Throwing Knives


Gold Member
Feb 7, 1999
I am trying to find out which throwing knives are better than others, and for what reasons.

I am specifically interested in which types of steel work and hold up the best,and also do those with a sliding counterweight work or is it just a gimmick?

Any help, including manufacturers names and numbers or even distributors that carry them would be a greatly appreciated.

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "
Plain carbon steels are good for making throwing knives because of their relative shock resistance as compared to many high alloy steels.

I have not really found balance to be a factor. Different points of balance throw different. It's just a matter of figuring the knife out. There are ways to throw point first for fair distances, this is what I do, and then it's irrelevant.

Sliding weights I classify with bladeholes and thumbstuds. Silly gimmiks that do have their place but aren't really necessary and a case could be made against them. However, sliding weights are really stretching the limits of this classification.

I've heard somebody say he throws butter knives with a point ground on. That sounds like a damn good idea to me.

Both Cold Steel and Hibben(United?) are said to make good throwers. I've also heard that the Boker Applegate/Fairbairn dagger is throwable.

People knock knife throwing a lot. Pretty much because somebody wrote a book saying it's a stupid thing to do. I think that statement was made the way it was because it was written for a military audience. A popular wartime hobby has always been throwing knives. Frequently somebody gets hurt when this gets out of hand. Officers have been looking for a way to stop them from doing it for a real long time.

That said, they're probably right about it not being the thing to do in a fight. The recent and stupid "Knife Fighting Styles" article in Modern Knives(that article was not up to ComTech standards at all) takes a really weird stance on defensive knife throwing. I attribute it to the fact that this article was just really, really poorly written. I mean to the point the average forum reader could have done a lot better. Okay, enough ragging on the rag. Anyway, knife throwing is just another tool in the toolbox and occasion may arise someday in a post-appocolyptic wasteland to throw combatively. Back in the old days before wars were fought primarily with ranged weapons, throwing knives, axes, spears, rocks, anything that could be thrown pretty much was. It was an effective way to "soften up" an enemy. It's not so much that combat knifethrowing is illegitimate, it's that it's out of context.

Anyway, knife throwing is real fun. One of the classic sports of the knife enthusiast and will provide hours of fun. Most good knives will stand up to throwing, provided they won't hit anything like concrete or something. The thing is it'll void warrantees. I don't use warrantees, so I'm more worried about losing the knife.
The comment about butter knives was made by me. You can pick them up very cheap and they are made out of very soft metal (the cheap ones anyway) so you can cut a point on them very easily.

They are usually heavy enough so a point first throw is not difficult at 10-15 feet. I don't like them for rotating throws as I like using something a little bigger for that to make things easier.

Thanks guy's,

I was looking at the Hibben line and also at the On Target line both from United.

Any thoughts on these? They are both made of 420 J2 steel.

They are for a customer, but the more I think about it, I might get a set for myself too. Looks like fun.
I have a Canadian Frontiersman on order with Harald Moeller, a Canadian maker that will be folding up shop maybe next year. His knives are very well balanced, and I can't wait to get that knife, I throw by the point so that's why I'm getting that model.

The comments above are very good, in that you can learn to throw just about anything! Last night our Church was demolishing a house on some land that was given to us, future parking lot, so throwing something into the wall wasn't a problem. I had one of those thin pry bar tools and threw that several times with pretty good accuracy. One of my favorite throwing items is a medium to large flat bladed screw driver made by Craftsman. It throws well and I guess I've always have daydreamed of saving the day by throwing a screwdriver into a bad guy. But then that's part of the knife nut in me. Wonder what group would come out to get me if I used a screwdriver in such a situation?
Below is Harald's web page, look him up, he told me on the phone that he prefers 440C that it is tough enough for the rough duty of throwing, so that's what he uses most of the time.


