Throwing knives come in a range of sizes, materials, weights, and construction. How can you determine which thrower is the best for you?
A throwing knife shouldn’t be confused with a typical pocket knife or tactical blade. Throwing knives’ design allows users to throw them at a target from several yards away with accuracy.
The histories of many cultures include throwing weapons for hunting, sport, or war. For instance, some Native American tribes would throw axes at targets. Today, many people use throwers as a hobby, a backup weapon for hunting, or self-defense.
Modern throwing knives are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, styles, and colors. To use them effectively, you must know what to look for in the ideal thrower and how to execute an accurate throw. Consult the guide below to learn more about the standard features of throwers, how to use them, and how to choose one that’s right for you.
Benefits of Throwing Knives
Throwing knives have plenty of benefits. Because they are bladed weapons, they are practical tools for self-defense. Knives work best for close combat against an attacker. However, you can stop an attacker in their tracks with throwing knives before they can harm you.
Though most throwers aren’t as sharp along their edges as other blades, they are still efficient cutting tools. The knives’ design allows them to endure repeated slams against solid targets, so the blades are incredibly durable. The handles can be smooth unsharpened extensions of the blade or wrapped in a cord to prevent your hand from slipping as you cut.
Throwers are excellent for indoor or outdoor use. You can go from slicing vegetables for a meal to striking animals at a distance during a hunt. You can also use them to cut anything from wires to ropes.
Because throwing knives have such a rich history across multiple cultures, they make excellent collectibles. The variety, styles, and colors are so varied that you can tailor your throwing knife collection to suit your preferences.
Key Features of Throwing Knives
Each part of a throwing knife plays a role in its ability to leave your hand, slice through the air, and hit a target with accuracy. Before you can learn how to decide which thrower is right for you, you first need to understand what features make a throwing knife worthwhile.
A good throwing knife has a handle that fits perfectly in your hand. You don’t want one that’s too small or too big for your grip because it can affect your aim.
The handle should also be symmetrical, with even weight distribution on either side. If the weight is uneven, the knife won’t properly spin once you throw it. It may also fall short of the target, so always go for a thrower with a center-balanced handle.
Many experienced knife throwers prefer knives that are smooth, single pieces of steel without a separate handle because the weapons will quickly leave their hands upon release. However, other people want extra grip for their hands, making cord-wrapped handles an ideal choice.
Balance is an essential component for throwing knives. When you release the weapon from your hand, its balance will determine how it moves until it hits its target or the ground. Generally, a throwing knife should spin around its center of gravity, which should be around the middle of the knife’s overall length, give or take half an inch.
With proper balance, the knife will spin in tight circles when you throw it. If the balance tips more toward the blade or the handle, both ends of the knife will spin at different intervals, making the throw less predictable.
It’s easy to throw a blade-heavy knife from the handle and vice versa if its center of gravity is in the middle. With a balanced center, you can throw the knife from either end with reasonable accuracy. Remember to grip it from the lighter end to deal with knives without a middle center of mass.
The Length and Weight
Sizes vary for throwing knives, but selecting the appropriate length is necessary because it affects mid-air rotation. The longer a blade is, the slower turns it will produce, which is good. The tool will travel longer for every turn it makes.
For this reason, many knife throwers prefer knives between 10 to 13 inches long. It’s possible to throw knives between six to 10 inches long accurately, but the shorter the knife, the more likely you are to accidentally cause it to rebound off the target instead of hitting it.
Weight is another vital feature. The best throwers have some heft to them and are more likely to penetrate the target and stick to it. Lightweight knives are quick, but they don’t have the same penetrative power as heavier options. They’re not the best choice if you want your throw to stick to your target.
To ensure that you have the right weight for your knife, it should have 1 to 1.25 ounces in weight for every inch of length. However, the exact weight of your ideal thrower will depend on your comfort level.
When you select a throwing knife, you need to look for one that has solid construction. The purpose of a throwing knife is to strike a target from a distance, so it must be strong enough to take repeated hits.
For that reason, many throwers prefer a full tang body, meaning the handle and blade are one material. Most knives consist of carbon steel or stainless steel because of their durability and rust-resistance, respectively. Cold steel is another excellent material because it won’t break.
Many throwing knives on the market have perforations in the blades for design purposes. Be mindful that the more holes a blade has, the more prone it is to damage or breakage. Solid blades are sturdier and have more longevity, and options with a few small perforations won’t shatter as easily as those with gaping openings.
The grip refers to how you can hold the thrower, and it includes two styles. The first is the hammer grip, which is ideal for beginners because it’s easy to learn. When holding a throwing knife in a hammer grip, you are holding it like you would a hammer: fingers wrapped around the handle with a stiff wrist.
