Best Throwing Knives for Self-Defense and Prepping

best throwing knives

The age-old sport of knife throwing has come a long way since the medieval days. Today it’s a competitive sport that’s steadily gaining popularity.

But perhaps you’re looking for a throwing knife to defend yourself. 

So, what kind of throwing knife is best for self-defense?

With a wide variety of designs in the market, choosing the right knife to start your practice can be a daunting task.

We have compiled this guide to help out the novice as well as the skilled knife thrower. After sorting through tons of technical data, user feedback, and expert opinions, we have chosen the 15 top options for you.

Let’s get the show on the road.

The Best Throwing Knives for Defense

1. Smith & Wesson  Throwing Knivesbest throwing knife overall

When it comes to manufacturing reliable knives for EDC, Smith & Wesson has always been a top brand. These throwing knives are no exception and deliver a perfect combination of durability and ergonomics.

Made from stainless steel, these knives can withstand wear effectively and the thick and sharp point can penetrate deep. They are well balanced and the entire pack weighs 12.3 ounces only.

Why We Chose It 

Considering the price to quality, these throwing knives offer excellent value. Since they hold up well, they are great for beginners looking for some throwing practice.

Also, the knives are good for both spin and no-spin throws. Whether you want to enjoy the art of knife throwing or use them for self-defense, these are a great choice.

Tips for Purchasing

If you want to start practicing with a handle-heavy knife, these aren’t the best options.

And since the knives are lightweight, beginners may find it hard to hit the target.

2. Cold Steel True Flight Throwerbest throwing knife 2

This well-designed knife comes with a spear point and a single edge. The 6-¾-inch blade makes it good for other tasks as well. However, it’s best used as a dedicated throwing knife.

The cord-wrapped handle offers a great grip and the knife is great for full spin throws. While the large size doesn’t make it the best choice for beginners, more experienced throwers will love the hefty feel and the ability to hit point first.

Why We Chose It 

The knife is made from 1055 carbon steel with a protective coating on top. This reduces the chances of blade breakage if you miss the target.

Besides, this is an excellent throwing knife that also doubles as a survival tool. It’s pricey but you get the right bang for your buck.

Tips for Purchasing

With an overall length of 12 inches and a weight of 0.85 lbs, this is a big throwing knife. If you have smaller hands, you might look for something shorter.

3. Cold Steel 80STRB Pro Balance Sport Knifebest throwing knife 3

With a dagger-style blade made from 1055 carbon steel, this knife from Cold Steel is great for medium and long-distance throwing. Note, the material undergoes a special process of tempering for enhanced durability.

With a plastic handle, the knife tends to be more handle heavy. That makes it a good choice if you are planning to practice no spin throws.

With an overall length of 13.25 inches, the knife is on the longer side. The weight of 11.5 oz hits the sweet spot too.

Why We Chose It 

Honestly, we love this high-quality knife from Cold Steel.

Cold Steel mentions that these knives are good for users of all skill levels. We agree with that.

Considering the price of a solo knife, this one is pricey. But you can be assured of the quality and performance.

Tips for Purchasing

Most users have found the plastic handle to be durable. But they can break away with rough use.

Also, if you prefer a full tang design, there are other options.

4. Boker Magnum Bailey Mini Bo-Kri Knifebest throwing knife 4

The Mini Bo-Kri from Boker is a throwing knife that meets the specifications required in competitions. It comes with a unique design and the blade is made from 420J2 stainless steel. That means you can expect it to last.

With a weight of 8.11 oz, the knife offers a hefty feel and excellent balance. The sharp and flat tip allows it to penetrate wood blocks easily.

Why We Chose It 

If you want an affordable field knife that doubles up as a throwing knife, this is a great choice. Overall, this is a knife that works great for novices as well as pros.

The weight and length are also balanced well to make accurate throws from distances between 15 to 20 feet.

Tips for Purchasing

Whether you use a pinch grip or a hammer grip for throwing, the knife works well.

Keep in mind that the knife comes with a multipurpose orientation. So if you’re looking for a hardcore throwing knife, look elsewhere.

5. SOG Throwing Knivesbest throwing knife 5

This set of three knives from SOG looks like miniature Bowie knives. Honestly, these knives look like they mean business.

They have a full tang blade that’s made from 420 stainless steel and is 10 inches in length. The paracord wrap on the handle provides a good grip.

Within short ranges, most users found the throws to be accurate. The versatility of the blade is another aspect that sets it apart from the competition. 

Why We Chose It 

When it comes to durability, these knives are some of the best you can pick. They can take abuse like a real champ.

