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Published Mar. 26, 2021

Nothing says “operator” like throwing knives at a target to blow off steam at the end of a rough day. OK, so a 19-year-old recruit fresh out of basic may not be anywhere close to being an operator, but even a newly-minted Space Force guardian can start sticking logs with a quality set of throwing knives, some instruction, and a little bit of patience. Throwing knives is an age-old pastime with a history reaching back millennia. Unlike more recent military traditions such as slapping challenge coins onto a bar, warriors of all kinds have been launching knives through the air in combat, at backyard targets, and everywhere in between, further adding to the practice’s honor and tradition. In fact, this has us wondering if maybe the Army Marksmanship Unit needs to start expanding its horizons.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of the best throwing knives on the market.

While some may find the Smith & Wesson name a bit unusual on a blade, new and experienced knife throwers alike will find the Smith & Wesson SWTK8 Bullseye Throwing Knife Set to be a pleasant surprise.This set of six throwing knives is well-suited for throwers seeking a well-balanced, lightweight blade. Each knife measures eight inches long and weighs 4.7 ounces and is constructed with 2Cr13 stainless steel for durability and reliability. The blade itself uses a spear point design, and both the blade and handle feature relief cuts to decrease overall weight. The included nylon belt sheath easily accommodates all six knives at once and makes storage and access simple and easy. Since most throwers want multiple knives to minimize trips between the target and their throwing line, this set of six blades is an excellent option for just about anyone.

Looking for the perfect beginner’s throwing knife? Then end your search with the SZCO Supplies Heavy Throwing Knife Set. This set includes three throwing knives with knife-throwing legend Harry K. McEvoy’s ideal length-to-weight ratio for a new knife thrower. Each knife measures 10 inches long with a 2.75-inch spear blade and a 7.25-inch handle. Constructed with tough stainless steel, these knives were built to last with a head thickness of two millimeters and a four-millimeter base. Each one sports an ergonomic design that is easy to grip and throw, while the design’s balance places the knife’s center of mass right in the middle where it belongs. The black nylon sheath with its velcro strap make for easy storage, yet the lanyard holes on each knife provide an additional option for creative types.

Sometimes, the little details can make all the difference, and such is the case with the Boker Magnum Bailey Ziel Set of throwing knives. This set of three knives is constructed with 420J2 stainless steel, an excellent combination of strength, flexibility, and corrosion resistance that any thrower would appreciate. This construction allows these blades to shrug off impacts that would break lesser blades. Each knife measures 13.25 inches long and weighs 14 ounces, giving this set an excellent length-to-weight ratio for experts and beginners alike. These knives have an excellent balance with a center of mass smack dab in the middle of each knife, and the leather belt sheath serves as a show-stopping storage option. In addition to meeting or exceeding requirements for knife throwing clubs, these knives come backed with Boker’s limited lifetime warranty.

Nothing telegraphs serious knife-throwing like SOG Clip Point Throwing Knives. All three knives in this set look like small Bowie knives optimized specifically for hurtling through the air toward some hapless tree stump. Each blade measures 10 inches long and weighs just over 6.5 ounces, providing users with a solid heft without being too heavy. These full-tang knives consist of 420 stainless steel with a hardcased black finish for a combination of strength and corrosion resistance. Each handle sports a black paracord wrap, and the nylon belt sheath holds all three while securing them in place with a velcro strap. Like classic throwing knives, these are well-balanced for easy throwing, but unlike normal throwing knives, these sport sharpened 4.4-inch blades, turning them into practical tools.

Drop point blades are incredibly common in the world of pocket knives but not so much among throwing knives. That said, the United Cutlery Gil Hibben Large Triple Throwing Knife Set boasts some impressive drop point blades that fly through the air with the greatest of ease and make sticking the landing feel like a breeze. Designed by Gil Hibben, all three knives measure 8.625 inches long and feature a 4.625-inch blade, yet at just 5.25 ounces each, these knives are far from being heavyweights. In order to minimize breakage and corrosion, these blades consist of 420 series stainless steel, and the set comes with a nylon belt sheath with a snap-secured strap and room for all three of the knives it accompanies in the packaging. The balance of these knives is perfect, yet unlike most throwing knives, these come with sharpened blades that are hazardous to new throwers.

Rarely does one come across a throwing knife sold solo, but then again, the manufacturers of the Cold Steel Perfect Balance Thrower are not known for sticking with convention. This knife’s design harkens back to the days when men threw real knives, and the Bowie knife-like blade makes this design a particularly old school feel. The nine-inch blade, 13.5-inch overall length, hefty weight (15.4 ounces!), and sharpened blade further blur the line between “toy” and tool. Constructed with 1055 carbon steel, this knife was built to last, and the black rust-resistant finish increases this knife’s durability. The 4.5-inch polypropylene handle scales add an extra level of functionality, and the nice overall balance makes adapting to the unusual shape easier than expected.