The hammer grip works best for heavy-throwing knives. By holding the handle, you have less risk of accidentally cutting yourself.
The pinch grip is when you carefully hold the tip of the blade with your thumb or index finger. It’s the ideal grip for conducting a quick, forceful throw of a lightweight blade. However, you can successfully perform a pinch grip on a heavier knife by pinching the edge using your thumb, index finger, and middle finger.
Though you can throw any type of bladed weapon, throwing knives have a design that allows them to fly through the air to hit a target from a distance. Like darts, they will move quicker and farther than a standard knife with accuracy.
Throwing knives’ aerodynamic design usually includes a slim symmetrical shape to achieve good spins during flight.
Types of Throwing Knives
Blade-Heavy Throwing Knife
This thrower style has a heavier blade in comparison to its handle. A blade-heavy throwing knife is ideal for beginners because they are more likely to cut through the air with ease and strike a target. It’s also safer to learn throwing with this knife because you will hold the handle as you throw, not the blade.
Handle-Heavy Throwing Knife
Handle-heavy throwing knives are the opposite of the blade-heavy variety because most of the tool’s weight is in its handle. The grip has more density, whether it’s from the construction of the handle or the addition of cord wrapping to enhance grip.
It’s significantly harder to throw a handle-heavy knife by the handle. It’s always best to throw a blade by gripping its lightest end. With a handle-heavy throwing knife, you will have to hold it using a pinch grip, so it’s best to use this type of knife after you develop your throwing skills.
Balanced Throwing Knife
A balanced throwing knife has equal weight distribution between the handle and the blade. Its center of gravity is in the middle of the tool. It works well for both beginners and experienced throwers, and you can throw the knife from either end.
With a balanced throwing knife, it’s easier to gauge the knife’s landing zone. The rotations the tool makes after throwing are more predictable than a blade- or handle-heavy knife, but it still takes some skill to perform a decent throw.
The kunai knife is a popular choice for knife throwers. It’s Japanese in origin and is a well-known martial arts weapon.
A kunai knife usually ranges from between seven to 11 inches in length. Historically, Japanese people would use the tool for gardening or masonry work. The blade consists of soft iron with a sharp tip and unsharpened edges for mashing materials like wood or plaster.
The blade of a kunai knife resembles a leaf or spear with a pointed tip and a broader base. The handle is thin, and it has a pommel on the end for attaching a rope and a cord wrapping to ensure a tight grip.
As a weapon, the kunai knife works well in stabbing and thrusting movements. They also perform well as throwers with quick deployment.
How to Throw a Knife
Before you can successfully throw a knife, you must first select the appropriate option for your hand and pick a target for aiming.
Your target should be soft and large as a beginner because you’re not trying to focus on penetrating a bullseye with force. Instead, you’re learning how to throw a knife and achieve the proper rotations. For example, an old tree trunk works well as a sizeable target.
You also need to have the proper gear before you start practicing your throwing skills. Hard shoes are a must in case you drop your weapon. Soft canvas shoes or open-toe footwear leave your feet vulnerable to injury.
Here are some basic steps to follow to throw a knife:
You need enough distance between yourself and the target to achieve midair knife rotations. Stand in front of your target and take about five steps back. That’s your throw line.
Once you determine your throw line, take a complete step back and move about 45 degrees to the left if you’re right-handed or 45 degrees to the right if you prefer to use your left hand.
Posture is important when throwing a knife. Stand straight, and keep your body relaxed to avoid overthrowing the knife. If you favor your right hand, stand with your left foot slightly in front of your right foot. Invert the positioning if you’re left-handed.
As a beginner, you should have a blade-heavy or balanced knife. Hold it in a hammer grip with your thumb over your other fingers.
Raise the arm holding the knife in front of you, then bend your elbow so that the knife is next to your head. Swing in a downward motion to throw the knife with moderate force toward the target.
Allow the knife to release from your grip when your hand is pointing toward the target as you swing downward. Your weight will shift to the dominant leg in front.
Care and Maintenance
Taking care of a throwing knife is relatively simple. After use, you should clean the blade with a wet cloth, rinse with water, then dry. Keeping the blade free of moisture will ensure that it doesn’t rust.
You can coat your blade in protective oil, but it’s unnecessary as long as you clean it often. When you finish using and cleaning your thrower, store it safely in a sheath.
A Few of Our Favorite Throwing Knives
This particular set has everything you’d expect in a stylish, high-quality throwing knife set, including:
- 2-piece ninja sword set
- Tactical ax
- Folding knife
- 3 throwing blades
- EDC fixed blade
The knives also come with durable nylon sheaths to keep the blades covered and protected.