SOG mentions that the knives are designed and balanced to handle different types of throwing techniques. Users have also used these knives for daily tasks and they can hold the edge for long periods.

Tips for Purchasing

If you prefer traditional throwing knives, the design of this one may not be to your liking. Also, make sure to take care of the handle as the paracord might come loose with use.

6. KA-BAR Throwing Knife Setbest throwing knife 6

Ka-Bar offers three knives in this set that offers top-notch durability and balance. Made from 3Cr13 stainless steel, these knives come with a spear point that’s perfect for throwing.

Each knife weighs 5.6 ounces and the blade length is 4 inches. The dagger-like design makes the knives good for all throwing styles.

Overall, a set of heavy-duty throwing knives from Ka-Bar that won’t disappoint the enthusiasts.

Why We Chose It 

Considering the price, these are great for buyers looking for dedicated throwing knives. Besides, the accuracy levels from distances around 20 feet are good.

Tips for Purchasing

As expected with throwing knives, Ka-Bar has kept the edges slightly dull for safety reasons. If you plan to use knives for other purposes apart from throwing, these aren’t the best options.

7. Spyderco SpyderThrowersbest throwing knife 7

If you’re looking for throwing knives that offer the best precision, check out these bad boys from Spyderco. They come in three sizes and the small one has a length of 9-11.13 inches.

The material is 8Cr13MoV stainless steel over which Spyderco has added a dual-toned finish. With a weight of 11.9 oz. the knives are perfectly balanced and feel great in hand.

Since the top edge is relatively sharp, these knives stick well into wood.

Why We Chose It 

Once you get a feel of the knives, you can make accurate throws with them consistently. 

Now, some users pointed out that the holes in the handle can lead to durability issues. But in reality, users have thrown these knives for years without failure.

Tips for Purchasing

Since the handle comes with holes, beginners might find these knives to be on the lighter side. We feel that they are best for throwers with prior experience. However, they aren’t for budget buyers.

8. Perfect Point PAK-712-12 Throwing Knife Setbest throwing knife 8

This throwing knife set comes with 12 pieces with six silver and six black blades. The 8.5-inch knives come with a stainless steel blade that offers good durability.

Now, the overall ergonomics isn’t the best in class. The blades are also on the lighter side. But considering the price, we aren’t complaining.

In addition, the nylon sheath is well designed and makes it easy to carry the 12 knives. When you need knives that can take the beating from hours of practice, this is an excellent pick.

Why We Chose It 

If you’re a beginner, this set from Perfect Point is well worth the money. 

And frankly, with a bunch of knives at your disposal, you can concentrate more on the practice.

Tips for Purchasing

Keep in mind these knives are super sharp right out of the box. So if you’re practicing, make sure to handle them carefully.

Also, they are lightweight knives. If you want knives that are strictly for self-defense, look elsewhere.

9. SOG Fling Throwing Knivesbest throwing knife 9

The Fling from SOG comes with a set of three knives that have a spear-shaped blade and a straight edge. The full tang blades are made from high-quality steel and have a satin finish.

The 7-inch paracord handles are a nice addition. Each knife weighs 5.4 ounces and SOG has struck the perfect balance between weight and feel.

Considering the quality and performance, these knives offer excellent value.

Why We Chose It 

The knives are super sturdy. Users mentioned no damages to the blade even after months of heavy use. The sharp point sticks into logs effectively, making them a great choice for beginners.

Tips for Purchasing

One thing is, the paracord will come loose with time. That said, it isn’t something that you can’t fix in a few simple steps.

10. KA-BAR, ThunderHorse Throwerbest throwing knife 10

Want a heavy-duty throwing knife?  Check out the Thunderhorse from Ka-Bar.

With a blade length of 10.25 inches and an overall length of 15.625-inches, this beast of a throwing knife is designed for pros. The drop point blade is made from carbon steel with a clip point blade.

Here’s a fact for you. This knife is designed by designer KJ Jones, a member of the International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame. No wonder, it hits the target with excellent consistency.

Why We Chose It 

With its large design, the Thunderhorse hits targets with a solid thunk. There’s hardly any chance of a rebound.

If you’re looking for a high-end competition-size, knife, the Thunderhorse is worth the investment.

Tips for Purchasing

At 1.25 lbs., this is a large and heavy blade. It’s best for throwers who have the necessary experience.

11. Condor Tool & Knifebest throwing knife 11

This set of three knives from Condor attracts attention with their unique design. The blades are made from 1075 high carbon steel and the blade length is 7.5 inches.

At the same time, the weight is perfectly balanced to give each knife a nice hefty feel. That allows them to stick to the target.

