.  This made a nice firm lock.  The neat thing is, due to the design, if you twist slightly as you place the P-38 back in the sheath, it opens the sheath so you don’t need to force it past the detent.

Simple project, didn’t take 10 minutes for the first one. Only took 5 minutes to make the second for my oldest boy.

My boy wanted one too.  The 2nd came out just as good.

My boy wanted one too. The 2nd came out just as good.

Just need to hook up my sander to really clean up edges a bit more.

Can’t wait to start my next projects!

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About Docwatmo

Just an average guy reviewing equipment for the average guy (or gal). View all posts by Docwatmo

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