When it Comes To Carrying A Concealed Yet Capable And Easy-To-Access Knife, The Neck Knife Is The First Option For Many People.
Neck knives are often overlooked as a form of everyday carry, which is surprising since they offer so many advantages. Neckers, as they’re slang-fully called, excel at concealment* as they are easily covered by a shirt or jacket, and, because they’re uncommon EDCs, offer an element of surprise.
While neck knives frequently may be thought of as tools of self-defense, they also offer utility aplenty. In addition, with a fixed-blade neck knife—like all fixers—you simply snatch it from its sheath and you’re ready to go.
Condor Tool & Knife Carlitos Neck Knife
Condor Tool & Knife’s Carlitos Neck Knife is small and lightweight, its weight primarily reduced by its skeletonized design, with only a paracord wrap to add load to its black carbon steel mass.
The blade is gimped on the lower spine for added grip. The handle is cord-wrapped with a braided lanyard at the base, handy for releasing the knife from the sheath. The grommets at the sheath’s base can take paracord or ball chain for neckwear.
Outdoor Edge LeHawk
The Outdoor Edge LeHawk, designed by knifemaker Jerry Hossom, is the largest of the test knives. The blade has a swedge grind and fine gimping along the spine.
The 3.3-inch handle is grippy with a kicked-up bird’s-beak butt to prevent slippage. The sheath wears around a neck via a length of provided cord or carries on a belt.
TOPS Knives Sneaky Pete Mini
The TOPS Knives Sneaky Pete Mini resembles a scaled-down tactical knife. In fact, it is a miniaturized version of the company’s larger Sneaky Pete introduced in 2018.
The blade’s recurved edge flows into a 3.5-inch skeletonized handle. The entire knife is carbon steel. Delivered with a sheath and ball chain necklace, the Mini also has a carabiner clip for dangler carry. The skeletonized construction makes for a very slim package.
WE Knives OSS Dagger
The WE Knives OSS Dagger is derived from the famed Fairbairn-Sykes/OSS daggers of World War II, though did you know there were variants this small? They were made for concealment for clandestine operations and called lapel, sleeve and thumb daggers, and it is from these that the WE version is derived. (And, of course, “WE” does not stand for the W.E. of William Ewart Fairbairn.)
The double-ground blade has one edge sharpened and a tapered fuller. The back side of the blade is flat. Essentially an integral design of stainless steel, the handle has inlays for improved grip. The knife is delivered with a black sheath and ball-chain necklace.
Testing The Neck Knives
Two of our subjects are for neck-only carry, while two offer a belt carry option. As for size, keep in mind a large neck knife may be too much for a small person, and a small necker not enough for a large person. The WE OSS Dagger is diminutive, so it’s very easy to conceal.
There’s a ball chain for neck carry plus a small Tec-Lok-style attachment on the back of the sheath that allows for belt carry—or you even can remove it for loose pocket carry. The knife fits super snug in the sheath and the total length in the sheath is only 4.5 inches. This is one versatile rig!
The TOPS Sneaky Pete Mini and Condor Carlitos are both mid-size neck knives. Neither has a belt clip, but you can hang the TOPS carabiner off a belt loop dangler-style. The Sneaky Pete Mini is 6.5 inches sheathed and very slim given it has no handle scales or wrap.
The Carlitos is a half-inch shorter sheathed at six inches and fits close to the chest due to its tight cord wrap. It would be hard to go wrong with either of these neckers—both are lightweight and easily concealed.
The molded sheath of the Outdoor Edge LeHawk has a rotating retainer atop it that keeps the knife locked in until you’re ready to unleash it. It does not require thumbing open as it’s a friction fit. There’s a rotating, removable belt clip in back that, when removed, gives a thinner profile for neckwear. The belt clip is a nice option, one you might prefer since this is a larger knife. A lanyard hole in the base accommodates a variety of rope or cord.
What’s The Most Versatile Neck Knife?
With its short handle, the WE OSS Dagger is a knife to handle using a pinch grip between thumb and forefinger. The premium stainless blade sliced through 1/16-inch leather admirably, making a case for its ability as a capable hideaway knife with a bevy of options for carry. The OSS Dagger does not have a lot of upside for field use, but that’s not what it’s made to do.
The two mid-sizers—the Condor Carlitos and TOPS Sneaky Pete Mini—are both carbon steel blades with just enough handle for a forward or fencer’s grip, and just enough blade for field use. I tested both on paracord, 3/8-inch rappelling rope and a boxwood block. Both worked well at cutting through the materials, easily slicing the paracord and tackling the rappelling rope on a flat wood surface.
However, they did not perform so well at pull-throughs because their blades aren’t long enough. The Carlitos, with its more comfortable padded grip, performed better at carving boxwood shavings, while the Sneaky Pete Mini had the edge cutting rappelling rope. That said, both can perform within a lick of each other and make for handy companions in both the field and for concealed protection.
The larger LeHawk has roughly a half-inch longer blade than its nearest competitors, which allowed it to tackle tougher chores. I tested the blade on some 1.5-inch-wide harness leather a tad under 1/8-inch thick and it easily whipped through the hide, both on a flat surface and at pull-throughs, in a single stroke.
The LeHawk is a workhorse that can tackle tougher chores in the field and offer a high degree of protection should it be called to duty. It is tougher to conceal simply due to its larger size but the cutting gains may be worth it to you.
*Be sure to check the laws concerning concealed knife carry in your area.
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