SLICK NECK KNIVES COVER A RANGE OF USES, CARRIES AND DESIGNS
Neck knives are an oft-overlooked segment of the EDC market, due in most part to folders dominating the genre. Some users, however, prefer a neck knife over the more complicated mechanics of folders because it is less likely to break down, offers quick access, and has that strong tactile feel a fixed blade offers. Meanwhile, neck knives today are more diverse than ever, offering a multitude of options.
RESCUE NECKER: Boker Plus Rescue Kiridashi
The Boker Plus Rescue Kiridashi gets the “rescue” label by offering a large gut-hook-style web cutter. (For more on the latest rescue knives, see page 44). The blade has the flat edge of a kiridashi but is hollow ground on both sides to enhance slicing capabilities. The handle—the blade and handle length overlap—has a large index finger hole for a sure grip. A black Kydex sheath, black ball chain and bolt-on Kydex belt loop are included.
With its large wharncliffe blade, the knife proved to be a beast. I tested it on leather and 3/8-inch synthetic rappelling rope and it whipped through both with ease. The ring in the short handle enhances grip, making the index finger your main purchase point. Watch out for that gut hook webbing cutter, however, as it’s awfully close to the thumb rest. I tried the hook on seat belt webbing as well. In my experience, though gut-hook-style webbing cutters don’t perform as well as serrated blades, the Rescue Kiridashi will do the job in the heat of the moment.
Specs: Boker Plus Rescue Kiridashi
Designer: Simon Frömel
Blade length: 2”
Blade steel: 440C stainless
Blade pattern: Wharncliffe
Blade thickness: .11”
Handle material: Stainless steel
Special features: Seat belt cutter, optional belt loop
Weight: 1.73 ozs.
Overall length: 5”
Sheath: Black Kydex
Country of origin: China
CRISPY CUTTER: Bradford Knives’ G-Necker
Bradford Knives’ G-Necker eschews radical curves for more classic lines that give it the look of a standard small fixed blade. It departs from the norm, however, by flexing its muscle with top-shelf Elmax stainless steel in a graceful, flat ground drop point blade. The handle, thick enough to forgo a cord wrap or scales, has two triangulate holes to lighten the load. We tested the blackwash version—other finishes are available. Bradford provides a black Kydex sheath and ball chain necklace.
The quarter-inch-plus-thick handle is unusual among neck knives. However, if you think it might be a bit clumsy, that’s not the case. Bradford has struck a balance by keeping the steel’s thickness on the handle but tapering it on the blade for better slicing.
The Elmax steel cut like a house afire, taking off super crisp cuts on harness leather and whipping through 3/8-inch rope with ease. The handle rests in the palm nicely and the notched gimping on the thumb rest enhances grip. Handles with no scales or padding don’t bode well for long term use as those that have them, but if you’re using the Bradford G-Necker for quick chores, you’ll have no worries.
Specs: Bradford Knives’ G-Necker
Blade length: 2.875”
Blade steel: Elmax stainless
Rockwell hardness: 60-61 HRC
Blade thickness: .25”
Blade pattern: Drop point
Weight: 2.69 ozs.
Overall length: 6.125”
Sheath: Black Kydex
Country of origin: USA
CITY or COUNTRY: Condor Tool & Knife Kickback
Condor Tool & Knife designed the Kickback for both urban and field duty. The straight-back blade has a swedge grind for enhanced penetration, giving it a tactical feel, while its deep belly makes it at home in the field. The steel has a black traction coat stem to stern and there’s a large finger hole in the base. A nicely done tan paracord wrap with a knotted pull completes the handle. Condor provides a black Kydex sheath with ball chain for neck carry.
The blade did an excellent job of slicing through harness leather, which bodes well for the knife’s potential use as a skinner. I also found the swedge ground point adept at penetrating and boring into leather. Due to its light weight and short blade, the Kickback wasn’t quite as good at cutting 3/8-inch rope as at least one other of the test knives, but it gets the job done. The cord-wrapped handle is very comfortable. I found the ring at the base a bit tight for my pinkie finger but it works well for hanging the knife on a lanyard.
Specs: Condor Kickback
Blade length: 2.75”
Blade material: 1075 high carbon steel
Blade style: Straight back
Handle material: Paracord wrap
Special features: Ring base
Weight: 1.75 ozs.
Overall length: 6.125”
Sheath: Black Kydex
Country of origin: El Salvador
FIRE IT UP: TOPS Knives Mini Tanimboca Puukko
The Mini Tanimboca Puukko by TOPS Knives makes no bones about its mission: It’s basically a small bushcraft knife. It is a full-tang design with a flat-back Scandi-ground blade. The little necker’s handle features comfortably plump black linen Micarta® scales with a large tube lanyard hole in the butt. At 1.28 ounces it’s the lightest of the test group and deviates from the rest in its uncommon top-loading brown leather neck sheath, which wears on a belt, too. The knife is also the smallest of the review neckers and, indeed, the most distinctive.
As noted, the Mini Tanimboca is a field knife. While it will cut leather strips and can saw its way through 3/8-inch rope, it really excels at fire prep. I tested it for taking fine shavings from a boxwood block and stick of pine, and it dug in with gusto and precision. I then tested the blade spine on a small ferro rod and it threw sparks like a champ. The blade tip bores holes in leather with accuracy. The tiny knife makes an excellent companion to its larger sibling, the TOPS Tanimboca Puukko.
Specs: Mini Tanimboca
BLADE MATERIAL:1095 high carbon steel
BLADE PATTERN:Drop point
HANDLE MATERIAL:Black Micarta®
SPECIAL FEATURES:Sheath also has loop for belt carry
OVERALL LENGTH:4”SHEATH:Brown leather
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:USAMSRP:$110
SOMETHING for ALL
This is a diverse group of neckers. Three qualify as concealed carry knives and have Kydex pull-down sheaths. One is purely for field work and, appropriately, has a leather top-loading sheath. The key disadvantage to neck knives is when they’re worn under a garment, it can make their access a little tricky—though they make up for it in speed of deployment once the knife is in hand.
With its belt loop option, the Boker Plus Rescue is the complete package. The Bradford G-Necker is an upscale brute of a knife. The Condor Kickback offers self-defense and field capabilities. The TOPS Mini Tanimboca Puukko is a great little outdoors tasker. With such choices there’s a necker for most everyone in today’s market.
EXTRA TIP: How to Avoid “Red Necks”
An area of concern with neck knives is the mode of carry around your neck; in other words, if the necklace does not give way if it catches on somethings, it can wring your neck—or worse.
Ball chains are designed to break easily in such instances and thus are considered safe. They’re also cheap and easy to replace. A nylon, leather or other cord, on the other hand, won’t snap in two easily. The solution? A friction or other knot that will release from around your neck with sufficient tension.
“Almost any knot around a loop will do the trick, though some knots may work better than others,” noted BLADE® reader Bob Seymour. In the accompanying image are two friction knots: one tied loosely with two different colors of cord for clarity, and below it the same knot tightened up more neatly on a leather lanyard. Note that the loop prevents the knobby end of the cord from catching during release.
Experiment with different materials and knots and test them to see if they will release with sufficient tension. The key is to arrive at a knot that does not release too easily and one that won’t release at all. If in doubt, trash the cord and use a ball chain. For a related approach visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=864FSx_cTYQ.
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