The Benefits of a Forward Lanyard

If you have been following along, you know that I injured myself with my Becker BK21. In that post I mentioned that I never got fully comfortable with that blade until I configured a forward lanyard onto it. After using the blade this way for a time, I can say that all choppers should have this fantastic safety feature.

My first encounter with forward lanyards comes from seeing competitors using them in Bladesports competitions. Unlike with a rear lanyard, where the blade can swing around on you if the blade slips from your hand, a forward lanyard keeps the knife from going… well.. anywhere if you lose your grip. Using proper cordage, this can allow you to hit even harder, thanks to the positive retention.

As another bonus, even when not engaging in chopping tasks and instead performing smaller detail chores, the forward lanyard stays out of the way much better than a rear lanyard which can sometimes interfere with your work, especially if the lanyard has any beads on it.


Unfortunately, not many production blades out there have a forward lanyard hole as a standard accoutrement. Fortunately, it is an easy mod on a Becker knife to create the forward hole needed. Simply removing the forward bolt creates a perfectly positioned opening. The only question I had was whether or not the two bolts are enough to stand up to hard use.

Although I had messed around with my reconfigured BK21 in my backyard, I never got to give it a proper workout until this past weekend on a campout with friends. It rained nearly the entire weekend so we had to do a lot of work to get at some dry firewood. Although we had a chainsaw to assist us in breaking up some of the stuff we found, the Becker did a fair bit of chopping, and we used the knife to baton through enough wood for two nights’ campfires. The handle scales didn’t budge throughout the weekend. With the amount of abuse we threw at it, I am pretty confident in the strength.


Even though I’m thinking of epoxying the scales permanently for even more security, I would be perfectly at ease removing the forward bolts on my other Beckers in a heartbeat.

Even on knives without the forward hole, I have rigged up a lanyard using a clove hitch to tie the loop to the handle, such as I did with the Fiddleback Forge Camp Knife that I reviewed last year. Not the best execution, but better than nothing.


Keeping in mind there is no substitute for practicing proper technique, the safety a forward lanyard inspires allows you to hit harder, and more securely, than any other device I know about.

Has anyone here had any experience with forward lanyards? Be sure to let us know in the comments.


  1. Sam L. says:

    I haven’t, but I can see the advantages it provides. I shall have to do that with my machete.

  2. Chris B says:

    Thanks for bringing this to light, I’ll have to incorporate this on my BK2.
    Is there any special technique to tying a forward lanyard? To me it looks like the cord is twisted around itself before being drawn back to a knot behind the hand. I searched youtube briefly for a video but couldn’t find one.

    1. Chris,

      That is exactly how I am doing mine right now. The half knot/twist keeps the loop around the wrist tighter, rather than letting it go wide which could allow some slippage.

      Most of the Bladesports guys use something with a wider strap (rather than a single cord) for better comfort and a drawstring/slider to tighten it down after getting it over the wrist. Unforunately I don’t have any examples that I can point to on how to do them, but some achieve this through complex paracord braids.

      My way above is more expedient, but gloves are recommended to keep the cord from pinching you. The other disadvantage is that while it fits my wrist perfectly, if you want to adjust the tension for another person you will have to retie it, rather than being able to use a slider.


  3. Skinnedknuckles says:

    I’ve been watching Forged in Fire (thanks so much for bringing that to our attention – great show) and notice that they also use a temporary forward lanyard arrangement when chopping with some of the knives. They seem to have a quick and easy way to attach it (simpler, quicker and less permanent than the clove hitch you show). Can you get us more information on that technique.

  4. Renato says:

    How is the BK21 holding up?

    I’m thinking of the narrow part near the handle.
    Is it still in one piece ?

    I didn’t hear of any BK21 breaking there yet though.
    But there are reports of BK9’s breaking(being sold in larger numbers than the BK21 makes also a difference I guess), and this BK21 is 4 inch longer and having that narrow blade near the handle…

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The Benefits of a Forward Lanyard

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