Related: The 6 best pocket knives for your everyday carry

Why should you trust us

Almost since I was in Kindergarten, I have lived and breathed knives of one kind of another. Whether they be throwing knives, tactical blades, or EDC folders, I’ve used them. I’ve covered just about any blade you might imagine, and I’ve even created an intro to Damascus steel, a coveted material in the world of knives.

Types of throwing knives

Throwing knives

Most throwing knives fall into the category of the traditional knife pattern. Unlike traditional knives, throwing knives usually lack sharp edges for safer handling, and their points, while still sharp, may be to be slightly blunted by comparison. Throwing knives regularly come in both single-edge and dual-edge patterns and commonly use a spear, clip point, or leaf blade pattern.

Throwing daggers

The throwing dagger is the next evolution of the throwing knife. Both designs rely on the same basic principles of weight and balance, but the longer, heavier throwing dagger uses a triangular spear point blade with straight lines that lend it an aggressive aesthetic. No wonder this knife style co-starred with Jason Statham in The Expendables franchise.

Key features of throwing knives

Weight

A throwing knife’s weight directly affects how the knife is thrown. Knife-throwing legend Harry K. McEvoy recommended that beginners look for knives somewhere in the ballpark of one ounce (30 grams) per inch of the knife’s overall length, as lighter blades are more susceptible to being blown off course in flight. That said, lighter knives may be a better option for younger knife throwers or those with smaller or weaker hands and wrists.

Length

While it may seem strange at first, a throwing knife’s length can dramatically affect a thrower ability to hurl the blade toward a target. Most throwing blades range between eight and 10 inches long, although some suggest beginners use even longer knives. Longer blades are easier to throw, as they slow the rotation rate to a level which is more forgiving of less than ideal throws.

Balance

A knife’s balance describes the center of mass within a given blade, a simple yet critical consideration for knife throwers. A well-balanced blade has its center of mass located in the middle of the knife, making it an excellent choice for new and casual throwers. Blade-heavy and handle-heavy knives transfer their weight to those respective portions of the knife, dramatically affecting how the knife performs as it travels through the air.

Handle

When selecting a knife, consider the handle and its layout. For new throwers and those who go hard on their equipment, a handle with few to no cutouts will tend to stand up best to regular drops, misses, and other impacts. A skeletonized handle makes for a lighter and/or blade-heavy knife, but they may be less resistant to constant abuse. Some knives also include a paracord-wrapped handle, although these wraps often fail relatively quickly.

Benefits of throwing knives

While axe throwing has gained plenty of popularity among millennials, knife throwing is the art original form, and it requires an extra level of skill and finesse to achieve success. Sure, hurling axes at a sawed-off tree stump (or foam target) can look impressive, sticking a knife into a target with repeatable accuracy can be incredibly rewarding and provides a boost of confidence that no axe thrower could ever dream of achieving. Not only does a throwing knife provide opportunities for growing confidence, but the added skill has more practical value, particularly for tactically-minded individuals. The discipline required to achieve consistent, repeatable results can grow your discipline in applications with higher stakes. Of course, compared to modding cars, off-roading, and shooting, knife throwing is an incredibly inexpensive hobby that anyone can enjoy without worrying about a dent in their pocketbook.

Throwing knife pricing

Throwing knife pricing can be somewhat confusing to gauge due to the fact that these blades usually come in sets of three, six, or a 12, although some can be purchased individually. As such, we recommend using the price per knife to determine the best deal. Many starter sets come with low-end blades that use a soft steel that blunts easily and cost less than $5 per knife. Mid-tier throwing blades usually run in the $6 to $10 range for a single knife, although they usually come in sets of three that cost between $20 to $30. High-quality throwing knives from mass manufacturers cost more than $10 per blade, often hitting over $25 apiece. These blades tend to be skeletonized, making them a better choice for gentler, more precise throwers, and usually are available in sets of three or as standalone knives.

How we chose our top picks

When reviewing new gear, we much prefer to go the hands-on route, but sometimes, a lack of resources may thwart our attempts to get our mitts on some cool gear. To make sure we don’t let you down, we take the time to listen to those who have firsthand experience, combing through reviews on Amazon, professional publications, enthusiast blogs, and more to bring you the best intel available. We sift through it all, keep the gold, and toss the rest. In completing this guide, we found the American Knife Throwers Alliance, Axeing.org, Blade HQ, and Knife Informer particularly helpful.

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