The first time I met Matt Ciambrello (AKA Unloved here on Bladeforums) was when he turned up for one of our first edged weapons classes in Quakertown PA. That class was only the first of what has become several, including edged weapons survival, vehicle tactics, and combative pistol. Matt is a bit of an anomaly for me. He came in without any previous martial training. Matt quickly progressed to become one of my best and most dedicated students.
Given the nature and camaraderie we enjoy here at Modern Combative Systems, I have become good friends with Matt. Matt has been a creator his entire life. He has made his living doing construction, finish wood working, and my favorite, a tattoo artist. All these things have given him an eye for detail that few possess. Like many others, the economy has taken its toll on Matt's employment opportunities.
Matt began playing with kydex some time ago, born out of the necessity, because he is left handed. About a year ago, he showed me some knife sheaths he had done for himself including one for a Sharkee training knife. It was good, very good, and I like finding fault in bad kydex. I absolutely cannot stand it. These days everyone thinks they can just start making kydex as a cottage industry. This coupled with the fact that most factory sheaths are crap, really opens the door for someone who takes the time to put out a good product.
At the same time Matt was looking to turn to making kydex full time, another close friend of mine, John Pizzurro of Aircop Custom Kydex was looking to get out. John had a job change that would not allow him to continue. Matt ended up with a "shop in a box" deal from John. Being meticulous as he is, Matt took a few weeks to get his shop set up for production. I told him if his stuff was up to my standard I would promote him, and add him to the short list of people I turn to for quality kydex. Well, Matt has outdone himself.
Don't get me wrong, Matt does not have a design yet for everything. The first thing I tasked him with were pocket holsters, and a holster to work as a shoulder rig for a Kel Tec P3AT. I got my hands on them this past week at the Valley Forge Gun Show where Matt had a table for the first time. The fit, finish, and seams on Matt's work is perfect. I looked hard and could not find fault. Then overnight I gave Matt my new Novatac Classic flashlight to make a bezel down holster for it. I have found lights some of the hardest things to get holsters for, especially quality ones.
Matt was only supposed to work on something for me overnight. What he showed up with was a clean design that was exactly what it needed to be and no more. It was exactly what I wanted. The finish look machined.
Thanks to another talented MCS alumni, John Pavoncello of http://www.pho-tac.com
, you can find some great pictures of Matt's work at http://www.Invictuskydex.com
Right now Matt is concentrating on things like P-Mag pouches, mag/light combo pouches, and knife sheaths. He also has many fixed blades, folders, mags, and lights on hand. So if you are in need of something, contact him.
One last thing that you should know is that being MCS alumni Matt understands that anyone with a toaster oven and a piece of kydex from Knifekits.com can make something to carry a knife. The hard part is to make a deployment option. Something that is comfortable to carry and reliable under the conditions it is expected to be used. If you come to him with an idea that we have found unreliable during pressure testing, Matt will let you know.