From your run-of-the-mill carabiner to a custom-configured key organizer, carrying keys can get pretty complex. If you want something simple and reliable, all it takes is good hardware.
The “HK-style” clip you see here on plenty of EDC keychains is a great example. It has a sturdy, spring-loaded gate that's sized just-right for opening with your thumb, a 1” slot on one end, coming to a smooth, pointed tip on the other. It gets its name from its common use of attaching slings to Heckler & Koch rifles. If these HK clips can carry a rifle, they'll definitely work for your keys.
Today, we've rounded up 8 interesting keychains based on the HK clip. They take it to the next level with special materials and extra features, resulting in an assortment of solid EDC keychains that make your carrying keys and micro tools a snap.
Quick Tips on How to Carry Your EDC Keychain
Here's a mini Carry Smarter tip that applies to almost all HK clip keychains: I recommend carrying them by clipping them to a belt loop on your dominant side, then tucking the rest into the closest pocket.
This has two huge benefits: 1. it silences your keys so you're not everyday janglin', and 2. acts as a failsafe to catch your keys in case your beltloop breaks. (I can't imagine these clips breaking before your pants do. But if you do have magical indestructible pants, please let me know where to get a pair.)
One last thing: you're probably going to already have something clipped to your pocket on your strong side. That'll get in the way of your keychain tuck (and your keychain will get in the way of reaching for whatever else is in your pockets). In this case, I recommend you keep your tool where it's most readily accessible, and tuck your keys in the less accessible pocket as a lower priority. For example, if you prefer your EDC knife in your front right pocket, go for the backpocket keychain tuck.
Experiment with which belt loop you attach to and which pocket you tuck into, keeping in mind things like: how long your keychain is, what's already in your pockets, if you like to unlock your door from the hip or unclip your keychain entirely, and so on. Got it? Cool. Now, onto the gear.
Recycled Firefighter Belt Clip Keychain
RecycledFireFighter made a name for themselves with their line of minimalist EDC wallets crafted from recycled firehose. While their belt clip keychain isn't made from the same material, it's still strong, lightweight, and affordable like their wallets. Instead, this clip is made with a 5” long, reflective webbing, giving you the option for a secure backpocket tuck or heightened nighttime visibility if wearing it externally.
Maxpedition Keyper Pouch
The Keyper from Maxpedition is probably the most popular HK clip keychain in the EDC scene, but its design is far from common. Unlike most keychains that use the snap hook to clip to a belt loop, the Keyper's HK clip is what carries your keyring. The keychain itself uses hook-and-loop to give you extra versatility, letting you strap onto things like webbing on your EDC pack or your belt itself. It comes in handy if you prefer carrying you keys off your body or if your usual pants don't have belt loops. To top it all off, it's priced at a great value.
RattlerStrap Liberty Clip
RattlerStrap outfits an HK clip with a keychain made of paracord—EDC's ever-useful cordage—and finishes it with a multifunctional hardware insert. The metal insert doubles as both a bottle opener and a secret stash for emergency cash. In survival situations, you can unravel the paracord to use as super durable rope. Altogether, the LibertyClip is more than a keychain: it's an emergency rope, bottle opener, and moneyclip too.
Apolis Transit Issue
For a more minimal and luxurious option that's just as functional, there's the Apolis Transit Issue keychain. A high quality, 3” long piece of Horween chromexcel leather loops through the HK clip's 1” slot, secured by four hand-stitched bar tacks. The finished result is a sturdy yet supple keychain. It's a bit shorter at 5” total length in case you'd rather carry it externally. Apolis makes these in Los Angeles in several classic tonal colorways to suit your aesthetic.
The hardware on this keychain from Unsettle isn't exactly an HK clip, but it's close. Rather, like the name implies, it's a hybrid HK clip combined with a quick release buckle portion. Depressing the “wings” on the clip completely detach the keyring portion, granting quick access and a wide range of motion to use the built-in box opener and bottle opener functions. If you're the type of EDCer who wants a ton of utility from carrying as few items as possible, this one's for you.
Suigeneric Waxed Cotton Keychain
Suigeneric makes a solid keychain option for those of you looking for something minimal by design but not boring to look at. You'll find a huge range of striking designs and visual patterns on hand-waxed, 100% cotton keychains. The wax coating gives a bit of sturdiness and rigidity to the feel of the cotton while adding water resistance for improved everyday functionality.
With ARKType's RMK (Riflesnap Magnet Keychain), the HK clip takes a back seat to more futuristic hardware: a Fidlock magnetic clasp. It's the RMK's killer app, letting you easily disconnect your keyring to unlock doors or to snap in other setups with extra magnetic connectors. The magnets are strong enough to not only stay put even under heavy loads, but they also help “guide” the clasps together so you're not fumbling around with your keys. As if the HK riflesnap and Fidlock hardware weren't sturdy enough, the RMK's finished with short sections of paracord in several low-profile colors.
Some of you might prefer to carry your keys (and ID badges) on a neck lanyard. Given how HK clips were originally used on slings, adopting that hardware on a lanyard makes a lot of sense. This lanyard from BoltTac keeps it simple with 1200 lb.-rated webbing that's comfortable on your skin. It's made in the USA and comes in black or original multicam colorways. If you like these webbing-based lanyards, BoltTac makes a standard-length keychain with the same materials in even more colors.
The 8 picks shown here are just a few of the many HK clip styles out there. Besides its functionality, it's popular because of how customizable it is. You can even put your DIY hat on and get creative with it to make your own keychain from leather, webbing, or paracord, just to name a few.
Do you rock a snap keychain like this? I'd love to hear your experiences with 'em. Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
* Price shown reflects Deal pricing at the time of publication, and may have changed since.