WHAT IS A NECK KNIFE?
Neck knives are fixed blade knives that are worn like a necklace typically in a plastic or kydex sheath.
These sheaths are most commonly form fitting friction fit allowing the knife to stay in place securely while allowing for easy draw.
Occasionally these sheaths will have a button or lever that locks the blade it place, while this option provides the most secure sheath, they also make the drawing process a little more complicated.
Neck knives tend to be small size with blade lengths 3 inches or less, with skeletonized handles are minimalist handle scales, though there are exceptions to this rule for those who prefer a stouter handle grip.
WHAT ARE NECK KNIVES USED FOR?
Neck knives serve a variety of purposes including utility, self-defense, and as a back up knife.
These can easily be worn outside the shirt for easy access or underneath your shirt if it is more advantageous to conceal the knife, though this option can severely limit access to the knife in an emergency situation.
Neck knives are particularly useful in situations where you have no pockets or a belt to hang a knife on, personally I like to wear my neck knife when I’m at the beach, lake, or river!
POPULAR NECK KNIVES
There are a ton of neck knives available on the market right now that fit just about any budget and fill a variety of roles, it can be a little overwhelming when it comes to picking the right one for you.
Let’s discuss some popular neck knives to help narrow down your search.
White River Knuckle Head II
White River knives is known for making an array of outdoor focused knives, but the Knucklehead II is a truly functional neck knife suited for everyday carry.
This little blade is made from a solid piece of s35VN steel, with a 2.87-inch blade and an overall length of 6 inches. The front ring and jimping help provide a secure grip and great control over the blade while using it.
The rear ring has the most functional bottle opener I’ve ever experience on a knife, and it doesn’t get in your way during routine use.
The Knucklehead II is secured in a kydex sheath suspended by a cord; White River also includes an optional belt clip in the box should you need to change your carry method.
Speaking of the box, White River has some of the nicest packaging in the knife game, the wooden box is great looking and can be used to store little odds and ends in!
Pricing at the time this article was written is around $85.00 which is incredibly reasonable for a USA made knife with premium steel!
ESEE Izula/Izula II
ESEE Knives is another company that have a tremendous outdoor chops! ESEE creates knives designed for camping, hiking, bushcraft, and any other outdoor task you can think of.
They have a few small knives that can fall into the neck knife category, but none more iconic the Izula family of knives. The Izula is 6.25 inches long with a 2.63-inch blade.
The knife itself is skeletonized, though there are a few handle scales out there for it.
The Izula II is very similar except with a slightly longer handle and comes equipped with micarta scales.
Most ESEE knives are made from tough 1095 tool steel, however, there have been a few runs of the Izula family of knives in stainless steels.
These knives typically come in a hard plastic sheath that can be hung around your neck with cordage or a ball chain as well as option belt mounting hardware available.
These knives are made in the USA and generally come in under $100 depending on configuration.
The Rick Hinderer Knives Flashpoint is a small neck knife based off his iconic XM-18 folding knife.
This fixed blade is 6 3/8 inches overall with a 3-inch drop point blade. Depending on the run you will find these knives in a few different steel types, though the most recent run is 20CV super steel.
This knife features Mr. Hinderer’s textured g10 scales which are available in a variety of colors.
These knives have an incredibly slim footprint and light weight, while still maintaining comfortable usage ergonomics. The Flashpoint ships with a well made kydex sheath and ball chain for hanging around your neck.
The kydex sheath is designed to accept other mounting options giving the end user a great deal of carry versatility.
Like all Hinderer Knives, these are 100% sourced and made in the USA.
The standard model retails for $195, however there have been DLC options available as well as some very limited special editions called Battlefield Pick Up made as well as custom editions made by Mr. Hinderer himself!
The Minimalist is potentially one of the most well-known and popular budget neck knives on the planet!
This model is so popular that it has been made in a tremendous variety of blade shapes and finishes to suit a variety of user preferences.
These have been made in bowie, cleaver, Wharncliffe, tanto, and karambit style blades and have had handle scales available in a variety of G10 colors, as well as a few micarta options.
These knives ship with a glass reinforced nylon sheath and are suspended by a cord.
While the sizes of each type vary slightly, these are all very compact with a just over 5 inches overall length and a blade length of around 2 inches.