When a fellow says, "it ain't the money but the principle of the thing,"
it's the money.
F. McKinney Hubbard

<A href="">G2's

[This message has been edited by Gary W. Graley (edited 24 June 1999).]
One of my old favorite throwing knives was the blade off an old mouser bayonet. As I recall it was about 12" long once I cut off the handle. I would throw from the blade and a heavy handle would make a knife rotate slower and gave me ranges where I couldn't get the point impact. I marked out my range by the yard and with the bayonet blade I could stick it into a target anywhere from 5 to 50 feet. (Of course at 50 feet it needed to be a really big target).

Symmetry in a throwing knife can influence how it rotates. At longer ranges edge-to-edge symmetry is nice to have.

As for practical use for a throwing knife I always figured that if I could stick it from 8 feet I could then run like hell.

"Defense against knife attack:
Option 1. If you have a gun shoot him."

[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 24 June 1999).]
Very few of the "knife catalog" throwers are anywhere near heavy enough to suit the guys who do the serious throwing. There is a sort of rule of thumb that suggests that a thrower should weigh at least an ounce and inch. Take a look at those designed by the experts like Bob Karp or Bobby Branton and you'll find a good deal of length and weight. Those made by L & H Knife Works also fall within these guidelines.

Regards, Arizona Desert Rat
Heavy throwing knives are impressive, but I've had good luck with double-edged knives that were little more than 7" dagger blades. With small blades you're talking shorter ranges and throwing real fast. Once the knife gets real heavy I figure I should just be carrying a big rock. You'll never get convicted for carrying a big rock.

Along that line I once cast some "medallions" out of tire balancing lead alloy. They weighed something like 6 ounces. When properly thrown edge-on they would stick into wood through shear brute impact. I figured I could crack a guys sternum or ribs with one. Again, you won't get arrested for carrying a medallion. The learning curve on the medallion is a hell of a lot shorter than on a throwing knife.

"Defense against knife attack:
Option 1. If you have a gun shoot him."
Thanks again for some excellent links.

C.O.'s-"It takes balls to work behind the walls "
Hello... I am the administrator of the site at This site is dedicated to all sorts of thrown objects for sport, self defense, etc. It also provides a link to the thrower mailing list about the same subjects. Note that the thrower list has MOVED to a new host as of today (6/25), so If you want to join, or tried to join any time in the last couple of days, please revisit the site and do so again...

Now onto the topic. As others have stated, you can throw just about anything. However, a good "throwing knife" will be fairly heavy, a rule of thumb being 1 oz. for every inch of length. Knives that are too light (say less than .75oz/in tend to float, especially at longer distances and not rotate consistently.

Being "center balanced" is not that important, though center balanced knives do have interesting characteristics. A knife's balance (center, or very handle or blade heavy) will influence its flight, but once you know what the flight characteristics of a given blade are, like the man said, you can throw anything...

One last thing though... Knives made to be thrown tend to be much softer than "real knives". Experiments have determined that RC 44-48 is about right for a thrower. Lower than that and the torque of impact will BEND the knife either at the tip, or put a bow in it. Much harder, and it will be too brittle to stand up to many throws.

I'll end here to keep it short, my very first post on bladeforums! Take care and feel free to ask what ever you like, visit the web site, joint the mailing list, etc. I've been throwing knives for about 6 years now but my real claim to fame is having the first web site and mailing list (still the only mailing list as far as I know) on the subject...

Take care.
I like the Hibben throwers, especially the cord grip. They're well made and inexpensive. And unlike some other throwers, they're actually "sharp", and work well as normal knives!
I figure that the only practical range for a throwing knife is within 10-feet and the only practical target is a 6-foot biped (if you catch my drift). I don't really worry about a light knife "floating" over longer ranges. I also figure a throwing knife should be hard and sharp enough for general utility.

This poses a problem, how do you practice with such a knife without destroying it? (Or how do you experiment with throwing a non-throwing knife without destroying it?). My solution is to set up a special target and backstop for throwing practise.

