Why a lanyard?


December 19, 2012, 08:23 AM
I see some fixed-blade knives have a lanyard. Some lanyards are loops, and some are braided. I have never used a knife that has a lanyard. (My flashlight, yes, but not a knife.)

What is the benefit and drawback of having a lanyard? Is it for show, or is there a function that it performs? Is there a benefit to having a braided lanyard instead of a loop? (Perhaps less likely to catch on something and be pulled from the sheath?)

Thanks for your insight.


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December 19, 2012, 08:44 AM
I lanyard allows a person skinning an animal to let go of the knife so they can pull on the skin while the knife dangles. If properly adjusted, the knife will hang in such a way as not to cut the operator and should return to the grasp as the arm is dropped. It can be rather slick but can get in the way when not being used. You see lanyards on many "tacticool" knives, most of these are intended for the user not to loose the knife as they slash their way through countless zombies but it really is not very practical. It would kind of be like having a 15lb .223 carbine with a 100rd magazine, pistol grip, laser, spotlight, Redvine dispenser, and coffee maker to clear buildings with. Some might say you can use the thong hole to fashion a spear in a survival situation but, it would be just as easy to make a spear out of a butter knife. On small knives that sit deep in sheaths, a short braided strap can help draw them out of the sheath faster and more securely while not getting in the way. The biggest reason so many have thong holes is ... because they look good.

December 19, 2012, 09:11 AM
Lanyards are also popular for knives used on ships. Way back when a sailor's knife was one of his most prized and essential possessions, they would do anything necessary to keep it safe. An accidental drop overboard meant it was gone forever. I believe this is one origin of the "Diamond Knot" which is still called the "knife lanyard knot" by many.

Another purpose is on very small knives with short handles. A short, braided lanyard gives you a kind of flexible handle extension and make the grip that much more secure when working.

December 19, 2012, 09:24 AM
glistam's right on the money. Lanyards can either be a safety and control measure (required during some cutting competitions ( http://www.americanbladesmith.com/ipboard/index.php?/topic/844-cutting-competition-knives-topic-for-november-2012/) to ensure a knife doesn't fly into the crowd) or can be more of a fob used to retrieve a knife in a pocket.

December 19, 2012, 02:52 PM
My favorite use for a lanyard is when holding a knife with my teeth rather than putting it down when needing two hands.

I have them on any carried folder and add them to fixed blades when I carry them but have found that I need to take them off when not carried as the cats wandering around here will interpret them as toys, drag them around and draw the destructive attention of the bulldogs. Lost a couple of fine sheaths and handles due to carelessly laying lanyarded fixed blades about.

December 19, 2012, 06:44 PM
I rarely use a lanyard but insist that every folder I carry have a hole that allows me to attach a lanyard.... I'm not talking about anything fancy or permanent, but as mentioned above, if you work on the water it's important not to drop any tool - since none of them float. I'll even rig a lanyard on a screwdriver if needed. Most of my lanyards are improvised out of heavy fishing line and discarded when not specifically needed.

I really like some of the lanyards I've seen but wouldn't use one for daily carry at all....

December 20, 2012, 11:42 AM
My Brittany thinks that the leather thongs I usually use for lanyards are chew toys. So if I leave my hunting gear lying around for some reason, I will probably find her contentedly eating the lanyard somewhere else in the house.

Or just find that it has disappeared from the knife in a mysterious fashion.

bubba in ca
December 25, 2012, 10:24 PM
On heavy chopping knives like machetes they are a safety item, especially good if fatigue or wet hands are involved. Probably a winner around boats and canoes, too.

My new Ontario sp 8 came with a black shoe string lanyard. I`ll probably replace it with paracord.

December 26, 2012, 04:41 PM
Whether lanyards are a good or bad thing is strictly personal. Personally, I like them on both knives and handguns used in the field.

I once dropped an revolver out of a holster (poorly made nylon). I frantically backtracked and found it. It was there and then I figured out why lanyard rings were put on some handguns. Today, all of the handguns I carry afield have lanyard rings and lanyards.

The use of lanyards on knives have saved more than a couple from being lost. I know some folks think they get in the way. But, I suspect these people haven't ever lost a valuable tool that could have been saved by having a lanyard.

Dr. Sandman
December 27, 2012, 09:37 AM
Lanyards are also a way to incorporate "550 paracord" into your knife which turns many people on (suvivalists, preppers, mall ninjas, kids that just watched the Delta Force marathon). By doing this, the company sells more knives.

December 29, 2012, 10:50 PM
In the Army, you tie anything that can be lost to you with a cord. 550 paracord is common, so that's what has become the de facto standard, but isn't always the best.

Compass cords absorb less water, and the guylines used on radio antennae can offer alternatives, too. Unless it's rated paracord with the obvious tracer threads, it's likely a lighter weight version made specifically for decorative use. That's not bad, but in the culture, it's noticed.

Before paracord became common, boot laces were used, including leather. The whole point is to secure an item to you in wilderness conditions so that it can't be lost, which could endanger your well being.

What happens with the cordage is that it's braided, knotted, or woven to reduce the length when conditions aren't critical. It stores it in a handier length, and adds a certain decorative affect. You see the knotted versions when the item isn't really used that much in the field. Otherwise, why bother? Constantly braiding and unwinding it isn't something timely. I keep a Swiss knife on an actual parachute riser cord with sewn hand loop, no point in wrapping it all up when all I need is to pass the cord back thru the loop around a belt loop and drop the excess into a pocket.

Compasses are the same - cords are usually wrapped quickly around the body of the compass and placed into the pouch.

Lanyards are good things to have on some gear, and the more rugged the conditions and further afield, the more necessary.

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