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 staying easy to draw.
Occasionally they'll have a button or lever that locks the blade it place. Although this option provides the most secure sheath, they also make the drawing process a little more complicated.
Neck knives tend to be small - with blade lengths 3 inches or less, and skeletonized handles or 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.
They 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, so 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 experienced 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. Their 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 than 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. They're also 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 can 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. They 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. It's also 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, some very limited special editions called "Battlefield Pick Up", 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.
They have been made in bowie, cleaver, Wharncliffe, tanto, and karambit style blades, and have had handle scales available in a variety of G10 colors and 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, having an overall length of just over 5 inches and a blade length of around 2 inches.
The blade steel on these is 5Cr15MoV, 8Cr13MoV, or D2 steel options. Though these are not superior steel options, these knives can generally be found 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. They 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 length varies slightly, but come in roughly 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 at 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, with a clip point style blade coming in at 2.625 inches. It also 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 in Finland. It features 12C27 steel and micarta handle scales that are available in a variety of colors.
The overall length of the knife is 6.125 inches, with an 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. They are reasonably priced at around $59 dollars.
The simple design of these Necker is both aesthetically pleasing and 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 and 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, providing 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, however due to the dagger-style blade it 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 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 sheer 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. It's overall length is 3.75 inches, with a 1.75-inch blade, and the overall weight is just under 1 ounce.
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! And don't forget to use code BLACKFLAG at checkout for 10% off KPL products!