Don’t Knock Neck Knives

John’s neck knife by maker Michael Rader (Seattle, WA). Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

Neck knives are typically a lightweight, slender fixed blade knife. They don’t normally consist of any moving parts (just solid construction) and are often encased in a Kydex (thermoplastic) fitted sheath. The sheath is tight fitting so that no accidental deployment of the blade occurs. The handle may have a skeletonized core with a paracord wrap for lightweightedness and grip. Usually these knives are carried inverted with the blade facing upward and handle facing downward.

People even hike and run with neck knives for protection and survival. The neck holster is usually suspended by a ball chain necklace like the soldiers wear military dog tags on. That way, if something or someone pulls your chain, it should break without damaging your neck or obstructing your breathing. My husband used his neck knife for wood carving, which is a great use for a neck knife while out camping. These minimalist-oriented neck knives can be used for kindling and small tasks around the campsite.

They have karambit neck knives that feature an inconspicuous way to carry a fixed blade for self defense. Karambit neck knives are inspired by the traditional karambit from Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Malaysia). Forged in Fire Judge, Founder and Owner of Marcaida Kali, and Edge Impact Weapons and Combat Specialist, Doug Marcaida, illustrates the true potential of the karambit neck knife in this video by Max Venom (the company that makes the DMax karambits).

Doug stressed that retention in the hand is a big problem for small neck knives. You don’t want to lose the grasp you have on the handle, especially in a self-defense situation. Karambits feature a ring at the end of their handle, which makes the knife easier to draw and retain. The advantages are that the knife is not bulky and will not bring any attention to the person carrying it. The disadvantage is that knife drawing quickness may be hindered when worn underneath clothing. I discussed knife fighting and some implications in my previous blog post.

There are also push dagger neck knives available for purchase. You hold this blade handle in between your forefinger and middle finger and the use is primarily for self defense. Again, you never know when you may need a cutting edge. I prefer a lightweight neck knife like John’s made by Michael Rader (Seattle, WA). It has a paracord wrapped handle and is extremely light. Although I don’t have one, the Esee Izula seems to be a great neck knife with a solid architecture.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. If you enjoy neck knives, martial arts, and the great outdoors, please subscribe for updates and leave a comment below!


Neck knife with Kydex sheath and paracord wrapped handle. Photo Credit: Kammi Dingman

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Kammi Dingman

In addition to pursuing my cellular and molecular biology research and medical professional careers, I am a knife artistry dealer. My husband and I started Big John Blades in 2018 with a mission in mind: Everyone needs a sophisticated cutting edge. I think that everyone deserves the best quality knives; I’m here to deliver the education and product. I’m a believer that quality and price are highly correlated. As a custom knife collector with a scientific mind, I continually research the market and invest in high quality knife-making materials. I'm here to listen to the customers expectations and help them create their custom knife. Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, survivalist, hunter, adventurer, camper, hiker, or connoisseur, an exceptional knife is an asset to any collection. Retail stores can't offer the unique artistry and quality a custom blade will. Custom knives hold their value and in certain instances, increase in value over the years. They are distinguished pieces of art passed down through the generations.

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