The blade steel on these is 5Cr15MoV, 8Cr13MoV or D2 steel options, while these are not superior steel options for these knives can generally be had for $25 to $35 depending on configuration.
Cold Steel Mini Tac
The Cold Steel Mini Tac is another budget-oriented neck knife, but with a more “tactical” spin.
These are currently available in both Bowie and Tanto style blade grinds and are made from budget friendly 8Cr13MoV or AUS-8 steel.
Depending on the model the blade lengths vary slightly but come in around 3.7 inches with an overall length of 6.8 inches. Despite their relatively large size these are very light weight and slim knives coming in just under 3 ounces.
The handles are black G10 and the knives ship with a Kray-Ex sheath. These can be suspended by a ball chain or cordage as well as accept a variety of mounting options.
The design of these knives allows them to be easily concealed on your body by laying flat, while still offering a full-sized functional blade. These knives make a great budget option, priced between $23 and $32 dollars.
The Spyderco ARK is a unique neck knife due to it being made from H1 steel. H1 is known to be almost entirely rust proof, making this an ideal choice for carry at the pool, beach, or gym.
This knife is very small with an overall length of 5 inches and a clip point style blade coming in at 2.625 inches.
This knife features Spyderco’s patented textured FRN handle scales and an injection molded sheath suspended from a ball chain.
Due to the aggressive blade style and H1 steel this is an ideal last ditch defensive carry for even the most adverse and wet environments.
The ARK can be found for around $75 to $80
The EnZo necker is a small neck knife made n Finland. It features micarta handle scales, available in a variety of colors, and 12C27 steel.
The overall length of the knife is 6.125 inches with and 2.5-inch drop point blade. Included in the box is a kydex sheath that can be suspended by a ball chain or cord.
The EnZo Necker is a lightweight knife, coming in at 2.3 ounces making it ideal for easy carry.
These are reasonably priced at around $59 dollars.
The simple design of these Necker is both aesthetically pleasing a non-aggressive, making it a great choice for environments where you may not want to intimidate those around you.
WE OSS Dagger
The WE OSS Dagger is a premium, compact last ditch self defense knife made by the popular Chinese manufacturer WE Knives.
This small knife has an overall length of 4.25 inches with a 2-inch double edged dagger style blade.
The knife weighs a mere .72 ounces, and ships with form fitting kydex sheath that can be suspended from a ball chain or cord.
The handles feature textured G10 handle scales for strong grip and durability.
The blades are made from premium 20CV super steel provided excellent resistance to the elements and edge retention.
These are priced is around $90 and have a few different color schemes available.
This is a great option for a super compact and discreet defensive tool this may be a good option, however due to the dagger style blade may be illegal in some areas.
TOPS ALRT XL05
The TOPS ALRT XL05 is a compact neck knife with an overall length 5.375 and a blade length of 2.75 inches. The front finger hole allows for better grip and control while handling and using the knife.
The TOPS ALRT XL05 has micarta handle scales for grip and durability and has a kydex sheath that is suspended by a ball chain.
The blade steel on this knife is tough 1095 carbon tool steel ensuring excellent durability in hard use situations.
While this is not a sleek knife, it makes up for that in shear toughness and is designed to handle just about any situation you can throw at it. This Knife, like all TOPS knives, is made in the USA and can be yours for around $55.
Bastinelli Diagnostic Karambit
The Bastinelli Diagnostic Karambit is a compact neck knife designed for self-defense.
The overall length of this knife is 3.75 inches with a 1.75-inch blade, the overall weight of the knife is just under 1 ounce making it very easy to carry.
The knife ships with a kydex sheath that can be suspended by a cord or ball chain as well as be accept a variety of other mounting options.
The steel on this knife is N690 which is a midrange steel with good edge retention and corrosion resistance.
Like all Karambit style knives, this features the rear ring that may require a good deal of training and practice to utilize properly. The Bastinelli Diagnostic Karambit is an excellent dedicated compact self-defense blade which can be yours for around $125.
The Neck Knife arena is quite large with hundreds of options to chooses from. There are great choices for those who want a dedicated utility or self defense knife as well as options for those who want a knife that can do both.
There are options for budget, mid-range, and high-end knife buyers ensuring that there is a neck knife out there for anyone!
While this list is just a tiny percentage to what you can find out there, I hope this list provided you with some great options to start your research with!