Throwing Range

May 25, 2013
Hey Guys,

This is actually my first thread. I have been a long time reader across the entire forum for a while. Here is my issue. I work at a large gun range and have been tasked with coming up with a report for an indoor knife/ hawk throwing range. Here are some of the topics that I need to look at:

Distance/ width of each lane
Materials for targets and back-stop
How to deal with bounce back

I am also curious if anyone knows of an indoor range we could visit?

I would really appreciate your help.

I made a board for a basement once and if it wasnt the dumbest idea ever but give or take the height of the ceiling you need +/- 7ft between the boad and thrower then up to 20ft + for some people.. for knives that is.. bounce back is pretty predictable for veteran throwers, but the wild return death shots do accure and it takes about a sec. to even tell if youre in danger for most people so for a beginner throwing at a range you might want a separate lane wider than the others. or take out the idea of lanes all toegether and make polygon based throwing areas.. like a square, all throwers in the middle and boards in each corner. what type of boards are you intending to use? 19 - 25 2x6 stacked and at least 6 - 6 1/2ft tall takes me a spring - fall to destroy one side and make it part way threw the other. which is me throwing every day and having friends over to throw too sometimes. I used to make 2x4 ones but after 7 of those I made a few 2 2x6. put a cross bar on each side to move them heavy bastards if you make em.. I can put a board up myself but its dangerous when.. well its always dangerous new or old. Im a run on talker so ill end this post.. any questions ill try my best to help ive been making boards since 2004 and im on my 14th one so Ive made a lot of errors to learn from about knife boards and throwing areas. the back stop is tricky, I happent to be putting up a few extra boards currently so Ill take pictures if you like tomorrow and post em... I am so for community knife throwing as a responsible past time I hope this range works out
for a range you should probably set it up along the lines of official competition sized targets and distances, so it can be used for practice. Also you might not want concrete for the floor.
Check Michael Bainton on youtube, he has info about target construction and scoring, as well as distances.
Guys thanks for the feedback. I would definitely love to see the pictures of the new boards. As i am trying to put a drawing together i am running into a few issues. The IKTHOF list five different distances, and the AKTA list four distances at which targets will throws at. I am considering lines on the floor to designate the distance, but have also considered full lanes of different length. Unfortunately I will only have 3 lanes to deal with, thus making the cool polygon idea a non issue. Height is not a problem nor is length, but how wide should each lane be? Should I divide the lanes or keep them open? If I divide them, should I use solid walls or something like a netting?

Also if a facility like this was in your area, would you go?
Netting wouldn't hold up for long. If you want to have lanes divided, you should probably use walls coated in something that you din't mind getting chips in.

Each late should probably be wide enough to spread both arms out in a T shape without hitting either wall, as some may want to throw side arm, which would utilize most of their wing span.

If I were you, I'd try to think of some way the thrower's could move the targets to different distances; I've found people have different comfort zones.

Materials for backstop/target: Pine boards. Cheap, soft, and easy to replace. Bounceback: There's no helping that. Event the best get throws that are sent right back. I'd just tell people to be aware.

I've mostly only seen "knife ranges" at renaissance faires, but that's a start. They usually have one distance set in stone.

I'd visit for competitions, not sure if I'd go for regular practice, as I live in an area that's open and cool with my outdoor throwing. Might be viable in the winter.
Have you seen archery backstop netting? I've shot with it as a backstop a few times. Not that cheap but very effective.
I think it would work well with slower projectiles as well.
Great input,

What about plexiglass for the dividers? The floor is thin carpet, over concrete, would it be better to try and put padding down? Also I am considering a hanging target.

Any thoughts
I wouldn't want to throw over concrete even if it did have carpet on it.
How about plywood or carpet covered plywood on the floor?

I've only thrown at static ground based targets that don't move when hit.
I'm sure a good ceiling mounted static target could be made but it might be pretty heavy.
Or are you thinking of a movable hanging target?
That would be fun to figure out...
I was thinking of a moving hanging target supported by chain wrapped in a soft material. I am thinking that this would absorb some of the bounce back.
I would think a swinging target would be very frustrating to throw at.
Whether the knife/tomahawk sticks or bounces back the target would be moving and you'd have to wait for it to be still or time your throw just right.

Or am I missing something?
Last edited:
I would think a swinging target would be very frustrating to throw at.
Whether the knife/tomahawk sticks or bounces back the target would be moving and you'd have to wait for it to be still or time your throw just right.

Or am I missing something?

Jack Rabbit Practice???
I am thinking that if the hanging target is heavy enough, the energy would transfer to the chain, but actual movement of the board would be minimal
Have you made a cheap version of the target you are talking about to see how it would react?

When throwing a heavier tomahawk the energy transfer to the target is pretty high.
If the energy is then transferred to a free hanging chain the whole thing would commence a swing dance session.

You can email me if you would like.
bounceback will occur from poor throws, there is no avoiding that.

Easier and better to have a fixed target and adjust your throwing distance than try to complicate matters with a moveable target. you don't want any exposed metal on or near the target, that will damage throwers.