Master the Craft of Knife Throwing – Written by Mike Young

Master the Craft of Knife Throwing

Written by Mike Young

A solid knife is one of the most important survival tools you can have, either in your go bag or on your person in case of an emergency. Survival knives can literally be the difference between life and death in certain scenarios – without one you will have a much harder time constructing shelter, preparing wild game, or building and repairing survival necessities. It’s very important to not only have a good knife but also know how to use it in different situations.

You may find yourself in a position in which the best option is to throw the knife at your target – whether you are hunting small game, or in severe circumstances, fighting off an attacker in close-quarter combat. When this is the case, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing before you have to throw the knife: you’ll only get one shot, unless you carry more than one knife, and even then your chances are limited.

The Knife

There are three general styles of throwing knives; your survival knife will probably fall into one of them. They are:
• Blade-heavy: the blade of the knife is heavier than the handle, and the center of gravity is located somewhere along the blade.
• Handle-heavy: the handle is heavier than the blade, and the center of gravity is located in the handle.
• Balanced: the center of gravity is located where the blade meets the handle, and both weigh about the same amount.

To get the best results when throwing a knife, it’s best to start learning with either a blade-heavy or handle-heavy knife. These are easier to learn how to throw than a balanced knife. With either blade- or handle-heavy knives, you want to lead with the heavier part of the knife and grip the lighter side. That means that if you’re throwing a blade-heavy knife, hold the knife by the handle and lead with the blade, and vice versa.

The Grip

A common style of gripping the knife is to hold the blade vertically – at a 90 degree angle to the ground – with the thumb on one side of the blade and the fingers on the other. This is not necessarily the best grip, particularly for beginners. If forces you to grip the knife awkwardly, which limits the amount of force you can put into the throw. This grip also runs the risk of inadvertently releasing the knife off-target as it slips out of your hand. This will prevent it from flying in a straight line, and it can simply bounce off the intended target.

Instead, place your first three fingers along the center of the flat of the blade (or center of the handle if you are throwing a blade-heavy knife). Place your thumb on the center of the reverse side of the knife. You don’t need to grip the knife with your pinkie. This allows you to release the knife by just opening your hand, and avoids interference that can introduce wobble to its trajectory.

The Throw

When throwing the knife for the first time, your goal is to allow the knife to make a single rotation before it hits the target. The correct distance for this is typically about five yards, but can depend on the size of the knife and the force with which you throw it. Practice throwing the knife until you find your throwing distance.

Take two steps back from your release point. The first step should be straight back, and the second at a 45 degree angle to your throwing arm. Taking two steps before you release the knife allows you to increase the force with which you’re releasing it. Face the target with your non-throwing shoulder, and take one step forward, bringing your arm up to prepare for the throw. As you take your second step, stretch toward the release point, much like a pitcher’s wind-up and release.

Throw the knife with as much force as possible. In order to make sure you get maximum results, you have to throw it hard enough that it will not only puncture the surface of the target but stick. Keep the blade of the knife horizontal to the ground as you throw it in order to get the correct rotation from the knife.
When your throwing arm is fully extended, release the knife. Follow throw just as if you were throwing a baseball. Practice throwing the knife until you can reliably get it to stick in its target.

Combat Throw

A combat-style throw is different than the traditional technique described above. It is harder to master than the traditional throwing style, but it has the advantage that you are not relying on rotation, so you can reliably hit a target at any distance. In this style, you grip the handle of the knife the same way you would grip a spear, and throw it straight at the target.

Because this is a more difficult throw intended to be used in combat situations, it’s important to practice it until you can do it without thinking – once the knife leaves your hand, you want to be sure your target is going down.

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