Neck Knives

Discussion in 'Knife Reviews & Testing' started by 2manyknives, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. 2manyknives


    Aug 9, 2006
    Neck knives, as the name suggests, are knives that are housed in sheaths intended to be hung around the neck, generally to the user’s front. Some are suspended tip down and some tip up.

    While I don’t have a strong interest in them as a category, I have a few and thought I would share some opinions and experiences.



    The first neck knife I acquired was a Randall King Snitch. Not a nice name for a knife in my opinion. At the time I purchased the knife I was doing a lot of day sailing, and living in a hot tropical climate, mostly dressed in board shorts or swim shorts with a lightweight sun shirt – no belt or secure pockets and the Snitch was a handy way of carrying a sharp blade. I usually wore it under the sun shirt where it went unnoticed by others.

    Despite my dislike of the name the Snitch worked well for me. The sheath is kydex and holds the knife, tip up, very securely while still allowing quick one hand access. For a small blade it handles well. The ATS-34 blade was hair popping sharp as delivered and it was easy to maintain a good edge on this knife. The only problem I experienced was its tendency to corrode after only a day on the water. A small neck knife is not a good candidate to keep oiled or greased. Eventually I replaced it with a Spyderco Salt 1 folder – it sits in the waistband of swim shorts unnoticed and is immune to corrosion.

    The next necker was a Buck Mayo Kaala – the S30V blade was a big attraction as I hold the steel in high regard. At just under 7 inches it pushes the limit of the neck knife concept for me. Like most Bucks this knife was delivered sharp and touches up well. It is the only neck knife I have owned that came with a chain designed to break away if snagged. This is a good safety feature as a solid cord around the neck can present some risks – the trade off is that an easily broken chain could lead to a lost knife in some circumstances. Due to its size and blade steel, this knife doesn’t trade off much in performance and can do what most belt knives can do. The weak point for this knife in my opinion is the sheath – mine does not secure the knife well and I have been reluctant to carry this knife suspended tip up for fear of losing it. At some stage I will probably put some timber scales on it and find a belt sheath. Buck should offer this knife with a decent, secure kydex sheath to do justice to their excellent blade.

    Later on I picked up a Becker 11 – I included it here only because it is described as a necker. For me it is too big for this carry method. I’m sure some will disagree but its size is too distracting hanging from the neck. When I carry the Becker I attach it to the belt horizontally with paracord. The Becker sheath, though basic, allows may carry options.

    The most recent acquisition is a Buck Hartsook – this one also comes in S30V but is much smaller than the Kaala. It uses a similar retention mechanism to the Kaala but seems a lot more secure. The Hartsook is the fiddliest knife to re-sheath and overall the least appealing to me. Although it is about the same LOA as the Snitch, it feels less secure in the hand and is not as comfortable. The Hartsook is a thin blade and this seems to make some sense given its length but the thin spine is noticeable when you apply any downward pressure on the blade. I like the look of the Hartsook, and as much as I want to avoid criticising a small knife because it is small, I think the Hartsook needs to double in length and thicken up a bit. If so, in S30V it would be a formidable knife.

    corrosion evident on the grip

    the Hartsook and Snitch are similar in length

    the security on the Kaala could be better

    Overall I was most impressed with the Snitch. The combination of good sheath design and excellent small knife ergonomics did it for me. The corrosion didn’t suit the primary use I had for it at the time – interestingly I have not had this problem with other ATS-34 knives, but unlike the matte finished Snitch, the others are highly polished. I don’t know if the Snitch is still in production. The Bucks come in excellent steel - the Kaala is let down by its sheath and the Hartsook just doesn’t work for me as a small knife. The Becker is a great knife in its own right and has the most versatile sheath but to me it’s a belt knife.
  2. fishiker


    Nov 5, 2006
    Thanks for the post. I have carried a Snitch on many occasions and think it is a great knife for the small size. I have used it fishing in freshwater and the corossion doesn't seem to be quite as much of a problem.
  3. Any Cal.

    Any Cal. Banned BANNED

    Jan 1, 2006
    Of those I have the BK-11 and the Kaala currently, but I was really impressed by the sheath. IMO, due to it's slim-ness, it is part of what makes the Kaala such a nice package. I will say though, that I only rarely carry it by the chain, usually I drop it in a pocket.

    In fact, paired up with a BK-11, you have a really nice pair... A larger, thick blade for heavy jobs, and a stainless, hollowground blade with a splinter picker point. :thumbup:
  4. stefan_wolf_ss


    Jul 29, 2009
    I had BK11 - to small handle for secure 4 finger grip... but good and tough blade ...
  5. ThundarStick


    Feb 21, 2010
    Sorry about resurecting an old thread, but!

    I bought the Heartsook a while back to cary at work. I work in a place where people don't want to see you whipp out a large knife and this little necker works great to use in my department where I open lots of sealed packages and boxes. It tucks inside my shirt and can be consealed by just a Tshirt. I will admit that the blade is a little short and thin, but that's good for me. I added a flat braided cord to extend the grip of the knife by about an inch and a half for a little more secure grip. I find that the S30V steel is fantastic stuff, and in this application is no different than larger knives I have. It holds an edge well and is easy for me to touch up on the paper wheel.

    If you are looking for light and easy to conseal I give this one a big thumbs up!
  6. proguide


    Mar 26, 2004
    I agree with the Hartsook. I have been carrying one for about 4 or 5 yrs, and it has never let me down. It makes a great replacement for a small SAK blade. S30v treated by Bos...can't go wrong with that
  7. Getreal


    Oct 16, 2010
    My custom neck knife.

    RWL-34 60 HRC
    Carbon Fibre

    Made by Praporknives :eek:

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2010
  8. stefan_wolf_ss


    Jul 29, 2009
    RWL 34 is a good steel ;)
  9. desmobob


    May 5, 2003
    I just picked up my first couple of neck knives, and I think they are going to be good.

    Boker offers a very affordable pair of Tom Krein designs in 440C for under thirty bucks each. I received my Boker Plus Series "Grasshopper" (titanium coated) and "Pocket Bowie" (white liners under the scales!) today from and I'm impressed. They each came with kydex sheaths with black bead chain necklaces. I had to hit the Pocket Bowie's kydex sheath with a heat gun a little to loosen it up a bit. Both sheaths are secure, but this one was a bit too much so.

    From top: Kershaw Ken Onion Leek in a kydex neck sheath, Boker Tom Krein Pocket Bowie, Boker Tom Krein Grasshopper.

    Here are the link to Boker's product pages:
    Tom Krein Grasshopper
    Tom Krein Pocket Bowie

    Another alternative for those interested in the neck knife concept but not too keen on having a fixed blade knife hanging so close to valuable anatomy is the kydex sheath for folders. I picked up one really cheap on clearance somewhere ($3.99) that's made for my Kershaw Ken Onion Leek. Several folks make them and they're available for a variety of popular folders, allowing your knife to do double duty.

    They'd be handy for those vacations to "clothing optional" resorts where you just can't find a good spot to clip your folder. Don't look at me... I'm way too old and out of shape (and shy!) to even consider any kind of semi-public nudity. :barf:

    Stay sharp,
  10. NiceGuyJer


    Oct 11, 2010
    I've got a little Watanabe neck knife and I've been looking at a Mike Irie neck knife but I kind of like the snitch now that I see it here.
    Thanks. I'm going to take a closer look now

Share This Page