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 have 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 for me. Over the years testing and carrying a variety of neck knives I have come to a few steadfast and practical considerations when carrying via this method.
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. Real readiness involves proper mindset, awareness and preparation. 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 final 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 neck 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 fighting grip. This, essentially either 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 at close quarters to be less than optimal when the aggressor is actually trying to punch you in the face.
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.
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.
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 final fighting grip. The support hand can be used to assist this process but is not required with a little practice. In confined space or in a clinched position or bear hug the dominant hand can still grab neck knife. This even works if the support side hand or arm is tied up fending, striking or grappling.
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.