I get scraps of carpet and/or heavy cloth and hang it over a horizontal 2-by-4. I elevate the 2x4 about 8-feet off the ground so that the carpet can swing freely. This is my backstop. If a knife misses or penetrates my target it is stopped softly by the backstop (whether travelling point-first or not). Under the target and backstop I put more cloth and or carpet and or cardboard. If the knife falls to the floor it doesn't get damaged.

My safety soft target is stacked corregated cardboard. I collapse some cardboard boxes and laminate them with Dupont #77 spray adhesive (used sparingly to save mess). About 6 layers of cardboard is pretty good. The target is also suspended to swing freely from the top. This discourages bounce-back.

With this setup you can practise with many dangerous sharp flying objects without damaging them and without snappy knife bounce-back. The objects don't have to be terribly rugged.

I have one leaf-shaped single-edged throwing knife from Solingen that is tough and razor sharp. I had a friend who wanted to cut off a pair of Levi's to make walking shorts. I had him twist both legs into a single 2.5" diameter denim rope. I cut off his jeans with one slash. He was amazed that it went through with virtually no resistance.

"Defense against knife attack:
Option 1. If you have a gun shoot him."

[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 28 June 1999).]
Your target idea is great. Lots of people use stacked cardboard for indoor targets. Good idea on the backstop too, though from the distances you throw (under 10 feet) I don't usually miss the target itself...


I figure that the only practical range for a throwing knife is within 10-feet and the only practical target is a 6-foot biped (if you catch my drift). I don't really worry about a light knife "floating" over longer ranges. I also figure a throwing knife should be hard and sharp enough for general utility.

Floating or not, a too light knife has just about zero penetation and becomes pretty useless in a self defense context. Even a few layers of light clothing, not to mention a jacket or something heavier, will stop it altogether unless you can throw like a professional baseball pitcher, and even there, you had better hit an eye or a vital artery in the neck to be anything more than a nuisance.

As for practicing with such a knife, again, you have to throw so hard you hurt your arm...

Basically, this is one of the over-all problems with a thrown knife in a self defense context. Too big and heavy and you can't conceal it or carry it with you anyway. Too small and light, and its pretty much useless thrown except as distraction. Bearing this in mind though, the thrown knife, used as distraction, and followed up with something else may not be too bad.

Actually my most heavily used throwing knives were the old Malayan style leaf shape with wrapped handle. When made out of 1/8" stock they were rugged and cheap. Cheap was important because I used them for rabbit hunting. When you missed (often!) they would bury themselves or go flipping accross the field. I would cover the handle with crinkled aluminum foil lashed down with a cord wrapping. The shiny aluminum foil made the knife much easier to find in grass and leaves.

Of course for gopher hunting I used an even lighter throwing knife because it has to be really fast to nail one before it gets back in it's hole. I used to hunt gophers in the grassy field at the local archery range. The archers are awful impressed when you nail a gopher with a knife. When I used the archery hay bales as targets the knives tend to disappear within the hay.

"Defense against knife attack:
Option 1. If you have a gun shoot him."

I used to have a problem losing tools i my yard, then I spray painted them blaze orange. It works pretty wel and is about the most visible color there is.

Just because I talk to myself doesn't mean I'm crazy. What's wrong with getting a second opinion?
I've always wanted to try knife thrwoing for hunting. I know people do it, but I've never tried it out. Mostly smaller stuff though. I wouldn't try it with an aligator or moose for instance. Anyway, about what's the biggest thing you'd feel confident tackling, and with what sort of knife?
Now hunting is another story because you are free to carry and use a big heavy knife. The record is a 175lb boar I think. Three knives, big McEvoy bowie axes, a 13.5" knife weighing in the neighborhood of a pound each. In this context, consider a modern version of the old rabit stick, a Cold Steel Torpedo. Used on small game it will stun just about anything you hit long enough for you to walk up to it and finish it off even if you don't stick it.

I have not hunted with a throwing knife, but I know people who have taken rabit or squirril sized creatures on a regular basis... Again, the weapon of choice was a fairly big and heavy knife...