Fred Perrin spent two years in the French Army Commandos and worked as a bodyguard. He was a national Tae Kwon Do champion and a European full contact stick-fighting champion. In addition to being France's most famous and controversial knife maker and tactical writer, Fred runs a school where he teaches a unique blend of knife, stick, and empty hand techniques. He is often contracted by France's elite police units for seminars. He doesn't go for the macho look in his blades, but rather applies innovation to solve real-world problems. Fred has the very unusual characteristic of having each of his (production) knives rated as keepers by every seriously knife-knowledgeable practitioner that I know. Interestingly, like the few other members of this exclusive club, these people also refer to his knives as underrated by the masses.
In person he is intense but very likable and personable, and I'm told that his sense of humor has everyone at the table rolling on the floor over dinner. I've been particularly impressed by the way he's solved the problem of holding firmly and completely controlling a small knife (one with a handle that isn?'t as long as the width of your palm) - the two knives here fall into that category. Fred has shown me prototypes of even smaller (folding) knives, and I hope to see them in production soon.
I said production because while Fred is a custom knife maker, he also licenses his designs to select manufacturers. Boker now licenses three of Fred's knife designs, one of them a classic in knife circles. Perrin's Neck Bowie from Boker employs a blade shape common to some of his other knives, and includes his signature deep forefinger relief, which works so well that I wish I'd thought of it. Like all of his knives, the Neck Bowie embodies the philosophy of 100% carry comfort and extremely safe handling in all situations, even when under stress or duress. Of it, Boker says:
This small and handy knife, made of 12C27 steel offers, despite its extremely compact dimensions, great versatility for an everyday knife.
That's true. At 5 7/8-inches Over All Length (OAL), the handle comes just short of reaching across my average-size palm, yet I have complete control over the knife. The 2 ½-inch, simply upswept, fully flat-ground blade has ample length and the absolutely the perfect shape to perform any utility chore or self-defense technique. In short (no pun intended) this knife packs 99% of the function of almost any other knife into a package that's a fraction of their weight and bulk.
It's light, too. The knife weighs only 1.5-ounces, and the included Kydex sheath is, like the knife it holds, minimalist, light, and fully functional. You can wear this low-profile knife under a t-shirt and it doesn't print at all. I appreciate the light weight of the Neck Bowie, since I find so many heavier neck knives soon feel like someone is trying to pull my head down.
Whether you carry this knife for everyday utility chores or as a go-to defensive knife, the Perrrin Neck Bowie is a tool - and a weapon - par excellence.
The Boker-licensed version of the classic Perrin la Griffe is another great version of this now much-imitated design. When the design first hit - back in the early 90s, it people who knew what they were talking about called it the most under rated neck knife on the market. They were right, and the knife is still as highly regarded and effective today as it was then - only by now it deserves to be called a classic. Like the Neck Bowie, it is ground from 440C and comes from the factory very sharp. This finger-hole knife has a handle that only reaches to my ring finger, but the knife is virtually cemented to your hand with a closed grip. This is not a utility knife, but rather a deep-concealment get-off-me knife that will deliver fast, deep cuts to any flesh (or clothing) that it encounters when used with a modicum of skill. The beauty of this design - and the reason it's considered a classic, and also the reason it's held is such high esteem by knowledgeable people - is that it can deliver such devastating cuts with great control in such a small package. It is the standard by which all other neck knives are measured.