Choosing a Neck Knife for Every Day Carry
*Please note, it is YOUR responsibility to know and understand the laws regarding carrying a knife. This post is for information purposes only.
From time to time I’ve carried a small fixed blade neck knife. It isn’t by any means my go-to method of carry however there are situations such as extreme warm weather climates or certain dress occasions when a neck knife serves a specific carry purpose. Over the years testing and carrying a variety of neck knives I’ve come to a few steadfast and practical considerations when carrying via this method.
Two different neck knives set up with two different lengths of cordage: Left, Emerson La Griffe set up for Long-Carry and Right, CRKT Wharncliffe Minimalist set up for Short-Carry.
For the purposes of this article the knife itself is meant for utility or as a defensive tool when the circumstances in which it may be deployed are a reactive, lethal force situation in which my life or the life of someone else is in jeopardy. The neck knife, for that purpose, is being deployed as a last resort. While it would be easy to spend time discussing what knife you should or shouldn’t carry, various makes and models; what is more important, at least to me, is how you carry the neck knife.
It isn’t as simple or easy as throwing it around your neck, tucking it under a shirt and thinking you are ready. Consider needing this neck knife when your awareness has broken down and you are having to utilize it under extreme duress, in close confines and against multiple aggressors.
Accessing The Neck Knife
Accessing the neck knife can involve both hands, or, when set up correctly, only one hand. Similar to the draw-stroke when accessing a handgun, one hand may be required to clear a cover garment out of the way while the other hand establishes a fighting grip on the knife. This is almost always due to the length of cordage used. If the cordage or chain is too short, as is typical with most production neck knives, the knife hangs at approximately the base of the sternum or low chest area depending upon the individuals body composition and dimensions.
This short-carry placement requires a two handed access method or the dominant hand alone must climb up and under the shirt a significant distance to establish a firm grip. This, takes both hands out of the fight or traps the dominant hand under clothing. While there are some who have the discipline and time to practice accessing the neck knife rapidly and efficiently from this carry position it has proven, under opposition training to be less than optimal when the aggressor is actually trying to punch you in the face.
Clearing the cover garment with support hand while establishing a final fighting grip on neck knife with dominant hand. This knife, on a shorter cord, requires both hands to consistently access the knife effectively.
Another problem experienced during opposition testing of the short-carry method was cover garment/clothing related. Stretchy t-shirts were not as big a problem but dress shirts, polo-type shirts and hoodies tended to catch on the backside, around the buttocks when utilizing a two handed upward cover garment clearing method.
Note how tight the cover garment is around the hips and buttocks. This tension limits how much the cover garment could be lifted to clear the neck knife for consistent access.
An alternative to consider is what I will refer to as long-carry for the neck knife. This is where an extended or longer attachment is utilized to hang the neck knife closer to the belt line. When set up appropriately this places the knife hilt approximately 1-2 inches above the hem of the shirt.
Note how much lower this knife hangs compared to the one above. Hilt of knife is approximately 1-2 inches above hem of shirt.
This is where other common EDC defensive tools such as firearms or other knives are carried. So, congruency with previously established tool access is achieved. This long-carry position requires very little elevation of the dominant hand to index and acquire a grip. The support hand can be used to assist this process but is not required with practice. In confined space or in a clinched position or bear hug the dominant hand can still grab the neck knife. This even works if the support side hand or arm is tied up fending, striking or grappling.
Note the locked wrist position when indexing and establishing grip. This makes fouling the draw stroke much more difficult.
Utilizing the support hand to better visualize the final fighting grip.
Lanyards & Attachments
Finally, consider some type of break-away connector or clasp for the attachment. Cordage around your neck during a struggle is a handle for someone to get ahold of and use against you. A break away connector will solve this problem.
A simple break-away connector from amazon.com will allow the neck knife cordage to disconnect when aggressively yanked on or pulled.
Defensive Knives And Stopping The Threat