If you want a top-grade throwing knife for hunting or self-defense, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Why We Chose It 

Users have used these knives for years without the blades chipping or breaking. So you can count on their durability.

In the hands of a knife veteran, these blades offer excellent accuracy. You can also get long distances out of them.

That said, they are good for novices too.

Tips for Purchasing

Note, these knives are best for no-spin throwing. They also work with half-spin throws but aren’t the best for a full-spin throw.

Also, they are pricey. So if you’re looking for cheaper options these aren’t for you.

12. Old Timer Throwing Knifebest throwing knife 12

This is a great knife for any experienced thrower looking for a hefty and durable knife. With a weight of 1.25 lbs. this is one of the heaviest options in this category.

The 7.5-inch blade is made from high-grade carbon steel. The quality is top-notch and you can rely on it to last for years. The extra weight adds to the power and the tip is sharp enough to stick into wood.

Why We Chose It 

When you are looking for a well-designed throwing knife for recreational use you can’t go wrong with one. 

The overall quality is impressive. Even the leather grips on the handle are secured by copper rivets. Not to forget, it comes with a handmade leather sheath as well.

Tips for Purchasing

If you want something small and light, this hunky knife isn’t the right one for you. We would recommend it for veteran users looking for a rugged model.

13. BladesUSA RC-595-3 Throwing Knife Setbest throwing knife 13

This set of three knives comes with a steel handle and a stainless steel blade. The spear point blade with a black coating and the laser cutouts on the handle gives the knives a unique look.

While the material isn’t super-hard, it lasts well. So unless they impact a stone or brick wall, there isn’t any chance of damage. They are on the lighter side, but the weight is concentrated more on the blade end.

Why We Chose It 

At this price, we were impressed by the quality and ergonomics of these knives. To be honest, this set of knives punches well above their price category.

Most users found that the handle is well designed to provide a good grip for the thumb.

Tips for Purchasing

Note, this isn’t a heavy throwing knife set that some learners might prefer. But it offers excellent value for budget buyers.

Also, we suggest you tie some ribbons on the cutouts. This will prevent the knives from getting lost.

14. United Cutlery GH2011 Gil Hibben Throwing Knife Setbest throwing knife 14

This set of knives is designed by Gil Hibben and provides you with high-quality 420 stainless steel blades. The blades are 4-5/8–inches long. 

That makes these knives ideal for users looking for small throwing knives. What’s more, the handle ergonomics is top-notch and they feel great in hand.

Users have also mentioned that the steel can be sharpened easily if needed. In addition, it has high corrosion-resistant properties.

Why We Chose It 

Whether you use spin on no-spin throws, these knives can consistently hit the target. The weight balance is excellent too.

For beginners looking to practice no spin throws, they are a good choice.

Tips for Purchasing

While the material is of high quality, these knives won’t last forever. But if you use them with care and you will get years of service from them.

Moreover, they are on the smaller side. If you want a long knife to start with, they aren’t for you.

15. Cold Steel Perfect Balance Throwerbest throwing knife 15

Want a throwing knife with a savage touch?

Check out the Perfect Balance from Cold Steel which is designed solely for throwing. The clip point blade is made from 1055 carbon steel and can penetrate deep into the target.

With a weight of 15.4 oz, the knife is perfectly balanced. So even full spin throws from longer distances can hit the target.

Why We Chose It 

The knife can be used by veterans and well as newbie throwers. The tip is super sharp, which makes it a good pick for survival use. But if you’re practicing, make sure to take the right precautions.

Overall, it’s a solid option for a beginner if you don’t mind the price for a solo throwing knife.

Tips for Purchasing

Some users noted that the plastic handle may not be as durable as the blade in the long run. Besides, the grip is on the smaller side for users with large hands.

Choosing the Best Throwing Knives

Are you planning to use a throwing knife for self-defense?

In theory, by throwing a knife in the right manner you can stop an attacker in his track before he comes near. They are also good for hunting without using a bow and arrow.

But let me be honest. Depending only on the best throwing knives for your safety is unwise. 

If you miss the target, you should have a backup self-defense weapon to protect yourself. Even if you manage to strike, the attacker might simply ignore the hit and keep coming. 

Bottom line: choose your self-defense weapon carefully.

Can any knife be a throwing knife?

No, not every knife is a throwing knife.

Yes, you can throw a kitchen knife or a combat knife towards a target if needed. But it’s only in the movies when you drop the target with such a throw.

Using a knife designed specifically for the purpose makes a lot of difference in terms of accuracy and safety. The slim aerodynamic profile of a throwing knife makes it more effective than a heavy utility knife. 

