Survival knives have come in many shapes and forms over the years, the most common being a large knife with all kinds of goodies stashed inside a handle with a screw-off base. That’s a good idea, but if the knife is not what you need, then the benefits don’t outweigh the need to carry it. For this reason I’ve always assembled my own survival needs in a separate container and carried the knife of my choice. The TOPS SSS (acronym for Safety-Security-Survival) Magnetic Neck Knife made me rethink that equation.
The SSS packs a lot of punch into a small package. At first glance you might think that this is just a neck knife with a whistle attached to a length of para-cord, but upon closer inspection other functions of interest begin to emerge. One that caught my eye immediately is a 2-inch-long ferrocerium fire-starter bar running down one side of the molded plastic sheath. Throw a little tinder in front of its sparks and you’ve got a nice fire going within minutes. So the SSS has its own built-in flint-and-steel set at your fingertips.

Secret Stuff Onboard
The SSS package, designed by Florida knife maker Dean Bosworth, is centered around a 2.4-inch 54CM stainless steel chisel-ground tanto blade. The handle is cord-wrapped with 7 feet of OD green para-cord that will come in very handy in a pinch. The handle is skeletonized, and cleverly concealed under the cord-wrap is 6 feet of fishing line and 2 fishhooks. A combination screwdriver and pry bar is located on the base.

The open-faced sheath is machined from black Micarta with grooves along the inner walls, which serve to trap the tanto blade in place. To keep the knife firmly in the sheath when carried, there are three very powerful magnets located under the blade and a ball-bearing detente serves as a locator for final positioning. A diagonal groove at the base of the sheath can be used as a platform for nipping cord and fishing line with the chiseled tip on the tanto.

The benefits built into the sheath don’t end there. Flip it over and there is a one-inch square steel plate coated with diamond grit (made by Lansky Sharpeners) for honing the blade of the tanto. Located below the sharpener is a bright, highly polished signal mirror contoured to the lower half of the sheath. The sheath is strung on approximately 26 inches of the same green para-cord used on the handle with a black emergency whistle threaded onto it.

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