Whether you are a survival enthusiast or looking to get into competitive knife throwing, you are going to want the best throwing knives you can find. In this guide we’ll walk you through some options to get you on target without breaking the bank.
As a novice, picking the right blade can be tricky. There is quite a bit of variety on the web for you to choose from and information on how to pick the perfect throwing knife. Not only are we going to cover the basic characteristics of the best throwing knives; we are going to recommend some of our favorites.
A throwing knife is made with a simple objective in mind. To land on target. And, while it may be tempting to buy something that looks “cool,” any expert will tell you that simple is the way to go. Quality, durability and length/weight ratio is way you will select the best throwing knives, not their design. As a matter of fact, many throwing knives skip the fancy handle entirely and go straight for an all steel design. From blade to handle.
Throwing the knife toward a target is only half the battle, how you grip the blade and/or handle is the key to actually hitting your target… point first. To find the best grip and throwing technique, check out Gil Hibben’s book , The Complete Knife Throwing Guide. However, regardless of how many books you read or YouTube videos you watch, you will want an all steel throwing knife for your first attempts.
Circling back to the avoid something that looks “cool.” We all love cool looking gadgets and gear, you might be tempted to buy throwing knives that have cool cut-outs, a menacing appearance, and designs along the side. However, you are not going to want those. Crazy looking designs are a dead giveaway that the knife is not purpose built. Remember function trumps form in the world of throwing knives.
Forget Balance, Look for Ratio
A throwing knife that works well has three major points to consider. Length, the weight, and the ratio of the two. Most knives you will buy will be balanced. This is not the case with throwing knives. The knife doesn’t need to be equally balanced. It can be handle heavy for a low spin ratio. Or, heavier in the blade to throw from the handle. However a 60/40 blade heavy knife will throw well from either end. When in doubt… grip the light end.
Length, in the world of the throwing knife, is your friend. You want your knife to be longer (relatively speaking) so it turns slower as it spins toward the target. When you throw a knife toward a target there is an infamous sweet spot, a longer blade helps increase the odds of finding that sweet spot.
Weight comes in handy for the idea of control and keeping the knife afloat in the direction you want. Without delving deep into the world of physics, we can assume that you need a bit of heft. You want a knife that is heavy enough to stay true to its direction and keep a consistent speed. A lighter knife will need to be thrown very hard in order to keep direction and speed. Plus the light ones have a tendency to bounce back.
Finally, the ratio between these two factors is perhaps most important for an excellent throwing knife. You are looking for a length to weight ratios around 1 ounce per inch of overall length.
Sharp Look but Not Feel
While you may not think of this right away, but for targets you are not planning to kill, you may not want the sharpest knife. Beginners are encouraged, for their own safety and throwing practices to avoid really sharp throwing knives. Instead, the best throwing knives aren’t too sharp. Just make sure the tip of the blade is pointed; it’s the end you want to hit the target. A sharp knife thrown incorrectly can cut when thrown or bounce of the target, cutting you or bystanders.
Now what to look for in the best throwing knives, we have a few options down below that will help guide your search for the perfect throwing knife.
The Best Throwing Knives for the Money
United Cutlery GH2033 Gil Hibben
These stainless steel competition throwing knives measure 12 and 1/8 of an inch. United Cutlery emphasizes an ergonomic grip so you will have a comfortable grip and precise throw. These are excellent throwing knives for competitors and beginners alike. The edges are sharpened but not too sharp, they are properly weighted balanced and are center weighted for the beginning competitor.
So who the heck is Gil Hibben? Only one of the best throwing knife makers in the business. Gil combines years of experience with high-quality designs, making this name notable for those who want to impress their other competitors. And he can throw a knife with the best of them.
United Cutlery UC2772 Expendables Kunai
Just because they’re featured in an action movie doesn’t mean they’re all show and no go. These 12-inch throwing knives features cord wrapped handles and stainless steel construction. So how do these compare United Cutlery knives we mentioned above? The handle isn’t nearly as ergonomic. They are rather sharp and relatively heavy. And that heft means they are excellent for long distance accuracy, but this design will require some practice to get used to their design.
Gil Hibben Cord Grip
Here we have the classic Gil Hibben name on yet another set of excellent throwing knives. This knife has a similar construction to the last blade but the cord wrapped around the handle is of a better quality. These blades are much smaller than the others in the list and are meant for a slightly more experienced thrower. Lighter and only 8.5 inches long, it takes a skilled thrower to be able to reach their target successfully. While aesthetically pleasing and well made, the knives are not beginner friendly as they require a strong throw for long distance.
Cold Steel True Flight Thrower Paracord Wrapped Handle
Cold Steel’s claim to fame is in the carbon steel they use to create extra durable knives. Encased in a baked-on protective coating, the knife’s 1055 carbon steel construction will stand up to a lot of use and abuse. So why choose the Cold Steel over the others in the list? This is a no-spin style throwing knife that is suited for many targets whether it is for game hunting or competition. The downside? It is an extremely sharp blade. In the hands of a beginner, mishandling or a bad throw could cause serious injury. However, customers do love the feel of the grip and the durability of this blade.
SOG Specialty Knives and Tools FX41N-CP
Are you looking for a more traditional style knife to add to your collection while not sacrificing throwing ability? The 2.8-inch edge is a spear point with a long steel handle covered in durable paracord. Beginners really like these knives because they are durable and heavy making them easier to learn basic throws. That being said because it is a traditional style throwing blade, the spear edge needs to be sharpened often in order to stick to the target.
Throwing, Taking Care, and Enjoying Your Collection
As with all blades, you are going to want to maintain your throwing knives. Keep them clean, if their not stainless oil them, and ensure they’re sharpened for the task at hand. To increase longevity, make sure you keep the blades clean and sheathed when not in use.
The knives we listed are not the best throwing knives for every thrower. For different throwing styles and for skill levels, some are better suited than others. If you are buying for a beginner lean toward the United Cutlery products or SOG. Most of these knives come equipped with a cord-wrapped handle. Which is great for a beginner’s comfort and grip. The first United Gil Hibben we mentioned has no wrapped handle, and is slightly better suited for advanced throwers.