In addition, you can use them for recreation or hunting small animals. If you don’t want to carry a heavy compound bow for hunting, throwing knives can be a good choice.

Types of Throwing Knives

Generally, throwing knives have sharp points, but don’t expect a sharp edge. Like traditional knives, they’re also single-edged. They can have a spear point or a clip point. Often, the blade patterns are uniquely designed for enhanced aesthetics.

However, some throwing knives used in martial arts have dual edges like a dagger.

Basically, there are three main types of knives for throwing. This depends on the weight distribution between the handle and the blade. 

Since this affects the center of gravity of the knife, it also affects its behavior when thrown towards a target. This is because a throwing knife will spin around its center of gravity.

Blade-Heavy Throwing Knife

Here’s the rule: For an unbalanced knife, always grip the lighter end while throwing.

As the name indicates, these knives have more weight on the blade end than the handle. So you can grip the handle for throwing. That makes them a safer option and the best throwing knives for beginners.

However, some users feel that the learning curve for newbies is steeper with a blade-heavy knife.

Handle-Heavy Throwing Knife

In these knives, the weight is concentrated on the handle. This means that you need to grip the blade end and throw the knife with the handle first. Note, beginners can struggle with this type of throwing.

These knives are best used for no-spin throws. Even if you use it for spins, slow spins are the best choice.

Balanced Throwing Knife

The center of gravity of this knife is right in the middle. That makes them more flexible as you can throw the knife by holding the blade or the handle. In addition, their rotation and trajectory are more predictable.

Balanced knives can be used for all types of throws. So they are a good choice for experienced throwers. As a beginner, you may choose off-balance knives. But as you learn to control your throw, you will find a balanced knife to be a better choice.

Apart from these three types, there’s another variety of throwing knives that we need to talk about.

Kunai Knives

These knives come from Japan where they are used for gardening. They are also popular among martial artists or more specifically, ninjas. As a self-defense tool, they can be used for jabbing and stabbing.

The blade has a pointed tip with a broader base. Kunai knives come with a ring at the end which allows them to be attached to a rope or a spear. However, for some users, the handle interferes with a smooth release. They aren’t very effective as pocket knives or boot knives either.

In reality, they look cool and you can use them to have some fun. But these are lightweight knives that aren’t easy to use in a practical situation. If you want a throwing knife to use for survival purposes, Kunai knives aren’t the right choice.

 

Different Knife Throwing Techniques

The first thing you need to know is how to grip a knife before throwing it.

The two common grips are the pinch grip and the hammer grip. You can choose either of these grips depending on what you find more comfortable.

Hammer Grip-  The hammer grip is the natural way of holding the handle of the knife by wrapping your fingers around it. The thumb is placed on the top of the handle or on the spine of the blade. This is the most common grip for beginners to master the art of knife throwing.

Pinch Grip-  When the edges of the knife aren’t sharpened, the pinch grip can be used. In this method, the blade is gripped by the thumb and the index finger like a pinch. The pinch grip can also be used to grip the knife handle.

And another thing…

The three main factors to keep in mind while throwing knives are distance, trajectory, and spin.

During competitions, the four minimum throwing distances used are 7, 10, 13, and 16 feet. This is as per the recommendations of the American Knife Throwers Alliance (AKTA). At higher distances, accuracy will suffer.

Throwers also try to minimize the trajectory or the arc of the knife as this decreases accuracy. A straight throw with less trajectory increases the chance of hitting the target with the blade.

Lastly, controlling the spin of the knife is extremely important for hitting the target. However, you need a lot of practice to perfect the art of no-spin throws.

Time to take a quick look at the most common knife throwing techniques that are used.

The Slow Spin or No Spin Technique

Many professional knife throwers and martial artists use this technique as with this method you can deliver more force. So, the knife has a better chance of hitting and sticking to the target. That said, experts mention that no-spin is not about force, but finesse.

In this type of throw, the knife doesn’t complete a full spin before its tip reaches the target. To achieve that, the elbows, shoulders, and hip movement should synchronize with the point of release from the fingers. The accuracy of the throw will depend on the wrist action and release timing.

The stance and grip for no spin throwing can vary between users. Some of the styles used for this method are Russian, Traditional Japanese, or the street knife throwing technique called Thorn. 

Keep in mind, this technique also allows you to make faster throws. On the downside, it takes a longer time to perfect. Either way, it’s still crucial to have the best throwing knives for this.

Full-Spin or Fast-Spin Technique

By introducing an amount of spin or rotation in the throw, you generate centrifugal force that works on the knife. This force is transferred to the target on impact.

