Neck Knives: Everything You Need to Know


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The Skinny On Neck Knives

Survival knives come in all shapes and sizes, and can be carried almost anywhere on the body. Neck knives make great survival knives because they are easy to put on and use, and are difficult to lose. They are a good way to carry a backup blade just in case your EDC survival knife gets lost or misplaced.

Some of us that are focused on survival like to carry 5-6 knives on us at all times. When you carry that many knives some of them need to be small and concealable. Neck knives fit the bill very nicely.

small neck knife

Neck Knives Defined

Neck knives are short little fixed blade knives that are worn around the neck…most often suspended in a sheath hanging with the handle pointing down. They are usually suspended by a paracord or a beaded ball chain such as those that are used with dog tags.

This makes neck knives easy to wear and not really noticeable when worn. They are the perfect size for small jobs or for self defense and EDC.

What Are Neck Knives Used For?

Neck knives shine in survival situations because they can be used in so many different ways. A neck knife is great for everything you would ask your main EDC knife to do like cutting cordage, making traps, carving spears etc…

However neck knives are typically less than 3” long which means they are for smaller jobs, but also great for self-defense.

With Neck Knives, Thin Is Definitely In

Neck knives are usually very thin, usually made out of a single piece of steel or titanium, and most are very easy to conceal. Some come with handles while others are naked, skeletonized knives – without any kind of handle material. The knives that have a naked handle are that way because they are less bulky, and therefore are easier to conceal. If you get one of those skinny, skelotonized knives, you can always have the grip improved by paracord wrapping the naked handle.

The neck knives that are the smallest are of course the easiest to conceal. You could try to conceal a large tactical knife around your neck, but the bulge might give it away – unless you have on a coat or something similar that will help conceal it. Needles to say, you only need to worry about concealment if you are interested in stealth.

Most neck knife blades are under four inches, with many in the three inch and under category. Any neck knife that has a blade longer than three inches can be considered a large neck knife. An example of a large neck knife is the Wilson Tactical Neck Knife; with an overall length of 7 3/8” inches and a blade length of 3 7/8”inches

Knives that are designed to be worn around the neck are usually quite thin so that they are easier to conceal. If you decide you want to carry a large neck knife then what you gain in a better grip and durability you give up in ease of concealment.

best neck knives

Small in Size

As we mentioned neck knives are typically small and lightweight, and this means you don’t have to worry about them weighing your neck down all day like a pocket-sized fixed blade knife. Most neck knives will fit in the palm of your hand or even smaller – which make them great for survival situations; not to mention they can easily be attached to gear such as backpacks, belts etc… using para cord or other types of lashing material.

The way neck knives are designed also makes carrying one convenient. You could carry a neck knife inside your pants or shirt without anyone ever noticing at all because there is no shoulder strap that usually comes with a tactical fixed blade knife. Every neck knife has its own sheath and

Stronger than a Folding knife

Fixed knives are stronger than folding knives by design so neck knives are almost always stronger than their folding counterparts.

The neck knife’s design makes them great if you need to do some light prying or delicate carving slicing work.

No Shoulder Strap Needed

Neck knives can be easily carried without any type of strap around the shoulder (ie: sheath), all neck knives come with their own neck cord but some can also be attached to backpacks etc… like we mentioned earlier. They are also often worn around the ankle, for those of us that have more than one knife..

Full Tang vs Partial Tang? Another thing to consider is how the neck knife’s tang extends into the handle. Is it full tang or partial tang? Again, this depends on what your needs are – whichever one fits your requirements is the one you should get.


Best Neck Knives For Survival And Self Defense

1. CRKT Minimalist Bowie Neck Knife

If you’re looking for a lightweight minimalist knife that won’t weigh you down, then a CRKT Neck Knife fits the bill. With its lightweight design, stainless steel blade, slim profile together with a sturdy sheath the CRKT Bowie Knife has a lot going for it. It can be used and worn in several different ways (not needed to be carried on the neck).

CRKT has a number of variations on this model that you can check out here.


2. Kilimanjaro Stretta Tactical Neck Knife

The Kilimanjaro is a 3-inch knife blade (6″ from tip to butt) made from stainless steel blade, coming with a rubber handle, together with a plastic sheath, and metal carry chain. This is a full tang knife that comes in at just over 3oz. It has an extra-large finger hole for dexterity and grip making it ideal for self-defense.

If you want something more for self-defense this is it.


3. Becker Necker Neck Knife

This is a 3.25 inch blade coming in at 5 inches altogether. The knife is made by Ka-Bar which needs to introduction for the initiated. If you are not familiar they produce some of the most popular and widely used survival knives out there and are worth investigating.

There are many variations of this knife, that come in different lengths as well as slightly different styles, which you can see here.


The Legality Of Carrying Neck Knives

Some state and local ordinances are clearly against their citizens carrying concealed knives or at the very least are not friendly to those that do carry them. A few state and local knife laws in the United States date back to the days of the wild west when many men carried bowie knives and pocket dirks.

For instance Texas, the state that is most associated with the Bowie knife, has statutes explicitly forbidding them.

Many states have laws against the concealed carry of certain knives. For instance, Ga has laws against carrying any offensive/defensive weapon in a concealed manner.

If you are unsure about your state knife laws check out knife-expert.com.

If you don’t live in the USA and you are unsure about the knife laws where you live then please check your Countries laws. Some countries such as New Zealand forbid all knives from being carried, concealed or not!


Conclusion

Neck knives are a good choice for anyone interested in carrying a survival knife. They are easy to access, easy to conceal, and easy to wear. They can conceivably function as your main survival knife, but are better suited to being a back-up knife. If you haven’t tried neck knives yet why not give them a try?

You just might find yourself with a new love that will help keep you alive if you ever find yourself in a survival situation.

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Bram Johnson
Hi, My Name is Bram, the Editor of Survival Artist. Here you will find all things Wilderness, Survival, & Primitive Living. I grew up in the backcountry and got hooked on the simple chop wood carry water lifestyle. If you know anything about me then you know you can find me either running up mountain trails or sipping coffee over a book of philosophy.