The SA80 bayonet we looked at a few weeks ago was used in combat with a black plastic scabbard that protected the blade and allowed it to be carried in the PLCE frog. When the SA80 rifle was introduced it was decided to offer two different scabbards for the bayonet. Frontline infantry would receive a version with built in saw, wire cutter and sharpening stone. Rear echelon troops received a simpler (and cheaper) scabbard without these features, the argument being that they would rarely need to use any of these features so it was safe to delete them. This simplified scabbard was made from a black Phenolite plastic:The design retained the fixing points to allow the extra features to be added if required:The differences between the two scabbards can be seen here:Other features remain the same however, so six raised grooves are provided near the throat to allow grip to remove the bayonet from the scabbard and to help add extra rigidity to this portion:A small plastic detent is used to keep the bayonet in the scabbard and prevent it from rattling around:The bayonet fits neatly inside, but will only fit in one way due to the design of the bayonet itself with its offset grip:In order to attach the scabbard to the PLCE frog, a female Fastex clip is moulded into the top of the scabbard:This marries up with a male Fastex clip sewn into the frog itself and keeps the scabbard firmly attached.
This scabbard has clearly seen some service as an armourer’s rack number is painted on it in white:These simplified scabbards are much easier to find on the collectors’ market than the full combat versions which have not been released for resale in anywhere near the same amount and can easily make five times the price of their simpler counterparts.