The amount of spin will depend on the location of your grip on the knife. For a half spin, you can hold the blade. If you need a full spin, grip the blade. By increasing the throwing distance, you can also increase the number of rotations.

To make the knife spin, the hand movement is kept circular. A flick of the wrist is added at the point of release. This throw allows you to cover longer distances. But, unless you are able to calculate the distance accurately, you will not hit the target with the blade.

Buying A Throwing Knife: Key Features to Consider

Weight and Length

Both these factors influence how the knife will behave in mid-air. Throwing knives can be anywhere between 6 to 12 inches in length. The weight will depend on the length and also on the material used.

The longer the knife the slower is its speed of rotation. And with each rotation, a longer knife covers more distance. Besides, longer blades are more forgiving when your throw isn’t accurate. 

For beginners, heavier knives are easier to throw. A heavier knife will gather more momentum and has a better chance of sticking to the target. 

This will also make the knife penetrate deeper and reduce the chances of a knife bouncing back from the target. Knife rebound can be a major safety issue in close ranges

Note, experts recommend that a weight of 1 to 1.25 ounces per inch should be good enough. A higher weight also means you will need to use less force. That, in turn, will reduce the stress on your wrist and elbow.

You may think that lighter knives are easier to carry around as an urban survival tool. And you’re right.

But staying accurate while using a lightweight knife takes a lot of practice. On a gusty day, you might find it hard to stay on target with such a knife.

Blade Material and Construction

Frankly, a throwing knife that can’t withstand abuse isn’t a good one. So the construction should be solid enough to withstand repeated hits. Any traditional knife blade will fail when subjected to such repeated stress.

That’s why these knives use slightly softer materials like 1075 carbon steel or 3Cr13 stainless steel. Stainless steel construction is super resilient and can withstand cracking or chipping. But carbon steel is more malleable. So it tends to last longer.

Moreover, these materials are also highly rust-resistant. Usually, the hardness rating of the material is kept between 45 to 50 HRC/RC

Users also prefer a full tang structure for a throwing knife. This means the handle and the blade are made from a single material. This improves the durability of the knife.

It’s best to avoid knives with cutouts on the blade. This will lead to the development of weak points in the metal, causing it to break. The minimum blade thickness should be around 3/16 inches. This will prevent the blade from snapping off easily after impacts.

We wouldn’t recommend throwing knives with odd shapes. It’s best to stick to a knife with a straight profile as they are the easiest to throw.

Handle Design

Most throwing knives come with a smooth straight handle. 

Firstly, this allows you to get a good grip on the material before throwing it. Besides, most handle materials will break after repeated impacts. So a knife with no handle is a better choice. If the knife has a handle, you can remove it to reduce the friction while gripping.

Many throwing knives have cutouts in the handles. Make sure that those points don’t stick to your hands while throwing and disturb your timing. Also, many competitions prohibit the use of such knives. 

Some blades are also skeletonized to ensure a more comfortable grip. Then again, some users prefer paracord wrapped handles for a better grip.

Many veterans also add their own handles to the knife. These can be a strip of vulcanized cardboard or leather. But know that adding some extra weight can change the balance of the knife. So you need to have the experience to know what you are doing.

Budget

Throwing knives are available in a wide variety of price ranges. If you’re a budget buyer looking for some fun, there are plenty of affordable options to choose from. 

However, most throwing knives aren’t good enough for practical use. If you spend $5 per knife, chances are, you will end up with poor material quality and an off-balance design. These are good for fun sessions, but not for serious work.

It’s best to start with a mid-range knife set that can cost anywhere between $8 to dollar $30 per knife. That way, you will get the right balance between high-quality material and a good aerodynamic design.

Beyond that, there are some premium-grade throwing knives that are priced higher. They are also sold solo in many cases. These are made of high-grade carbon steel and are specially heat-treated for additional durability.

Final Thoughts

This list of the best throwing knives you can buy should do a few things. First, it should help you feel more confident about practicing and preparing. Second, it should help you decide on the right choice for your objective. Third, it should ensure that you’re able to make a quick decision to get down to what’s most important which is preparing.

You need to practice regularly to master the technique of knife throwing. Don’t expect to hit the bullseye with just a few days of practice.

Unless you achieve the right level of skill, there’s no point in carrying throwing knives in your bug out bag.

In that case, there are other tools and weapons that are better options for self-defense. But, if you keep your expectations realistic, using throwing knives can be great fun.

Most importantly, choosing the right throwing knife is a personal thing. You need to try it out to find out if a design works for you.

Best get started with it.

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