How To Throw A Knife

Guide to how to throw a knife, including back–to–basics blade guide, throwing technique, getting set, and information on proper throwing knives.

| May/June 1986


If, on your first few throws, the knife strikes edge first, with the point up, move back a foot or so and try again.


And should you wander out back to investigate the source of that sound, chances are — if you expressed even the slightest bit of interest in how to throw a knife — I'd put a throwing knife in your hand, give you a few instructions (essentially the same tips I'll be offering in this article), and have you sticking the blade consistently within about five minutes!

How To Throw A Knife

Of course, I doubt that many of you will ever pass my home, but I am pretty certain that if you take the time to try knife throwing, you'll become as involved in the pastime as I have. In fact, many of my neighbors who once thought my hobby a bit strange are now enthusiastic throwers themselves. (Even the pastor from up the road recently asked me to help him set up a throwing target in his backyard!)

Knife Ready . . .

First of all, you should know that your whittling or hunting knife isn't suited to this activity. (Almost any knife can be thrown effectively, but those not designed for the sport will lack accuracy, will carry the risk of cut fingers, and will more than likely not survive too many throws.) True throwing knives usually have dull edges, allowing a safe and smooth release. Most such implements are also designed to be thrown by either the handle or the blade and are heavy enough to allow easy throwing from relatively long distances. A quality thrower, such as one of those manufactured by the Tru–Balance Knife Co., will be about a foot in length and weigh approximately one pound. (See the address at the end of the article.)

Knife Set . . .

Among the easiest types of throwing targets to build is one consisting primarily of replaceable soft pine boards nailed to a 3/4 inch plywood backing sheet. (This is one of the few projects to appear in MOTHER's pages that's designed to be destroyed!) To build one, first drive a pair of 2 by 4s into the ground about four feet apart. You'll want about four feet of the boards to remain exposed, and to sink them deeply enough to withstand the hammering that hard–thrown knives can dish out. With that done, nail the 3/4 inch plywood to the uprights. Then align enough vertical pieces of 1 inch (or thicker) pine to cover the ply, nailing these in place as you go. You'll have to replace the softwood as it becomes chewed up, so use scraps if you have them available.

Knife Throw!

Now, holding your knife by the handle, pace of four or five normal steps from the target, and turn to face it. Taking one long step toward the target as you do so (right–handers will move their left foot, southpaws the opposite), throw the knife at the target with a simple overhand pitch, making sure that the blade is released smoothly with no imparted spin, and that it's not twisted to either side as it's released.

If, on your first few throws, the knife strikes edge first, with the point up, move back a foot or so and try again. If it hits with the tip down, move forward a bit. Eventually you'll discover the natural one–turn range for the knife. Mark that spot, and go on to try to find the range for a spin–and–a–half blade–held throw (four feet or so farther back) and then for a double spin handle–held throw (about three or four paces back from the single–spin range). Knife throwing requires practice — like archery, it's a sport that requires a lot of seemingly simple actions to mesh correctly — but within a very short time you'll be getting consistent hits from the one–spin mark, and you can then go on to improve your accuracy (paper plates tacked to the target are good for this).

Crowd at Seven Springs MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR


Sept. 15-17, 2017
Seven Springs, PA.

With more than 150 workshops, there is no shortage of informative demonstrations and lectures to educate and entertain you over the weekend.