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We all know that a person needs a knife on them at all times. In the past, options rested with either a fixed blade in a belt sheath, a folding knife in a belt pouch or pocket, or—in the rare instance that it was more convenient—a boot knife.

In recent years, the popularity of neck knives has grown exponentially, that is, small, sturdy fixed blades that hang from the neck on a sheath suspended from a cord or chain in the tip-up position.

Drawn with one hand, neck knives offer the sturdiness and versatility of a fixed-blade knife and the convenience and portability of a folder. They can be designed for defense, utility or both, and are equally adept at both.

Neck knives have to be sharp for the simple reason that they’re short knives and there isn’t much edge real estate to go around. You can’t afford for the sharpness to “fall off” at the belly or near the tip because that’s a large percentage of your cutting space. But if you have a wickedly sharp edge, a small blade is all you need to accomplish almost any cutting task, and it can be plenty to defend yourself in dire circumstances.

Here are some neck knives that are easy to conceal and easy to draw. Better yet, these neck knives offer razor-sharp blades that will help you protect yourself in a close encounter.

Buck OPS BOOT

While it might be a boot knife by name, the Buck Ops Boot Knife was designed for easy accessibility in any situation, and it can be carried in a sheath around the user’s neck. Weighing only 2.5 ounces, this knife features a 3-inch, tanto- style blade and a heavy-duty G10 handle to create a high-performance design for the field. (800-326-2825; buckknives.com)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 3 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 6.25 inches
  • WEIGHT: 2.5 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 154CM
  • HANDLE: Steel
  • SHEATH: G10
  • MSRP: $133

Cold Steel Double Agent

The Double Agent line of full-sized neck knives brings all the advantages of a karambit-style knife with less of its drawbacks. The two models with more traditional clip-point blades add some utility to a knife style that’s usually only good for fighting after a good amount of training. (coldsteel.com; 800-255-4716)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 3 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 7.88 inches
  • WEIGHT: 2.4 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: AUS 8A
  • HANDLE: Griv-Ex
  • SHEATH: Secure-Ex Kydex
  • MSRP: $49

CRKT Hyphenate

The Hypenate is a handy little bugger that was designed as a climber’s knife by speed-climber Hans Florine. It’s light and held in place by a slim nylon sheath, making it perfect for low-profile carry on the neck. The sheath can also be mounted on a belt or webbing. (crkt.com; 800-891-3100)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 2.23 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 4.77 inches
  • WEIGHT: 1.2 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 8Cr13MoV
  • HANDLE: Skeletonized steel
  • SHEATH: Reinforced nylon
  • MSRP: $30

CRKT Niad

Another climbing knife from CRKT that was designed by Hans Florine, the Niad offers a blade like the Hyphenate’s, but in a folding platform. It’s super lightweight with a serrated, tanto- shaped blade that folds a unique way and relies on a finger loop for a solid grip. Plus, you can attach it to pretty much anything, including your neck. (crkt.com; 800-891-3100)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 1.56 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 4.06 inches
  • WEIGHT: 0.6 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 5Cr13MoV
  • HANDLE: Titanium
  • SHEATH: None
  • MSRP: $40

Gerber Ghostrike Punch Knife

Punch knives have always been a go-to choice for an emergency self-defense blade, and they work particularly well in a neck knife configuration. This solid and simple knife is a great self-defense offering from Gerber with an extremely comfortable grip that doesn’t add much width. (gerbergear.com; 800-950-6161)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 2.5 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 4.8 inches
  • WEIGHT: 3.2 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 420HC
  • HANDLE: Rubberized
  • SHEATH: Glass-filled nylon
  • MSRP: $53

KA-BAR Besh BOGA

“BOGA” stands for “Back Off Get Away,” and it was originally designed as a self-defense knife for women. The knife features the company’s Besh Edge, making it a great defensive weapon for anyone. It’s another featherweight that’s easy to stash anywhere and wear all day. (kabar.com; 716-372-5952)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 2.19 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 5.5 inches
  • WEIGHT: 4 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 3Cr13
  • HANDLE: Steel
  • SHEATH: Hard plastic
  • MSRP: $24

KA-BAR TDI LDK

The vicious little LDK (Last Ditch Knife) lives up to its moniker. It’s extremely minimalist and light, but the pistol-grip shape of the handle, along with aggressive jimping on the edges, allows for a surprisingly solid grip, even with gloves. Its shape also makes it particularly easy to draw from a dangling sheath. (kabar.com; 716-372-5952)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 1.63 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 3.63 inches
  • WEIGHT: 2.4 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 9Cr18
  • HANDLE: Skeletonized steel
  • SHEATH: Hard plastic
  • MSRP: $19

Outdoor Edge Le Duck

Designed by custom knife-maker Jerry Hossom, Le Duck is a compact utility knife with a 2.5-inch, Blackstone-coated, 8Cr14 stainless blade to handle any task. The duck-head-shaped TPR handle offers a comfortable non-slip grip for the outdoors. (outdooredge.com; 800-447-3343)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 2.5 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 6.25 inches
  • WEIGHT: 3 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 8Cr14
  • HANDLE: Rubberized TPR
  • SHEATH: Poly-propylene
  • MSRP: $30

Outdoor Edge Wedge

One touch of your finger on the positive lock button and the Wedge releases instantly. The teardrop-shaped Delrin handle features gripping ridges. The Wedge comes complete with a Swivel-Clip and Cord-Loop for a variety of attachments to a vest, belt loop, D-ring, pocket or around your neck. (outdooredge.com; 800-447-3343)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 2.38 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 5 inches
  • WEIGHT: 3 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 6M
  • HANDLE: Delrin
  • SHEATH: Polymer
  • MSRP: $18

SOG Snarl

The Snarl is officially classified as a “functional fantasy” knife, but there’s nothing imaginary about this useful sheepsfoot-shaped blade, which puts a lot of steel behind the point for penetration power. It’s a defensive tool or a utility blade that’s easy to carry and conceal. (sogknives.com; 888-405-6433)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 2.3 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 4.3 inches
  • WEIGHT: 1.9 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: 8Cr13MoV
  • HANDLE: Steel
  • SHEATH: Molded nylon
  • MSRP: $55

Spyderco Dog Tag Folder

A more non-traditional choice of neck knife, the Dog Tag Folder is more of an in-a-pinch utility blade than a self-defense tool. It rides unnoticed on a neck chain or on a keychain, and a ball bearing keeps the blade reliably open or closed. Plus, the coating makes the knife non-reflective. (spyderco.com; 800-828-1925)

  • BLADE LENGTH: 1.23 inches
  • OA LENGTH: 3.23 inches
  • WEIGHT: 0.9 ounces
  • BLADE STEEL: S30V
  • HANDLE: Carbon fiber/ G10
  • SHEATH: None
  • MSRP: $85

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