Stone River SRG3NCS Ceramic Neck Knife

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

Stone River SRG3NCS Ceramic Neck Knife
Illustration courtesy of Stone River Outdoors, LLC.

Most of us know when we venture into the woods or wilderness we should have a backup knife for emergency use. However, more often than not, we do not take one along.

One of the ideas behind the design and introduction of neck knives was to make a backup knife small, compact and easily carried in the field. Despite the plethora of neck knives on the market, they have never really enjoyed the popularity of regular sheath knives or pocket folders. This is truly unfortunate.

Neck knives are relatively inexpensive and handy to have in a pinch. That being said, we are as guilty as the next person for not carrying one into the field. Our complaint was not their size, which we liked, but that we didn't like something hanging around our neck that could get caught on a branch or get in the way when we were getting ready to shoot. Granted, that is just our personal opinion and a pretty lame excuse for not carrying a neck knife.

Well, apparently Jim Economos at Stone River recognized this and redesigned the regular SR neck knife. He increased the blade length to three inches, making the overall knife 6-1/8 inches long, added a Kydex sheath and, more importantly, included a nylon belt sheath. The belt sheath is something we really like. A small emergency blade is light and unobtrusive on the belt.

Before getting into how we use this small knife, we would like to address the sheaths. Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride material. Not being chemists, that means absolutely nothing to us. However, in doing our research, it has a Rockwell hardness of 90 and is used for truck bed liners, safety helmets, firearm holsters and, of course, knife sheaths. It is tough, waterproof, scratch resistant and will not shrink. The positive fit of the blade into the Kydex sheath keeps the knife firmly in place until it is deployed. It doesn't get any better than that.

The bonus belt sheath that is included is a great extra. We have never been fans of nylon sheaths, preferring heavy leather. That is, until we were able to inspect this one. Whoever designed this sheath thought of everything. It is double stitched with three rivets for extra strength. The rivets are of a new type, having a button on the back to ensure they never wear through the nylon. If all of that weren't enough to convince us of the benefits of this sheath, there is a sewn-in polymer blade protector. The blade protector not only guarantees the sheath won't be accidentally cut, it adds strength and rigidity to the sheath.

Quite by accident, we discovered an ideal use for this knife. Not only is it ideal for carrying during the fall shotgun hunting seasons, the three inch ceramic blade is perfect for dressing waterfowl and small game. The full tang handle, wrapped with 550 paracord, provides a positive grip. Plus, it is a lot easier to clean than most folders.

The blade is razor sharp. Ceramic blades are known for sharpness and edge retention, due to their extreme hardness. Ceramic blades are very hard and hold an edge extremely well, but they are also brittle. Do not flex or twist the blade when cutting and do not attempt to pry with the blade, or it is liable to snap. Avoid cutting on hard surfaces, such as tile, glass, stone or marble. This applies to all ceramic knife blades.

Ceramic blades are too hard to sharpen on a normal steel or Arkansas stone. To touch-up the cutting edge, use a diamond-dust-coated sharpening steel or wheel.

If you only use this blade on small game, you will probably never have to re-sharpen it. However, if needed, Stone River Outdoors offers a free sharpening service; you only pay for the shipping.

The SRG3NCS neck knife has a 2014 MSRP of $59.95. As with all Stone River knives, it comes in a presentation gift box. You can order it directly from Stone River Outdoors at their website

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Copyright 2014, 2015 by Jim Clary and/or All rights reserved.