Each piece has a stunning stainless steel blade. The metallic black and red design makes this set one of the most attention-grabbing options if you want a throwing knife collection.
The Green Gamma Throwing Knife Set has three 7.5-inch-long blades and a nylon sheath you can attach to a belt loop. They’re stainless steel from tip to tip, but the blade has a vibrant green titanium coating to give each sharp, thickly serrated blade additional strength and make it more rust-resistant.
These throwing knives have long blades and short handles to make them more blade-heavy. However, you won’t have to worry about losing your grip with the matching green paracord wrapping on the handle.
These five-star-rated throwing knives are a must-have for any knife enthusiast. The Galactic Spectrum Throwers have a tip-to-tip length of 7.5 inches. Though they are blade-heavy, the knives feel lightweight, and their balance allows for easy throwing with accurate results.
The stainless steel blades have a rainbow-colored titanium coating to improve rust resistance, making this set one of the more durable options available. The handle includes a tight nylon wrap to enhance your grip as you throw.
Store your Galactic Spectrum Throwers in their accompanying nylon sheath. The sheath has three slots for each throwing knife and a Velcro tab to keep everything secure until you’re ready to use them.
Every piece in the Red Fury Knife Set has an attractive deep-red stainless steel blade with complementary black trim. The set comes with several eye-catching items, including:
- 1 survival knife with a TPU leg and belt sheath, textured grip, and partially serrated blade
- 3 throwing knives with 4.5-inch blades and a nylon sheath for belts
- 1 assisted opening pocket knife with a TPU handle
- 1 butterfly knife with locking aluminum handles
This set includes six 6-inch black stainless steel throwers. The knives are deceptively lightweight, even for their small size, and well-balanced. Each thrower is incredibly sharp with a spear tip, green cord-wrapped handle, and a lanyard hole.
The throwing knife set comes with a tough nylon sheath that wraps comfortably around a leg. Each thrower has an individual pocket with a Velcro stabilizer to keep them from shifting. Because the sheath wraps around your thigh, you will have immediate access to multiple durable blades that won’t break after repeated use.
What makes a good throwing knife?
Many people assume that all knives should have sharp blades, but this isn’t the case for throwing knives. The knife should have a dull blade and a sharp tip. Knives with sharp edges can cut you as you throw, so stick with one with a pointed tip and dull sides.
The right knife should also have an appropriate length-to-weight ratio of about 1.5 ounces for every inch of length. The heavier the blade is, the better chance you have at hitting a target from far away.
Good throwing knives are also made with high-quality metal like stainless steel to handle multiple impacts from throwing without breaking, bending, or denting. You should consider using a knife without a separate handle because it can affect the knife’s balance and your throw.
What is the best throwing knife for beginners?
When learning how to throw knives, it’s best to start with one meant for practice and learning. It should be long and weigh around 200g, which is close to half a pound. The balanced knife’s center of gravity should be in the middle, around the junction between the blade and handle.
Choose a practice knife that is plain with a dull blade and no decorative ornaments or added features. As you learn to throw correctly, you could hurt yourself on a sharp blade or handle embellishments. You should, however, ensure that the practice throwing knife has a sharp spear point so that it sticks to your target.
Is knife throwing illegal?
It depends. Most states have laws governing whether residents can carry knives. If laws permit residents to carry knives on their person in public, there may be regulations about the type of knives that are legal, including the length of the blade and whether it’s allowable for open or concealed carry.
Before you purchase a throwing knife of any kind, brush up on the laws for your state. What’s legal in one location may be illegal in another. Once you know your area’s regulations, you will better understand your throwing knife options and whether the weapon is right for you.
Does the military use throwing knives?
Throwing knives are not commonplace within the United States military. Historically, people would use throwing knives to wound or distract an opponent as a backup to a primary weapon, like a gun.
Soldiers in the United States Armed Forces may be issued knives when they join the service or purchase them on their own time. Members of special forces most likely receive knife training. They must have the skills to handle any situation on the battlefield.
How far can you accurately throw a knife?
With years of practice, it’s possible to easily hit a target with a throwing knife from 15 meters away, which is about 16 yards. The world record is 23 meters.
Many knife throwing experts believe that, historically, Central Africans around 1000 CE could accurately throw bladed weapons from about 50 yards away. The tools they would throw were used for hunting and warfare and included multiple blades.
Which knife will you choose?
Now that you know pretty much everything there is to know about throwing knives, its time to choose your weapon and practice throwing for yourself. Luckily you're already in the best place to shop online for all kinds of knives and especially throwing knives. If you haven't already picked a favorite from the sections above, see our entire selection of throwing knives here.